Chapter Two of What Lay Beyond the Woods

What’s up readers!!!! I’ve got chapter 2 up and ready. Quick note, I literally slapped this thing together in two days and kind of skipped edits, so be prepared for grammatical errors and sentences that don’t make sense.

As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Especially if you enjoyed it, so I know that I haven’t bored everyone and you still want to read more. 

If you missed chapter 1, I HIGHLY recommend checking it out before continuing. Things are probably not going to make sense if you don’t. 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

The bald man reclined in a chair in a room beneath the massive monastery. He dressed himself in the robes of a typical monk. He almost reminded me of Friar Tuck, another man in my band, except for a tight frown chiseled onto his face. My attention rested on its highest alert. That’s why every move the man made that made his chair creak, annoyed me. It sounded like a chorus of frogs who couldn’t croak on key. The room was barely lit by a few candles here and there, who’s smoky smell overwhelmed me.
I cleared my throat. The man slightly looked up, then his gaze fell back to the pieces of parchment before him. How could he find that more interesting than me and Little John. I huffed, crossing my arms. I didn’t have the patience to play his crazy game again.
“Don’t you have people to rob,” the man remarked, his brown eyes still fixed on his papers.
“We’re not going through this.”
“If you ever listened to reason, we wouldn’t have to.”
“I’m not in the mood for small talk.”
The man finally lifted his eyes. They hid stories – tales not anywhere close to being as merry as those Will Stutely told. I opened my mouth right as, out of the corner of my eye, I saw some movement. Quickly, almost as a reflex, I drew the sword by my side and spun in the direction, aiming the intruder’s way.
The man laughed as a rat scurried by. “Someone’s jumpy.”
I kept my eyes fixed at where the rat had been until my heart slowly returned back to normal. Pull yourself together, Robyn. I didn’t need this man to see my insecurities and my fears that someone was always right on my heels, hunting me down. I couldn’t keep living like the prey! It was time to be the hunter.
I whipped the parchment I stole from that merchant two nights ago out of a pocket in my skirt and slammed it down on the rough table. The man eyed me for a long time before he moved to study the plans. His eyes grew wide, dashing through each word.
“What is this?” He furrowed his brows, moving to study me. But I wasn’t the thing that needed interpeting.
“All you need to know, is that it’s important for you to tell me what this says and don’t say a word about it to anyone.”
The man fell silent, tapping his chin as he went back and forth between the plans and me. He was wasting precious time!
“Clearly you haven’t heard about the new sheriff,” he said.
“Trust me, I’ve heard plenty.”
“I guess I thought you would’ve been smarter after what happened last time. Taylor doesn’t mess around. You should know that better than anyone, Robyn.”
I abruptly turned around, away from his eyes that always knew the right path to take. The one I rarely followed. Then, suddenly, a crash sounded! I shot my eyes upward, in the direction of the noise. Shouts came from outside and the sounds of swords being drawn out. Ready to strike whoever came in their path.
It wasn’t going to be me. Not today. I had other plans.
I turned to the man. “Did you send for them?”
The man eyed the ceiling like it would open up and the people making those sounds would fall through to attack us. “I’m not a fan of you or your stealing, but I think I dislike Calvin more.”
“Is that who’s out there?” Little John asked, who had been so quiet behind me, I had forgotten he stood back there.
I locked eyes with the man. Who else would it be but Calvin Talyor? Did that man not have a life outside of chasing me down? If I felt like talking, I would’ve walked into Nottingham Town.
“Go,” the man said. “When I get these papers translated, I’ll send them to you.”
I nodded. “Thank you.”
“Godspeed, Robyn. I pray in time, though, you’ll learn it’s not the law you’ve been running from.”
I grimly smiled. “It’s me. I don’t think I’ve ever ran from anything but the law.” Still, his cryptic words rang through my ears. One of these days, I planned to find him again and ask him what they meant.
“Find that thief!” a deep voice shouted from the rooms above this one. “She’s not getting away.”
I froze. That voice – I hadn’t heard it in a long time. I shoved away the memory of the last time I heard it, certain that’s what it would be – the last time. Yet, Calvin Taylor found me. I’m sure he wanted nothing more than to gain attention from those above him, like always. Which meant, the best way to succeed with his plan, was to capture the thief no one else could. Me. Robyn Hood.
Little John turned to move up the stairs, the only way out. My heart hammered hard against my chest, trying to burst free and make its escape in case I got caught. I turned around, studying the room. We couldn’t go up those stairs. Calvin would find us, and I doubted I had the skill to take down all of his men.
“Is there any other way out?” I turned to the man. Little John stopped at the base of the first step, waiting for me to follow.
The man nodded. “I forgot, but we have a tunnel beneath here that leads to the river. Come.”
I motioned for Little John to join me as I followed the man to the very back of the room. Shrouded in too many shadows for the candle in Little John’s hand to push away. The man nodded to the wall. I peered closer. What exactly was he wanting me to look at? Nothing stood there except the heavy stone used to build this place.
The man leaned down, and I realized he didn’t gesture to the wall. He opened a trap door. With the shadows and the lack of a handle, the trap door looked to be a part of the floor. Not my escape. The man offered his hand, but I ignored him, falling to the floor and slipping down through the opening. Six feet below, my boots landed on dirt. Little John followed, bringing the candle with him.
The sound of heavy boots and Calvin saying, “Where is she?” filled the space above me right as the door slammed shut. A gust of air hurled my way. I wrapped my arms around myself as our only source of light went out. In the dark, all I heard was the heavy sound of Little John’s breathing, the rough voice of Calvin Taylor demanding the man to answer him, and my own heart.
I turned to the misty, winding path before me. I took the first step, praying I moved fast enough to get away from Calvin. I wasn’t in the mood to face the past. Not yet.

