December 1: The Isolated Prince

So apparently a month of NaNoWriMo isn’t enough to make me take a break from writing for a while, even though that was my grand plan. I’ve downloaded a few writing apps onto my tablet, and I’m going to try to make use of the prompts they give me throughout December. Here is the one I wrote today. Bear in mind, this is “as is”, might not make sense sometimes, and should be treated as a first draft of sorts.

Prompt: The main character is a 35-year-old man. The setting is a castle. There is an unexpected visitor. The theme is: the future.

islandHe watched the procession as it made its way up from the royal barge towards the doors of the house, and then turned away from the window. It had been a long time since he had had guests of any kind.

He waited for inevitable knock on his chamber door and then stood half-heartedly.

“Thomas? Sir, it’s –”

“Yes, I know. Tell her I’m coming.”

“Of course.” Pulling his coat tighter around himself, he stepped out of his bedroom and made his way to the room he’d dubbed the drawing room, where his guests would be waiting.

A woman stood up as he entered the room. “Thomas!” she exclaimed, making a move towards him as though about to embrace him, but stopping when she saw how stiffly he stood in the doorway and how coldly he was staring at her.

“Hello, Mother,” he said, his voice low.

“Thomas, your brother is dead.”

Thomas looked away. Of course Mathieu was dead. There was no other reason she would be here now.

“My condolences.”

“Thomas, he left no children. You need to come home, we need you. Your country needs you!” She paused, and for the first time, there as uncertainty in her eyes. “You do… want to come home, don’t you?”

Thomas was quiet a long time. “My country needs me?” he said finally. “You need me?”

“Thomas…”

“Where was my country when my brother drugged me and carted me off to this godforsaken island? Where were you when I was cut off from the world for seventeen years?

It had been the day after his eighteenth birthday. His older brother was acutely aware that the next in line to the throne after him had now come of age, and had become intensely paranoid. He had Thomas, along with two servants, drugged and transported to an island well off the coast of their country. It was too far to swim back, and while supplies were shipped frequently, Mathieu had always been sure to keep their arrivals irregular. With only three of them there, it had been impossible to always be watching, and the island held no materials suitable for making anything to get back to the mainland.

“Thomas, I… he would not even tell me where you were. I had no idea. It was only when he was dying…” His mother’s eyes were imploring.

For a moment, Thomas was tempted to tell his mother to turn around and leave him there. But he could not do that to the two men who had served him over the past seventeen years. Their time in isolation meant that they had become more like brothers, even though they would never be viewed that way once they returned home. Nevertheless, they both had families who would no doubt be wondering where they had gone, and they deserved to be reunited with them.

He turned back to his mother, his eyes dark. “I will return with you,” he said. “But that place is not my home. I will not rule it.” He held his hand up to silence his mother before she could argue. “I will help to establish a system wherein I am not required. And then, it is most likely I will leave again. I will not come back here, and perhaps now and then, I will come back to you for short periods, but I have no intention of staying somewhere where my every move will be watched, where I will have no say over my own movements. Being here has taught me I prefer to be alone.”

“But Thomas, once you have been home for a while, perhaps you’ll start to see…”

“No, Mother.” He could see the hurt in her eyes, and a small part of him wanted to take back everything. However, he knew he would only regret it later. “I’m sorry. But if you want me to leave this place at all, then this is how it must be.”

He saw his mother’s expression begin to match the coldness in his. “Very well, then,” she said, pushing past him into the hallway. “Let’s go then, shall we?” She swept back towards the door, her entourage following.

Thomas motioned for his two companions to follow and he brought up the rear. He walked much slower than everyone else. When he reached the boat moored at the water’s edge, he turned back and looked at the small stone house that had been his only home for seventeen years. And then he made his way down onto his mother’s barge, returning, at least for a while, to a life he had never wanted to be a part of in the first place.

#ShortStorySaturday – Keep Your Enemies Closest – Part 4

I nearly completely forgot it was Saturday today, despite doing lots of Saturday things like sleeping in and working the info desk at work… Anyway. I’m here now, that’s what’s important.

