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How To Write Your First Novel

With the current global situation, I thought, “With plenty of time on our hands, why not try something new?” Hence, I ran a poll on my Facebook and Instagram story—asking you if you were interested in a video series regarding novel writing!

Well, it’s safe to say that the results were skewed. And since you asked for it, I did it—I created 5 videos covering the fundamentals of novel writing… particularly if it’s your first time!

Below is the first video of the 5-part series—part 2 is already on Facebook, and part 3 will be released tomorrow. Be sure to also tune in for part 4 and part 5, which will be released next week. Fingers-crossed, these videos will be of some help to get you started on your novel-writing adventure!

Want more videos? Head over to Facebook now! 

Original Works

Mortal [12 Genre Months]

In a time much like our own, there lived a king who long believed that nothing—not famine, plague, nor disaster—could befall his nation. It was a notion ingrained into his very being—a promise from the Gods that all of him and his possessions were blessed by the heavens. But despite the promise being true—where the king could have led a rich and full life—he soon met his demise… in the hands of his own.

Some believed that it was the first born son who had murdered the king. The stubborn and proud warrior, who had his birthright revoked, had plotted to usurp the throne. And those who admired the unlawful crown prince became accomplices in the coup—believing that the royalty they served was valiant, bold, and fearless. Alas, not all of this is true—the prince failed to procure the throne, let alone any support from the people. And most unfortunately, he was neither living nor valiant at the time of the king’s death.

Without evidence to find the prince guilty, those who swore on the prince’s innocence shifted their arguments to the king’s sister instead—that the graceful princess had committed fratricide in a moment of anger. But how could the gentle, poised, and well-loved royalty commit such an atrocity? Many believed that it was unintentional—that in that very moment, she lost all control of her being and mind, and reacted on her primal nature. Alas, some of this is true—the princess often defaulted to fear. And when faced with a threat, her actions were for her own. Still, there was no proof to accuse her of murder—at the hour of the king’s death, the princess was seen retreating to her bedchamber with baskets full of bread.

With the other royals seemingly faultless, there was much to say about the people in the king’s court—men and women with motive and reason. Unfortunately, the king had died in an odd circumstance—one would say it was the doing of the Gods. Cold and un-moving in his bed, there was no breath in his lungs when his Royal Advisors came to see him. And after a close examination to find the cause, there was none. Thus, it became a blame-game of who had done it and why. But one thing was certain, the king died in the hands of his own.

In his ignorance, that the kingdom and his people were at his feet, he failed to see that he was human too. His eyes had been set above all others—blinded by the promise made at his birth. Alas, blessed or cursed, chosen or neglected, ignorance knows no difference. And when the world began to crumble around the king through a plague, it was too late—it had struck his heart, with no one else to blame but himself.

In a time much like our own, there lived a man who had forgotten who he was—a mere mortal in seasons of famine, plague, and disaster. And though he thought himself untouchable, he soon learned that mortality made all men equal.


In light of the recent events, I’d like to urge every reader to wash your hands often and stay home if you’re feeling unwell. If your country has issued a lock-down/movement control, please abide by the law. We are all mortals. And our actions do not simply affect ourselves but those around us too. So let’s choose wisdom, especially so in this season, over ignorance and pride.

12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for the list of stories in this writing challenge.)

Writing Journey

You’re More Resilient Than You Think

You probably entered 2020 with hope of a better year—that perhaps, this year would be kinder than the last, that you would finally achieve what you’ve set out to achieve, or that you would get the break you long deserved. Alas, it seems that 2020 isn’t going too well for you. In fact, it seems to be the worst year for almost everyone with all that is transpiring.

So if you feel like you’re on the verge of giving up or breaking down… you’re not alone—that’s a pretty normal human response. After all, you’re not made of steel. You’re taking on new challenges head on—learning to adapt and react as quickly as possible for your survival. And being that none of us are immune to fear, anxiety, and uncertainty, tackling these unforeseen circumstances is no easy task. But in the midst of it all, know this: you are far more resilient than you think.

Whatever obstacles you’re facing, whatever emotions you’re feeling, and whatever life throws your way in this season, you’ll survive it. Things may not get easier, you may not achieve all your goals, and you might find yourself stumbling along the way, but you’ll make it to the finish line nonetheless. And when you’re forced to make changes in your life, it’s a show of how capable you are at maneuvering around those roadblocks—all of which will prove that you are a fighter.