60 Comments

  • Jane

    THAT WAS AWESOME!!!!! Ooh I want to more, that was just so amazing, awesome, fantastic, fantabulous!! I’m speechless!! It was just that good!! I know you said that there would be grammar problems but I didn’t see that many. I loved how we don’t know what happened with Calvin and Robyn, it’s such a good hook to get readers interested. (Okay, so I’m not that speechless, but people say they’re speechless when something is really good and this was REALLY good)
    I can’t wait for the next chapter!!! You did an AMAZING job writing this in two days!! You go girl!!😁

    • Maggie

      YAY, I’M SOOO GLAD YOU ENJOYED IT!!!!! It looks like you really did see me finishing chp. 2 in the future. XD I’m gonna admit, I had my doubts on completing this thing. But I shouldn’t have doubted your time machine!!! XD EEEEKKK!!!! HOW CAN YOU BE SOOO SWEET???!!! THANK YOU A TRILLION TIMES OVER!!! FANTABULOUS?? REALLY! THAT’S LIKE THE BEST THING YOU COULD’VE SAID ABOUT THIS CHAPTER!!!!!!!! Phew! Glad there wasn’t too many. I didn’t really proof read over it, so that’s a good thing it wasn’t loaded in grammatical errors. I would’ve written chapter 3, too, if it weren’t for those meddling commas!! XD Yeah…I can’t wait to figure out what’s going on with Calvin and Robyn. They wanna be very vague about it. Pesky book characters. XD (You know, now I’ve got the song Speechless from Disney’s Aladdin movie stuck in my head now. But, THANK YOU AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!)

      YAY!! I can’t wait to write it, either!! Honestly, I really thought everyone was going to think the chapter turned out sloppy, since I couldn’t put much into it. So, yeah, THANKS A BUNCH!!!!! THANK YOU for reading it!! It means a lot when someone takes the time to read what I’ve written.

  • Jane

    You should never doubt my time machine Maggie!!
    I meant EVERY. SINGLE. WORD. It really was Fantabulous!
    Haha! Ya those meddling commas!!
    I’m so glad that you don’t take your readers for granted! It means a lot to us to when you reply to our comments! I’ve been on a few blogs that have a LOT of comments and views but they seem to take them all for granted sometimes, I really appreciate that you don’t🙂❤️

    • Maggie

      ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!!! Never doubt your time machine!! XD
      Aw, THANK YOU, GIRL!!!!!! YAY! Fantabulous!! 😉
      XD
      This is how I view it, without my readers I wouldn’t have anyone to blog to and would therefore not be blogging. I OWE my readers a TON. ‘Cause, before all of you came around, I didn’t have anyone reading and definitely not commenting on my posts, and it was sad. Readers and commentors are gifts, in my opinion. And I couldn’t be ANY MORE GRATEFUL FOR THE AMAZING ONES I HAVE!!!!! All the time, I ask God to always remind me of when I didn’t have any readers, so that I’d NEVER take ANY OF YOU for granted. The way I see, you are taking the time to comment for me, and I NEVER want ANYONE to think that I don’t LOVE COMMENTS!!!!!!! So, yes, if I really appreciate my readers, it’s up to me to show it. Otherwise you’d be wondering if I even read your comments. And we can’t have that happening, can we? And I just wanna add that I’m SOOO THANKFUL you take the time for my blog!!!! I feel so honored that you’d spend your time reading my posts and commenting!!! Much love!!!! 💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕

  • Victoria

    OoooOooh!!! I AM SO LOVING THIS!!! The whole mystery regarding her past with Calvin is absolutely intriguing and I can’t wait to read more about it! Like you said, all I noticed were a couple grammar errors but besides that IT WAS FANTASTIC! You did such an awesome job getting this written in a couple of days! *gives you two thumbs up* 😀 Once it’s done, I hope you get around to publishing it because the world DEFINITELY needs more awesome Robin Hood retellings! Looking forward to Chapter 3!!! <333

    • Maggie

      YES, I’m SOOO HAPPY!!!!! YAY!! I CAN’T WAIT FOR YOU TO READ MORE!!!!! AW THANK YOU A TRILLION TIMES!!!!! You’re THE BEST!!!!!!! Thank you, thank you. Actually, chp. 1 was written in two days, as well, but I had more time to go back and read over it. I’ve gotta start working on these chapters during my two weeks span. Not two days before it’s supposed to be posted. 😉 Oooh, I WOULD LOVE TO PUBLISH IT!!!!!! It would be sooooo cool. (Okay, if I publish ANY book that would be cool. But still.:) Aw, you’re just THE SWEETEST!!!! I’m glad you think so! YAY!! I’m actually looking VERY forward to writing chapter 3….I should get started on it ASAP. <33333 Much love!!! Oh, and THANK YOU SOOO MUCH FOR READING AND COMMENTING. THIS HAS JUST MADE ME SOOO HAPPY!!!

