Writing Prompt

Castle Wanderings

From Writers Write Facebook page

Link
https://bit.ly/2lyTcv5?fbclid=IwAR2HrsCKmp_4yifWVrIBZozT2uwA014zhmSV3u5SGD1a7vPhri4joN2rdB8

I look out of the Tower window. A new day dawns. It’s early, the birds have only just woken up and the sun is only just peaking over the horizon. It’s quiet. Peaceful. All I ever wanted for my afterlife.

Alas, that is not what I get.

I take advantage of this time before… Before all hell breaks loose.

That’s what it feels like, every single day.

I don’t understand it.

In my day, a castle was private unless otherwise arranged. Unless the monarch requested someone’s presence, they wouldn’t step foot anywhere near the perimeter.

Now they come in their droves. And queue. And talk. And point.

I drift down to the castle wall and peer over the rampart at the commoners standing far too close.

I drift along the halls and view them as they view their surroundings.

They poke and prod at all the belongings of royalty. They gawk at the priceless artefacts. All which have a value that exceed their wildest dreams. Them in their cheap clothing, and absurd headwear. Holding flat boxes, and oddly shaped boxes around their necks.

I wish I could poke them back. If I could, I would grab a musket off the wall and force them out. I’d brandish the swords and bar entrance. I’d throw the knives near the appendages and scare them off.

It’s unrelenting. They don’t stop coming. Even if the rain is hammering down, or ice covers the paths.

To think that this is what my ancient and noble house has been reduced to: a circus attraction for the common masses.

Windsor Castle

Still as a statue

In the middle of the forest there lay the ruins of an old building. Half the walls and the foundation were intact but the roof had long since crumbled away. This ruin was not known to many, but to the locals it was a curious treasure.

In the middle of the ruin there lay a statue. Unlike the building surrounding it, the statue was in perfect condition. A woman hunched over hugging her knees with her face hidden away from public view.

In the middle of a nearby town there lay a girl. She had grown up visiting the ruin and statue as most of the children in the area did. She had imagined stories around the woman. As a child she had talked to the statue. Now as a young woman she still visited the statue when she needed comfort.

Maya didn’t know why the statue brought her comfort. Maybe it was imagining someone else’s story that eased her pain. Maybe just escaping her life just for a few minutes helped. She tried to visit whenever she could get away – which wasn’t often.

Right now she was supposed to be at an appointment but she was called here instead. She felt a magnetic pull to be here in this precise moment.

She ran her hand along the smooth cold marble. It soothed her frayed nerves.

Back and forth as her breathing slowed to match the rhythm.

Until suddenly her hand lay on top of warm flesh. She jerked her hand back and stared transfixed as the marble receded and the statue turned into a real woman.

Passion

Another 100 words for the writing group

Full of dreams of a bright future. Finish school, get a degree, then enter your dream job. Not so fast, you need another degree. But how to pay for more education? Ignore all the jobs you’re still not qualified for, keep looking for anything. Oh there’s a job, the pay is ok and it kind of has some of your interests. Working and saving with the next degree in mind. By the time you’ve completed that next degree, you find out you still need more. By now the job that’s supporting your dreams has destroyed all passion for anything.

Ray

This was a writing group exercise on the prompt “ray”

“Dawn is not long off,” he says, urging me on. Yawns stifle my grumpy response.

“I promise you won’t regret it.” He’s dragging me out the door.

It’s far too early to be this happy, I think, too tired to actually vocalise.

I’m trying to shoot a death stare at him as I’m half lifted into the car. It probably looks more like I’m going back to sleep rather than the death rays I’m hoping for.

He hops in the car and speeds off. Screeching to a halt across the lake in time to see the sun’s rays break the horizon.

Alternative to self-publishing

At my writers group last night, we had a guest author join us, Melanie Gow. She is a non-fiction writer and photographer. Her latest book was entirely made up with photos and as such she struggled to publish it conventionally, even though she already was published before. Because of the costs involved in the book, she turned to crowd funding.

This was a concept I’ve never heard of for a book. Movie yes – the Veronica Mars movie, and various fan-fiction films spring to mind – but not a book. It’s actually an interesting route to consider. Instead of taking on all the costs of publishing, you build a business proposal and get people to invest in your book. This money covers the cost of editing, proofreading, cover designs, as well as printing and distribution. And on top of getting the money you need to produce the book, you are also building an audience.

She also suggested that I build a following for my book because it’s such a niche world. So I will be putting it up on Wattpad as I edit each chapter again.

And then who knows, either self-publishing, or crowd funding.

Character Deaths

So yesterday I was watching The Host film (yes, yes, insert judgement), and I will admit that once you wrap your mind around the weird concept, it’s a pretty good book/movie.

Anyway, I was googling after to see if there was going to be a sequel, because it is set up really well for it. I found a mention on Wikipedia (not the most reliable source, as a researcher I know this), about Stephanie Meyer planning to make it a trilogy but that “she has some qualms since The Host universe is a “dangerous place” where characters might die, and she is not sure if she wants to kill them off.”

That got me thinking about writers. Besides all of the many faults with Twilight, I think the fact that she refuses to kill her characters is, dare I say it, cowardly. I’m not saying kill everyone a la George R. R. Martin, but you have to kill some characters if the story demands it. And not meaninglessly, of course; death is a natural part of life and even if you’re writing a totally peaceful story it’s still natural, old age, sickness etc. But if you’re writing a fantasy or sci-fi or dystopia it is a more likely occurrence given the magic, the revolutions etc. that are commonplace in these genres.

I had to face up to a death in my second book that I’m writing. It was tough writing that scene, but it was the natural evolution to the story. I knew it was coming and it took a lot out of me to write it but I did. There should be a reason for killing characters, and I accepted that.

I hated J.K. Rowling for every character she killed but I respect her immensely for it. It takes courage to face the facts and accept them.  Not to do so, just seems disingenuous.

And I do understand that not all stories have to have a death to make it good and that is of course fine – better for the audience. But if the story is leading to a death, to shy away and not write it is a betrayal not only to yourself as the writer but to your characters as well.

Anyway, just my thoughts on writing.

Prologue Excerpt from Auri Series 1

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.

 

Villains

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.

Writer’s mistakes

Yesterday I realised that I had made quite a big typo in the writer’s group blog that I run. Not only did I make the mistake in the written part, I made the same mistake in the link.

It got me thinking how easy it is to make mistakes and miss them in the proofreading. How often do we find mistakes in published books?

The problem with reading through it, is that we might not spot a mistakes if the middle letters are mixed up but the first and last and number of letters are all the same. There’s a test that goes around to see if you can read a paragraph if all the middle letters are mixed up. And you can, if maybe a bit slower.

I seem to have a vague recollection of something like this mentioned in my third year of psych.

And nowadays, we have the added complication of autocorrect. Even when we put the right word in, the computer or other device changes it to something completely different.

So what am I getting at?

We all make mistakes, even top authors and their proof-readers.