Thursday, November 1, 2012


Since I will invest this year's 50K of NaNo-words into continuing my unfinished project, it was about time to create an overview to show me (and whoever else might be interested) where those poor things stand.
Those are all the stories, big and small, which I started at one point and plan to complete in the (probably rather far) future.
If you have some interest in my writing or couldn't help to overhear it, you may realize that some projects are missing - those are the ones I most likely will abandon or would have to majorly rewrite before they stand any chance of survival.

One might say you should concentrate on 1 story and probably kill a few others, but that's not me. I neither give up easily nor can I focus on one thing for a long time.
Besides, each of those dreams has its very own reason to be made reality

So, let's see how this looks after NaNoWriMo 2012.

My Writing Projects
TitleTypeStartedWord-CountLast Update
Blind Maskfanfiction* 27.01.200562.40429.02.2012
Change Backfanfiction* 08.09.200711.05030.07.2008
Der Birklingnovel01.11.200923.75929.02.2011
Diary from the Futurenovel01.11.200937.69429.02.2011
King Proudbeardnovel01.11.201166.91629.02.2012
Neverlost and Everfoundnovel01.11.201075.22929.02.2012
The Messengershort story01.10.20112.805** 20.02.2012
The Other Sidenovel01.11.200886.15707.10.2009
Twisted Paths of Fateshort story06.03.201214.21430.06.2012
Two Wordsfanfiction* 22.06.20082.20122.06.2008
untitled fantasy booknovel* 2000??

* estimated start-date of a project, e.g. first partial upload
** perhaps not really finished
bold update-date means the story was finished on that day

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Writer's Workshop - characters in a setting (2nd try)

After having got a few helpful hints about how to improve my little first scene for Honey's Writer's Workshop, I wrote two others. They are far shorter, because I have currently visitors and can't really concentrate much. 

Exercise: Place the Fully-Developed Character into a Setting

Both scenes are for "Twisted Paths" again, first we follow Alexander and then Valeria. These little pieces are not necessarily closely connected.

"Hey Alexander! Where have you been all this time? We actually had to pay for our drinks!" It was loud in the tavern, and the three men who greeted him with pats on his back had to shout. He just grinned and ordered a round for them all.
"So what have you been up to, my boy? Do you know that our chap here is getting married in a few days? His landlady, of all skirts in this godforsaken place! It seems she finally wanted some other kind of reward for doing his laundry."
Alexander let the bragging and joking from his friends wash over him. Only the familiar voices let it stand out from the rest of the noise. A nod here and a sound of surprise were enough to keep up the appearance of sufficient attention. It was unlikely they would tell him anything of interest. They were only his excuse to sit in a spot that was ideal to eavesdrop on those who might actually have some valuable information.

It is a warm and sunny day. The numerous smells in the air make Valeria's mouth water and her nose wrinkle at the same time. It has been a long time since her last visit to such a big market. For a moment, she relished the sweet aroma of fruits that were coated in chocolate. A few paces onward, the local speciality was sold: a tiny fish with a hugely revolting odour. Before it could really upset her stomach, she turned into a random direction and pushed through the crowd.
The heat made wearing a shawl or even hood too uncomfortable, and she didn't like the wide straw hats that many people wore here. Alexander had acquired two of them, but Valeria had refused to put it on. It looked ridiculous on her. Especially in contrast to the silver markings on her face. But thankfully he rarely insisted that she dressed in local styles. And luckily this coast-town was filled with a great variety of people.
Hardly anybody gave the seer a second glance as she freed herself from the busy market. Facial tattoos were not uncommon among seafarers and there were far more interesting individuals to stare at. A group of half-naked slaves, hold on a leash by a young boy. Two horses with artificial wings made from ekara feathers pulled an open carriage with some rich folk in it. And at three corners of the big place performed musicians and acrobats. Most people here probably believed they could shape their own future with skill or gold, or they would rather not know of dark times ahead and enjoy this beautiful day. Valeria could feel it. Along with her gift came the ability to sense those who sought what she could give. To her, this special sense was more like a compass to assess if somebody really wanted to know the future she saw, or how much of it.

How do you like it? Any advice what could be improved and how? I know, they might not make much sense or be a bit uninteresting, but I thought this exercise was about placing the character in a rather familiar setting - not one where there is a lot of action and important plot-moments.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Writer's Workshop -characters in a setting

So, the next step of Honey's Writer's Workshop is online at her blog, this time it's about "using" your characters in a setting. Like, after you put some effort in making them believable and interesting, they should do somethin, too.
Again she provided us with some examples, including her own.

On the other hand, thanks to this little exercise, I know have one for each of the three main characters from my Twisted Paths (well, one of them is the villain). They are now far clearer in my mind (and now even in written words) than before.

Exercise: Place the Fully-Developed Character into a Setting

I'd like to do one for each of my characters from Twisted Paths, but I start with one for the villain.
Part of the exercise-idea is to use a setting that is familiar to you, and I always seem to have trouble coming up with one for such purposes. After all, most of my characters live quite different lives than me!
So ... this one was inspired by my trouble getting up this morning ;)

Sleepily and slowly, Rhianne opened her eyes. They felt like being weighed down by invisible fingers.
This particular thought made her sit up faster than she should and look around the room with suddenly wide if still somewhat unfocused eyes. Within a few heartbeats the young woman realized she was alone and that she probably should be more careful with the wine next time.
A groan filled the silence when Rhianne slumped back and buried her face in wild, red curls in a vain attempt to hide from a headache which seemed to come out of nowhere. The smell of smoke and wine - how did that get into her hair? - made her scowl in disgust and annoyance. She needed a bath. 
Instead of  an order, she only managed another groan. 'Well, if I keep on like this, somebody will come in eventually.'
But of course, she would only have to wait until it was time for breakfast or one of the unscheduled visitors of her captors.

Carefully, step by step, Rhianne sat up again and then got out of bed to walk over to the looking glass, tall enough to reflect her whole body.
'I don't know if you bored me deliberately, but this won't happen again!'
The silent vow was encouraged by dark shadows under her eyes and the slightly sick pallor of her skin. Very familiar blue eyes stared back at her with scorn.
Her father would be furious if he even suspected she regarded her captors enough as hosts to let her guard down like this. And then she even sank so low as to drink too much wine because the conversations bored her.
True enough, the Lord of this stronghold made some efforts to seem hospitable, if only her long lasting and uninterrupted presence here were remotely voluntary. They gave her good food and clothes, educated her not unlike one of their own children and enough company to keep her sane. Sometimes even too much company, in fact. She had no choice but regard the maid that helped her sometimes with her hair and clothes as a spy, and suspect a hidden agenda behind every conversation she had with one of the family. The guards never talked much, but she could do well without having watchful eyes on her whenever she left this room.

Rhianne picked up the comb and started to tame her long red curls, which was as impossible as to tame her. But hair can be woven and shaped into a demure fashion, from which it freed itself as soon as the pins were removed. She could do the same. Be a polite and obliging "guest", follow their rules and customs and expectations, master this new-found weakness in her and turn it into another weapon. Until one day she would be released.

