Jade clawed at the ground, letting out a guttural cry as she buried her head in the dirt. I could feel her distress in my mind, pressing against me, adding to my sense of despair.
Miguel has stolen my only friend and killed Jessica in the process, leaving me behind to suffer. I could have forced Jade to fly; to bring us to the nearby town, but I couldn’t bring myself to move her. Not while she mourned.
So I sat in the grass next to her, letting my mind wander as I stared out over the river.
For a moment, I thought about chasing after Miguel and Claire. If I forced Jade to fly, we might have had a chance of catching up to them, but it wouldn’t have changed anything.
If I hurt Miguel, I’d be breaking the Blood oath and forfeiting my life. And with Claire on his side, he’d be able to kill Jade and me with ease.
Still, Claire was one of the few good things left in this World. Miguel didn’t deserve her. I didn’t even deserve her.
Jade lifted her head from the hole in the grass and let out another cry, this one weaker than the last.
“I’m sorry, girl,” I said, patting her on the head. I knew she could feel my pain just as I felt hers.
Fraught with tension, I suddenly couldn’t bare to sit any longer. Sighing, I rolled to my feet and dipped my hand in the river, cupping water to my lips.
Relief spread throughout my limbs as I took a deep sigh and cupped more water to my lips.
Suddenly, Jade joined me, thirstily lapping water from the river.
After a while, I stood, my thirst momentarily quenched as I thought about our next move.
Jade stood before me, her alert eyes watching my every move.
“Well, girl, I think we should get moving.”
Jade impressed upon my mind an image of her flying.
“No,” I said, patting her on the head, “we’ll walk together. For now.”
Jade nuzzled her head against my hand appreciatively, letting out a sad purr.
“We’ll re-assess when we get back to the town,” I said. “I’ll think better on a full stomach.”
Miguel couldn’t help but smile as the wind whipped at his hair. He’d almost forgotten what true freedom felt like. There was no beast alive more powerful than the dragon, and he was Bonded with one once more.
Without the Bond he’d felt weak. Vulnerable. But all was right with the World. He had reclaimed his birthright as an Immortal.
The land below them was barely discernible through the clouds. They were flying higher and faster than a lion ever could. Thinking about that fact only increased the satisfaction he got from killing Jessica. She wasn’t worthy to be Bonded to him. Only the dragon.
Images flashed across Miguel’s mind, impressed on him by Claire. She imagined spinning in the air just as he felt her muscles tighten beneath him.
“No,” he said firmly, frowning. Then she imagined chewing on his flesh. “No.” Then, dragging him underground. “No. Fly.”
She obeyed, her muscles loosening as she continued her course through the air. It seemed he’d have to teach her obedience.
For good measure, he once again impressed upon her mind an image of the little town nestled in the mountains.
“We don’t stop until we get there,” he yelled. “Then we can both have lunch.”
I think we’re at a good spot in the story to talk about what it really takes to be a writer.
When I was studying creative writing, one of the very first lessons was that WRITING IS A SKILL.
And that means no matter how bad you think you are at writing, you can get better. What it takes is PRACTICE. And not bad practice. Bad practice merely reinforces bad writing. It takes GOOD PRACTICE to be a good writer.
Yes, it may come more easily to some, but for someone, anyone, who truly wants to be a good writer, it’s possible. All you have to do is learn and practice and keep practicing even when you don’t feel like it. Because that’s the second lesson I learned:
The MAJORITY of writers NEVER EVEN FINISH THEIR STORY!
Don’t worry about being perfect. That’s what editing is for. Just finish your story and you’ve already put yourself in the top 10% of writers. (I made that number up, but it’s something like that)
But for real, most people never finish. Be the one that finishes. Be the one that cares enough to sacrifice for your story. It doesn’t have to be good. Not at first.
One of my favorite pieces of information I heard early on was that, on average, an author’s first 5 books they write will be utterly unreadable. Seriously. Unreadable. And yet that 6th story… that can change everything. It might take 5 novels’ worth of writing to get there, but trust me, you can get there.
So just write the way you write. Finish the story. Then go back and fix it. Then write something else, finish it, and go back and fix that. And eventually, it’ll be so ingrained in you that you’ll be able to write so well the first time around that you can just immediately post the chapter without editing it at all! (Not suggested, but it’s what I’m currently doing)
I’ll address editing soon and how to go about that process. But for now, if you really want to be a writer, then you have to practice. Don’t distract yourself with videos. Don’t seize up with fear or indecision. Just write and keep writing.