Tuesday, 21 October 2014

I can’t get married

In one sentence is the spark of a story. Ignite.

Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a memory about this sentence. Write something about this sentence.

Be sure to tag writeworld in your block!

“I can’t get married.” She said it quietly and then she sat silently as she was abused for everything from her misguided understanding of her family status to her perceived act of feminism. The topic of marrying her off had arisen because she was now eighteen.
She waited.
It took a long time before the threats and the shouting died down enough for her to explain further.
“I can’t get married,” she repeated, “Because I am already married.”
Her father’s face went so red she suspected he might actually have a stroke. “Whaat?”
“To whom?” the royal advisor demanded. “As far as I know, you never leave the palace.”
No. She didn’t, and she almost hated the man for reminding her. She allowed a tight glare at him before she got herself back under control.
“Who did you marry?” her father demanded. “And when?”
“I was a child and it was to Stefan of Moldavia. You remember, father?” The young man had seemed a lot older than she was to her five year old self. Now, she guessed he had been early teens, perhaps twelve. She had held some romantic fantasies over him as she grew up. And she had never forgotten him. He had been sweet to her when she had been terrified by the whole process. She spent the ceremony holding tightly to his hand.
“Ohh, ppfft,” her father said. “That was nothing.” His standard response when things didn’t match his plans.
“Nevertheless it was a marriage; not just an engagement.” Her nurse had explained the difference to her. She was the only one who had taken the time to do so, before she was dismissed some years later for trying to help the young princess.
“I-I have no record of this,” Chancellor Boleyn blustered.
“You are a recent addition to the household,” she reminded him. He looked, oddly guilty to her, though. “There must be a record of it. And I would be most surprised if his kingdom has not been in contact.” Especially as she had aged, and was now old enough to assume all the responsibilities of her position as wife.
“Boleyn?” the king demanded.
“I... I had no idea.”
The king understood that he was dissembling. “Did they contact us?”
“There was a letter... but I didn’t know-”
“What did you tell them?” she asked.
He gaped at her. “I--”
“What did you tell them, Boleyn?” the king asked.
“That the princess was to be married to another.”
“Your majesty?” a guard interrupted.
“Not now!” the king rounded on him.
“There is an envoy... from Moldavia.”
She wanted to laugh; the timing was exquisite. “Is it Prince Stefan?” she asked, her heart in her throat.
He bowed to her. “Yes, your highness-” he glanced at the king, “- and he has brought an army,” the guard added.
She gasped.
“This is outrageous!” the king said. “It’s an invasion.”
The guard spoke, “He said it was required as a sign of respect for his wife.” The statement went up on the end; it was more of a question.
She smoothed down her skirts, and rose. “That would be me,” she told the astonished guard. She hurried out of the room and nobody moved to stop her. It was so hard to keep her pace to a fast walk and not a run.
She grabbed the first horse she saw and rode out to greet her husband. She was not surprised to see her old nurse in part of his entourage.
“I did wonder how you knew I needed rescuing,” she said to him later, when they were alone.
“Did you like the army? Was it too much?”
She chuckled. “You came; you didn’t send a representative. They were so surprised, and they couldn’t argue that I didn’t need or deserve such respect.” She studied him. “That was very smart.”
“I can be diplomatic.” Clearly, he could also be forceful when it was necessary. His armour and weapons were worn with the ease of a man long used to them.
“You held my hand,” she said.
He smiled. “You remember?”
“Yes.” She reached for his hand, and lifted it to her lips. “I have never forgotten you.”
“Good.” Encouraged by her response, he held her close. “Do you need anything from the castle?”
“Nothing. And I would rather not return there. It has few happy memories for me.”
“I am so sorry. I should have come sooner.”
She touched his face. “We can make new memories.”
© AM Gray 2014

Monday, 20 October 2014

Why couldn't he just play along?

In one sentence is the spark of a story. Ignite.

Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a memory about this sentence. Write something about this sentence.