  • Ally M.J.

    MOREMOREMOREMORE.
    That was AMAZINGG! (Amazing with two “G’s” that’s how good it is.)
    Please don’t tell me I have to wait for chapter three. T^T But still. Fantabulous, Maggie. *throws powdered donuts and cookie dough to you*
    I really like these parts: “I couldn’t keep living like the prey! It was time to be the hunter.” And: “In the dark, all I heard was the heavy sound of Little John’s breathing, the rough voice of Calvin Taylor demanding the man to answer him, and my own heart.” Actually, this chapter makes me wonder if Robyn and Calvin were once friends, or *cough* more than friends.
    Ignore the sappy, romance-writer third of my brain that just paid a visit.
    I only saw a few grammatical errors, but other than that, it’s beautiful. *sniff*

    • Maggie

      YESYESYES!!!!!
      Aw, THANK YOU A TRILLION TIMES OVER!!!!!
      Man, it’s soooo hard for me to have to make you wait. If only I could write these things before it’s supposed to be due. Sorry. 🙁 But I’m still just SOOO HAPPY THAT YOU’VE ENJOYED THE STORY!!!!! You don’t know HOW MUCH your comments mean to me and how they ALWAYS make me smile!!!! Oooh! *taking the powdered donuts and cookie dough and hiding it from my family* Hehehehe….
      YES!!! Those were some of my favorite parts, too!!!! *gasp* THAT IS A BRILLIANT IDEA!!!! Honestly, I haven’t planned out what their whole history is gonna be, but I LOVE THE IDEA OF THEM BEING OLD SWEETHEARTS!!!!!! Ooh, I’ll have to take it up with Robyn, but you’ve seriously got something!!! So, not gonna say what it is (’cause I honestly have NO IDEA) but maybe….
      Aw, THANK YOU SOO MUCH!!!!! THANK YOU FOR READING AND COMMENTING THIS HAS JUST MADE ME SMILE SO HARD!!!!!!!!! Much love!!

  • Joy Caroline

    I really enjoyed reading this!! The idea for this story seems so unique. I have to say, Maggie, I love how you take old and well-known stories like Aladdin and Robin Hood and make them into something very few could have imagined. You have a great imagination and a talent for turning stories completely around in a totally fun way!
    I think one of your strengths is you’re really good at avoiding “info-dumps.” You don’t overload your stories with a lot of boring backstory. There’s just action, which is what gets readers hooked. There are only three suggestions I thought to make:
    1. At points there are extra words that could be cut. Such as the part that says “the man slightly looked up.” You could say something like “the man glanced up” instead. Or “he furrowed his brows” could be “his brows furrowed.” That cuts down on adverbs and word count. (I have big struggles with both!)
    2. There are a few mistakes in punctuation, which you mentioned at the beginning, lol. Such as the need for a question mark instead of a period for the sentence “Don’t you have people to rob?”
    3. I would like to get to know Robyn a bit better as a character so I can relate to her and root even harder to her. Maybe show us an endearing trait or quirk of hers.
    Everything else was great!! The suspense makes this a good start for the novel, especially since I feel like Chapter 2 is when readers are still deciding whether it’s worth it to continue reading. I would definitely continue reading this one! I can’t wait to read more.

    • Maggie

      YAY!!! AWESOME!!! Girl, you are just SOO SWEET!!! THANK YOU A TRILLION TIMES OVER!!!! Aww, I don’t know so much on the talent end, but I will admit that I’ve got some kind of a crazy imagination. (Hehehehe, you don’t wanna know all the wacky things I did as a child. Ah, good times!! XD) Girl, YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW LONG IT TOOK ME BEFORE I REALIZED THE NEED TO STAY AWAY FROM INFO DUMP!!!!!! So, let’s say I’m just relieved the whole info-dump thing is being avoided. 😅 Oooh, SUGGESTIONS!!! Lay them on me, Gal!!
      Ah, adverbs they are tricky things!!! (Though, I must add I struggle with word count on an ENTIRELY different level. My stories barely make it above 50K.) Oh, yeah, punctuation was a given, since I didn’t get to read over it all.
      *glaring at Robyn* She just won’t let me in on ANYTHING about her. I LOVE GIVING MY CHARACTERS QUIRKS!!!! You hear, that, Robyn? Pick up a few quirks. Joy Caroline says so, and she knows her stuff!!!
      Anyway THANK YOU FOR THE SUGGESTIONS, they were REALLY GREAT!!!!!! Suspense is definitely one of my strongest areas in writing. I actually used to write suspense fiction, until I’ve turned to fairy tale retellings. Let’s see how long I stay here! 😉 YAY, THANK YOU!!!!! AND ALSO THANKS FOR READING AND COMMENTING!!!! Much love!!!

