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How to be a Better and Happier Writer

Today’s guest post is by Michael Mahin. Michael is a repped screenwriter and children’s book author, with two books forthcoming from Atheneum and Clarion. He blogs about writing and dreaming big at MichaelMahin.com. He also runs a web design business that caters to building sites for writers, actors, and other creative types. 

If you’re like me, you love writing. And…you hate it. Sometimes at the same time. We writers are full of contradictions when it comes to writing. We savor our alone time, yet we want to be loved by our peers. We want to create art, yet we want to be on the bestseller lists.

better writer

Many of us are like Dorothy Parker, who famously quipped, “I hate writing, I love having written.” We of course have our reasons for wanting to be writers. And most of them are wrong.

How the Right Motivation Can Make You a Better and Happier Writer

What if I told you that having the right reason to write makes all the difference? What if I told you that having the right reason to write could make you a better writer and a happier person?

You’d say, “Snake oil!” And then you’d ask in a hushed voice, “Just in case I was wondering, what is the right reason to write?”

But what does intrinsic motivation look like for a writer? As Susan Perry puts it in her book Writing in Flow: Keys to Enhanced Creativity,

“When you’re writing because you want to, because something in the project is pulling you in, and not because it feels like you have to or because something outside yourself is pushing you, by definition you’re intrinsically motivated.”

Why Writing in Flow Makes You Happier

The reason this is important to you as a writer is that, according to groundbreaking psychologist Mihali Csikszentmihali,

Intrinsic motivation acts like a ratchet on the development of personal capacities.”

Which is to say, intrinsic motivation can make you a better writer.

If you’re not familiar with Csikszentmihali’s work (or his unspellable name), he’s the contemporary father of expertise studies, a field which includes the bestselling work of Seth Godin, Daniel Coyle, and Malcom Gladwell.

Csikszentmihali spent his career studying peak performance, or how the best professionals in every field become the best at what they do. One of his key observations regarded the way that different high-performing professionals similarly experienced “being in the zone,” or what he famously called being in flow. For an awesome introduction, check out his TED talk

The Key to Writing in Flow

What he discovered was that there were certain repeated markers for entering this state of peak performance, markers that could be strengthened and encouraged in the general population for the purposes of helping people live more fulfilled lives.

What Susan Perry did, as a student of Csikszentmihali’s, was to apply study flow as it related to writing. Perry’s Writing in Flow is a distillation of hundreds of interviews with award-winning writers (such as Octavia Butler, Philip Levine, Ursula Le Guin and others) and her discoveries about how these great writers achieve peak performance and find their flow.

In her book, Perry observes 5 keys to “writing in flow,” the first of which, and perhaps the most important, is having the right reason to write.

The Right Reasons to Write

According to Perry, for great writers, the right reasons, while idiosyncratic, tend to include at least one of the following:

  • A belief that your work is worthwhile and important.
  • A curiosity, bordering on excitement, about what is going to happen in your story or poem.
  • A sense of play about the process of writing.

If you’re familiar with Carol Dweck, another seminal figure in the field of expertise studies, you’ll recognize these traits as being similar to those required for what she calls “a growth mindset.”

Cultivating a Mindset of Play

In my opinion, Perry’s three right motivations are really just variations on the idea of play. Play doesn’t question whether it is worthwhile, because it is not beholden to external markers of success.

And play cultivates its own curiosity because at the center of play is always an openness to discovery. Which is to say what any 5-year-old could tell you: there is no right way to play.

As a plotter and someone who was raised to “get it right,” I’ll admit that cultivating an attitude of play has been difficult for me. The results of “getting it right” have been masterful plots populated by lifeless characters who serve the story rather than themselves.

Perry herself emphasizes why this attitude of play is important when she writes,

“Researchers have found again and again that work feels like play when you’re motivated intrinsically, that an intense involvement in an activity for its own sake, with little or no thought of future rewards, leads to positive feelings, persistence, creativity and flow.”

But in realizing that in order to grow as a writer I needed to cultivate a growth mindset, I have started trying to make play not only a part of my writing, but a part of my attitude towards life. I have started cultivating the right motivations.

As a writer, what helps keep your attitude positive? Let us know in the comments.