I'm not entirely happy with this, but it goes into the direction of what I wanted to write. I'm also not sure how to judge if this exercise was done properly or how to improve. So, please feel free to comment and critique this little piece.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Writer's Workshop - building believable characters - final edition

All right, thrice the charm, isn't it? :)
I couldn't help but write another character sketch for Honey's Writer's Workshop and trying a new approach for the first one.
On the other hand, thanks to this little exercise, I know have one for each of the three main characters from my Twisted Paths (well, one of them is the villain). They are now far clearer in my mind (and now even in written words) than before.

This was the task:
Exercise: Do a character sketch. I found this website, click on the word here, with some great suggestions for building characters.

Let me introduce you to the villain of "Twisted Paths of Fate".

Rhianne of Duskandar was born with a fearless heart and the iron determination to get what she wants at any cost, the perfect material of a warrior-princess. She shares the wild mane of red locks with most of her female kin, and also their lush curves and hot temperament. However, she learned the rare skill to control it out of self-preservation. Her eyes are often called sky blue to flatter her, but she herself sees in them the inheritance of her father, reflecting the hue of Duskandar steel. And like that rare metal, Rhianne is able to turn her gaze into a dangerous weapon, just like anything else that is available to her – adapting her behaviour to fit expectations, a seductive swing of her hip, gathering information with keen senses and a sharp mind. Being kept as a hostage since childhood could not quench the fire in her blood, but she is well able to fool her captors and everyone who underestimates her.

And here is once more the main-character, this time with a few more details and less story.

Valeria Temerit has learned to hide her emotions and thoughts behind an unreadable mask at an early age, especially after her mother left her and she became a powerful seer. Not much more than her dark hair reminds her of that family bond, and she guesses that more than a green tinge in her blue eyes are the inheritance of a father she never knew. While growing up, she came to accept that her features and figure would always be rather bony and long than soft and round, not unlike her character. However, confidence in her power and the respect she earns through it always meant much more to her than beauty or being charming. Valeria takes pride in the fine lines and unique patterns that her magic paints in silver all over her skin, knowing they are well earned. The inability to see her own future unless it's connected with another person's fate is only one of the reasons she is devoted to her responsibilities. She also values the delicate balance between the freedom that being a seer grants and the clear lines in which the world unfolds before her eyes. 

The offer still stands, please let me know any comments and critique about this you have on your mind.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Writer's Workshop - building believable characters - another one

After receiving some helpful comments on my first character sketch for Honey's Writer's Workshop and after reading some examples of other workshop-participants, I offer now my second try, but with another character.

This was the task:
Exercise: Do a character sketch. I found this website, click on the word here, with some great suggestions for building characters.

I now took the second main-character of "Twisted Paths of Fate", perhaps I'll do the villain, too.

Alexander Knevash has grown from a shy, pale younger son of a lord into a handsome young man who is more than sure of himself. Brown shoulder-long hair looks only half tamed, just like he has secretly slipped away much farther from his father's grasp than he is aware. The few responsibilities of Alexander allow him to be a wanderer and show little attachment to his home, neither in behaviour nor in appearance, although he likes to take advantage of his royal blood now and then. With his lively brown eyes he has charmed noble ladies at most courts and peasant girls in nearly every country he has visited. He doesn't care that they often are his weakness, too, betraying his emotions and thoughts as if he were an open book. Only few personal secrets are carefully guarded by Alexander, the true extent of the magic he has acquired and the dreams of his heart, which are the motivations for his every move. Any yet, the naive boy isn't completely vanished and can still be blinded by ignorance and lured into a trap.   

Again, I would appreciate comments and critique about this. Does it sound interesting to you? Do you see any flaws? What would you expect to get from a story with him? I tried to leave out anything that sounded like a synopsis this time, did it work or is this worse? Anything else that comes to your mind?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Writer's Workshop - building believable characters

Via a post in Elise's blog, I found a Honey's Writer's Workshop in her blog ... you may want to follow the links behind those names and take a look at the very interesting and helpful entries.

I've been busy with a non-writing project during May and then I struggled to get back into writing (and with a cold), so I am very glad to get an opportunity to do some exercises and learn something. Not to mention to have fun with writing again!

This is about creating believable characters, and I believe I actually do need to improve in that field.
Most of the stories I started are rather character-based, instead of plot-based. But I fear one of the reasons why I haven't finished a proper story yet is, because my characters lack some essentials. More often than not I don't know why they ought to do what I want them to do, or they "ruin" my ideas because they do not what they are supposed to. While such surprises might be good, they just aren't really when you as a writer are not up to it and get stranded.

So, lets get started with the first task from Honey:
Exercise: Do a character sketch. I found this website, click on the word here, with some great suggestions for building characters.

Since I had planned to work on "Twisted Paths of Fate" this month, I choose to use it's main-character:

Valeria Temerit was born to a woman who tried to love her, despite having been abandoned by the man who got her pregnant. They shared the same dark hair, but the girl was told she had inherited the green tinge in her blue eyes from her father. Long hours alone or among strangers, while her mother worked to feed them, shaped a courageous, independent character at an early age. Valeria never feared to speak her mind, although she soon learned to be careful of the consequences. So when the first visions came, she startled her mother with uncomfortable questions and eventually found herself promised to a Lord's son and bundled of to become a seer. Accepting fate came easier to her than learning how to distinguish false visions from true ones, but she left her masters as one of the most powerful of her kind. By the time her fiancé came to make her his wife, Valeria's skin was marked with well earned silver markings and she was ready to fulfil the promise that had been made in her name. This bond had always been the only way for her to get a glimpse of her own fate, for it was closely linked with the man who was to be her husband and offered to be her protector. Valeria allowed herself to enjoy this new life, for she knew it would last only a short time. True visions can only be changed by severe sacrifices, and she was glad to finally be able to make a choice about her future herself.

I am actually rather pleased with the result, but I have to admit that I did some brainstorming about this project a few days ago. Before that, this wouldn't have been half as long or interesting, I fear.
Nevertheless, I would appreciate comments and critique about this. Does it sound interesting to you, too? Do you see any flaws? What would you expect to get from a story with her? Anything else that comes to your mind?

Also, I think I should try to make more like this - especially about characters I haven't fleshed out yet that well. And about all those that I think I know, to proof if I really do.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Twisted Paths of Fate - Part 6

Oh, I had been sure the previous part had been posted last week. So, I am a little late with showing something new here at least once a week, sorry.
To make up for it, I'll tell a bit about my experiences with the Critique Circle in a few days.

