I know it isn’t Halloween yet, but I wanted to share this short piece. It’s the other story that has been nagging at me, that I was talking about in my last post.
Every year on halloween, Rachel had a vision. She had been having them since she was a child, but only ever on that one night of the year. It had taken some research but she had figured out that it was because of the lowered veil to the other side.
It always involved someone Rachel was around. Occasionally it was about someone’s future but often it was about their past: intimate details about their childhood they didn’t want anyone to know; shameful secrets they had buried away; or even trivial events that no longer seemed relevant.
This year, Rachel decided she would try something different. She wouldn’t dress up in a costume and go to a party as she had done in previous years in the hope of drowning out the visions, nor would she stay home and attend to visiting trick or treaters, praying that the minimal contact would prevent the vision.
This year, she was going to turn off all the lights and draw the curtains shut, and take refuge in her lounge with the tv for company.
And so it was that she found herself bundled in a blanket with a hot cup of chocolate watching a lighthearted chick flick.
Rachel could hear the kids laughing outside going house to house begging for sweets. Thankfully the darkness of her house seemed to have warded them off.
With half an hour to go before midnight, Rachel was feeling very pleased with herself. She had managed to avoid the terrible experience that were here her visions. She got up and started getting ready for bed.
She was in the bathroom when she made the ultimate mistake: she looked at herself in the mirror. As she looked at herself in the eyes, she felt the wooziness that came just before a vision.
The bathroom faded from view and she was transported to another place.
It was worse than anything she had ever experienced before.
Rachel found herself actually living the vision, not the casual bystander she usually was.
Her hands were bound behind her back and she was on a ledge of some kind. There was a group of people all around her who were all wearing matching expressions: anger. They were wearing old fashioned clothing: the women wore long skirts which was the telltale sigh. Rachel was no expert but she guessed it was probably around the eighteen hundreds.
Still looking at the crowd, she noticed their anger turn to triumph as a man carrying a flaming torch approached. They all started jeering and pointing at Rachel.
With a sinking feeling she noticed the man was coming towards her. She started to panic a pull at the rope binding her. It was no use however, it was too tightly fastened.
Rachel was screaming as the man lowered the torch onto the platform underneath her. It was all made of dry branches and caught alight instantly. Within minutes there was smoke billowing up into the sky. Rachel started coughing as she breathed in the acrid air. She was chocking and there was nothing she could do about it.
Gasping for air she woke up lying on the cold hard tiles of her twenty first century bathroom. She threw the window open and gulped in the cold crisp clean air.
Lately I’ve had so many ideas bouncing around my mind it’s been hard to focus.
I’ve technically got two projects on the go. I had been writing another story with a friend – but due to busy schedules, I was the main one writing. In general the story was my idea but my friend came up with some really good details. But then I put that on hold while I got pulled in deeper into my second fairy book. I’ve regretted putting the other one on hold because I really liked where it was going and the characters. But I felt that my own needed more priority.
I’ve of course written some short pieces that I’ve put up here, which haven’t distracted me too much.
But there are two short pieces that keep nagging at my mind. One is the dystopia that I published here a while back. The other is a short story that I wrote for my writing group and the theme was Halloween.
The latter story has been on my mind lately. It was originally a spin-off of a short story that I had written for English class back in high school. The theme had really interested me, and still does apparently.
The other night – while trying to sleep, which is apparently my favourite inspirational time – I formulated the character properly, and the detail of her gift/curse/whatever. So the next morning I wrote down something. It was only about five lines, but it’s a pretty good opening in my opinion. But now I’d have to think up the rest of it which is slightly daunting!
I just don’t know what to do! I can’t focus on so many stories, especially not now as I’m going to be going back to uni soon. I won’t have time to write on my second book never mind three other stories that keep running through my mind. But if I don’t write it down the ideas won’t stop. Or worse I’ll lose the ideas.
A box was sitting in his room when he got back. It definitely wasn’t his box; it was too girly. It was a wooden box with intricately carved patterns all over it. There were flowers and even a rainbow on the lid. Definitely not a man’s box.
Despite his aversion to it, he was curious. He sauntered across his room to investigate. He picked it up off his bed and sat down with it. It was about the size of a book. It was light, though he could hear objects moving around inside.
Opening it he found a note on top. It was made of thick writing paper. Unfolding it, he felt a jolt in his stomach. On top of the paper was an ornate letter ‘R’ embossed on it. There was only one ‘R’ he knew. In neat handwriting that he recognised, were four sentences: “Use them wisely. Think before you act. Be careful. Love always.”
Under the letter were four objects. A small heart made of red crystal, a silver ornamental horseshoe about the size of his palm, a small porcelain elephant, and a gold star pendant.
What on earth was he supposed to use these for? They were lady’s jewellery or ornaments. He was a man, and had no use for any of these things. Use them wisely for what?
If these were supposed to be clue or meant to help him in any way, they were failing miserably.
He felt worse seeing these objects than he had before when everything had happened. It reminded him how many secrets there were and how little he knew.
