Ben Langhinrichs

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Ben Langhinrichs, Author


Welcome, friend, and enter.


Tue 3 Nov 2020, 02:54 PM
I have long wanted to learn to draw, especially simplified figures in a comic form. I've been taking some tutorials and practising, but it is hard for me to stay involved with simple characters without any story behind them.
 
Thus, I am starting a webcomic, not because I think it will amount to anything for anyone else, but because it gives me a framework for developing characters and (with any luck) my skill at drawing. I am sharing these on my Instagram account at https://www.instagram.com/benlanghinrichs/
 
The small village of Mirage lies deep beneath the waves. Midge, a curious and impulsive mergirl, is our first character. This is my first sketch of her, so I imagine I'll get better at drawing her, but I wanted to document this from the beginning. There are other characters, some more unusual than others. Stay tuned.
 
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Copyright 2020 Ben Langhinrichs

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Mon 9 Dec 2019, 11:05 PM
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Bernie’s stomach rumbled and grumbled, as troll stomachs often do. Where was a crunchy beetle when you wanted one? He flipped over a rock near the swirling waters of the Garlknack River. There were a few ants, so he licked them up but they tickled his cheeks and weren’t very satisfying. “Have you found anything yet?”
His best friend, Tish, shook her head, hair bouncing this way and that as she plodded slowly along the shore. Forest trolls like Bernie had no hair on their heads, and it looked odd to see some on Tish. She and Granny Mac were the only hill trolls Bernie had ever known, and their grey skin and hairy heads made them stand out among the green skinned forest trolls.
Tish picked up a small pebble, but barely glanced at it before tossing it into the water.
Bernie yawned. “Hurry up. It’s getting late, and I don’t want to miss the fun.” Bernie already had his dangle. He’d found it the day before, a piece of wood that twisted around on itself. On the first night of Tibbitymark, young trolls all brought dangles to hang on the trees around the bonfire. Shadows from the firelight on the dangles danced among the trees, which Bernie found a little scary, but he never told anybody but Tish.
Almost anything could be a dangle, but it was tradition to find one that reminded you of a special skill or strength you had. Bernie liked the way the wood twisted around because it looked like two friends side-by-side. Bernie thought he was a good friend, though he wasn’t sure. He’d asked Tish, but she just laughed and said he was silly.
“They’re going to start the bonfire without us!”
Tish didn’t answer, but stared at a bit of something floating in the waters, spinning around closer and then farther from shore. She hurried after it —trolls don’t run unless they must—and grabbed it as it spun close to shore. “Aha!” she cried, shaking the water off.

Click here to read the rest of the story...


Copyright 2019 Ben Langhinrichs

Mon 11 Nov 2019, 08:52 PM
I'm not participating in NaNoWriMo this year, but a number of friends are. As with every year, some have already realized that the 50,000 word goal may not be attainable this month, while others are closing in on it, or at least keeping pace. But the true goal is not the exact word count or the specific date you finish. The goal is to challenge yourself to rise above your fears and write the book you've been wanting to write. Write on!
 
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Copyright 2019 Ben Langhinrichs

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Wed 21 Aug 2019, 10:13 PM
As a writer, I find that there is always a push and pull between stretching your wings and trying new things and returning to more comfortable territory. It is not that one is better than the other, just that you need the new to grow but you also need to rely on what you have learned before.
 
In Danger Tastes Dreadful, my debut MG which came out in 2018, everything was fairly new to me. I'd written many short stories and poems and gotten them published in a variety of magazines, but the idea of a full novel, even a short lower middle grade novel, was new. But here and there in the novel, the trolls sing songs, and those songs are my comfort zone.
 
In the novel I am querying now, a more ambitious fairy tale/science fiction mashup. there are only a couple of poems, but there are several embedded short stories. They enhance and drive the narrative, but they also provide me with that comfort zone in an otherwise somewhat scary and ambitious novel.
 
But sometimes even the poems are a risk. This is my first poem written in a somewhat hip-hop style (though Lin-Manuel Miranda needn't worry much about the competition). This comes from an unfinished novel that is very unlikely to see the light of day.
 
But the poem lives on.
 
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Standing high up in the night sky, bright eyes, 
Breathin’ fire past his deep sighs, 
It's a dragon, outta sight size, but he's draggin'.
There is fright inside.
 
Not just any dragon, this is Hoosaphrass,
Pay attention class, he don’t take no sass,
But did I mention he’s ‘most outta gas?
 
Shoulders slumped, he fights against despair
He wants out of there, if he just didn't care
He would dare to jump and fight again
Be alight again.
 
But even sharpened claws and teeth to give you pause
don't always make the laws, or even break the laws
Others stronger make you, take you, break you.
Why? Because!
 
When the warlocks came along, came on strong 
Their magic and their potions far too strong, 
twisted laws and caused commotion
Dragons fought to right the wrong, 
but were better in their notion
than in their execution, 
hissing steaming hurting dying in the ocean.
 
Now the warlocks rule the land with an iron hand, 
it is out of hand
Gotta make a plan, gotta take a stand, 
find a way to get them off the land
But their magic is so powerful, can't just demand 
that they scram
If he only had a plan.
 
"Take chances, make mistakes." ~Ms. Frizzle, The Magic School Bus

Copyright 2019 Ben Langhinrichs

Fri 12 Jul 2019, 09:51 AM
Mismatched shoes and socks
 
Authors get told "No!" even more often than small kittens. No, we don't want to publish your short story. No, I don't want to represent you and your novel. No, the acquisitions department doesn't think we can sell your book. Sometimes it is couched in nicer terms, "Doesn't fit my list" or "Not quite right for me, but this is a subjective business", though quite often it is couched in silence with no response means no policies. Even if we make it through the process and our book is published, we face sometimes hostile reviewers and readers.
 
Too often, we refer to all of these negative responses as Rejection. Too often, we feel as if we ourselves have been rejected.
 
Instead, I try to think of this as Mismatch rather than Rejection. When an agent or editor says no, it is about the match being wrong and not about me or my work. Seen that way, I need to simply keep looking for the right match, or keep polishing and improving my book's chances for a good match. Even a round peg may not go into a round hole unless it is smooth and the right size. Your book may be just about right, but need smoothing or trimming to find the right match.
 
Same with negative reviews. That is just a mismatch between reader and book. No book is right for everybody. But there are readers out there for your stories, poems, books. You need to find them, and when the right match occurs, it is a wonderful thing.
 

Copyright 2019 Ben Langhinrichs

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Tue 9 Jul 2019, 12:58 PM
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Because we are not sensible enough to get one kitten, we got a second a few days later. We met them both the same day, but were less certain about this one. This is Sophie. We sometimes call her Chewie for somewhat obvious reasons. She and Tasha are very different. Sophie sleeps a lot, and moves more much slowly and hesitantly, but the two are starting to learn to play together. Plus, they both slept on our bed last night.
 
Sophie is very hard to photograph because all that fluffy fur is dark and mottled, and her eyes tend to disappear unless she is very close and they are wide open. This is about the only photo I've managed yet.
 
The one thing both kittens have in common is a great reluctance to let me concentrate on writing or work or anything except kittens. Oh well.

Copyright 2019 Ben Langhinrichs