You won't find any relation to a prompt in this part, too. On the other hand, I finally worked out how to use the last prompt I chose from my cheerleader-friends and how this story will generally proceed and conclude. Yay! :)

-> the beginning
-> previous part

"Yes, you need a protector - and I would be honoured if you would accept my services for that task." This time he held her gaze, but she could read nothing aside from what she already knew in his brown eyes. He gave only a little bow to signal that he was aware of the magnitude of this offer. It would have been expected that one would bow and show deepest reference to the seer, but Alexander and Valeria were too equal now and too closely bound already to justify or require such a display of respect and humbleness.
"You don't know to what you are committing yourself." She scooped up a handful of the magical flame with a fluid movement. By her silent command it turned silver, with a core of dark purple.
'Almost like a flower.' For an odd moment could not help but loose himself in the beauty of it.
If her intention had been to frighten by this display of her power, it didn't work at all. In contrast to what his future wife seemed to believe, he was very well informed about the possible consequences they were about to face.
Alexander slowly blinked and lifted his eyes again to meet hers. The flame did not scare him, but it had to accept him. Anyone who made such an offer had the right to be tested. Few ever contemplated it, and less dared to risk their sanity or even their life in the attempt to bond with a seer. As far as he knew, it was customary to explain the risk and cost and make sure the applicant had no illusions about the gain.
Without breaking the eye-contact, he removed the glove from his right hand. The pale light from the flame on Valeria's open palm made her expression even more unreadable than it had been before. He silently vowed to himself he would learn how to see past her mask.
The thought that he might not survive this day never occurred to him. This was what he really had came for. He could not fail. Grimly, Alexander ignored the idea she might want him to fall victim to her magic. It was only one possible explanation why she did not waste any more time in preparing or discouraging him.
Fascination and ambition reflected on his face when he reached through the sizzling manifestation of a seer's power to grasp her wrist and in return felt her fingers settle on his own skin. The flame didn't get quenched between them, but instead immediately took in the offered flesh. Liquid silver crawled over their joined arms, originating from the magical fire as well as her markings. No description on old scrolls could have prepared him for that, and he noticed that his eyes had wandered.
'Don't get trapped by the magic. Welcome it. Don't fear it. Don't be greedy.' This was his mantra and his shield, enforced by his will to gain command over her power and the resolution to pay any price for it, until the latter wavered.
Alexander worked hard to hold Valeria's gaze and pass the test, without noticing how he got lost in it. The bond strengthened more and more every second. He could no longer tell where his arm ended and her skin began. Their heartbeats had aligned themselves and vibrated through his whole body. Vaguely he wondered if he still was master of his own thoughts. And suddenly he found he didn't care much if she could read his mind – if only he could know her plans, wishes and worries, too. How else could he protect her properly, after all?
'She is concerned about something. No, she seems sad. And I think it has something to do with me, the way she looks at me.' The magic which was connecting them now had granted him his wish.
It was a moment of gain and loss. He realized he could see past her calm, unemotional mask, and was sure she had learned something unsettling about his future. Her eyes widened with a knowledge that had not been there before. The ritual had weakened her self-control. Curiosity and temptation made her dip into the magic which was weaving their lives together. It was forbidden to touch it, for fear of influencing what might come. And yet, she wanted a glimpse of what lay ahead. In the instant she became aware of him seeing right through her, she struggled to regain her discipline.
'What does she know? Has she seen Rianne? She has to tell me! Or can I still influence our fates?' Alexander's thoughts raced. When it was clear, Valeria's mind was shielded from him again, he concentrated on showing the magic what he really wanted.
Suddenly pain shot through every fibre of his being. It had been mentioned in the scrolls, albeit no description could do it justice. He gritted his teeth against the ice that seemed to fill his veins as the strange magic seeped into his body. A thin sheet of sweat betrayed his struggle against the feeling of hot lava in his lungs and down his spine. All the while, his fingers only twitched slightly, hardly increasing the grip on Valeria's hand. Concentrating on his heart's desire gave him the strength he needed. His free hand, however, would bear the bloody marks of his nails, if he ever was able to unclench it again.
Although still not completely married, they were forming a bond that was so much more stronger. Part of her power was now in him. Not enough to show, like on her own skin - but enough to make him her loyal and capable protector. He would know when she needed him - until death set them free again. In turn, she would be aware of any threat to him or their shared path without much of an effort. She still would not be able to see her own future, but their close connection would provide the next best thing.
The flame had tested if their fates could be weaved together like that. It would not allow a seer to bind herself to someone whose lifespan was meant to be short or who lacked the true will and strength to be a protector.
Valeria knew now why the future had been concealed from her, whenever she had tried to see the day of the Traveller's arrival and what lay beyond it. The silver-flames which had sealed their magical union had only just began to form these paths.

To be continued ...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Twisted Paths of Fate - Part 5

Yes indeed, I finally figured out a suitable title for my formerly "Untitled Short-Story":
Twisted Paths of Fate 

And here is finally the next part, which sort of started with another prompt from Lindsay. However, I won't tell you yet what it was, since it actually inspired me for a scene near the end of the story. No spoilers for now ;)
I hope you enjoy this part nevertheless.

-> the beginning
-> previous part

"Tell me about that world of yours, Valeria." He leaned back, making himself comfortable in the high-backed chair. Alexander knew better than to meet a seer's eyes too long, and so he watched the ruby-red liquid in his cup. Patience was not one of his strengths, but he forced himself to appear generous and calm. The past years have trained him in recognizing how to deal with any friend and foe.
"It is boundless, in a way you can't possibly understand. I can see what is happening in every corner of the world at any point in time. My advice helps to decide the fate of countless people." She sat straight like a lady, one hand on the table, the other resting in her lap. The wooden staff with the eternal flame leaned on the edge of the table, it would never be far from her.
"Is that so? Really? I've heard that your gift is exceptionally strong. It seems your reputation was not exaggerated." Now it was him who sounded unimpressed.
Of course, by the time the contract was struck, no less than three great mages had proclaimed she could turn into a promising seer, provided she soon got proper training. And Alexander's father had not only the interest but also the means to keep eyes and ears on her to make sure she didn't disappoint his expectations. The amber talisman which lay between them on the table was proof that the royal family still wanted this union.
Valeria did not mind that her future husband being aware of her abilities. It didn't need the vision to know that he and everyone else who would be bound to her through this marriage would expect to use her visions to their advantage.
"What do you want? Most people are rather eager to ask their questions after they made the effort to come to me, even if they already know the price.” Patience wasn't her strength, either, but she had no reason to disguise it. “Do you know the price, Alexander Knevash?" Seer's might not always tell all they knew, but they didn't deceive people. No matter if she used it for a stranger, her husband or herself – her gift always demanded something in return.
"I want you to come with me."
This caught Valeria by surprise. It was not the request of a prediction. In fact, it wasn't a request at all. Her ears were not used to that. For a moment, she even had difficulties to understand what he was saying. Again, he had not acted like she had expected it. It didn't help at all that she knew this mistake occurred only because she had not consulted the flame about this meeting. With his arrival, she was entering a blind spot in her visions.
Finally, she took a deep breath to calm herself and stifle a sigh at his stolidity. She hated repetition, almost as much as being surprised.
"I already told you ..."
"Come with me and see the world with your own eyes, not through the flame. Touch the velvety petals of blood-red Archaris with your own fingers, smell the sweet, shimmering moss in the Golden Forest and hear the mating-songs of the butterflies in Zarran, which makes your head dizzy in the most pleasant way. If you think you'll miss your nice view, I'll bring you to the Wandering Desert of Khalandy, where the dunes vary between the colours of heather and silver. We can go there by riding on an ekara, since a Water Bridge obviously won't be out of the question."
He winked at her.
Valeria blinked speechlessly. He actually had winked at her, after his parade of words.
Not only did he not request a vision, he didn't show any interest in the answers she might be able to give him and his allies. Furthermore, he insisted on taking her away from here, out into the world, but not for his own amusement or to present her to his family and enemies. He wanted her step out of her tower and leave the valley. She had seen most of the places he mentioned in the flame, always curious about where the people came from who asked for her help. Never before had she let herself even dream of visiting those far away wonders by herself. That was not the way of a seer.
Once again, Alexander let his gaze wander, as if their conversation was only unimportant small-talk. He studied the round room which filled out most of the towers base. A few paces to his left a rail-less stairway started to climb upwards, made of the same dark stone as the wall, looking like it had grown right out of it. The ceiling was a bit lower than in a regular house, and he wondered how many floors might be fitted into the building. It definitely looked smaller on the outside.
Valeria used this to chance a look towards her staff. The fire revealed nothing.
'Is this the choice I have to make? The one question that can't be answered with the help of a vision?'
She regarded the man opposite her, taking in consideration all she had learned from the many times she had watched him with her gift, and what was now presented to her in the flesh. There was no doubt that he had grown into a fine, strong and resourceful man. Aside the influence of his family, he had connections and magic of his own at his command.
"You know, there is only one way that a seer can go out into the world like you suggest."

