Welcome to the Magical Apple Orchard: One Bushel Per Person

Google Image Search (Royal Gala Apples)

Hello there.  Welcome to the orchard where all of our apples have a little bit of magic in them.  No worms in there either.  We have the same rules as all other orchards where you can eat while gathering.  Best to read the list before you go munching away though because some abilities might make it hard to continue.  Don’t worry though.  We have a resting area over there if you need a break before finishing.  By the way, we don’t have all 7,500 species of apple here, so I hope you don’t mind the limits.  Enjoy.

  • Golden Delicious–  Popular as you would expect.  Covers your body in a thin layer of gold, which dissolves over the course of an hour.
  • Gala– Good source of energy in that you can discharge lightning from your fingers.  Lasts for as long as the apple is in your stomach, but stops after it passes into the small intestine.
  • Enterprise–  Teleports you to a fantasy world where nobody else has visited.  You return after a few hours with whatever you’re holding.  This doesn’t include living things, so no hugging dragons in the hopes of bringing them home.  You’ll just be eaten.
  • Honeycrisp–  Grants an ooze form that smells of honey and is immune to all damage.  It is susceptible to cold and wears off after two hours.  Entire apple must be eaten for full effect.
  • McIntosh– Not that exciting.  Gives you immunity to cold temperatures, so it’s more popular in winter.
  • Fuji–  Shrink whatever you touch into a palm-sized form.  Does not work on living things.  Everything returns to normal after power disappears.
  • Granny Smith–  Increased speed, but only when knitting or making pies.  My grandmother made this one.
  • Liberty–  A medical apple that cures most diseases, but you need to know what you’re curing first.  Requires you write the name of the disease on the apple before ingestion.
  • Breakey–  Grants the ability to spit fiery acid.  Can hurt your throat.
  • Red June–  One of our juiciest apples.  Every bite gives you the ability to read the future using fire.
  • Parry White– This is a white apple that allows you to turn invisible.  Doesn’t affect your clothes.  People always forget that.
  • Croncel–  Increase jumping ability to that of a flea of human size.  Safe landings aren’t guaranteed.
  • York Imperial– Unbreakable equilibrium along with a body that can contort into any shape.  Everything will snap back into place once power disappears.
  • Ambrosia–  Random power once you finish the apple.  We have a list online of possibilities and you can add to it if you get a new one.  Popular with kids even though we don’t recommend it.
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Rewrites and Second Drafts: A Necessary Evil.

Greetings, SE’ers! Beem Weeks here with you again. Today, I’d like to talk about rewrites and second drafts. Some writers have all the skills needed …

Rewrites and Second Drafts: A Necessary Evil.
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Happy Rosh Hashanah!

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and it starts tonight.  Figured I would post up some memes to celebrate the event.  That and I became too busy and tired to research an animal for the usual Sunday fun.  Enjoy!

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Goal Post: Where Did the Warmth Go?

It’s cold today.

Yes, I know it’s now autumn, but I was still comfortably wearing shorts on Thursday.  If you wonder about yesterday, I was uncomfortably wearing shorts.  Today, I’m going to have to see how many of my jeans fit.  Not a fan of this abrupt change.  We had the mid-70’s and it’s the 40’s.  Can’t be natural or normal or acceptable.  Might be why I got 7.5 hours of sleep and feel like crap too.

It was a busy week with school and parenting.  My son had enough homework to make afternoons rather rough.  Mostly reading with annotating, which slows him down to a crawl.  He’s already a slow reader, but adding note-taking means it takes longer and he focuses on vocabulary.  Not sure how much is sticking, so we’re going to have to work on things.  We also had his ‘Meet the Teacher’ night on Thursday, which is when we follow his schedule and find out about his classes.  It was . . . Well, I know what’s going on and that’s the important part.  For one reason, it was a little stressful.  Anyone who knows my life situation can figure out why I was a little stressed.

Work was busy because it was the start of going into the community for work sites.  Life skills classes set up contracts and sites will local companies/stores for the kids to practice in real world settings.  It’s stuff like cleaning, restocking, and fixing up displays for like an hour.  Had to get back into the groove for this because I hadn’t gone out to these sites since before the pandemic.  Thankfully, the kids are great and things went smoothly.  This resulted in a good kind of tired.