So if no one has told you yet, let me be the first to tell you: you are more determined and tenacious than you could ever imagine—abilities that are hardwired into your being, only to be unleashed in difficult times. You may not believe it now. You may even be at wits end, unsure if you can bear the crushing weight of reality. But when it is all said and done, you’ll find yourself stronger and braver than before.

Don’t lose hope, my fellow warrior. You’ll get through all of this… because that is simply who you are.

Original Works

Keeper Of Promises [Music Meets Story]

“There are some promises you can never break,” he told me. “You must remember this.”

“Don’t worry,” I assured—rather confident that I wouldn’t forget. “I got this. You can trust me.”

He nodded. Then, handing me the rusted bronze key, he heaved a heavy sigh. “Don’t lose this.”

“I won’t,” I said. “I’ll keep it safe.”

He nodded once more—a hint of melancholy in his disposition as he ended his tenure. It had been forty years since the key was entrusted to him. Now way past his retirement age, it was time for someone new to bear the responsibility.

“Remember,” he repeated as he headed to the door. “Don’t ever forget.”

“I won’t ever forget,” I said. I had labelled the jars. I knew which were important—the promises I had to protect. So how could I ever forget? Alas, ten years later, I broke my only promise.

It was said that none of my predecessors had ever succeeded at their task—that there would come a time when a promise is broken. But as a confident young lad, I thought myself different. I believed, that unlike those before me, the promises would be safe under my care—that every father who promised to be home for the holidays would be singing Christmas carols with their families, that every friend who promised to stay in touch would be a phone call away despite the distance, and that every lover who promised to love forever would chose to fight even in the darkest of times. Unfortunately, some promises were meant to be broken… even if I remembered to keep them safe.

“I had no choice,” I consoled myself.

A new promise had arrived at my doorstep—it’s ethereal shimmer of silver and gold was enclosed in a mason jar. And within the streaks of twinkling light was a ghostly memory of when the promise was made—a promise of a sickly mother to her young child. Glimpsing what the jar bore, I knew that I had to keep it safe—that it was up to me to ensure that the fear-stricken girl wouldn’t lose her mother. So, I headed to the trove of promises down the hall. And with the click of the old bronze key, I unlocked the rickety cupboard.

One would think that a cupboard storing magical jars of promises would be magic itself. To my dismay, it was but an ordinary piece of furniture—one that had to be cleared should I ever need more space. Hence, I had to break promises—I had broken a few before. But often times, the broken promises were the ones long forgotten or were no longer of any value to the one who made it. This time, however, all the jars before me were labelled in white. It was the mark I gave to the promises that can never be broken—promises that would change lives forever.

“What do I do?” I asked myself—a question I repeated as I held the new promise in my hands. “I can’t.” Then, after a prolonged moment of hesitation, I reached for the jar on the lowest shelf.

The jar had been in the cupboard before I became the keeper of promises. It was a jar I promised to never break—a promise to the man who had once kept it safe. Alas, I didn’t have a choice. It was, after all, one of the oldest promises in the cupboard—the promise itself barely visible behind the crud and limescale. Placing the new jar where the old one once sat, I gave myself little room for second thoughts and headed to the backyard. And it was there that I broke a supposedly unbreakable promise.

“I had no choice,” I told myself. “It was old. It probably meant nothing.”

Indeed, I was young and naive. I thought that newer promises had more worth than promises that had been kept for years—I failed to see that they were the ones you can never break. It was only when I passed my duty to my successor that I understood.

“There are some promises you can never break,” I told her.

“Which ones?” she asked.

“The old ones,” I stated. “You must remember this.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll keep them safe,” she said.

I nodded. But with a sigh, I knew what was to come—the mother who had been fighting to stay alive, for the past twenty years, would someday break her promise. And unfortunately, it was a promise… that was meant to be broken.


This story was inspired by the original composition, Dream World by Mustafa Avşaroğlu

Music Meets Story © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)

Videos

Finding The Worth In Your Work

Don’t think your work is WORTH it? 😔

Perhaps, it’s not about your work at all. Perhaps, it’s because you’re focused on something else 🤨

Want more videos? Head over to Facebook now! 


Have a question you’d like me to answer in video? Leave it below! 

Original Works

Glamour [12 Genre Months]

“Glamour,” she said. “That’s how they got out.”

“Glamour,” I echoed with a frown.

It had come down to this—banned magic that would have me expelled from the academy—magic that was forbidden since the Dark Ages. Alas, it was the only option left—if I wished to return home and see my family, it was a risk I had to take.