-> part six

Monday, March 26, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award & Resolution

First, my new resolution:
I set myself the goal to blog at least once a week here ... about writing, my writing-progress or something else writing-related. Starting today.
Why? Because I need to "force" myself to keep going and thus improving. If I don't do that, I'll never finish a good, well-written story.

Second, it's about time I say thank you to Elise for giving me the "Versatile Blogger" award. I believe it's the first I ever got, and certainly the first one for my writing-only blog here.

These are the rules:
- Share 7 completely random pieces of information about myself.
- Nominate 15 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award and inform them of their nomination by posting a comment on their blogs.

In return you gain the right to "wear" that nice, green badge in your blog, meet old and new friends in their blogs and encourage other bloggers to do the same.

Since this blog is about writing, the 7 random facts about me will mostly be about this obsession.
1. I can't really say why I want to write, but I feel miserable when I don't.
2. I get most of my better ideas while walking to or home from work.
3. As far as I remember, I've never dreamed about any of my stories or characters.
4. I'd love to write a story based on my cats, but I just don't know how.
5. Hardly anybody reads or is interested in what I write, although I'm in dire need of feedback.
6. Although I've started working through 3 writing-courses/books, I still haven't learned how to do it properly.
7. An awful lot of things distract me far too easily from writing. 

And these are the 15 bloggers (in no particular order) who I'd like to reward with this award, because I like what they write or because I think it's about time that they blog again :)
I hope none of them already got it, since I checked each blog before naming them, and that they like this little present. 
4. Rek
5. Misha
12. Jenny
14. Kamen

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Untitled Short-Story - Part 4

This is the second part to my answer to Lindsay's (second) prompt:
The moment he saw her he couldn't take his eyes off her. The moment she slapped him he knew he would love her forever.

The shrill shriek would have done any girl of 5 honour, but it was disgracing Alexander Knevash, who was old enough to be a squire, and he knew it. His shaking hands also shamed him, and for a moment he feared that he had even wet himself.
Then he registered that his fingers twitched in empty air and he remembered. The soft, moist nose of his sisters horse had touched him in the neck. He had been so focused on carrying that awful heavy bucket that this tickling sensation had scared him almost witless. Water had splashed on his trousers and the horse's legs - and apparently a girl that was now staring at him out of the shadows. Her red hair was so fiery bright that he could see it even in this poor light.
Alexander still stared when she stalked towards him, transfixed by the sky-blue of her eyes, noticing the knife in her hands only because its blade had the same dangerous glint. Even her dress was blue, although now stained with dark spots of water. And yet, he never hand seen something more beautiful. Never mind her angry glare, the threateningly raised weapon or her rather dishevelled and untidy state. Had Alexander been old enough, he would have known that he was about to fall in love.
"You idiot! You've ruined everything! Your scream will bring the whole castle into the stables! I should have stabbed you in the back and left when I had the chance!"
She ranted on like this for a few more seconds, but fell into a stubborn silence when the adults arrived and dragged her away. Just before his father and others blocked his view, Alexander saw how she turned her head and granted him a last scowl of sky-blue.


Later, he had learned that she was Rianne of Duskandar, born to be a warrior-princess, and brought to the castle as a hostage. She and her guardians had only been on the journey through, so they had stayed apart from the rest of the household and guests. When the girl had gone missing, there had not been a great fuss about it, because certain people were not meant to know about her presence at all. They didn't underestimate her afterwards.
Alexander and Rianne had never been meant to meet, and the had never met again since that short episode in their childhood. Still, her fearless strength had made a heavy impression on him. He soon stopped being a naive weakling, although he might not have developed quite like his father would have liked.
Now he granted Valeria a sliver of that admiring stare. It was not enough to diminish his deep feelings for the red-head that had stolen his heart before he knew how to love. However, he acknowledged the strength and courage of the seer with a little smile, who met his gaze unfaltering. It was not her place to make demands. Neither her magic nor her birth granted her that right, and what independence she might have had got lost when she accepted the proposal.
He would consider giving in, nevertheless. Just a little. Just to see what her world might have to offer. In the end, she would be his wife. Her power would be his to command. She would help him find Rianne.

-> part five

I welcome any comment and critique on my writing, especially the helpful ones.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Untitled Short Story - Part 3

This is the continuation of the (still) untitled short-story I started with a prompt from my NaNo-Cheerleaders.

You might want to read part one and part two, first.

So, this is the second prompt I chose, given by Lindsay (again):
The moment he saw her he couldn't take his eyes off her. The moment she slapped him he knew he would love her forever.

Alexander's breath formed little, white clouds while he carefully placed his feet on the snow. Luckily, he had woken up later than he had planned and so the sun was already rising. In the night, his treacherous lungs would certainly have betrayed his presence to the guards on the wall. He could no more stop breathing than keeping the half-frozen snow from crunching beneath his high boots.
It never had occurred to him to pull up the bright red scarf he was wearing, or at least the gold-lined broad collar of his mantle. Unlike his older brother, he had never been trained to be a soldier, and just like his sisters he tended to act without thinking. A child of the royal blood had to mind consequences as little as he cared to leave behind his favourite garments. After all, the fine boots had been a present from his uncle, along with the brave, grey pony which waited for him impatiently in the stables.
At least, it did in Alexander's mind. To him, it was his closest friend, valiant like his father's best war-horse and more intelligent than the smartest hound of the whole court. Why else was Silverstar always eager to greet him and would let none else ride him? Together they had mastered to jump over the little stream behind the castle and bushes that were almost as high as his waist. And surly the pony hated to have to leave this place tomorrow, just as much as he.
His plan was simple: run away before the nurse came to fetch him for breakfast, hide in the woods until his sisters and their convoy had departed and then return to the castle. It would take at least a few days until another convoy could be organised, but he hoped that he had convinced his father to let him stay for much longer by then.
Of course, Alexander had never once in his life spent a night outdoors. He had come prepared, however. His favourite clothes were quite warm and comfortable, after all, and he carried some cookies and apples in a small bag. The snow was worrying him a bit, however. How were he and Silverstar supposed to sneak towards the side-entry when it made so much noise? Never mind that he should have been more concerned about the handful of servants that were already out and about. Luck was again on the boy's side, however, since their footsteps drowned his own to his way to the stables, and none of them knew he wasn't supposed to go there alone.