      • Joy Caroline

        Teehee, I’ve done some pretty crazy things as well. *shhhh
        I still have a lot of trouble with info-dumps. I hear a lot of writers say the first few chapters are easiest for them, but for me they’re hardest. I know you’re not supposed to stuff all the backstory in, but that’s SOOOO hard for me. *aaaaaahhhh
        Adverbs are like my worst enemies. I notice the ones I tend to overuse are quietly, tenderly, and chokingly. LOL. Maybe you have a few of your own. And word count is also a big problem for me. I keep worrying my manuscript will turn out too long. I think I’ve heard publishers prefer debut novelists not to go over 100K because it costs more to print. Besides, my book is supposed to be for teens, and it’s recommended that young adult novels not be crazy long. But when you have a loaded story idea, that’s pretty tough.
        Hahaha, I love this! You’ll get to know Robyn better as you keep writing. Character development is sometimes a thing that we don’t get figured out until the third or maybe even fourth draft. So that’s totally okay!
        Of course! I love critiquing other people’s writing. And I feel like it really helps other writers to give them feedback, so I’m always happy to help!

        • Maggie

          My lips are sealed!! XD
          Like I said, I used to have a lot of trouble with info-dump. (Ooh, that’d be a good post in the future!) I just started looking at what I told in the story and think, is this necessary to know AT THIS MOMENT, if it was a no, then it gets cut out to use later. Plus, I’m big on plot twists, so backstory needs to be told later anyways, so the reader doesn’t figure things out. I think that REALLY helps me prevent the info-dump. So, yeah, that may or may not help you out!! Just thought I’d share what I do!!
          AAAHHHH ADVERBS ARE LIKE SOOOO HARD TO ELIMINATE!!!!!! The ones I overuse is mainly suddenly, slightly, eventually. (Um…mainly isn’t one of them…😂) Chokingly!! LOL!! I don’t know if I’ve ever heard that one before, but I LOVE IT!!!!! (Hehehe….you’ve given me another one to overuse! XD) Oooh, wordcount!! Yeah, publishers/agents don’t normally like debut authors to write 100K. It’s recommended to keep your wordcount for YA novels around 70-85K. (Somewhere around that…) Though if you ever write fantasy or sci-fi in the future, heads up that those naturally tend to run a bit longer, so its recommended word count could go up to the 90s. It really more depends on who you’re submitting to. Oh, yeah, I’d imagine that’s pretty tough. But hang in there, YOU’VE GOT THIS!!!!!!
          Oh, yeah, that’s how it always works. The more time I spend with my characters, the more I get to know them. Except Robyn, she’s just very secluded, EVEN TO ME!!!! Someone tell her to open up a bit. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WRITE HER STORY IF HALF OF THE TIME I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON IN HERE????!!!!!
          It does help writers out, so THANK YOU!!!!

          • Joy Caroline

            Good tip on asking yourself whether a bit of backstory is crucial at that moment before putting it in! I’ll have to give that some more thought. With my WIP, I felt like I needed to set the stage right away, since it is set in Biblical times and not every reader is familiar with Jewish law, their treatment of non-Jews, etc. My first chapters are definitely going to need some very heavy editing, but that’s okay because right now I’m just focusing on finishing the first draft.
            I feel like Biblical fiction naturally runs longer, especially since, as in my WIP, it usually covers a period of many years. The books in Marjorie Holmes’ fiction series about Jesus were pretty long, yet her audience ranged from pastors to teens. I want that kind of audience sooooo much!! I feel like if a book is really, really, REALLY good, readers won’t care about its length. Still, that’s exactly why you want to make every single word count. There can’t be one unnecessary detail.
            I feel like my book didn’t start to get good until like the 40K word mark. *stressing I have a lot of work to do!

            • Maggie

              Thank you, GAL!!!! Oh, yes, I hope it helps! Oh, yeah. Because of your setting being with Jews and all that, I can see why it would be more necessary to info-dump a bit. Oh, have you read Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen? It’s a historical fiction book set during World War II about Jews in Poland. I found it VERY emotional, but also gave a clear understanding about what Jews in Poland face during that time. You might enjoy it, because the author also portrayed some of the Jewish beliefs in the book. But, yes, it might make you cry, though. That’s okay. You can’t edit a blank page after all. All that matters is you get this first draft done, editing can come later. Yes, that’s true about readers not caring about the length. I mean look at Harry Potter. Those books are crazy long. Honestly, something you might not know is that there are more adults reading YA books than you’d think. I believe I heard a statistic about 60% of people buying YA books were adults, so if that’s the audience you wanna get I HAVE NO DOUBT IN MY MIND THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO IT!!!!!!!! VERY TRUE!!! It’s cool to hear you talking about writing, I mean MAN YOU KNOW YOUR STUFF. I might not ever be able to give you any advice on writing and all. Oh, I’m sure that’s not true. Most of the time, your book is better than you think. Don’t stress, it’ll all be okay. And, when you’re ready, you can always try to get beta readers to look over your stuff. You’ve got a girl right here who’d totally be willing to do it!!!!!