“Do you know where they got it?” I prompted.

Her lips parted—she knew. Unfortunately, hesitation kept her answer at bay.

“Are you sure about this?” she asked. “I mean, you can always stay until they find a vaccine.”

“Vaccine?” I shook my head. “What difference will a vaccine make with that thing on the loose?”

No vaccine nor miracle cure could undo what had been done—even if the greatest scientists could put a stop to the plague, the real monster had been unleashed. A dark and malevolent creature—that fed off fear and paranoia—had resurfaced, and there was no escaping its vengeful presence.

“Once everything returns to normal, the Court of Magicians will bind the creature,” she said. “We just have to be patient.”

“No, I don’t think it’s going to be as easy as that,” I replied. “I don’t think we can just put it back.”

Upon the announcement of the city lock-down, the nesting creature broke free from its spellbound chains. Once restrained by the facade of peace, it now roamed the streets—its shadow latching onto any soul that it deemed as a perfect host. With growing dominance, none of us were spared from its curse—either as a vessel of it’s evil spirit or a victim of its influence.

“This isn’t the first time,” she insisted. “The court knows what to do.”

“Yes, but it’s stronger now. Can’t you feel it?”

The new plague had granted the creature more power than before—unforeseen strength to reach across borders and swallow the earth whole. Unlike its previous escapes, it stirred discord and animosity on a grander scale—feasting on even those who had encountered death from the plague itself. Hence, I had to resort to the Glamour.

“But that-”

“Just tell me where they got the Glamour,” I interrupted.

I knew that she cared for me—that she didn’t want to lose yet another friend. Unfortunately, she failed to see my reality. Despite guarding her youthful soul from the creature’s dark influence, she couldn’t fully grasp the predicament I was in.

“You don’t even know how to cast a Glamour,” she replied.

“I’ll find out how,” I stated.

She grunted in exasperation. “Okay, fine, let’s say you successfully cast a Glamour—at most, it’ll get you across the border. It’s not going to last long enough for you to get home.”

“That’s all I need—I just need to cross the border.”

Truthfully, I hadn’t thought the idea through—it was the first time I had a feasible plan. Hence, I intended to solve any hiccups along the way. After all, I was the top of my class.

“And then what?” she asked. “If the authorities catch you, you’ll be quarantined. You’ll be worse off than you are now.”

“Well, they can’t keep me for long. They’ll have to let me go soon enough,” I stated.

“They’ve kept people on ships… for months.”

“Well, that’s because they were infected—I’m not infected. So they will eventually let me go,” I replied, withholding not my growing irritation.

“Fine. But what are you going to do once the academy finds out, huh?” she challenged. “You worked so hard for the scholarship, casting the Glamour will have you expelled with no appeal.”

“Then, I won’t get caught.”

“No,” she huffed. “I won’t let you do it. I’m sorry, but I don’t know where they got the Glamour.”

“You’re lying,” I replied, as I narrowed my gaze. “Do you know what it’s like to be here—where the creature has its claws in almost everyone?”

She frowned before turning away from me.

“You don’t,” I continued. “You don’t know what it’s like to be accused of being a carrier, to be called derogatory names, to be afraid of being assaulted simply because of your origins. So if I have to cast a spell to change my damned appearance, just to get home and be with my family, I will.”

She cleared her throat. “I’m sorry. I-”

“I’m going to do it whether you help me or not,” I interrupted. Surely, with a little digging, I could find the source of such magic. If only… I didn’t have to do it alone.

“Fine, do it,” she said. “But… I’ll get the Glamour for you.”

“You will?” I raised a brow.

“Yes. And I’m coming with.”


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for the list of stories in this writing challenge.)

Writing Journey

How To Focus On The Journey

What does it actually mean to ‘focus on the journey’?

We have heard it countless times—a passing statement turned cliché. A phrase that leaves us wondering with no one telling us how—how exactly do we focus on the process? What does it actually mean? And… is it even possible?

Well, I think I’ve found the answer—the how and what that makes this statement more than just a string of words. And, it’s pretty simple! When we choose to focus on the journey, we’re not taking our eyes off the prize. Instead, we’re shifting our focus from being end-driven to living in the moment. It is us, keeping the goal in mind, without allowing it to dictate every decision we make—decisions set on solely achieving our dreams as fast as we could. For if all of our actions and plans are made in the hopes of reaching our goals today, what then are we doing for ourselves?