Darkness still lingered in the hay-padded corners. The voiced and steps her keen ears picked up from outside told her that she had slept too long. It would be nearly impossible to escape now, no matter if one dared to sneak away or simply stole a horse.
The dark-brown mare who kindly had allowed her to share her quarters last night whinnied uneasily. Someone was coming. Pressing even deeper into the shadows, the girl watched with narrowed eyes how the back-door opened a little. Even if the shape that slipped in was only small, she clutched the hilt of her knife with a fierce grip. Nobody would call her anything but brave, but she tended tense up and get ready for a fight at the slightest sign of opposition. Usually she got what she wanted, because she had been taught to do anything to earn it - even if that meant to fight, steal or lie. And right now, she wanted out of here, and that boy, he just passed through a patch of early morning light that fell through a slit in the wall, was coming ever closer to her hiding place and so to keep her from getting out of here.
"My dear, brave Silverstar, have you slept well? Are you ready? Here, have an apple."
A young boy. A rich boy, considering the fine embroidery which was all over his clothes. Some of it even shimmered in the dim light. He had stopped at the opposite box, the one with the white pony. It was an unfriendly, little beast, and she was disappointed when it didn't kick and snap at him like it had at her last night. She would never again believe those plumb and cuddly looking creatures were all friendly and tame.
"All right, what next? I'll need to saddle you, I guess. That can't be too hard, if Rodric can do it."
She rolled her eyes. 'Don't these royals here learn anything? He looks around like he doesn't even know where the saddles are stored.'
"Or do you want some water first?" The boy's face light up with relief and satisfaction about his great new idea when he spotted a bucket half full with water.
'No, go away, you fool!' The bucket stood far too close to her hiding place. He would have to be blind or dumb to not discover her.
He came over, grabbed the wooden handle and heaved it up with an obvious lack of strength. The girl almost pitied him. He appeared to be taller than her by a hand-width, but he was weak and incompetent like a little child. When he turned away, groaning softly due to probably the first manual labour in his life, she relaxed a bit. He had not seen her.

-> part four

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Untitled Short-Story - Part 2

This is the second part to my answer to Lindsay's prompt:
He offered her the world. She said she had one of her own.

Valeria had considered ignoring the Traveller as long as possible. After all, everyone knew she often was deeply occupied with a vision and might not notice the presence of someone for an hour. But the silvery lines on her face appeared to tingle, as if the outward signs of her power wanted to remind her to not debase it. The seer in her had known about this day for ages, so she should at least act like the grown woman she had become.
Besides, a vision in the flame was not the same as seeing with your own eyes, and she could not deny a certain curiosity. There was no mistaking the man who climbed up towards her secluded abode, countless times had she seen his stature and even had been able to get familiar with his unique way of his movements. Usually, her gift had shown her this very moment in numerous variations. Sometimes he came riding on some kind of beast, once or twice he was shrouded in dark robes, but in the end the most likely and thus most frequent vision had come true: he wore a jacket and trousers of some rich, shiny material, almost mirroring the heather-colour of her shawl.
The cloth which he had wrapped around his head was something unexpected, though, and seer's aren't used to being surprised. It drew her gaze to his face. A bit flushed from the climb, but with a ready smile. Brown eyes greeted her, they had the same colour as the hair that spilled out beneath the strange head-cloth, falling in slightly unruly waves onto his shoulders. Clean-shaven, although he certainly was old enough now to grow a beard. There appeared not to be much of the boy she had known left in him. This made her uneasy. For the first time since her early training she doubted herself. Was this really the right one? Perhaps the right man was still on his way and this was just someone who had sought her out for one of the usual reasons. And yet, the way he looked at her touched something in her that had slept so long that she could not put a name to it.

Alexander drank in every bit of the woman who stood about five long strides away from him. The hood of her garment concealed her hair, just as the wide, flowing dress and shawl obscured her body. Her stance was as straight and elegant as the long staff of twisted wood. In the eerie light of the magical flame on it's top, the markings on her face shimmered like silver tears. In the first moment, her eyes still had held that particular mat look of a vision, but then they had come alive.
Of course, he had met other seers before, but none of them had he known before they had reached their full power. Now, his mind tried to unite the serene figure before him with his memory of a certain girl. They had both grown to almost the same height and she had maintained her open and alert gaze of green-blue. Even at this distance he could make out this rare, uneven colouring he always had found fascinating.
He could not quite read her expression. Surely she was not surprised by his arrival? And most certainly she had not forgotten why he was here? Or had a vision told her something he should know?
He never had been one of the hesitant or careful sort. After granting them both a few heartbeats to take each other in, and to regain some of his breath, he made two easy but long strides towards her. Her mien did not betray how she felt about that, and yet her eyes were fixed on him like he was a dangerous animal. With a fluid, elegant movement, he bowed to her, lowering his gaze only briefly enough to acknowledge her status. After all, he himself was of royal blood. She might be able to see the future, but he could wield the power to make it happen.

"Valeria Temerit, in accordance with the treaty to which our guardians agreed many years ago, I, Alexander Knevash, am here to ask for your hand in marriage."
He offered her the traditional coin-shaped talisman of his home-country on a gloved, open palm. Somehow he had put it there with a slight-of-hand while he had courtesied, because Valeria was sure he had at first approached her empty-handed.
Alexander hoped his face did not betray his feelings. Nobody liked to be betrothed to someone you had known only for a short while as a child. He may be allowed to rule a country or start a war, but he was neither allowed to choose his own wife, nor when or how to propose to her. And yet, she had to make the next move. Why didn't she say something? Would she refuse? Could a vision have changed the rules? And why did this idea stir a sick feeling in his stomach?
A crunch, of the staff meeting the pebbles between two cobble-stones, a step forward while the free hand extended at the same time, like the start of a court-dance. Her hand was bare and he wished he had removed his glove so that their skin could touch. But the slender fingers hardly made contact with his hand, while she covered the wedding-talisman in acceptance.

After the proposal, Valeria had invited her future husband into her tower. Although their union was already binding, there still were the necessary rituals and sacrifices to make. They would need a witness for that, too, but for now, Alexander was glad to be offered a chair on the little balcony and a tray of food.
"This is an amazing view over the valley. I know of some places that are just as beautiful, and a handful that are even more astonishing. I will show them all to you!" He took a bite of the bread and washed it down with a gulp of mild wine. Raising his eyebrows at his future wife, he savoured its smell. A seer usually did not drink alcohol, and indeed her own cup appeared to contain only plain water.
"Have you ever travelled by the water-bridge? I'm sure you have, how stupid of me. We will be in the White Palace in no time. And after the celebrations, we can go wherever you want. I offer you the world, Valeria!" The precious wine would probably have sloshed over the rim, if Alexander had not down half of it already. According to his grand gestures, one could think he was entertaining a whole court, instead of talking to only one rather unimpressed looking woman.
"I don't need the world, I already have one of my own."
Those were the first words she had spoken to him since their childhood.

Continue with part three.

Comments and critique are very welcome.

Monday, March 12, 2012

100 words about ... Magical Music

My dear partneress was one of those who kindly answered my 11 questions and gave me a writing-prompt:

Write 100 words about ME!