A few posts ago I mentioned my struggles in naming my characters. But that’s not the only place I’ve struggled with names.
At the moment I’m having trouble naming my book.
I’ve been through several names, and there have been issues with all of them from different people.
The name I’m using at the moment feels too childish for a YA novel: Fairies in the Wind.
I was originally using Aer (like air), but it was suggested that it was too vague. Then I tried Aer Faydom which I used for a long time, but when I was at a course everyone agreed it was too difficult to pronounce.
I’ve submitted under all three names and not had any luck yet (obviously). But this might not be because of the title, but as that’s the first thing they see it’s very possible.
And as I was discussing with another blogger, I have a placeholder name for my book of Fairyland. Placeholders are really the most obvious and unimaginative names ever!
Another option I’m thinking of at the moment is Aer Auri. I was using Auri as my series title. (Auri as in aurum as in the latin for gold like AU. They are not quite the rules but thereabouts)
The grey clouds above draining the colour from the world. Reducing everything to equal greyness. The clouds are thick and block out the sunlight. Stifling the rays trying to get through.
The people below looking just as dreary. As if the clouds are draining the life out of the people below.
Every now and then, a small ray of light peeks through. A small glimpse of the sun that’s actually there. A small glimmer of hope poking out. Trying to fight its way to the surface. And every now and then, winning the battle against the dullness to shine through unrestrained. Bringing life to those below. Touching so many people and bringing them out of the doldrums.
As the few precious sun rays come through, people turn their faces toward the sky.
The clouds part as if there are little fairies dragging them apart. They swirl and twirl in the air currents. Bouncing off the clouds like trampolines. Enjoying the sunshine on their backs. And when they’re taking a break from their fun, they open the clouds and share the warm glow of the sun above.
If only people knew what lay beyond the clouds, they may not resent them quite so much for selfishly hiding the sun.
This is one thing I struggle with. I can’t get into a routine to write. I write as and when I have time or feel like it. Very bad I know.
I recently read a book that helped me. This book by Rachel Aaron, ‘2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love,’ changed one thing for me that has helped. Of course, I’m nowhere near writing 10 000 words a day, I can barely manage 1000 a week. But the one big piece of advice I took from that was plotting.
For my first book, I pretty much winged it. I had a vague idea of what the story was but, as I wrote it, it became something completely different. I don’t know how well that worked for me – but judging from the amount of rejections I’ve gotten, I’d say it didn’t turn out so well.
Anyway, for the second book – which, incidentally, relies on the first because it’s a series – I have a much more concrete timeline. What the book helped me realise is that I should be plotting each scene before I write it. I used to hate the thought of that kind of planned out writing, but since I actually tried it, I’ve found that I’ve been writing more.
The other advice, that is probably obvious, is to find where and when you write the best. I’ve found the best place and time for me is on the morning I have to go to work first thing in the morning – due to many reasons I end up there an hour early, so I take either my laptop or iPad, which ever I feel like lugging all the way there. The quiet, distraction free environment forces me to write. There is internet access, but I don’t have the same need to surf the net as I do at home. I haven’t tried other early morning locations, but I probably should.
But it’s like I wait for that one day to do all my writing and forget about the other 6 days of the week.
I guess it’s just about finding what works for you and making sure you stick to it.
This is part of my prologue from book 1, (tentatively named) ‘Fairies in the Wind.’
As the first rays of the brilliantly red sunrise filled the sky, something disrupted the silence of the forest. A voice was chanting, and as it ended, reality shifted. The bounds of human nature were shattered, and the girl disappeared into nothingness.
As she tumbled between the junction of the worlds, her thoughts were a frantic stream of panic.
This is not right!
What did she do to me?!
That was the last thought she had before excruciating pain overtook her senses.
Pain. Agony, unlike any other she’d ever experienced, pierced through every inch of her body. It was like a million tiny knives stabbing through her skin. A searing, ripping feeling exploded from the centre of her spine and caused her entire body to shudder. Her thoughts were a blur as the convulsions intensified…what’s happening? I need it to stop.
She plunged through turbulent air. She felt as though she was being pulled from every direction. The most severe tugging seemed to originate in her back.
She had lost all bearings and didn’t have a clue which way was upward. Not that it mattered anyway. She was in no fit state to think about directions.
There was a blinding yellow light, and then nothing.
I saw a post from a fellow writing group member about his villain and it got me thinking.
I don’t have a villain in the sense of someone everyone loves to hate. So many villains are actually liked, and in some cases they are liked more than the heroes.
Don’t get me wrong, I have antagonists, just no love to hate people. In the next one, I’m writing an annoying good guy. But again no love to hate bad guy.
I’m now wondering how important this kind of character is?
Often the key to building this character is forcing sympathy, showing the backstory, and how they got that way.
In a way, this love to hate person is liked because they have flaws. They aren’t put up high on a pedestal and out of reach. They are – in some cases – more relatable.
This is something I’ll need to think about some more.