PRACTICE

Since remaining open to “play” is something I struggle with, let’s try an exercise that makes a game out of writing. Open a book of your choosing and select two words at random (closing your eyes and pointing works). Now, give yourself fifteen minutes to come up with the first line to a story (or poem, or screenplay, whatever) using those two words.

Don’t try to get it right, instead, try to come up with as many first lines as you can in that fifteen minutes. This will help shut off your internal editor and encourage your imagination to lead the way. When you’re done, choose your best (or bests) and post it in the comments section.

If you can’t stop playing and end up writing a story, you can post that too!

About Guest Blogger

This article is by a guest blogger. Would you like to write for The Write Practice? Check out our guest post guidelines.

  • Sana Damani

    I used a random word generator instead: http://www.textfixer.com/tools/random-words.php

    My words: Guaranteed + Hoodwink

    1. “Guaranteed to work: A cure for bad fortune,” the charming little boy shouted, hoodwinking listeners into curing his.

    2. I finally accepted that I’d been hoodwinked, that my weakness had been used against me once again and there really is no such thing as “satisfaction guaranteed” when it comes to weight loss miracles: I guess I’ll have to hit the treadmill after all.

    • Jean Blanchard

      Isn’t it amazing what just two random words can create – and so quickly? I like what you have written: both sentences promise more.

      • Sana Damani

        Thank you. And yes, words really are amazing in general aren’t they? They can cause so much trouble and create so much beauty. And all they are, are marks on paper.

    • Jean Blanchard

      Mmm … great word ‘hoodwink’, sort of darkly hidden, sly, conspiratorial, some one in a hooded cloak maybe, a secret knowing passed by a wink …

    • Michael Mahin

      cool website link!

  • Jean Blanchard

    I loved the idea of writing as play, thank you. I really enjoyed this exercise.
    My two words, randomly picked with a pin in a book, were, smouldering and nothing:

    Nothing was smouldering in Herbie’s grate.

    Bette smouldered in her off the shoulder emerald silk gown

    Her smouldering looks captivated his aching heart, nothing would drag away his fascination of her empty promises

    Nothing but the eyes of the empty house smouldered in the setting sun

    It was nothing, she said, no Thing at all, it was some thing, Some Thing smouldering in the undergrowth

    • Sana Damani

      I quite liked how you used every variation of smouldering.
      The last two especially sounded intriguing.

    • Michael Mahin

      So good! What great words. And what great lines!

      • Jean Blanchard

        Thank you very much, Michael.

    • I’m determined

      Each of your five sentences smoulder for nothing short of a page long poem or short story, at the very least. Well done.

  • Elaine

    My two words to play with were rain and words. This was fun. I came up with nine, these were the best.
    1. Words fell like rain onto the pages of Anne’s journal.
    2. Words flew from her mouth like a torrential rain.
    3. The unrelenting rain caused the flood waters to rise at an alarming rate as the trapped family watched in wordless horror, dumb with terror.

    Feedback would be most welcome.

    • Beth Schmelzer

      All three of your first lines are intriguing, making me want to read more. Especially love your creative use of word in the last sentence. But …dumb doesn’t describe the horror: it describes the wordless people so consider adding more to your image which is suspenseful.

      • Elaine

        Thank you Beth.

    • Michael Mahin

      You did great! I want to read more of number 3! Pace, drama, tension!

      • Elaine

        Thank you Michael.

    • I’m determined

      These three sentences speak of sorrow, fear and terror. Clever.

  • Nui

    Humans are like paper. Sometimes, there’s that off-brand cheap stack you see at the dollar store, and it’s so thin you see beneath the surface. There’s also the thick, heavy, nice stationary paper, that hides everything inside and shows you what you want to see, but it comes at a great cost. In fact, there are many types of paper, and everyone has their own preferences. The funny thing is, when you figure out which one you like the most, you go to the store, you look everywhere for that specific paper, and you just can’t find it.

    See? Paper is just like people.

    My words were paper (no, really?) and beneath.

    • I’m determined

      Delighted playfulness.

  • Judith A.Clarke

    Being wrong does not bother me, it serves me. Also served by being uninhibited.
    Old age is a rainbow of jewels in my crown, filling me with peace and joy. Thanks for your input.