The dirty water had ruined the upper part of the big index card, soaking the thick paper and smearing the letters. Some of it might have been an address and phone-number, but only one who already knew the words could have recognized them now.
Reluctantly, with a mixture of curiosity and shame at looking through somebody else's private notes, he started to read with the first line that was still of any use. Just to find a hint about the owner, of course.

... as the supernatural and real plane with songs. It is based on her natural musical talent, which manifests in a fine singing voice, the skill to play various instruments, e.g. flute and guitar, and the gift to compose her own melodies and lyrics.
She was unaware of the true effect of her talents, but it's unlikely that anyone has suffered from it so far or even noticed anything. By nature, this is a positive power that has to be channelled.
I sense great potential in her, and she has agreed to work with me to explore and practice her magic.

He reread the last few words with a confused frown, even squinting a bit, as if the water had reached and blurred that part, too. Then he huffed, laid that one aside and picked up another one. It got accidentally a little bit torn at the edge when the wet paper gave way, but it's content sounded quite similar. And the next one and the one after that. Someone who shaped unbreakable pottery, unless it got in contact with salt-water. A shape-changing actor in need of surveillance, because here existed a danger of abuse. Another musician, but that index-card seemed a lot older than the others. It was of a slightly smaller size, the paper yellow and rough.
He wearily eyed the stack of still unread cards and told himself that there probably wasn't any hint on the owner of the weathered leather-bag on any of them. He didn't want to read the rest. Why had he picked up the sodden bundle anyway? It's owner probably had returned by now to the spot where it had lain in a puddle between the railway and the road.

Well, those are obviously more than 100 words, but those that are directly about my friend are the ones in the middle paragraph :)

I had this idea a while ago and maybe it will one day turn into a story.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Second Campaigner Challenge (of Fourth Campaign)

Challenged into Indian Steampunk

Apparently some Campaigners asked for more challenging challenges ... the result was a crazy accumulation of prompts and activities and optional difficulty-raisers. The whole set of rules can be found here.

I actually included all 5 prompts and completed all 5 activities and included all 3 additional difficulties:
1. completed at least 3 activities and tied them together with a common theme (India)
2. written in the genre "Steampunk", which I never used before
3. asking for critique by the other Campaigners

Activity 1 - Write a pitch/logline for a book based on the prompts (less than 100 words)

When a couple of poor, Indian orphans and the young son of a white, rich factory-owner get caught and hurt in the explosion of a sabotaged airship, they hide from the resulting energy-wave beneath the remains of an old, rusty bridge. Only the half-mad water-shaper and scientist who dwells nearby can save them, if his experiments won't make matters worse first, because he is developing a gas that does not only tinge certain particles in the air orange, but also makes them toxic.

Word Count: 83

Activity 2 - Write a short story/flash fiction piece of less than 200 words based on the prompts

"Shanti, wait for me!"
"Hurry up then, Rohan! That brat's wailing surely has called guards with rifles."
"Why did you have to steal that ball?"
The dirty, skinny girl laughed, but did not slow down while skipping over junks of metal and evading piles of garbage. It could be painful, fatal even, to step onto some hidden shard or a rusty screw.
"Because the red coat of that boy was too gaudy, of course!"

When they reached their hiding place beneath the broken bridge, Rohan stumbled on into the water and collapsed in the shallow part.
His sister leaned against a rusty girder, inspecting a bleeding cut on her brown-skinned knee.
"Is it bad enough for the factory?"
An orange flower of stylised energy was its symbol. It created gadgets that formed all sorts of shapes out of water, like shimmering fruit-sculptures or little animals. They only applied for the hard work there when they needed the service of its doctor.
"No, I'll be fine."
Nevertheless, Rohan heaved himself up and crawled to her side. Drops from his dark hair drummed on the ball, leaving tracks on the surface, already smeared with oil and soot, and no longer white.

Word Count: 199

Activity 3 - Write a poem with a twist using the prompts as inspiration (in less than 200 words)

At first, there is the light,
it starts white and bright,
until it gathers in a living knot of yellow flames.

Children's cries of joy and sorrow,
a bouncing ball or no food tomorrow,
their fate gets decided by a steam-powered wheel.

Two lovers escape their iron prison,
through water and with marks of crimson,
finding refuge in the rust and rubble of a ruined bridge.

Only a hand steady and bare
can wield a power so rare
that the water of mighty Ganges can be shaped to the heart's desire.

Word Count: 91

Activity 4 - Write a story/poem in five sentences, each sentence based on one of the prompts (apparently no word-limit here)

During the joyful years of my carefree youth, I spent my time chasing my favourite ball and screeching seagulls by the seaside, trying my best to ruin the fine clothes my mother made me wear.
When I was older, “The Seagull” was the first steam-powered airship that brought me to India where I was a guest of honour at my first international art-exhibition, which inspired me to a series of pictures about starving, brown-skinned children.
My masterpiece, a pear shaped out of water-droplets, complete with a green leaf to add some colour, sold for a fortune and made me rich enough to settle in a villa with a handful of clockwork-servants.
Only a few years later my life was in ruins, ravaged by treacherous fame and false friends, and the very last piece of art I ever created portrayed it perfectly – chaotic swirls of fading light in the middle of an oppressing darkness.
Now that the end is near, I find myself beaten and bloody under an equally battered, old bridge, but for the first time in ages I feel like I have a true friend at my side: drunkard Aamir Kapoor whom I have to fish out of the water every few days.

Word Count: 206

Activity 5 - Write a poem/flash fiction piece (in less than 200 words) about the water pear *without* using the words “pear”, “spoon”, or “droplet”.

The first day of school for young Rahul Chopra, and his mother had insisted on giving him a blessing. Fortunately, he wasn't the only one with a little, red smear on his forehead. To him, however, it was more important that his father had entrusted him with the precious, old pocket-watch. It had been in his family for generations.
The morning-lessons passed quite well. Not only his parents, but also his grandfather and various neighbours had told him again and again to be polite to the teachers and friendly to his classmates. Unfortunately, Rahul had soon learned that the latter wasn't so easy when certain boys already started bullying those who appeared weaker than them.
To his dismay, Devdan had managed to grab the seat next to him in the tinker-classroom. Could Rahul dare to show what he was capable of, or would that only be an invitation to get mocked and hurt?
The teacher caught him by surprise, so he shyly lifted the wooden handle. Flicking the simple switch on it he let the water-crystals get shaped into a random form.
"Wow! How did you do that?" Devdan leaned over, pure joy on his face, instead of malice.

Word Count: 199

That's it! :)

If you'd like to vote for me, I'm #82.

Really, I'm not sure how well I met the Steampunk-genre, but it certainly is even more difficult to do it with word-limits like that. Never mind that it was a hell of a challenge to combine so much unconnected stuff anyway - but so very much fun, too!

To properly fulfil the third difficulty, I hereby ask again for critique.
I am aware, most of it is rather weird, but I do want to improve on my flash-fiction skills and improvisation, so I'll be grateful for any advice.
And I certainly wouldn't mind to hear back from others than Campaigners and those who tried their hands on that challenge, too.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Untitled Short-Story - Part 1

During NaNo 2011 I found and got found by the Chick Lit Cheerleaders.
They are a great band and always ready to encourage and advise, no matter what you are writing.
Their latest idea was to do some short-stories based on prompts we give each other during March.

The first prompt I chose was given by Lindsay:
He offered her the world. She said she had one of her own.