I know—as dreamers, we love projecting our future. And, there’s nothing wrong with that—a dreamer has to dream big. But often times, while forecasting the ideal life, the decisions we make are steered toward turning our dreams into a reality ASAP. And much like our fitness goals, believing that dreams can be achieved overnight not only causes disappointments but could lead us down the wrong path—a perceived fast track where our actions may not necessarily be what we should be doing, nor would they help us grow and improve in our craft. In fact, that mindset could affect our mental and physical state—a plethora of negative thoughts and emotions that could result in us giving up.

So, how then do we focus on the journey? Just like achieving a fit and healthy physique, achieving our dreams will take time. And no, we’re not putting our dreams aside, we’re simply not sold on achieving it now. To truly enjoy the process is to accept that ‘our time will come’ while focusing on what matters most—becoming better at what we do. And once we’re free from the pressure of achieving our dreams at breakneck speed, we can work on expanding our skills and honing our crafts. With that focus in place, who knows what we could achieve—for some, the end you’ve been dreaming of might come to pass… all on its own.

Original Works

The End Of Arcadia [Music Meets Story]

“The last of Team Sigma has fallen,” he said.

The map of our utopia—a holographic projection of our glorious sky-scraping city, built within the embrace of Mother Nature’s lush topography—had dimmed. The last of our soldiers, who once lit the hologram with her beacon, had vanished from the grid. And, as any wise and learned individual would say, all hope was lost.

“What do we do?” he asked.

Alas, the other four remained silent. Despite inheriting the weight of our survival—a hefty responsibility placed upon their shoulders, after our original leaders had died in battle—they stood mummed. A concoction of apprehension and defeat now governed their collective mien. And I knew—it was now up to me. The uninvited guest, peeping from the vent above the room, was the only one left with a solution. If only they had listened—if only they didn’t wave me out of their meetings. Unfortunately, no one heeded the words of a child.

Retreating from the grave reality of our survival, I returned to my bunker—one I shared with a few other children. The leaders had sent all able-bodied men and women to fight the creatures, leaving all those below the age of twelve as orphans. With the war persisting, there were barely any adults left—the last I saw my parents was eight months ago, and my brother was in Team Delta. But as much as my heart ached in grief, I was humanity’s remaining hope. My only regret was not acting sooner, even if it meant breaking the rules.

“Are you really going to do it?” she asked me.

“I have to,” I said. “If I don’t, more of us will die.”

“But… you’ll die,” he chimed.

“I won’t be the first, but I’ll be the last.”

The adults insisted on protecting our utopia—preserving the toil of our ancestors that went into the living paradise. They believed that our world would be an everlasting home—one that thrived on renewable energy, powering our advancing technology without sacrificing the original inhabitants of the land. It was, indeed, Arcadia. Alas, their quest to defend our future costed many lives—more than we could have afforded. Thus, it was high time someone did the opposite.

“Can we come along?” she asked.

“No, you have to stay,” I said. “You’ll have to start over once the creatures are gone.”

“But it wouldn’t be the same without you,” he stated with a frown.

“It isn’t meant to be the same,” I replied. “It already isn’t the same, and you know it.”

My friends nodded. Then handing me my backpack—nestling the only weapon I needed—they each gave me one last hug before ushering me to the door.

“You guys remember what to do?” I prompted.

“Yes,” they replied in unison.

“Good. I’ll see you guys… soon.”

I turned on my heel, refusing to show the final tears I were to shed—there was no going back now. The only step back, that I permitted myself to take, was into history—a time before the invasion, where every morning presented a new hope. But despite what one would think, hope would arrive at dawn once more—after I was done with my mission.

The plan was simple—with the adults scurrying for another strategy, my friends would trigger the intrusion alarm. The alarm would initiate an evacuation procedure, unlocking the north exit that led to the surface. I would be close by—as the banshee-like shrieks echoed down the hallways—ready to slip out into the world above. And from there, my final journey commenced.

Was I afraid? I was. I had never met a single person who wasn’t afraid to die—I saw the fear in my parents’ eyes when they said goodbye, and I heard it in my brother’s voice when he promised to return. Still, they were brave—every person that left our subterranean haven was courageous in disposition. And more so was I.

With the map to the abandoned power plant in hand, and the explosives slung over my shoulders, I was headed toward destruction. The notion itself sounded preposterous—why would anyone destroy the only place we called home? But it was only absurd to those who couldn’t let go of what we had already lost. Starting over wasn’t the end of our perfect world, refusing to try again was. And if it took a child to help them see, so be it.