    • Michael Mahin

      I want to know what you know 🙂

  • George McNeese

    What helps me keep my positive attitude is knowing I’m creating something. Regardless if anyone else reads it or not, I like writing. Yes, it gets difficult and there are times where I want to stop. But there are those moments where I feel I can write forever and get discouraged when I have to reach a stopping point. The act of writing thrills me.

    • Michael Mahin

      You got the right idea!

  • Krissie Cooper

    The quote from Dorothy Parker really resonated with me. All I want to do is write, but when the time comes my motivation disappears.

    I really enjoyed the writing as play exercise. My words were ‘agitated’ and ‘must’.

    The agitated elderly gentleman felt he must find a solution to his predicament soon.

    “Must we agitate forever on this accursed land!”

    Agitated and raw, she stumbled to her knees and knew she must move on soon.

    The strange item agitated and convulsed; I must get it secured immediately.

    The professor was so agitated by the unexpected news he thought, “I must cancel today’s class or risk alarming my students.”

  • Annie

    My two words were “speck” and “throat”. So, here goes nothing!

    A speck of dust catches in my throat; I am unable to choke out the words I want to say.

    My throat becomes dry as I remember that I am just a speck in the ginormous universe.

    Tears fall down my cheeks and saltwater scorches my throat, specks of sadness settling in my soul.

    I have just a speck of dignity left and I want to defend my pride, but my throat gets crushed.

    A speck of pink adds another whole dimension to her face; her throat seems restricted and her eyes deep and dark.

    I will the words to burst forth from my throat, but specks of reality sting my eyes and I hold back my thoughts.

    Specks of gold float in her eyes, her cheeks turn cherry red at the sound of his name, her throat burns with emotion.

    They try to shove a foreign culture down my throat and I nearly lose the speck of my old life that I hold in my heart.

    She lets the song loose, exploding from her throat and shattering all her fears; the little speck of a girl finally becoming who she was meant to be.

  • sumedh

    My two words are not and understanding.
    With good understanding of history and religion, it was highly likely that he will not get carried away by the spreading plague of jingoism.

    I am really bad, I follow this site regularly, read everything, I get motivated, inspired but when I look back, I cant see any improvement 🙁

    • Michael Mahin

      Just keep writing! And thank your ego for trying to protect you from getting hurt but that you’ll be okay. I struggle with this feeling too. But I’m starting to learn that becoming a writer is about process not product. Literary history is filled with author stories about how they wrote for 10 years, churning out millions of words until something finally clicked. You might dig a book called The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield- great, inspirational, full of practical advice as well as stories of his own struggles with self-doubt and failure. I blogged about it at my home site if you’re interested: http://www.michaelmahin.com/writers-block-resistance-and-the-art-of-turning-pro/ Love to hear what you think

  • LaCresha Lawson

    You know what I love? I love it when I get an idea for a book. All the possibilities in my head. All of those ideas swirling around in my mind saying, “Pick me! Choose me!”

    • I’m determined

      I love it when a book idea – that phrasing is too prosaic! I dont ‘get a book idea’. I get swamped by the reality of people, places, action taking place, overwhelming me, and I’ve got to get it down into words before the action, the plot moves on to another writer and it’s lost to me. Which is why going to bed – really needing sleep – maybe I’ve got a busy day starting early in the morning, and ooomph! the story plays out on the video screen in my head! Do I tell my creative Muse to wait for morning, knowing that by morning it may well be gone – or do I get up and write – write until 3 or 4 AM? It has happened.

      • LaCresha Lawson

        Whatever works. Happy Writing! ☺

  • Constantin Stanislavski said this almost a 100 years ago and in a way that is more accessible for creative types. I have long considered myself a Method Writer.

  • Jacqueline Cole

    Awesome post! My words were “sways” and “the,” and though “the” is a bit generic, it only took about 15 minutes to write this:

    In the garden sways a pendulum of time,
    Ever pushing onward with its endless ticking rhyme.
    A clever beat, a worthy cause,
    To mark each rushing, silent pause,
    And yet each beat is dead.

    In the garden sways a misery of hope,
    Filled with broken letters that hang crushing on your throat.
    A velvet glove, a tighter grip,
    Longing for the fatal slip
    That lets the hope break free.

    In the garden sways a happiness gone cold,
    Asked to linger longer ’til too battered and too old.
    A final kiss, a whispered why,
    That tells us nothing with each lie,
    But nothing matters now.