              • Joy Caroline

                That sounds like a cool book! I’ll have to check it out. Yes, I imagine that kind of story would make me cry… but I LOVE books that make me cry! I would just love to see someone cry over something I wrote.
                I actually did not know that adults pick up books labelled for teens! I thought teens would be my MAIN target, just because I feel like the Bible is a little bit slow for many of them and that’s why it’s kind of seen as boring reading. But if a teen picked up a book about a Biblical figure and it’s a heart-thumping thriller, it might motivate them to see the Bible as the incredible book that it is. But I would love it even more for people of all ages to be touched by something I wrote. I love it when stories are universal, and the Bible is definitely the most universal book out there.
                LOL, I’m honored to hear you say that but I feel like I know next to nothing about writing. Sometimes I can’t even pronounce the words in my own book!
                OOOOH, you have no idea how happy that just made me! I would totally take you up on that offer. I don’t have any friends who enjoy writing, and most of them aren’t that good at critiquing. I would DEFINITELY appreciate a reader who could give me feedback!

                • Maggie

                  Oh, yes. If you do and end up enjoying it, I TOTALLY wanna know. I LOVE books that make me cry, TOO!!!!! ME, TOO!!!!! It would be just awesome if I made someone get emotional and cry!!!!!! (What is wrong with us writers? We wanna make people cry. XD 😉 )
                  Oh, yeah. They read teen books and children books. I know of a good handful who do. Even my mom would rather be reading a middle grade book than an adult book and not just due to content problems in adult books but also because it seems YA and MG books have a bit more of a creative side than adult books. And you have those authors who write YA and MG books, so they wanna read books in those genres. So, yeah, I really do think at least half of the YA readers are adults. I think that is such a BEAUTIFUL idea!!!!! I do wish we had more younger people who would see the Bible as the amazing, universal book that it is, one that doesn’t fade through time and whose message is still relevant today. I get so angry when people think the Bible is “outdated” for today’s society. Those people have CLEARLY never read the Bible with an open mind and heart. Wow, sorry about my little rant there.
                  Trust me, Girl. You IMPRESS me with your writing knowledge!!!!
                  Ha!! I’M THE EXACT SAME WAY!!!!!!! I can’t pronounce half of the names in my book, so let’s hope no one ever asks me. XD 😂
                  Aw!! I really understand you on that, a lot of my friends (those not over the internet) aren’t really writers, and some are not even readers, so I completely understand the struggle to find people to read your book and give advice. But, yes, I TOTALLY would. And if/when you ever get to that point, I might even know a few writing friends who’d love to read it as well.

                  • Joy Caroline

                    Wow! That would be great to have some people who could critique my book after it’s passed through it’s editing phases. And I could not agree more with everything you said. I get so annoyed when people say, “That was then, this is now,” to the Bible when it’s a book for all time. A lot of the places in my book have weird names, like Caesarea (still not sure how to pronounce that one) and Thessalonica (which took me forever to learn to say).
                    Thanks for the chat! I hope you get a lot of words in your manuscript today. I saw your progress bar and it looks like you work very fast! Keep it up!!

                    • Maggie

                      It would!!!! Oooh, now I’m getting all excited to read it. This wait’s gonna be a hard one. 🙂 But like I said, I’ll be waiting until YOU’RE READY!!! That’s what matters!! I KNOW RIGHT!!! Okay, I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how to pronounce those names, so don’t feel bad. Except, I actually think I’ve heard Thessalonica before, so I have an idea on how to say it.
                      Aw, you’re welcome!!! I’ve REALLY ENJOYED chatting with you!! THANK YOU for not getting bored with me and all. It’s happened before with some people I know. THANK YOU!!! I’ve gotten a little bit today, but Mondays are always SUPER hard ’cause I have some practice for something I’m in and school is beginning again for the week, so it’s not always my best writing days. But I am about to go update the progress bar. I kind of want to update it every evening if I got any extra writing done that day, if you wanna keep a check. My second drafts normally move much faster than my first drafts. If I’m in the mood, I can get a good chuck of writing in THANK YOU!! Same to you!!!!!

    • Ally M.J.

      Info Dumps? I CANNOT even tell you how much I struggle with piling too much information that the reader gave less than two papayas about. For example, in one of the short stories I wrote for my Comm. class, Paralyzed, I felt the overwhelming need to explain EXACTLY what sleep paralysis was and HOW you get it, and WHAT lucid dreams were, and HOW to get lucid in a dream, and REM sleep, and all the *fun* neuroscience that goes along with that.
      I like neuroscience. It’s one of my irrational obsessions. 👍🏼

      • Maggie

        INFO DUMPS ARE JUST SOOOO HARD TO AVOID SOMETIMES!!!!! I totally feel ya, Girl!!!!! That is NOT an irrational obsession. I actually think that’s really cool that you like that.

      • Katherine

        Oooh, neuroscience – THAT’S TOTALLY AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Definitely not an irrational obsession. That’s so cool that you wrote about that!!!!! Sometimes I use the things I learn in school as inspiration for my writing. I mean it makes learning it more interesting and if you have to learn it anyways why not put it to good use. Okay, now I’m curious: how do you get sleep paralysis? Should I google it?

        • Ally M.J.