This excerpt begins slightly before last week’s finished… I’m doing this because I edited the last few lines of last week’s to work a bit better with the world-building. Where we left off, Gallivan was about to go and interrogate Mireille regarding what she was doing in their camp. To read previous parts of Keep Your Enemies Closest, visit the Short Story Saturday category. If you would like to join in, here is the SSS linky. Thanks to Ink and Papyrus for hosting us. 🙂

enemiesclosest

“She knows how to defend herself, then,” Gallivan observed. “Strange that she didn’t try to escape during the night. She hasn’t tried using magic at all, has she?”

“No, sir,” Private Maydar replied. “She appears to prefer physical combat to magic, oddly enough. We had men on all sides of the tent, all through the night. If she’d tried to escape, she wouldn’t have gotten very far.”

“Good,” Gallivan replied, “I knew I could count on you.”

Private Maydar nodded appreciatively. “Any time, sir.”

It was odd indeed for a Trilvainian to prefer weapons or brute strength to the magical abilities they were born with, but as he entered the tent that had been built for Mireille, he supposed there must be some who were not as gifted in magic, or simply weren’t interested. Trilvain had a large population, after all; it was unlikely everyone would treat magic with the same level of reverence.

Inside the tent, he found her crouched in the far corner, her knees hugged up to her chest. In this position, she looked far more vulnerable than she had when she had been running along the beach. Her tights were a deep red, something the captain had not been able to see in the dark the night before, and the long shirt she wore was the same, with black trim around the collar and at the bottom. Her hair was thick and teased at the front. It looked like it had been tossed over her head, where it tumbled down her back.

Gallivan sat down at the entrance to the tent, giving Mireille plenty of space. He watched her hands, just in case she decided to try any magic on him. Trilvainian magic was enacted through specific hand movements; when Mireille’s arms had been restrained the night before as they escorted her back from the beach, they had not been in danger. Now, however, they were giving her many, perhaps too many, opportunities to use her powers on them.

He broke the ice by motioning to one of the sheaths on her belt, which he still had grasped in his hand. “This is a very unique item,” he said, “where did you come by it?”

“It was my mother’s,” Mireille responded. She kept her eyes on the belt the whole time, as though she was expecting that at any moment Gallivan would pocket it in its entirety and she would never see it again.

“Was your mother a spy, too?”

Mireille raised her eyes to meet his. “Yes,” she replied, her tone a little defensive. “She died in a Dodgish prison.”

“If she died in a Dodgish prison, how did you come into possession of her things?”

“She had a feeling that mission would be her last, and she gave that to me before she left. Perhaps you’ve heard of her, Captain. Her name was Ineal.”

Gallivan stiffened. It was a indeed name he recognised.

Since it is now past 10pm, I’m not going to stick around, but rather go to bed. Catch you all later! 🙂

wordpresssig2

#ROW80 Check-in: Accidental new WIP and #WIPpet Wednesday – Wait, what?!

So I was thinking. I had said I was going to do a quick line-edit-type-of-thing on A More Complicated Fairytale before I sent the second draft out to beta readers. But I also needed a break form that story, and I am working on Operation Sugarplum and Keep Your Enemies Closest at the moment, so… instead of just having it sit there, I figured the second draft might as well be being read over by people and getting some feedback. It’s about 37k if memory serves, and WIPpet Wednesday excerpts can be read here if you’d like an idea of the type of story it is (to sum up, for those not familiar with it, it is a quasi-Regency/Victorian setting and there is an outspoken heroine and a war and a dashing prince and drama and romance!). Either let me know here, or send me an email at fuzzyagent999[@]yahoo[dot]com[dot]au. If you aren’t interested/haven’t the time/whatever else, but know someone who might be, please feel free to share this post/my email address/whatnot.

In other news… this is a thing that happened on Monday night:

newwipoopsrow80-2So. Um. Yes. Annoyingly, I can’t really even use it for WIPpet Wednesday posts, since that would get confusing when I’m regularly posting sections on Saturdays. But that’s okay. I spent all three of my breaks (morning/afternoon tea and lunch) on Monday writing new stuff for it. I also realised that the section I’d written last year, I had written before the further world-building I did  in which I discovered all Mireille’s people are all born with magical abilities was done. So I’ve gone through and edited some references to magic in.