There was a downside because I was standing and walking around a lot.  Not fun when you have an injured hip.  Not sure what I did to it last weekend, but it hurts.  Mostly when I finally get home, so I can function during the day.  Just not a fun evening until I pop an ibuprofen or get my hands on the heating pad.  It’s definitely slowed me down a bit, but I finished most of what I needed to.

Okay . . . Let’s get to the writing part of my life.

My goal was to write 8 chapter sections before this coming Monday.  I already got 3 done using Monday, Wednesday, and Friday night.  So, you would think I could get the rest done this weekend.  Probably not, so I’m looking at 5 instead of 8.  Could I push myself today when I’m cold, sore, and have my niece here for her birthday?  Probably, but it might be better to finish the last 2 sections of this chapter tomorrow.  Maybe I can get a 6th and 7th done.  The truth is that these two sections set up the final battle chapter and then the wrap up chapter.  I’m thinking I might want to save those for a weekend where I have nothing else going on.  That or use my non-parenting evenings and times when my son is playing with friends.

So, what will I do today?  I’ve got one more piece to build for my son’s Halloween costume, so I might take an hour to do that.  It involves iron on patches, which means moving the ironing stuff out of the basement.  Don’t want to spend an hour in the cold basement with no entertainment while doing this tedious part.  I can do some November blog posts too, which I should really hunker down on before I have to rush.  So, I won’t be bored or unproductive.  Just shifting to a few other projects given the situation.

Lets see . . . Drama was the rest of the week, but I’m never able to go into that.  Some arenas are getting messy and stressing me out.  I feel trapped there because I can’t put an end to the situations.  So, I’m stuck playing damage control whenever things flare up.  It creates a sense of helplessness and frustration.

Well, we have a 4-day weekend thanks to Rosh Hashanah, so I’m going to enjoy it.  Today goes to niece birthday, blogging, and Halloween costume.  Tomorrow will be writing and we’ll see how that goes.  Then, I have my son for Monday and Tuesday, which means video games, movies, and reading time.  Need to get him to read more often, so we’re going to have father/son reading periods.  He has a test to study for too, but we’ll get a good amount of fun in.  He has to get something done with his braces too, so that means a chocolate shake and probably a movie afterwards.

What did I watch on TV this week?  I was dozing off so quickly that it took me a while to get through things.  Week felt like a month too.  I did finish ‘Bastard!- Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy’, which is an anime inspired by heavy metal and Dungeons & Dragons.  It was fun, but the last few episodes lost a step.  Kept ‘killing’ the bad guy and then he’d be back for them to try something else.  Fun battles to watch, but it got repetitive.  I started ‘Harley Quinn’ season 3 on HBO Max too.  Fun and goofy like the previous seasons, but a little more serious at times.  I like it, but this season has different feel of it.  I’ll probably finish it today and move on to another anime called ‘Spy x Family’.  Keep seeing cosplay and clips of that one.  All I know is that a male spy and a female assassin have to pretend to be a married couple to watch and protect this little girl.  Even that might be wrong.

Goals of the week:

  1. Try out my jeans and get new ones if need be.
  2. 3 day work week!
  3. Help my son study.
  4. Write at least 2 chapter sections of Darwin & the Avenging Elf.
  5. Get through my November blog posts.
  6. Try to take a breath at some point.
  7. Finish my son’s Halloween costume.
  8. Have apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah.
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Questions 3: What If You Woke Up in a New World?


As authors, I think we imagine ourselves in other worlds to begin with.  It might not be us exactly, but we exist in these worlds through our characters.  So, the concept of an Isekai isn’t too farfetched.  Probably why it comes off as a power fantasy for both authors and readers at times.  So, these questions might be fairly easy and fun.

  1. What kind of world would you want to wake up in?
  2. What ability/power/tech would you want to give you an edge?
  3. How would you change yourself while in that world?
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Character Development and Diversity

Hello SE readers, Gwen with you today and together we’ll review and conclude the series on diversity and character development. Over the last several…

Character Development and Diversity
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Poetry Day: Casualties of the Morning Drive

Duck Hunt from Nintendo Meme

(This always annoyed me when I had a long commute.  After a while, my mind would start picking on various story ideas.  I’d still be focusing on the road, of course, but I would think about these things at red lights.  Most times, I got to work and had to rush into things with no chance to write anything down.  This was always worse than losing dreams that were good ideas.)