    In the garden sways a pendulum of time,
    But time is up.

    • Beth Schmelzer

      Powerful imagery! Are you publishing your poetry or setting the scene for your novel of romance and suspense?

      • Jacqueline Cole

        Thank you, Beth! I’ve published with The World Poetry Movement, Poetry.com and my college, but nothing professional, really. I prefer to write fiction, but yes, this was intended to go along with a story I’m working on. 🙂

        • I’m determined

          Ah. Explains the pathos.

    • Michael Mahin

      Nice! Seems so random that you got a “the” but i guess it’s probably one of the most likely words if you use a regular book. I guess because I use a dictionary it’s less likely. Good stuff!

      • Jacqueline Cole

        I know- I almost picked another word but decided it’d work anyway, haha. Thanks!

    • LilianGardner

      Soooo good, Jacqueline. Brava!

      • Jacqueline Cole

        Thanks so much, Lillian!

    • I’m determined

      Oop! How poignant. Every beat is dead. But time is up. Lost chances, to be sure, It is my hope that the pendulum of time sways more timely for you, to bring joy while you can still rejoice.

  • rosie

    I love writing–but Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) said you’ve got to believe that writing loves you back. It’s a fun idea! She says that our creativity really wants to show itself, and needs a human to put the ideas into action: why would our creativity be indifferent to or even hate us? It doesn’t make sense.
    I love that idea: just believe that your writing loves you in return!

    • Michael Mahin

      That’s going in my file of lines to steal later 🙂

  • Vincent

    It’s all I have today- 6 lines – The words are Charged and Prostitute – raw as always.

    We waited for the prostitute to say how much she would
    charge, she never did.

    Those animals charged the prostitute wrongly thinking that
    she deserved whatever she got.

    After prostituting himself the Mayor was charged with taking
    a bribe.

    Prostitution, so much for your body, your choice, you can
    still be charged for solicitation.

    I know you are all charged up to do this Micky, but don’t go
    in there and make like a desperate prostitute on the first offer.

    Charged and convicted and the headline had it right for
    once, “Congressmen get 10 years for prostituting their offices.”

    • I’m determined

      Clever

      • Vincent

        Thanks!

  • M.J. Herald

    My two words are bad and reverend…interesting.
    This was bad, the DNA of the beloved reverend was found on the handle of the knife.
    Reverend Whitsey had a bad feeling, the funeral service was not going to go smoothly, not with the deceased’s wife and mistress sitting in the front row.

    • Michael Mahin

      I got your title! The Bad Reverend…

      • M.J. Herald

        Excellent! I’m in love with it.

        • I’m determined

          Title for the second sentence/comedy of errors – the baffled Reverend.

    • I’m determined

      Both sentences beg to expand into their own stories. Both are so different. I’m curious about why the Reverend’s DNA was found on the knife handle, but – having both the wife and the mistress in the front pew at the funeral service practically yells out a comedy of errors!

      • M.J. Herald

        Thank you for comments. I have enjoyed this exercise. Perhaps I can weave both sentences into the same story. It would be interesting…

  • LilianGardner

    My random words: repeat and need. Thanks for proposing this fun writing game. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

    “And don’t be late again,” her mother said. Jennifer hated the repeated advice each time she went on a date. She did not need to be told every day.

    “Can you repeat it, lovey?” she asked. Justin wondered why she needed to hear him say ‘I love you’ every few minutes.

    • I’m determined

      Oh yes. Beautifully put, this contradiction between humans.

      • LilianGardner

        Thanks! Humans love contradicting one another; each one wants to have the last word.

  • Really great post, and one exercise I needed to do.. Here is my contribution. my words were threat and goal

    The threat had come but no one understood what it really
    meant but him. He had been waiting a long time to see this come to pass She had
    walked out 5 months ago because she wasn’t ready for a commitment. Why did she
    view getting into a more intimate relationship as such a threat to who she was
    or how she lived?

    While they had only known each other for 5 short months, he
    thought they were really beginning to know each other. They had shared so many things.
    As the moments ticked by, he had to know why she abandoned the relationship
    before it even had the chance to bloom into anything deeper and lasting.

