Monday, February 11, 2013

Describe it, with Emotion

As soon as Teffi walked into the room, she smelled the stench of ale spilled and the accomaning illness of patrons who had imbibed too much.  The cook banged pots and pans, the clanging echoed into the empty main room.  Hollow.  Perhaps the cook wanted to fill the silence, to drive off the lingering ghosts of last night's ruccous. But it didn't.

The whole room stood before her, as iuf waiting.  Watching.   Ten round table clusterd at the center of the room.  Their stained and chipped wood had certainly seen better days, and now looked forlorn without the guests to give them significance. 

Six booths lineds the walls, wrapping around a corner, hidden in darkness under shuttered windows.  The bar to the left of the entryway was the only surface that glistened. It drew the eye there.  Where meals and pitchers would be set and the girls would come and sweep them off the counter to dreliver to waiting patrons. 

The flow of food and alchohol would distract from the otherwise lackluster color and quality of floor, walls, tables. 

Without the bustle, the room just stood there, barren, lost.  Exposed for its true nature: plain, dull, and worn out by too many parties and too many guests and too much attention.  Ragged and older than it should be. 

Teffi sank into one of the chairs and traced a deep gash in a round table.

The clacxking stopped.  She caught her breath, finding the silence disarming.

"You're here early," said the cook, a dish towel hanging from a chubby hand.  

--How'd I do?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Out of Place

Kasai didn't know what to make of the tall brick wall ringing the city, much less the noise and bustle beyond it, through the great bronze doors. She couldn't imagine anyone in her family living in the cramped apartments crowding the narrow cobbled streets.

But her mother's cousin did, and that's why she was here, dodging piles of horse manure and women in bright silks that looked down their noses at her.  She couldn't understand what they said to each other. The language here was all wrong.

Supposedly they spoke the same language as she, but Kasai found their nasal-vowels confounding. She could not find words in the furious and rapid chatter, There were so many people and so many streets, winding and weaving around haphazard brick buildings that seemed to bend over the street.

But they didn't. Kasai knew they didn't.  If they did, they would fall.  And they didn't fall. Still, they did not put her at ease.

She craned her neck to find the signage at each of the streets. There were never any words, for which she was grateful, as she knew none. Images of birds and trees guided her to her relative's apartment over a shambling bakery with a dusty stoop.

The whole way she felt that she had followed a maze and by the time she stood there, staring at the door she wasn't certain she'd know how to turn around and leave the city.  Kasai's inability to remember every turn she had taken on her way here was the only thing that prevented her from fleeing.

Then, the door opened.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Writing Prompts

In order to get myself to post more, I'm giving myself assignments!  I'm choosing prompts with I will post the first week of each month and will be writing to them over the course of the month.  As today is the 7th, I'm starting at the tail end of the week, but hey--it's a start.

Why prompts?  I love writing exercises. They push me a little bit, get me out of my standard train of thought, but I don't feel that I need to write anything more than a snippet at a time.  If they lead to a short story, good.  If they don't--so what?  They're fun, they can help work out knots in one's main WIP, develop a skill that needs a little work, and I never feel my time is wasted on them.

So there are three more weeks in February.
Here are 9 prompts:

  1. A character out of place, new to a city/town/time/planet
  2. Describe, in detail, a single room in a manner that conveys the emotional state of the POV character.
  3. Enemies, alone, trapped in a situation where neither can kill each other or do one another any real harm--what happens?
  4. Construct a scene with dialogue alone, that still gives a sense of setting/place.
  5. Action scene with an unskilled main character, out of depth
  6. Escape from a magical institution (temple, school, estate) by a non-magical character
  7. Best friends learn something about each other that could change the nature of their relationship, and cannot tell each other what they know, while in a situation forced to interact socially (either privately, or in public).
  8. Magical being loses ability and is forced to live among humans--but telling the story from the perspective from an unsuspecting human.
  9. Princess in a tower: refuses to believe she deserves the imprisonment, but she does (the POV of a villain! hard for me).
If you like any of these and want to use them, feel free! I just came up with them, so there's no site to quote or anything.  But, if you do, I'd love to read them, so be sure to let me know.

I will also be open to any prompts you might have for me for March.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Focussing On One Thing: IWSG

One month later... and another IWSG post where we share insecurities and successes, month by month.  See what it's all about and all the awesome people who participate over at Alex J. Cavenaugh's site here.

Last month I talked about finishing things and posting more on my blog.  Well, posting has been lax.   I've been unpacking, organizing and working.  All of these things are good for the soul, I think.

My situation currently isn't a spectacular one. So much is still terribly chaotic. However, I have had an overwhelming sense of starting fresh this move--despite any of the less desirable particulars.

My job is amazing.  Being surrounded by books has helped me recommit myself to reading all the wonderful books I have on my shelf, but have, somehow, not quite read.  It has also done wonders for my self-esteem to realize how many different topics and books I can talk to my customers about.  Somehow, I had lost sight of these and drowned in self-criticism.

Does my writing suffer the same?

Likely.  I think that some years ago, when I successfully finished some (now shelved) manuscripts, I had found the means to focus on one thing.  Indecision and insecurity go hand in hand and I find all these ways to justify juggling multiple projects without finishing one.

I get close, at Nano, to finishing something. But I suppose at the moment it might take me two months of laser-focus to produce a rough draft.  I think that will be my goal this month, suppressing distraction and focusing on a single project.Then, perhaps, by the end of April I will have a completed draft.

So I suppose that's a goal that I can set and monitor each month with these posts.