Countless tales got carried past her in the gentle breeze that made her shawl dance like a flag. It's colour mimicked the violet heather on the hills to the east. From there, her gaze wandered along the river, which flowed down into the valley. It turned and twisted, like it had no sense of direction at all. In truth, these lands were covered with patches of unyielding rock, leaving little room for farmland. There even were some rapids where the blue, clear stream got turned into white, dangerous traps. The fisher-folk, who were one of the few inhabitants of the valley, stayed well away from them, especially when the spring melt has hidden the riverbanks under icy cold masses of water. And still, she had had to save the one or other from drowning. In return, they brought her gifts, like the blue and white striped long dress.
The flame on her staff flickered, although the wind had ceased completely now. In a soft crackle she learned about the Traveller who was about to arrive soon. She didn't need to turn her head to see him, for she had mastered the visions long ago. There was no need to call them, she just listened to what the fire had to tell her. When she sought an answer, either for herself or for one of those who desired her help, it didn't take long until the wood that did not burn revealed what was to come.
It had taken her a while to learn how to recognize a true vision from a false one. The latter were caused by wishful thinking more often than by fear or hate. In time, those like her learned to control their feelings, which was one key to the secret. Every seer had to follow his or her own path. In Valeria's case it had lead her to the solitary tower on top of a steep hill, where she had dwelt alone until today - most of the time with the knowledge that the Traveller would decide on her fate.

Strong, confident steps carried him from the shore onto the cracked, dusty road. As usual, every fibre on him was soaked. So far, no mage had mastered to eliminate this side-effect of the water-bridge. He couldn't help smiling at the irony of that, although the joke was old by now. An ordinary bridge connected two sides of a stretch of water and was supposed to let you cross it without getting wet. The magic which transported you from one place to another via any accumulation of water large enough to stand in, no matter whether it was connected to each other or not, always drenched you. It was generally believed that this was part of how it worked, but some kept wondering if it wasn't rather a deliberate 'mistake' of the spell-casters.
Fortunately the sun shone bright and warm on this day, drying his clothes and hair, while erasing his damp footprints on the road as well. By the time he reached the first bend, he actually felt so hot that he pulled out the scarf, which was stowed away in his pouch, and wound it several times around his head. The cloth and indeed the style of wearing it had been picked up by him on one of his previous journeys. Never once did his feet slow down or falter, carrying him ever onwards towards the tower on the hill.
Soon it became obvious that the main-road, if it deserved that name considering its poor state, would not lead him to his goal but rather to a little settlement at the river-bank. Longingly he regarded the fisher-huts, smelling supper and hearing the laughter of undoubtedly lively, young women. Surely they wouldn't mind a visitor who could repay their hospitality with entertaining stories and rare trinkets? He could imagine it just too well, and found himself smiling contentedly at the prospect of encouraging a little village-feast, so that he could dance with some of the prettiest girls.
The ground beneath his boots suddenly grew softer. Despite his daydreaming, some part of him had noticed a half overgrown path that diverged from the road. While the laughter of the fisher-folk grew faint behind him, he soon had to pay attention on where he placed his feet. It was a rather straight trail of stones that lead up to the tower, and in the steep places they reminded of old, weathered stair-steps. Moss and thick grass padded them and made them probably very slick after a rainfall. He was glad it was not winter right now.
When Alexander's head came level with the top of the hill, all distractions of the valley, lazy mages or previous adventures were forgotten - the wind itself seemed to push him gently upwards until he stepped on the old cobblestones and approached the woman he was meant to marry.
To be continued ...
-> part two

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Summer turns to winter

Jenny was one of the first to answer my 11 questions, among them the request for a writing-prompt.
A man wakes up to find summer has somehow turned to winter.

I fulfilled it (more or less) by writing a scene for my project "Neverlost & Everfound":

There had been pain and he remembered falling. Or perhaps it had been the other way around? Night or day - it was all the same to him. Most of the time, he was just trying to fight the pain and form a coherent thought.
'A hospital bed.' He could smell the the clinical cleanness of the place, hear beeping sounds of machines and blink up at the plain, white ceiling. Sometimes there were muffled voices and blurred faces. After a while, he could distinguish several different people and his vision became clearer, although he didn't care much who they were.
It seemed like an endless nightmare. Was this place real at all? He had been looking for Evelyn. Did he find her?
The beacon had called him, and he was eager to follow. He felt guilty, because he had been about to give up on her. But he had been more than ready to follow this lead, no matter how crazy that seemed. Not once did he regret that he didn't take anyone with him or ask for help, because they all didn't believe he would find her after all these years. Such supportive company just distracted him, and he needed all his concentration to listen to the call of the beacon - to see it with his inner eye, glimmering in the distance, promising hope.
Then there he was falling and lost the connection. Or perhaps he lost his way and he fell, due to stumbling around like a blind mad-man. Running in circles or lying at the bottom of a cliff - it was all the same to him. However, if he had a choice, he would much rather die outside in the summer-sun by the sea, than in a cold hospital that smelled of disinfectant.
In time, he needed less and less medication. His mind cleared and he did not only know what the driving force in his life had been for the last few years, but he also remembered his name and those of his most frequent visitors.
"The doctors say, you could go home in a few weeks, Nestor. You just have to finally start rehab and eat properly. Are you listening?"
"What would I want at home, Frank? I failed her. I can't find her."
The bigger man winced at the weak sound of his friends voice. In years, he was still young, but the loss of his fiancée and his futile, yearlong search for her had marked him, especially this recent episode. And it had almost cost his life.
"Pull yourself together! You were always the one to tell everyone that Evelyn is still alive. That she just is lost and needs to find her way home again. What if she returns and you are not here? Do you expect me to tell her that you have given up on her?"
A nurse opened the door without knocking. When she found Nestor lying in his bed, calm and dejected as usual, and his visitor smiling warmly at her, she left again.
"See - even the people on the corridor listen more to me than you do!" Frank kept his voice at a more moderate volume, which wasn't easy since it was loud and strong by nature, due to his big stature.
"I am listening to you." Nestor blinked at the window, as if he saw it for the first time. "Do you really think she will come home one day?"
"Of course! Although I really can't understand what she sees in you, I know she loves you more than anything and certainly more than you deserve." Frank gave his friend a clap on the shoulder, although he tried to keep his strength in check. The younger man's leg had been damaged so badly that he would never have its full use again, but he had suffered other injuries, like a concussion, too.
"How long have I been here?" There were some flowers and cards on his nightstand, but no paper or a calender. Until recently, Nestor hardly had reacted to anyone, and this was the first time he showed interest in life again.
"I'm afraid you'll need help with moving around when you leave this place. By then we'll be in the middle of winter and even nowadays there is some frost outside in the early hours. But don't worry, me and my boy will be there."
Nestor just nodded, his mind already wandering again. But this time, he did not give in to nightmares and wishful thinking. Instead, he wondered how he could waste months in such a daze. How was Evelyn to find him, if he had almost lost himself?