    When troy shared this with Paul, Paul just sat there
    smiling. “I know where she is coming from.” He replied to his friend. “I know
    the pain and agony of finding yourself in love and wanting companionship so
    badly then watch as the bottom drops out. You lose yourself so much in the other person then they leave.

    After you finally pick yourself back up off the floor heal
    and start to live again not finding hurt at every waking moment you begin to
    guard yourself.

    Finding that feeling again and losing yourself in love again
    and losing who you are in a threat. Because each time you lose yourself its
    harder to find yourself again. And its more painful than the last time.

    “But I don’t want to hurt her again. Want to love cherish and be there for her not hurt her.”

    “Then I suggest you make it your goal to tell her that. Be
    her friend make her comfortable with you so she is not on her toes and
    defending herself seeing you as a threat to her life and who she is as a woman. For I tell you when you have accomplished finding a woman who is so comfortable being around you and feels safe with you and doesn’t feel like she has to be on guard or reserved around you she will be free enough to be herself and will revel to you who she really is. Suddenly you will love her and she will love you in return. And eventually nothing or no one will ever come between you or replace you in her heart body and soul. She will guard that relationship you two built with everything she has, and you will never have to wonder is she is true to you because she will be yours forever.”

    Paul said in a tone that told Troy he knew what he was
    talking about. He didn’t know why Paul knew of this but he knew he did.

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  • 709writer

    The damage was far worse than external. No matter how hard Shadow gripped his shoulder, blood seeped through his fingers from the bullet hole. His chest heaved.

    The man who’d shot him – Sean – stood across the barren clearing, his pistol still aimed at Shadow’s head.

    “Tell me where the brat is.” Sean spoke through gritted teeth. “Or you’re getting a bullet in your head next.”

    Shadow raised his voice. “You’re a coward – you only feel powerful when you’re hurting little girls,” he said. His pulse hammered and he squeezed his hand into a fist. “But you’re not touching her again.” Ever.

    “You’ve got ten seconds to answer me,” Sean said.

    Shadow darted forward and closed the distance between them in a heartbeat. He knocked Sean to the ground, grabbing the man’s hands to aim the pistol at the sky, past Shadow’s shoulder. At full strength, Shadow could have easily overpowered Sean, but in his weakened state due to his injuries, he had to make each move with care.

    “I’ll kill her myself.” Sean’s voice was guttural as he struggled to turn the gun back toward Shadow’s chest. “After I finish what I started with her.”

    Adrenaline spurted through Shadow’s veins. He wrenched the gun from the man’s hands and leapt back, stumbling a bit, but recovering his balance to stand a few paces away.

    He gripped the pistol in both hands. “Now you’re going to answer me.” Shadow sighted down the pistol with a glare. “Your boss. Where is he?”

    “I’ll die before I tell you,” Sean growled.

    Shadow lined up the sight on the pistol with Sean’s forehead and stilled, exhaling a slow breath. He squeezed the trigger.

    My teacher taught me that it’s easy to quit – that anyone can do it. But it takes someone with dedication and guts to stick with what you’re doing. We all have to decide how much we want something, and what we’ll do, how hard we’ll try, to achieve it. A poem my teacher once sent me was this:

    When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
    When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
    When the funds are low and the debts are high,
    And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
    When care is pressing you down a bit-
    Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

    Life is queer with its twists and turns,
    As every one of us sometimes learns,
    And many a fellow turns about
    When he might have won had he stuck it out.
    Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
    You may succeed with another blow.

    Often the goal is nearer than
    It seems to a faint and faltering man;
    Often the struggler has given up
    When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
    And he learned too late when the night came down,
    How close he was to the golden crown.

    Success is failure turned inside out –
    The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
    And you never can tell how close you are,
    It might be near when it seems afar;
    So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
    It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

    I’d love feedback/critique on the scene I wrote between Shadow and Sean. Great post!

    • I’m determined

      The poem is spot on, and most timely. Shadow and Sean – I wanted to write YES! I got somewhat emotionally involved with your narrative. to critique, but
      in his weakened state due to his injuries – with this you are being editorial – try again by writing the feelings, the experience – the desperation – of Shadow as he struggles to make his injured body obey his will.

    • Michael Mahin

      love that first scene! i love the moral ambiguity of it all. and that we’re not totally clear what the situation is.

  • Ching-Ern Yeh

    The outcome of my practice:
    1.Laura pressed the redial button and brought the phone to her ear, “You called?”