A couple of people in my writer’s group have stories that they serialise, and post as they go, pretty much, and it’s interesting hearing them say that one of the perils/thrills of doing it that way is having to live with what you’ve already posted, even if it doesn’t work with something you come up with later. I’m actually planning on cheating a bit with mine. This Saturday will start a few lines before the end of last Saturday’s post, but with an amendment that gives a bit more depth to the end of that scene. My blog may have over 120 followers, supposedly, but I’m fairly certain only maybe 20 of those actually read it regularly, and I think they’ll forgive me. 🙂 Obviously, if something three posts ago affects what I’m writing now, I’ll try and work  with it, but… well, we’ll see how it goes. I was thinking that maybe when it’s finished, I’ll put the whole thing into a PDF and just have it a link on my Writing Projects page, with full disclaimers of it being a bit inconsistent and all.

wednesdaybannerBut on to WIPpet Wednesday! Want to play along? Simply post an excerpt from a WIP, or write the opening of a new one, that somehow corresponds to the days date. This might be as simple as 28 lines (maybe from Chapter 8) for August 28, or you could get more creative and throw in some more complicated operations and such. The linky is here and as always, it’s thank you to K. L. Schwengel at My Random Muse for hosting.

I’m adding 2 and 8 together today to give you 10 lines, because I don’t actually have a huge amount of Operation: Sugarplum to pick from at the moment (kind of stuck on a fight scene where I don’t know how I want it to play out). This scene is not long after last week’s, in which Clara was being followed on her way home from uni. She’s been caught by a creature with long claws and bad breath, who wants to know where “the Prince” is. Clara is trying to insist she doesn’t know any princes when Max (her boyfriend in this newer version, if you remember) shows up, and the creature is all, “Your Highness, so nice to see you.” Or words to that effect.

Wait – Max was the prince the creature had asked about? Under other circumstances, Clara might have laughed at the suggestion. She had known Max a long time and while she loved him to bits, of course, “princely” was hardly a word she would use to describe him. “Adorkable” (with the additional ‘k’) was usually what she went for. It summed up everything she liked about him, but also gave a sense of how he’d been known to cancel a pre-arranged date night to sit in his room and continue work on the app he was building. Afterwards, he’d given her a big, doe-eyed expression, handed her his phone and told her she could be the first one to play the new level, and she found she couldn’t stay mad at him for long.

Right now, however, Max didn’t seem at all surprised to be addressed with the royal title, and was making his way determinedly towards Clara and her captor.

“Let her go,” he said, his voice raised. “It’s me you want.”

In my head(/on my Pinterest board), Max looks like Josh Groban in fetching suits and scarves and things. I wouldn’t be able to stay mad at him after getting doe-eyed expressions either.

And now I must leave you, as I hope to get up early enough in the morning to ride my bike to work. I have a writer’s group gathering tomorrow evening, so hopefully I’ll get my other hour of writing in for the week. I might bounce some ideas off people for that fight scene I said I was stuck with. So it might be Friday before I get around to your posts, but I will see you then! Cheers!

wordpresssig2

#ShortStorySaturday – Keep Your Enemies Closest – Part 3

Today’s installment of Keep Your Enemies Closest is a bit longer than most – if I had realised last week, I would have just made the effort to edit the next three paragraphs and then finish that excerpt at the “~*~”.  As it is, it was about 700 words before I could find a good spot to stop. So bonus for you! If you’re new to my Short Story Saturday posts, you can find some background on the universe in which the story is set here, and here are parts one and two.

If you have a short story you would like to share, come hang out on the linky and see what others are sharing as well. Thanks to Ink and Papyrus for hosting us! And now without further ado, on with the story!

enemiesclosest

Now that he wasn’t trying to appear imposing, Captain Gallivan took the time to take in his prisoner. While they were still on the beach, the moonlight illuminated the group in front of him enough that he could absorb some details about her. She was in bare feet, something he wouldn’t have expected for traipsing through a forest, though it explained why he had been able to catch up to her despite his own state of relative undress. She was also wearing tights and some sort of belt with several weapons hanging off it.