Monday, February 20, 2012

First Campaigner Challenge (of Fourth Compaign)

The Power of a Word

Shadows crept across the wall, stretching their dark, cold fingers towards the trembling girl. The orange glow of the fireplace was now mocking the security it once had provided.
Her eyes darted towards the bucket of dirty water. Could she reach it in time? It was almost two arm's lengths away. Would it be enough to quench the flames? She herself had provided new logs not long ago, so it would burn bright and last long.
Or might she save her life by throwing in more of the white powder? The mage could coax a spark out of a bundle of wet grass with a pinch of it. He also could call lightning inside the room, by throwing a handful into the air. But there always was a word. And it was a different incantation for every different purpose.
'No!' The shadows had almost reached her. There was nowhere else to go, for the darkness was closing in on all sides, despite the fire. The bucket of water had already vanished. 
Eyes fixed on the last visible bits of powder, which had spilled on the floor when the mage had fallen, the girl screamed a single word until everything faded.

word count: 200

Those were the rules, as given by Rachael: 
Write a flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. 
Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count.
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:
- end the story with the words: "everything faded." (also included in the word count)
- include the word "orange" in the story< - write in the same genre you normally write (in my case: fantasy)

- make your story 200 words exactly!

If you like this, please vote for my story, it's #59 (although it was #60 in the beginning).

P.S.: I declare that this little piece of story is part of my Messenger-project, which can be found here under the respective label.

Friday, February 17, 2012

11 Questions

All right, I've been tagged by my fellow writer Misha and now ought to answer her 11 questions ... and then tag 11 other people and ask them my own 11 questions.

Since this comes from a writer and I plan to tag writers and some of the questions are writing-related and it's about time I introduce myself a bit here on this writing-only blog ... lets start :)

1. Do you believe in fate? 
Yes, I do. For every good thing that happens, be prepared to face some bad news. And if bad things happen to you, there will be good times ahead, too. 
Besides, isn't any writer creating the fate of their characters? They might be fictional, but in a way they do have a life of their own and can't help accepting the fate we dictate them.

2. How the heck do you write and have a life? 
I sometimes sleep very little :)
When I'm in one of these phases where I try to write every day a substantial amount of words (like during NaNoWriMo), I often spend the night half-awake or have to catch up on my writing before going to work.

3. If you were in a written story, which character trope would you most likely have followed? 
I am not entirely sure what is meant with that question.
If it's about which kind of character I would be in a novel ... well, probably the naive, cowardly, poor soul that ends up either in the middle of the action and has to pull herself together, or I would be a casualty :)
If it's about to which kind of character I would be drawn to ... most likely the hero. I would try to offer my help and become his sidekick, or perhaps even his romantic interest, if he's good looking *g*

4. Sweet or Savory?
sweet ... in 90%

5. What's your big dream? 
I want to finish at least 1 novel, have it printed somehow (if necessary at my own expenses) and see it in a book-store (if necessary as a free gift to anyone who cares to take it).

6. Fondest memory? 
Oh, that's a hard one. My memory is awful, which concerns both important and unimportant stuff, as well as happy and bad things. And I know there have been plenty of each.
So, let's choose something writing-related.
Last year, I won the Creature-Creation-Competition of Samantha. There was only one other entry, but I didn't care. I was so proud!

7. What's your biggest wish? (world peace does not count)
I wish for lots of things that can't come true.
And for some that are unlikely or require a lot of effort on my side (like writing a book).
If I were allowed a big selfish wish, it would be that I don't have to die in pain once my time has come. Just fall asleep after everything is settled.
And if I ought to be less selfish, then I would wish that for everyone else.

8. Would you rather have an exciting life and be alone or find the great love of your life and live a relatively normal one? 
Hm, right now I'm quite happy being alone, but my life is not exactly exciting.
However, I would choose the love of my life any time. So, where is he?

9. Have you ever done something, only to realize a half a second later that you made a mistake? 

I do that on a regular basis, unfortunately.
None of those mistakes that comes to mind was interesting enough to mention it here though.

10. Did you try to go back and fix it, or did you follow through? 
It might be that I try to fix it in far too few cases. Sometimes it takes me awfully long to accept my mistake and take actions against it. Most of the time I just think "now you have to live with it".

11. Do you edit while writing or after the draft is done? 
I do edit a little, but not too much. I believe the various writing-courses that it would be stupid to start rewriting lots of your story before the first draft is finished. 

So, and now I am going to ask my 11 questions to the 11 people listed below.

1. Do you believe creating stories, songs, art etc. is some sort of magic?

2. What kind of imaginary friend did you have / have you, if you ever had one?
3. Was there ever a story that influenced you enough so that you used part of it in your own work?
4. Is there some kind of trademark you use in every or most of your stories/songs/etc.?
5. What kind of characters or worlds wake your interest in a story?
6. How do you organize your ideas and projects?
7. What do you do when you start to doubt yourself?
8. Where do you feel at home? If there are different places, tell why they feel different.
9. What's your opinion on fanfiction/fanart/filk/etc.?
10. Can you recommend a writing-tip or -tool?
11. Would you care to give me a writing-prompt, please?

I hope, some of these people will answer my questions, here or somewhere else, they are quite a mixed group:

1. farawayeyes
2. Fiacha
3. Jana
4. Jenny 
5. Jessica
6. Kerimaya
7. Lindsay
8. Nutshell
9. Samantha 
10. the first chibi
11. Verity

This gets cross-posted in my general blog.

Monday, February 13, 2012

ORIGINS blogfest

Before I started to write, I started to create worlds.
I was the boss of a realm beyond the clouds. You could travel there on sunrays that were connecting it to earth, I call them sky-stairs. Or you could use one of my space-ships. And in case there were no clouds in the sky, it was hidden and only those familiar with it could go there (like me).

The first writing-success I remember was in primary school. It must have been on of the first stories we were supposed to write, because I had not planned to put much effort into it yet. However, I was praised for it, especially for a certain phrase I used: "He waited in the shadow of the door."
Although I still think I stole that line from somewhere, I started to like the idea of writing stories.

My memory is bad, but I know I tried to tell several stories via pictures during the next few years, the written words did come later (with some exceptions that turn up now and then in old notebooks).
I liked to put together little magazines, which only readers would be my mother and the friend with whom I worked on them.

Then were were some years of fanfiction for ElfQuest fan-clubs, called holts. This might have been my first English stories, too.

The brainstorming and single scenes for my very first big fantasy-epos were in german. Books like those of David Eddings inspired me. Till this day it is still untiteled and of course unfinished.
It shares that second characteristic with all of my other stories, which I usually started during the last few NaNoWriMos or as fanfiction.
Most of my stories are in English now, because I discovered my love for that language some years ago.

This is my contribution to DL Hammons' ORIGINS blogfest, which he started so that writers could share a bit of their past and motivation with others. Take a look at his link-list, if you are interested in more origin-stories.

This entry is cross-posted with my general-blog.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Join the Fourth Writer's Platform Campaign

Last autumn I learned of Rachael's great idea to create a community where like-minded writers can meet, that was the 3rd Writer's Platform Campaign.
I had a lot of fun with the flash-fiction challenges that were organized (you can find my entries for those in this blog, too). Furthermore I learned a lot and found some were helpful advice on writing on all those other blogs. And last but not least, I made new friends who share my hobby.

So, I was looking forward eagerly to her next campaign, and here it is.
Please, visit Rachael Harrie's Fourth Writer's Platform Campaign!
If you want to sign up, you have to do so until February 15th.

This was crossposted with my general blog.