    2.I called you down for lunch but you never came.

    If I may make a note: You have missed a wordin the first paragraph. “Sometimes at the same time.” (missed the word, “Same”)
    Also, the tweet can’t be tweeted. I tried but it had too many characters. 🙁
    Other than that, I loved this post and the idea of play. One of the reasons why I love writing stories is the idea of work not feeling like work, but like play- and yet, you get paid for it.
    This post has made me re-think why I’m writing, and my real reasons.

    • Michael Mahin

      Great lines! The Perry book is great (especially if you like reading about how other writer’s write, their processes, etc.), another you might dig is Barbara Baig’s How to Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play. I blogged about it here if you want to check it out: http://www.michaelmahin.com/deliberate-practice-for-writers/ And thanks for the heads up on the misprint. I’ll let Joe know.

  • Hattie

    Great article…..I’m going to get side tracked to read about Susan Perry now.
    I studied children’s play for many years, so relating writing to play is right up my street.
    Life, discovery, creativity is all about play.
    Writing is just playing with words
    Hattie

  • Ashley Hampton

    Fun activity. The two words I got were refused and couldn’t.

    Nadia couldn’t believe what she had just seen. She refused to believe it. She had always known that Kevin was a mean spirited person but she had never believed that he was truly evil. But she couldn’t deny his evil personality now. Not after watching him wipe that blood from his knife with that sickening grin on his face. Kevin was a monster and Nadia knew that with a certainty now.

    Kevin’s wife Laya had refused to believe that he was evil and now she was no where to be seen. Laya could never see Kevin for who he really was and it had cost her her life. But she couldn’t have saw it coming. Kevin had always been so nice to her. He had treated her like she was the love of his life and maybe she was. But now Laya lay motionless on the kitchen floor with a huge puddle of blood surrounding her, and as Nadia watched in silence from the living room window she refused to be Kevin’s next victim.

    • I’m determined

      Secret weapon. what secret weapon? Is it going to be strong enough, effective enough to protect Nadia so that she doesn’t go the same way as Laya?
      Ashley, you drew me so into your story that i became oblivious to your key words. well done, You will finish this story, won’t you? Maybe enter it in a mystery competition?

      • Ashley Hampton

        Thanks so much for the feedback! I haven’t decided exactly what the secret weapon is going to be yet because I’m not sure whether I want this to be just a mystery novel or if I want it to be sci-fi fantasy fiction. I’ve wrote other parts of this story and in my mind I can imagine Nadia being a witch with magical powers. But I’m not sure whether I should go that route or not. Either way I am definitely going to try and finish the story. Thanks so much for the encouragement and feedback. It will keep me going.

    • Michael Mahin

      Nice! feels like the opening scene to a Hitchcock movie!

      • Ashley Hampton

        Thanks Michael!

  • I’m determined

    Messes self-esteem

    What messes up self-esteem more effectively

    Than being ridiculed?

    Zen and the Art of Self-esteem, or how to
    avoid

    having your self-esteem messed up by bullies.

    The question of self-esteem, calm, strong
    intact;

    For it to be un-messed about, mucked up

    By bullies. That is the question.

    What is the answer?

    The use of Zen focus, inner mindfulness

    Oblivion to those whose inner turbulence

    Impacts, blocks their own need for peace.

    In other words, ignore them.

    It drives them around the bend

    That their mess up games barely ruffle your surface

    Have such meagre importance to you.

    They might – eventually – learn to value you

    Value your competence

    Respect your inner strength – enough –

    To want to be
    friends.

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  • CreeperBandito

    My words were: Maeve, through, and have. (I decided to use three words instead of two)

    Maeve, knowing she’d have to do this if anyone were to get through, decided to use the last of her energy to open the gates. This was the only option she had, and it beckoned her to do so. Her eyes started glowing blue. With a bellowing shout, she spoke. “Misna’Hurduie, Nim Har Dim Heh Wehll!” The gates started opening, at first just a crack, and then a gaping entrance. She smiled as the footmen started rushing in through the door. ‘We will take our home back at last’ she thought to herself, as she started to be consumed by the very magic that she was casting, and collapsed as the energy ran through her brain. She lay limp on the ground, never forgotten by the warriors who would become free men because of her heroic sacrifice.