          Sleep Paralysis: “A temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or upon waking.” (Source: My friend the Google search bar and Mayo Clinic)
          So, basically, when you reach the deepest part of sleeping (when dreams occur), called REM sleep or Rapid Eye Movement sleep, your body enters a state of paralysis. This is a protection body mechanism that prevents you from acting out your dream or harming yourself while you are sleeping.
          Conscious sleep paralysis is when your brain is awake, but your body is still asleep. Most of the time, you are flat of your back, with your eyes fixed on a random, otherwise insignificant part of the room you are sleeping in. Sleep paralysis is also absolutely terrifying if you don’t know what steps to follow. It is extremely common to hallucinate when you are in the paralysis state, and demons and monsters come out. In my first time having sleep paralysis, a shadowy fingiré with disproportionate limbs snaked out toward me. Another example is my math lovely math teacher. For her, it’s never actually seeing things. It’s more noises and nerves twanging. Like, the jiggling of a door knob, as though someone is trying to get in.
          It is also very hard to breath during paralysis, as though someone is sitting on your chest. In days of yore, people believed that a demon was the one who caused sleep paralysis, and that it would sit on a persons chest.
          Sleep paralysis can last for several minutes at most, and a few seconds at least. And some people (i.e. ME) attempt to get sleep paralysis on purpose. This is a lucid dreaming technique called WILD, or Wake-Induced Lucid Dreaming. This is not an ideal strategy for people who are unable to lay still, as WILD involves staying in one position for up to half an hour and not moving. But it IS extremely effective if you want to have a lucid dream. I prefer the Wake-Back-To-Bed technique for lucid dreams.
          I’m getting off topic. Does that explain it, Katherine?
          (Sorry for the jumble of words and punctuation that probably doesn’t make sense.)

          • Katherine

            Wow! I did not know that. That is really fascinating that a mechanism has to prevent us from acting out our dreams. I never thought about that before. How often does sleep paralysis happen in people? Thank you for explaining it! You did it better than Google could do for me (I’m serious on this). I found this very interesting!!! I think it’s so AMAZING that you know all this!!!!!!! Don’t worry, Ally, I understood you just fine. 🙂

            • Ally M.J.

              Sleep paralysis is a sleep condition, and Dr. Alex Dimitru confirms that about 8% of people experience sleep paralysis at some point in their life. It can happen at any age, but it is common for the first experience happening in teen years and early adulthood. Paralysis can occur more frequently in 20-30s if you have symptoms when you’re younger. If you have a really serious condition, it can happen a few times every week. If not, then it may only happen a few times in your life.
              However, it can occur every night BEFORE you go to sleep, if you are a WILD-technique-using lucid dreamer. WILD and purposeful sleep paralysis is really just convincing your brain that you are asleep while you are still conscious.

  • Trixie

    Wow that was really good !!!! Can’t wait for more!!! I love Robyn as a character, she seems to hide a lot and is really strong. The whole idea is amazing!!! :))

    • Maggie

      AW THANK YOU A BILLION TIMES OVER!!!!!!!!! More is definitely coming!! Oh, yeah, she’s ALWAYS hiding something from me. I just don’t get her. If she doesn’t start opening up, HOW am I supposed to write a book about her? And, yes, she’s probably the strongest character I’ve ever written, so that’s exciting! Aw, THANK YOU, GIRL!!! I’M SOO HAPPY YOU THINK SO!!!!!!!! Much love!! 💕💕💕💕💕💕💕

      Also, how have you been? Anything exciting going on with your writing?

  • Trixie

    Hi Maggie/Issabelle !! Haha I hate it when your characters hide things from you.I am doing really well thanks for asking. As for my story, the plot I had going wasn’t working out, the idea was so mixed and my heart wasn’t into that plot anymore, so I stopped working on it and am now just sitting back waiting for that one moment when your eyes pop open and you think “ THAT COULD BE BOOK!!!!!” I am keeping some of the other story ideas though. Thanks for asking!! :))

    • Maggie

      Hehehe….being Maggie/Issabelle is just too funny!!! I’m gonna confuse all of my readers. 😉 I KNOW RIGHT! Like, why don’t characters just come clean and lay it all down. WHY??!!! Oh, you’re welcome!!!! I was really wanting to make sure everything was cool, ’cause, you know, haven’t heard from you on my site and all in a while, and as I told you on Allie’s blog, I worry when my readers are silent for a few weeks. Oooof, that doesn’t sound very fun. 😕 But, I TOTALLY understand your choice to stop it. Well, I hope you find the PERFECT story idea!!! Keep your eyes open, and I KNOW you will find exactly what you’re looking for!!!!! YOU’VE GOT THIS!!!!!!!! Katherine actually has a post coming up next week on finding inspiration for stories, so you might benefit from that. That sounds smart!!! Good luck with your writing when you get back to it!! Of course!!! 💕

      • Ally M.J.