When they reached the camp, Gallivan returned straight to his tent, confident the three privates would be able to deal with Mireille sufficiently. Maydar and Setten, he had seen through training himself, and he would have trusted either of them with his life. He was sure Kattar would be the same.

While the evening’s events were hardly amongst the most exciting he had seen during his time in the army, they were enough to have made him relatively sleepy now. Once he had dusted the sand out from between his toes, he laid back down. Placing one arm across his eyes to block out the starlight, he fell asleep with relative ease.

~*~

The following morning, Captain Gallivan awoke to excited chatter outside his tent. Upon sticking his head outside, he found a group of young men from all four battalions who immediately turned their attention to him when they realised he had emerged.

“Captain Gallivan, sir, is it true we’ve taken a Trilvainian prisoner already?”

“It is true it’s a woman?”

“Is she ugly, like in all the stories?”

The questions fired thick and fast, until Gallivan held up his hand. They all quietened down as Gallivan climbed out of his tent and surveyed them all, a smile playing at his lips.

“Yes,” he replied, “it is true we have taken a Trilvainian prisoner. Yes, she is a woman. Yes, we believe her to be a spy. It was too dark to tell what she looked like, Private Akars, but don’t believe all the stories you hear at home. Trilvainians look just like you or I.”

Mutters of both agreement and disagreement made their way through the group. Gallivan shook his head. While he accepted that Trilvain was the enemy, he felt uncomfortable with the fear-mongering and stories that were spread through Dodgis to whip up support for the current conflict. It happened every time they went to war with one of their neighbours, and despite treaties and constant negotiations, that seemed to happen all too frequently.

“Anyway,” he continued, keen to disband the group of boys, “I will be interrogating Miss Mireille, our Trilvainian guest, before establishing plans for our attack on Esperen. If the Trilvainians are aware of our movements, we may have to make some adjustments. So if you’d all kindly return to your tents to await further orders…” He trailed off and waved his hand to dismiss them. Obediently, they began wandering away, talking quietly amongst themselves.

Gallivan returned to his tent and ensured he was dressed properly before climbing out properly and going to find what Privates Maydar, Setten and Kattar had done with Mireille. He found them keeping watch over a tent they had constructed on the edge of the camp. As he approached, Private Maydar greeted him.

“Good morning, sir,” he said, and then jerked his head towards the tent, adding, “She’s a fiery one, that one. Tried to take Private Kattar out with a dagger, all though he managed to wrestle it away from her. We took this, too.”

He bent down and picked up a belt made of bronze plates linked together by a chain threaded through small hooks on the back . Each one was engraved with the same ornate pattern. In between the bronze plates hung three beautifully decorated sheaths of different sizes, two of which still contained their daggers.

“She knows how to defend herself, then,” Gallivan observed. “Strange that she didn’t try to escape during the night.”

“We had men on all sides of the tent, all through the night,” Private Maydar replied. “If she’d tried to escape, she wouldn’t have got very far.”

“Good,” Gallivan replied, “I knew I could count on you.”

Private Maydar nodded appreciatively. “Any time, sir.”*

And now I’d best be off to answer comments on previous posts, and read some WIPpet Wednesday posts and ROW80 sponsor posts, and do some writing, since I haven’t done any all week (I found a good book to read, okay?). Catch you Monday!

Edit: These last few lines have been edited and reposted at the beginning of Part 4. I did this to better incorporate some info about Mireille’s culture. And it’s my story and my blog, so I can do what I want! 😛

wordpresssig2

#ShortStorySaturday – Keep Your Enemies Closest – Part 2

enemiesclosest

It’s totally still Saturday in a lot of parts of the world. 😛 And my Saturday was very busy, hence posting this early on Sunday morning. 😛  When we left off on Short Story Saturday last week, Captain Gallivan had just tackled an invader to his camp to the ground. Today’s excerpt is a bit shorter because I actually need to tidy up the next part a bit before it gets posted. But without further ado:

He was surprised when the person underneath him elicited a distinctly female cry. She struggled against him, but while he did take his weight off her and stand up, allowing her to do the same, he ensured that he still kept her relatively restrained.