This story was inspired by the original composition, Legends by Rajiv Seewoolall of RS Soundtrack

Music Meets Story © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)

Videos

Stop Trying To Reinvent Yourself

New year, new you? Well, that’s just the WORST RESOLUTION to have. And if you’re gasping at the notion… I’m here to tell you why.

Want more videos? Head over to Facebook now! 


Have a question you’d like me to answer in video? Leave it below! 

Original Works

Rebirth [12 Genre Months]

Once upon a time—a story always begins. The same four words that captures a child’s curiosity upon utterance—the opening to many stories, folklore, and legends. Alas, there was one beginning that commenced differently. It was a beginning that came forth once every five-hundred years—a beginning that repeated itself over, and over, and over again. For upon its very first once upon a time, there would never be an end—a fictional happily ever after that ceased to exist.

I was twelve-years-young when my mother told me the story. It began as a tale of a great adventure, where the hero traversed the golden dunes in the North Desert in search of the Fountain of Youth. It was said that beneath the great sea of sand was a cave—one that would rise above the earth when a mortal, worthy of its gift, should stumble upon it. And, like every other story, the hero had been worthy since birth. Still, it took the hero thirty-seven years to face his destiny—he had just turned sixty when he uncovered his calling.

It was a fateful evening when the ground shuddered and groaned. A rocky chamber emerged before the hero’s aging eyes, striking him in wonder and awe. It’s iron-grey accents, disparate to the surrounding topography, revealed a winding hollow that descended into the earth. And, the hero had no reservations. He strode into the mouth of the colossal chamber, leaving the world at the foot of the cave.

As the uneven and slippery path led him into the abyss, the hero soon found himself out of light’s reach. But in that darkness, where the hero thought of assembling a torch, he heard a disembodied voice—it asked a simple question with a deep resonance that reverberated through his bones.

“What do you seek?” The ghostly echoes of the question sent a shiver down his spine.

‘What do I seek?’ the hero thought to himself. The answer was easy. The hero had long sought for one thing and one thing alone—it was the reason for his quest, and it was the very thing the cave was said to offer. So the hero replied, “I seek what you promised.”

Just as the hero uttered those words, the cave trembled. And almost immediately, the hero hesitated—should he stay or should he run for his life? Then realising how he had wasted many years for that very moment, the hero stood his ground. And at the resolution, the trembling ceased.

Silence and darkness reigned. A nothingness prolonged—seemingly perpetual to warrant a response. But before a word left the hero’s lips, a faint light flickered in the hollow up ahead. It drew nearer and nearer, until the hero could see its very form—a ball of light akin to the sun.

Again, the hero was uncertain—should he embrace the fiery orb or step out of its way? Was it the gift he had longed for or a curse of death? The hero chose to remain. And as he closed his eyes in expectation of the magical light, the hero felt a warm sensation entering his chest. The comforting heat extended to every inch of his body. Then, it dissipated—its heat lifting from his being as a cold draft stirred around him. As the gift was dispensed, the voice returned.

“You will live for a thousand years, and a thousand more. Never will you meet death.”

Thus, the end of the story—the closure that every mother offered as she tucked her children to sleep. Alas, that wasn’t the end. I would know, as I went on the same adventure, only to discover that the story never ended there.

Unlike the hero, I wandered a few years short of twenty. I thought myself lucky—having not to spend another night in the soulless desert as a mortal. But as I uttered the words of the hero and embraced the gift, I came upon the part of the story that diverged. Oh, how I had hoped for a warm and comforting sensation in my being. Oh, if only the legend was true. Alas, the gift was a curse.

As soon as the fiery orb nestled in my chest, an eruption of raging heat burst forth. A searing sensation scorched my skin from the inside out. And before my very eyes, ash rose from my being. I thought I was dying—I felt myself die. To my dismay, I was still alive. When the pain eventually ceased, I could no longer feel my body. The only sensation that remained was an unending fire that stirred within.

“You will live for a thousand years, and a thousand more. Never will you meet death,” the voice said.

It was too late then. I would have renounced the gift but I had lost my voice. No longer was I mortal. I had become the sun. And I was destined to grace the skies for all of eternity—to live as a mythical creature that would be reborn in its own ashes over, and over, and over again. Thus… once upon a time, at every quincentenary, my story continues.


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for the list of stories in this writing challenge.)