        Me: If we’re talking about characters not listening, can we add one of mine? His name is Kaihan, but he’s goes by Kai because “Kaihan is stuffy and boring and I don’t like it.” But he is LITERALLY the MOST STUBBORN person I “know” right now. He JUST. WON’T. COOPERATE. All I want him to do is eat a plum with Ji-Hae. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?!
        Kai: Yes. You’re not the boss of me.
        Me: Au contrair. You see, I MADE YOU. You are a FICTIONAL CHARACTER. I can put you in bright pink tights and a yellow shirt that says I LIKE GLITTER with a pink cat barfing sparkles on it if I want to!
        Ji-Hae: Please do.
        Loran: I agree with the annoying human.
        Mare: Me, too.
        Vett: Me, three.
        Me: NO! Loran, Ji-Hae, you’re supposed to love Kai!
        Ji-Hae: I do love Kai. But I just wanna see him in sparkles.
        Loran: He’s my brother. It’s literally my JOB to make him do ridiculous things, take of picture of it, and then show that picture to EVERYONE.
        Me: You see what I’m dealing with?
        Vett: Hey, rude.
        Me: You know what, all my characters are getting on my nerves except Song-Hee.
        Ji-Hae: Of course Song-Hee’s not getting on your nerves. She’s SONG-HEE. She’s out precious Agi Sae.

        • Maggie

          Of course!! I LOVE hearing about your stories!!!!!!!!!! Ooooh, I just L O V E that name!!!!!! Both Kaihan AND Kai!!!!! AAAHHHH, I ADORE stubborn characters! First let me say YOUR CHARACTER NAMES ARE JUST THE COOLEST AND MOST UNIQUE I’VE EVER HEARD ABOUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And…🤣🤣🤣 This sounds like an interaction I’d have with my own characters. I wonder what’d happen if Genie suddenly found her way into your story…Then Kai would TOTALLY be in pink tights and have an “I LIKE GLITTER” shirt!!!!!!!!!! 😂😆😆 I don’t think I’ve ever asked you (which I have NO IDEA WHY), but how has your writing been going? Anything unexpected? Hehehe…I guess it’s safe to assume Kai’s not been listening! He sounds like a character I would JUST LOVE SOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!

          • Ally M.J.

            In the interest of saving Kai’s sanity and making sure Ji-Hae and Loran don’t die of laughter, maybe you should outlaw Genie from coming into my story. Although, maybe that would just make her want to do it more.
            My writing’s going pretty well, I’d say. *happy 8-Bit noises* I’m at a part I’ve been planning for a while, so I think its pretty smooth. The only thing I’m unhappy about is the beginning. Ji-Hae and Kai share that story POV, and I started in Kai’s head. At the start, Kai is almost don’t with his collecting for his job (Which is to collect essence from dying people so that they can die peacefully. I know it’s weird, but it’s the only thing I could think of.) and then he goes to his last stop, and he needs to harvest from some old woman named Soyun, and wait a second, there’s another person in there. Being seen by any human is a big no-no for Kai’s species. BIG. BIG. NO-NO. But, lo and behold, there’s a pretty Asian girl with blue eyes holding Soyun’s hand and begging her not to leave. I need a reason for Kai to start flitting from his collecting every night to see the girl, AKA Ji-Hae. But my uncooperative brain is apparently on vacation in the Bahamas or something, because it does not seem very bent on helping me out.

            • Maggie

              Hehehe…it would bo VERY wise to keep Genie out of your story for your character’s sake. But, yeah, if you tell her not to, that’s just gonna make her wanna do it even more. She’s a feisty little thing.

              YAY!!! That’s GREAT!!!! Oooh, I just LOVE when I make it to scenes that I’ve been planning and working on for a while! It’s just VERY EXCITING!!!!!!! Ooof, beginnings are sometimes just THE HARDEST THING TO WRITE!!!!!! And then other times it’s the endings that are hard. And then in my case, it’s just everything between the beginning and end. XD 😂Oh, WOW!!!!! Your story actually sounds VERY INTERESTING AND ORIGINAL!!!!!! It sounds like story I’d REALLY ENJOY reading! Oooh, now I wanna know what’s Kai’s species are! Hmmm…hopefully your uncooperative brain will come back from its vacation soon. And if it chooses not to and you have to go and fetch it, take me to the Bahamas with you!!!!! 😂 XD Well, good luck with getting all of that figured out and worked out. YOU. CAN. DO. THIS!!!!!!!! GOOOOOOOO, ALLY!!!!!

  • Lily

    Hi Maggie! How have you been? How was your Thanksgiving?

    I liked how you continued to characterize Robyn through her thoughts and actions. And I like how we’re getting closer to knowing who Calvin is and how Robyn knows him. There are all these bits of puzzle pieces to put together and it’s fun to try to read between the lines and guess what is going on. (And does the monk and Robyn have some history together?!)

    Aside from some awkward sentences, this was nicely done. Good job! 🙂

    • Maggie

      Hi, Lily! I’ve been doing pretty great. Swamped with a bunch of school and, of course, writing, but other than that, things have been going really well for me! Thanks!! Oooh, it was GREAT!!!!! How was yours? Did you eat a lota turkey? 🦃🦃

      YAY! THANK YOU!!!!!! That’s good. Maybe that means I’m getting closer to knowing who Calvin is, too! XD I KNOW RIGHT!!! I just love when the author leaves me guessing stuff. THANK YOU!!!!!! (Oh, yeah, they’ve got some history going on, but I’m not quite sure what. Is it bad that I didn’t even give the monk a name? 😂 Man, my first drafts can be a bit cringy at times. Yes, this is what a typical first draft for me looks like. XD)

      Ooof, awkward sentences are actually like something I end up messing up with a TON in my writing. I have no idea why! 😂 But, yes THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU A BILLION TIMES OVER for reading this and taking the time to comment. It means THE WORLD to me!!!! 👍 Much love! 💕💕💕

  • Lily

    Hey! Glad everything is going well. And thanks for asking; my family and I had a nice quiet dinner together (and lots of turkey! We used the leftovers for sandwiches over the next couple of days. How about you? Do you like using leftover turkey for sandwiches?)