“Well,” he remarked to her, “it seems that the Trilvainians were not as entirely unaware of our arrival as we might have liked.” His tone was teasing, but gently so; just enough to remind her he had the upper hand.

She looked back at him defiantly. “Everyone knows you are here,” she replied, her accent making it sound almost as though her words were slurred together, “tomorrow, double the number of men you have with you will be on your doorstep.”

Gallivan refused to let any concern show on his face, despite the churning in his stomach that started up at the thought of what she said possibly being true; they had no way of knowing for certain she was lying.

Instead, he forced a smile and said, “You’re bluffing.”

“Am I?”

Gallivan didn’t answer, and instead look back in the direction from which they had run. Three other soldiers were emerging from the trees. Gallivan’s shout had clearly had the desired effect. He waved to them and seeing him, they quickened their pace.

“Gentlemen,” Gallivan greeted, “it appears our camp has received a special guest, care of the Trilvainian army. This is… oh, I’m sorry, I don’t believe I caught your name.”

“I didn’t give it.” The woman once again struggled against Gallivan’s grip, which he tightened a bit and gave her a shake. She glared at him, before casting her eyes down.

“Mireille,” she responded quietly.

“Mireille,” Gallivan repeated happily, and turned back to the other soldiers. “Gentlemen, this is Mireille. May I introduce Privates Maydar, Setten and… I’m sorry, have we met before?”

“Private Kattar, sir,” replied the third man, “third company.”

“Ah, not one of mine then. Pleased to meet you, Private. I would like you three to escort our guest back to camp. Make her as comfortable as you can, no need for us to stoop to Trilvainian levels of hospitality, but do keep an eye on her.”

Private Setten took Mireille by the shoulders and frogmarched her across the sand, pausing so that Private Kattar could take her by the other shoulder. Private Maydar walked beside them, while Captain Gallivan followed behind.

Ink and Papyrus started SSS up, though I was the one who started the linky for it, and now that I’ve figured out InLinkz properly, I can start resetting it each week as of next week (since it’s a bit late for that for this week now). Said linky can be found here, feel free to add your info! I’m off to work on the rest of the things on my Sunday To Do List now.

wordpresssig2

#ShortStorySaturday – Keep Your Enemies Closest – Part 1

I was going to write a condensed version of this story and post it all today, but then I thought, why not do a similar thing to what Ink and Papyrus is doing for her Short Story Saturday posts, and serialise a short story I already have half-written. Like last week’s, this is backstory for my upcoming WIP, A Friend of the Enemy. Captain Gallivan becomes Professor Gallivan at the school where my heroine is sent, and serves as something of a warning to her (she is currently between names as I am switching everyone from real-world names to fantasy names; I really should re-name Mireille, too, but I really like her name so I’m putting it off :P) regarding getting friendly with someone from Trilvain (though mostly he’s just bitter). This story is why. It’s about 3000 words at the moment; hopefully it won’t get too far away from me as I attempt to complete it. Either way, I’m going to post between 400 and 500 words each Friday/Saturday, for your enjoyment. And look! I even made a banner!

enemiesclosest

He was a captain in the 39th Battalion when he first met her. They had come ashore earlier that day and so far, it seemed, had not attracted the attention of the Trilvainian army. This was a good sign; it was hoped that the majority of their army would be defending the main border between their country and Dodgis. While they were busy doing that, the 39th Battalion had orders to land on the beach and take control of Esperen, Trilvain’s biggest port. With Esperen under Dodgish control, some of Trilvain’s main sources of trade and supplies would be cut off.

Captain Gallivan had been unable to sleep on this night; there was just enough starlight visible through his tent to be annoying. He decided to go and get some fresh air and see if that helped; they had set up in camp in amongst the trees, but the beach was still nearby.

He had just crawled over to the door of his tent and untied the ropes keeping the flaps together when he heard a twig snap, followed by the rustle of leaves. A moment later, it was silent again, but it was enough to put Gallivan on high alert instantly.

He parted his tent flaps and looked out into the darkness. As his eyes adjusted, he made out the shapes of the other surrounding tents, all off-white canvas. He could see the tree branches overhanging the nearest tents, and the stars in the spot just ahead where the trees parted.