As I focus on the task at hand

I hear my voices wander

Whispering of growing dreams

That are rising from my edges

Words rippling across my mind

I must not hold them tight

Or I will forget my place

I can merely hope they last

Until I can stop the car

And write them for infinity

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7 Tips to Writing an Isekai Story

Reincarnated as a Slime

Isekai can be tricky even though it looks easy.  People think it’s only about having someone transported to another world and leave it at that.  Makes sense since this means the main character acts as an avatar for the audience.  Still, there are plenty of ways to screw this up, especially now that the subgenre is oversaturated.  What can you do to avoid the common pitfalls?

  1. You really need to show what the main character was like in their old life.  It doesn’t have to be immediately or at once.  This can be information that is doled out in pieces when the character has a memory or concept triggered.  Ignoring their previous life eliminates an essential dimension and weakens the fact that they are a stranger in an alien world.  It doesn’t really feel like they’ve been removed from an old life anymore because the reader has no knowledge of it.
  2. The greatest danger is the overpowered main character.  Typically, the transported person has greater abilities and knowledge than the locals.  They’re not so much a chosen one, but are special.  With fantasy, this tends to come out as incredible magic and powers that dwarf everyone else.  They become Superman on steroids because authors don’t always remember to add a weakness.  You need to introduce a feasible threat at some point.  If they’re wrecking all adversaries for the entire story then it’s an empty power fantasy.  For example, Rimiru in ‘Reincarnated as a Slime’ was defeating everyone with increasing ease.  Then, he ran into an anime that nearly killed him because they negated his strengths.  This revived the tension and changed him from an unstoppable protagonist to one who needs to grow.
  3. Being transported to a different world doesn’t mean the main character changes their personality.  They may do this over time, but they don’t appear and then immediately become someone new.  Part of the story is that they are their old selves and need to grow into a new version to survive.  Some will see it as a clean slate and try to be someone new at the start.  This makes sense, but it shouldn’t be a perfect change and the older habits need to be maintained for some time.  Otherwise, what’s the point of writing an isekai when you can do the same with a confused protagonist from that same world?
  4. Not every transported character needs to be catnip to the locals.  They may be curiosities if their origins are known.  It gets ridiculous when every named character ends up wanting to marry, kiss, hug, or bed the hero.  This happens a lot with absolutely no explanation other than ‘this guy/girl is now cool’.
  5. Even if the hero knows about the world before being transported, you should surprise them.  They might not know the exact physics of the world or the cultures even if it’s based on media in their world.  Think about how we’re told to write a story using only the exciting parts of our characters’ lives.  If we were dropped into any of these worlds, we wouldn’t know about anything that was deemed unimportant.  Daily life events, holidays that did not happen in the story, unessential historical events, and cultural traditions are only some of what can be thrown at the hero.
  6. If the character’s cellphone is going to still work in this other world, please explain how it still has a signal and doesn’t run out of battery power.  I know this one is specific, but I’ve noticed at least two Isekai that involve smartphones.  I only watched one of them, which I didn’t like.  It was the main one either.  Still, I couldn’t figure out how the character was in this medieval setting for two years and his phone still had power and a signal.  In fact, explain how any modern technology continues to work for an extended period of time.
  7. You don’t have to decide at the beginning if the character wants to go back home or not.  Of course, this doesn’t matter if they died and woke up in the new world, which implies that they’re stuck.  If that’s not the case then you can play with both possibilities.  Any person who wakes up in a new world may want to explore, especially if it’s one they recognize from various media.  The desire to go back home may need to be triggered by a sense of that this isn’t a game or fiction.  So, focus on world and character building instead of the finale for a bit.  You can always change from one to the other as well.
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Story Development and Execution Part 11: Mid-Level Self-Editing

Ciao, SEers. Today is part eleven of the series, and we’re continuing with self-editing. We’ve reached the mid-level revision. By now, you should …

Story Development and Execution Part 11: Mid-Level Self-Editing
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Guest – Staci Troilo Discusses The Haunting of Chatham Hollow #newbook

I am so pleased to be hosting a fellow Story Empire author today. Staci is here to talk about the book she and Mae Clair have collaborated on that …

Guest – Staci Troilo Discusses The Haunting of Chatham Hollow #newbook
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