    Haha! Don’t worry. If the monk returns to you and gives you his name, then you’re good! Sometimes, my characters take awhile to give me their names.

    Don’t worry about awkward sentences. They happen to everyone. *raises hand guiltily* . After all, that’s what revising is for *eyes pop out at mistakes in my current story* XD
    For me, my biggest problem is that I tend to rush the ending of a story (because at that point, I start running out of words to say, so I just kinda summarize huge parts of it. That’s another of my author ‘weaknesses’. XD Also, I don’t think my characters appreciate the sudden rush to the end! They tend to look a little green at that point. LoL)

    Anyway, you’re sooo welcome! I enjoyed reading your story!! 🙂 Much love to you too!

    • Maggie

      Of course!!! Ooh, that sounds COOL!!! My family actually went to pick out our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving. We always get a live one. I’m gonna have to shamefully admit that I don’t really like turkey. Sorry. I used to, but now I don’t, but that’s really cool for you!!

      Oh, he better return. I mean I’ve got questions about Robyn’s past with him. Hopefully, next time we meet, he’ll tell me his name. It’s gonna bug me to not know. Oh, really? 🙂 Then I guess you understand my dilemma VERY well. 😉

      Ha! *raises hand with you guiltily* XD Yep! You’re sooooooo right!! XD *gasp* THAT’S ONE OF MY BIGGEST PROBLEMS, TOO!!!!!! I ALWAYS rush my endings. Like. All. The. Time. THAT’S MY EXACT SAME REASON!!!! And, another reason, is also because I’m ready for the story to end. *raises hand* TOTALLY RELATING OVER HERE!!!!!! One of my MANY author weaknesses. Hahaha, yeah, they might not enjoy that crazy rush at the end! LOL!!

      Aw, I’m sooooo HAPPY you enjoyed it!!!!!! 😉💕💕👍

  • Jen

    This was FANTABULOUS, Maggie!!! And I don’t believe I noticed anything out of place, so great job! *applause* I really enjoyed reading this and I could imagining everything pretty clearly. Robyn has a nice, distinctive voice that is fun to read. You’re doing great on this story! ^_^

    • Maggie

      AW THANK YOU, JEN!!! Fantabulous, really? THAT JUST MEANS A LOT!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!! THANK YOU AGAIN, GIRL!!!!!!! Aw, really? THANK YOU LIKE A TRILLION TIMES OVER!!!!!!!!!! YES! That’s really good, ’cause description is definitely NOT one of my strongest areas. *sheepish grin* Here lately I’ve been focusing REALLY hard on nailing character voices, so that just makes me SOOOOOOOOOOOOO *continue on for another million Os* HAPPY!!!!! Aw, THANK YOU AGAIN, GIRL!!!! It’s a joy to be able to write stories you and others enjoy reading! Much love to ya! 💕💕💕💕

  • Lily

    Thanks. That sound like a cool tradition, picking out a tree on Thanksgiving. So what is your favorite Thanksgiving dish, then?

    • Maggie

      Thanks! Sweet potato casserole. It’s like one of the best things EVER!!!!!! Except, for some unknown reason, I rarely get any. *pouting* What about you? Is it turkey or something else?

  • Lily

    I love sweet potatoes!! (mostly when they’re fries.) But in a casserole sounds even better! (don’t worry, I’ll save you some!). Ooo, try making two sweet potato casseroles so it won’t go as fast (is it really popular in your family?)

    Yep, I do like turkey, although one year my older sister made a great green bean casserole with this spicy sauce (almost like what they serve at one of our Chinese restaurants.) And everyone loves my mom’s cranberry salad (of course, it’s more like a dessert because of the marshmallows and marshmallow whip… but salad it healthy, right?) I’m actually not a big fan of cranberries… or pumpkin pie… *wonders if I’m really American?!* XD

    • Maggie

      YES!!!!! Oooh, I haven’t had sweet potato fries! Wait, maybe I have. I might’ve had one once, but I don’t really remember. XD Good reason to try some again, amiright! YES, save me some, please!!!! XD Ooo, that’s a GREAT PLAN!!!!! Now, I’ve just gotta go take it up with my mom…. Not really SUPER popular, hence why my mom doesn’t make it much.

      UM!! So, when can I come over next Thanksgiving?! XDD 😉 Oh, yes, salad is healthy, we don’t need to specify what kind of salad we’re talking about. XD I like pumpkin pie, but no cranberries for me. *wonders if maybe I’m half American* XDD

  • Katherine

    BEYOND WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know I just now got to reading it, but I absolutely love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maggie, you never fail to impress me!!! You’ve got talent!!! This was soooo good!!!!😃

    • Maggie

      THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH, GIRL!!!!!!!! That’s okay!!!! Aw, THANK YOU AGAIN, GIRL!!!!!!!!!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! You’re just TOO SWEET!!!!!!!!!!! <33 THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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