And then – there! Another twig cracked and Gallivan’s head snapped around in time to see a head duck behind a tree trunk. He edged himself out of his tent as quietly as he could and in a few steps was on the dirt path they had surrounded with their camp. He wouldn’t make any noise walking along it.

He took a few steps towards the tree where he had seen the person duck out of sight. As he approached, the figure darted out onto the path and took off towards the beach at a run. Giving a shout he hoped would attract attention, Gallivan began running after the intruder. The fact that they were running across sand made it difficult for both parties, but Gallivan saw that he was catching up.  In a few more moments, he had caught up completely. With an extra burst of speed, he launched himself at the person he was chasing, and sent them both to the ground.

If you would like to join us for Short Story Saturday, add a link to your blog at this linky. I’m still figuring out how to make linkys go at the moment, so it just has an extended closing date for now and you will only need to leave your link once. Once I figure out how to make them repeat (do I need to delete the previous week’s links and change the dates?), I’ll let you know.

I’ll see you back here on Monday for Music and Mirth Monday and a ROW80 check-in. Until then, tata!

wordpresssig2

Belated Short Story Saturday – Dodgis-Trilvain Relations

So fellow WIPpeteer over at the Ink and Papyrus Blog has started up a blog hop called Short Story Saturday, and from the name, it should be fairly self-explanatory what it’s all about. After a bit of fiddling, I managed to set up a linky for it, so feel free to join in, if not today, then next weekend! I know, I know, the time of posting says nearly 5pm Sunday, but it is still Saturday on the West Coast of America for another… 40 minutes, so I’m totally justified! Right? I will try to be a bit more on time next weekend, though, yeah. Had a busier weekend than I expected.

Anyway, I decided to use Short Story Saturday as a way of exploring the history between the two countries in Friend of the Enemy, the WIP I plan to start working on while I take a break from A More Complicated Fairytale (I know, some of you probably would like to see more of Operation: Sugarplum; I’ll try to get some more momentum going on that, too, if possible, but I’ll have to see). I’ve tried to make this excerpt sound like it comes from an older academic text book, hence masculine pronouns to indicate ” everyone”, and that sort of thing; while I haven’t entirely figured out the setting in terms of approximate time period, I’m thinking that Dodgis, the country the main protagonist is from, will be something like a slightly anachronistic, maybe even almost Steampunk(ish) Renaissance – think TV show Da Vinci’s Demons, if you’ve ever seen that. If not, looking up a trailer on YouTube should probably give you an idea. The Trilvainians are probably a little more behind, since they are religious and magical, rather than engineering and scientific.

Without further ado, here is is my contribution for Short Story Saturday:

Extract from A War Goes On by Professor Shyem Mosan, Modern History Faculty, Orhess University

Introduction

The war between Dodgis and Trilvain may have officially ended nearly half a century ago, but the effects of it linger on. People of either nationality refuse to look each other in the eye, each blaming the other for the damage that was wrought on his country.  Even before the war, a Dodgish child who exhibited any form of magic was told to hide his ability, lest he be ostracised by his peers. This treatment has only increased since the war. One can only imagine that the same is true of any Trilvainian child who expressed an interest in engineering or another of the careers valued so highly in Dodgis.

It must be said at the outset that Dodgis did not invade Trilvain expecting a war. The first Dodgish forces to set foot in that country honestly thought they would be going in to help. The Trilvainian people accepted their rulers’ words blindly, were taxed to their limits without objection, and the majority had very little while the few had far too much.

These Dodgish humanitarians made the mistake, however, of expecting to be welcomed with open arms as the saviours of the Trilvainian people. They didn’t realise how steadfastly even the poorest of Trilvainians would cling to their religion and their magic, how distrustful they would be of Dodgish technology and how vehemently they believed everything they were told by their rulers.

Soon a rescue mission turned into bloody violence, magic against firearms, religion against science. Enemy spies were captured on both sides and some remain in prison to this day. At the end of the war, Trilvain agreed to better conditions for its people, and during the biennial Peace Fair, Dodgish and Trilvainian officials meet to supposedly ensure these conditions are being met, but life for the average Trilvainian has not changed much.

Will Dodgis try again? Perhaps. But given the bad blood between the two countries, which only seems to be increasing, it is unlikely that the goodwill that those first soldiers entering Trilvain attempted to extend will be felt in any way by present-day Dodgish. We can only hope that somehow, prejudices will be challenged and that better relations can be established between our two systems of government.

There may or may not be some foreshadowing of what happens in the actual novel in that final line. ^_^ I shall leave this post here, since it’s now only 25 minutes until midnight in LA, and will see you again tomorrow for ROW80 check-in and MMM. I’ll try to get my blogging schedule a bit more like what I wanted it to over this week. Catch you later!

wordpresssig2

#ROW80 Check-in: Music for characters and also Pinterest

This weekend I went to visit my sister, and was not expecting to get much writing done. However, there is something about sitting on a comfy lounge chair in front of a blazing fire while one’s brother-in-law casually strums a guitar that is conducive to getting one’s writing groove on. That is, when I wasn’t dozing off with the pleasantness of it all. I also made sure that despite dozing on the train and coach, I got in a decent amount of writing while travelling in both directions. All up, I have ten handwritten pages which I will convince myself to type up once this post is done (luckily, I typed most of this up on Thursday before I went away, so it shouldn’t take me too long).

In other news, I would like to announce formally that, okay, yes, I get it now. Pinterest is kind of awesome. Buffy Greentree convinced me a while ago when she posted about it that maybe I needed an account, but I didn’t really invest any time in at first, so even though I had registered, I was still sitting there thinking “I don’t get it.” On Thursday, though, I had a little bit of spare time and I started actively using it to finally assign pictures to my characters, mostly for A More Complicated Fairytale, but a bit for my other stories as well. And, well. I lost most of my evening, even though I did have plans of doing other things. Oops. My account is here if you want to have a poke around. The AMCF board is the fullest at the moment, but hopefully I’ll flesh out the other two as time goes on. Actually, the Operation: Sugarplum board does give the illusion of being nearly as big, but that’s only because I have seven pictures of castles in snowy landscapes in there. I have since made a board just for castles, because why not?

Secondly, I keep meaning to talk about my character and story playlists and link to some of the songs when I’m writing WIPpet Wednesday posts, and I keep forgetting. But now is as good a time as any, right? I know I’m not the only one who gives my characters theme songs; sometimes they’re songs that fit the character, sometimes a particular point in the story… I find it really helps with inspiration. What follows are a few selections for your listening pleasure (apologies for the YouTube spam), along with links to WIPpets and such where they fit in.

Remember Cait’s first impression of Prince Felipe? Kate Miller-Heidke sums that scene up pretty succinctly in her song God’s Gift To Women.

The next song is “Some Nights” by fun. and it is basically Felipe’s actual theme song. It deals with insecurities, doing things you don’t necessarily want to do but have to… and the video is set in the Civil War or some such, which is kind of relevant, particularly post-this scene. You can skip to about 1:00 for the song, they do a fair bit of scene stuff first.

Oh, yes, and warning for some strong language. The strongest thing Felipe ever says is “Damn” and then he apologises for that, but that’s only because of the period the story’s set in and anything worse would feel a bit out of place. In a different setting, Felipe would probably totally talk like these boys.

So far for Operation: Sugarplum I haven’t really got any songs that sum up the characters or particular scenes (unless you count the Nutcracker score XD) but I do have a few for Max and Clara’s relationship as it develops. While half the reason for writing this story was to write a version of the Nutcracker where the romance could be more than just a puppy-love thing, it’s still fairly subtle and more of a little added dose of a different kind of magic scattered amongst the rest of the story. I wanted music that would reflect that. “With You” from Pippin is one of them, and the first one that YouTube didn’t fail me on, so here you go. Random fact: I went to school with this guy. I hadn’t really spared him a thought since we left school until I ran into this video tonight. I wish he’d sung like this at school more often instead of rock music. XD

Those of you who have been following my blog for a month or more may remember Sir Aidan from my first two Story a Day in May stories (here and here in case you want to refresh your memory). Even he got his own theme song, because you really can’t ignore it when a set of lyrics fit so spectacularly with your character.

Considering his history with Prince Felipe in the second of those two stories, it might be a bit ironic that it is the man I cast as Felipe singing the song (ignore the hair. For the love of god, IGNORE THE HAIR. FELIPE DOES NOT HAVE THAT HAIR), but I enjoy a bit of irony, don’t you? Also, without saying too much, you may be seeing more of Sir Aidan in the near future. 😉 It was going to be in this week’s WIPpet, but I think I’ll post something from the stuff I’ve written this weekend, because there’s rather a lot of drama happening in that! It’s a new scene that never happened in the first version, and I’m pretty happy with how it’s coming along.

Anyway, with that in mind, I shall be off to type all that up. At least tomorrow is a public holiday, so I can stay up a bit later if I like. But I want to get more written tomorrow! So not too much later! Exclamation mark! See you later!

~ Emily

#StoryADay Day 15 – Something light and fluffy

2013StADaBadge500x230

Teleport trips are still pretty expensive, and still a little bit dangerous, but sometimes, she reasons, you’ve just got to take that risk. There’s only so much you can convey in a video call; only so much you can say in a comment on a blog post. She could take a plane but she’s been scared of flying since she was a kid, and besides, it takes so long that way.

She’s frisked, her passport is stamped, and then she’s lying on a table ready to go. They’re getting to the stage where they’re fairly sure it somehow doesn’t actually cause the body any pain to be split up into its atoms and put together again somewhere else, but  they still  like to knock out the clients just in case.

Next thing she knows, she’s being shaken awake. She’s feeling a bit dazed, but his face is there and he’s somehow, however impossibly, more handsome in the flesh. As the travel doctors sit her up, he hands her a cup of coffee made exactly how she likes it. She mentioned that in a blog comment one time. He remembers. She smiles.

Half an hour later they’ve decided she’s suffered no ill effects and she is allowed to head off. They walk out into the street arm-in-arm. He takes her to places he’s told her about, to a little museum off the beaten track and an award-winning coffee house near his own place.

Once the sun sets, they lie in the grass in a nearby park, heads together, and watch the stars. He can point out constellations she’s never even seen before due to being in the wrong hemisphere. They grab a late dinner, and then back at his place, just curl up on his bed, not even kissing, just happy enough being in each other’s arms for the first time.

The next morning arrives far too quickly and it’s time for her to leave again. They have breakfast in bed and then it’s time to go back to the teleport centre. He kisses her before she heads into the waiting room, and oh, how she wishes she could just stay there forever, but alas, it’s not to be. Soon her name is called, and she’s lying on the table again.

When they talk online again that night, he promises that next time he will visit her. The thought makes her giddy with anticipation. She just hopes she doesn’t have to wait too long.

~*~

I decided today was a day for a bit of pure and simple romance. Relationships that start online are becoming less and less strange, so I figure by the time we have teleports, this sort of thing is totally plausible.

#StoryADay Day 13 – Scared of the dark.

I am scared of the dark. I really don’t like it. For a long time, even turning the light off to go to sleep really bothered me, to the point where I’d make sure I went to bed well before my parents so that if I left my door open, there’d still be some light coming in and I’d be asleep by the time those lights were turned off.

I’ve gotten past that, but I still don’t go outside after dark if I can avoid it. Sometimes it’s because I’m scared there’s a vampire or a zombie or some other kind of creature waiting to get me. It doesn’t matter that the rational part of my brain is insisting that those things don’t exist. Other times, it’s vaguely more realistic: if I’m walking down a dark street, even just down to the service station to get some milk, I’m convinced that every car that passes is going to slow down and someone’s going to get out and drag me away or kill me in the street. I always feel so relieved when they drive straight past.

Deep down, I know it’s pretty silly. But a healthy dose of paranoia never hurt anyone, right?

Click the image to be taken to the Story A Day website

Click the image to be taken to the Story A Day website

~*~

Yes, this story is about me. I made a compromise with myself. I was allowed to let today’s Story A Day slide if I wrote 500 words on each of my WIPs… but it soon became clear that wasn’t going to happen, which meant I had to write my Story A Day… I was trying to think of something supernatural to go with, but this is what happened instead. Describing an interesting/annoying quirk about myself seemed simple enough to go with.