Be sure to tag writeworld in your block!
“Why couldn’t he just play along?” she hissed at Grace as they dragged the third member of their party along with them.
“I do NOT know, Buckley.” She was hanging onto his arm and she actually shook him as she said it. “We told him often enough.”
“I didn’t know,” he wailed.
“Jeff, you idiot. You should have picked up your cues from us. Did we look like we were about to say something unbelievably dumb?”
“Ah... well... when you put it like that.”
“Walk faster,” Buckley said. “Maybe we should run?”
“It was their faces... did you see their faces?” He looked panicked. His eyes too white and too wide. “They had teeth like needles and they... their faces were-”
“Rotting. We know.”
“How can something be alive and be rotting?”
“They weren’t alive, Jeff. Haven’t you worked that out yet?”
He sucked in a breath. “I think I am going to be sick.”
“We don’t have time,” Grace said. “Oh, thank the goddess, there’s the car.”
Buckley glanced back up the road, the way they had come. “Will the charms hold?”
“They had better, or we won’t be going home in one piece.”
“What?” Jeff squeaked.
She flung the door open and pushed him into the back seat. “If they catch us, we’d be rotting, too, Jeff.”
Doors slammed and the car roared away.
“I am so glad that is over,” he said after a few minutes.
“You shouldn’t be,” said Grace, looking grim, “You offended them and now you have to make reparations.”
He giggled nervously, but when Buckley didn’t disagree he started to look less nauseated and a whole lot more worried.
“And worse,” added Buckley, “Now we have to ask the others.”
“And I hate the others,” Grace said. She glared at him in the rear-view mirror.
“I’m sorry,” he murmured.
Buckley tried to be conciliatory. “Well, at least he has learnt a good lesson.”
“Uh, huh. I will be amazed if he listens to us properly in the future.”
“So, I get to go out with you two again?” he asked hopefully.
“Next time you mess up, I will just leave you there,” Grace growled.
He went to laugh, but thought better of it. He suspected that she meant it. He huddled down in the back seat and tried not to keep looking behind them to see if they were being followed. Seeing things that he should not be able to was clearly his problem. Or one of them; keeping his mouth shut was obviously a problem, too.
© AM Gray 2014

Sunday, 19 October 2014

The prophecy is written on the back of a Thai take-out menu

In one sentence is the spark of a story. Ignite.

Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a memory about this sentence. Write something about this sentence.

Be sure to tag writeworld in your block!

*I'm not good at making up prophecies so I borrowed (stole) a random one from Nostradamus.
She stood on the other side of his desk and handed him the paper.
He glanced at it before flipping it over, turning it sideways and looking up at her. “The prophecy is written on the back of a Thai take-out menu?” He sounded personally offended.
“It was all I had.”
“Do you think the nature of the paper affects the words?”
He made a face. “No... that would be-” he glanced up and caught her eye, “-that would be silly.”
“Yes, it would.” She shifted on her feet. “Honestly, when he starts spouting, I have seconds to get it all down.”
“It’s well written given you have so little time,” he conceded. He read it again. “Any hints?”
“No idea.” She recited it from memory.
“Seven conspirators at the banquet will cause to flash
The iron out of the ship against the three:
One will have the two fleets brought to the great one,
When through the evil the latter shoots him in the forehead.”
He sighed. “It sounds like another war prophecy.”
Another one.”
“Shooting... ships of iron.” He scratched his chin. “So who are the three?”
“And two fleets. It sounds like nations at war.”
“But there is a ‘great one’.” He used finger apostrophes.
“Not that we know who he is yet.”
“Who says it is a ‘he’?”
She ignored that.
“So where is he now. The prophet?”
“He’s asleep. It wears him out.”
“Asleep where?”
She blushed and didn’t answer him.
“Right...” He shuffled some papers on his desk and cleared his throat. “So, other than spouting gibberish occasionally, he’s normal?”
“Of course, he’s normal,” she protested and then blushed again. “I mean, he eats Thai take-out doesn’t he?”
“That does not rate as normal, in my book,” he commented.
“Not good with chili, huh?”
“I had this meal once-” he looked embarrassed and unsure of why he was confessing this to her, “-I thought they were small green beans and I swallowed them whole.”
She made a face. “Ouch.”
“You bet. It was worse the next day.”
“He’s fine with chilies, not so good with conversations.” She made an odd shrugging movement.
“Unless they are cryptic-”
“-and have four lines. It is always four lines.”
He grinned at her. “So try to write the next one on a blank sheet of paper?”
“I’ll try, but they’re pretty random.”
“You know the company needs him to keep making these prophecies?”
“I know that and so does he. That’s why he gets so tense about it and then has this collapse afterwards... so much is riding on it and we don’t know what causes them to happen.”
“Yes.” A pause. “It’s end of the world stuff or it could be.”
“Yes. Yes, it is.” She sat down with a whump as if all the air had just gone out of her.
“It’ll be all right,” he said. “He’s on our side.” He reached a hand put to her as if to comfort her.
“I know... it’s just... sometimes-” She looked at him and her face was conflicted.
“Sometimes you’re not sure we are the good side?” he asked.
© AM Gray 2014

Saturday, 18 October 2014

He finds her in his bathtub

In one sentence is the spark of a story. Ignite.

Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a memory about this sentence. Write something about this sentence.

Be sure to tag writeworld in your block!
Weird prompt, so it went weird places... that's my excuse and I am sticking to it. So there.
He found her in his bathtub, buried under twenty-seven frozen pizzas. “Huh,” he said. He didn’t know he owned twenty-seven frozen pizzas.
He crouched down next to the tub. “What are you doing?” he asked.
“Keeping cool.”
He thought about that for a minute. “You’ll smell like salami.”
“You’ll have to scrub it out... to get rid of the scent,” he added.
“You like salami.”
“Yeah... but.” He had a vivid image of licking her skin and her tasting like salami. He cleared his throat. Doing that would probably warm her up, not cool her down. “Why do you need to keep cool?”
“I feel strange.”
“Strange?” he checked.
Her face twisted where it peeked out from between the boxes. “As if I will... catch on fire.”
“Okay,” he agreed. He wasn’t sure what else to say. His life had been very interesting since she had started living with him and he adored it. “Why pizzas?”
“It was all you had in your freezer.”
He made a face. “Really? I didn’t know I had so many.”
“Why do you? Have so many, I mean.”
“I don’t know. I guess I buy a few when they are on special and then I only eat one.”
“I’m glad,” she said. “Otherwise I wouldn’t have enough.”
“I’m glad you have enough, I wouldn’t want you to be burnt up.”
“Thank you,” she said with dignity. Tricky, given she was still hiding under the pizzas.
He yawned. “When you’re ready, and all cooled down, why don’t you come to bed?”
“Sure. Do I need to shower?”
“Not unless you want to.” He grinned at her.
“I knew you liked pizzas.”
“Got enough of them... maybe we should stock up on ice-”
She looked worried.
He brushed the end of her nose with one finger. “- for next time.”
She smiled at him, pleased to know that he wasn’t upset and encouraged that he thought there would be a next time.
© AM Gray 2014

Friday, 17 October 2014

Work in Progress

I saw a comic this week that so neatly encapsulated my works in progress (WIP) problem that I copied it here. And I checked the site and it is okay if you credit them. So thanks, poorly drawn lines… THAT is my problem.
A reader asked about my WIP. Oddly, I had just drawn up a table of them all, so I thought I would share.
I am thinking of doing National Novel writing month (Nanowrimo) and you are supposed to work on a new project. I have maybe two (or three) that could be tagged as my nano project for 2014. If I have already written some words, I will just add more on the end. And a lot of the technical word count is plotting out the story and making back stories for characters rather than actual writing. Pre-planning is a bonus for nano. There is seriously no way you can write 50,000 words in a month without it.
With scrivener, I can set it to only count the words in the actual manuscript and not all the prep stuff that is in the same document, so it should be okay.
But here is a table of my WIP:

working title
rough storyline
word count
Watchers group, multiple worlds, forgotten tech, death vs life, messenger girl in between the two
portal fantasy
secret thoughts
polyamorous multiracial erotica, magic special forces,
paranormal urban fantasy
midnight deals
A girl hides on a tramp steamer, asks guy to protect her; he does more than that, teaches her that desire =/= love
Romance, drama
conon's quest
Adventures of Wizard Conon & Edwin, his human assistant,
Fantasy hero quest
london & tuesday
modern older woman romance w younger man, real life issues w age gap and blended families
new adult
bluebeard's last wife
fairy tale rewrite, BB’s last wife saves herself
fairy tale
second chances
Unhappily married woman dreams up a lover, literally
supernatural hunters, girl bound to life partner by a ring, angst & drama ensue
young adult
autumn leaves
Romance but the guy ultimately wants her for her apartment
unusual house
Girl inherits a house that protects itself and a lawyer that may be soulless. But was her Gran murdered?
murder mystery
succubus / birds & bees
stolen child grows up to realise she is a succubus, goes to a PI; only guy she can touch - he’s a fallen angel
paranormal urban fantasy
kitten at the crossroads
girl accidently sells her virginity to a crossroads demon who falls in love w her
paranormal urban fantasy
the necklace
short stories linked by a necklace that allows the wearer to hear thoughts, explores moral grey issues
modern, magic
shifters and food
The wolf alpha's son chose a non-shifter girl as his mate - why her?
paranormal urban fantasy
the lock dragons
thief steals item guarded by tiny dragons, one becomes a tattoo and the second leads a hunter to them
fantasy, magic
Weredingos/brooklyn tigers
aussie shifters, new teacher in small town dates the head Roo
paranormal urban fantasy
north by northwest
aussie, impulsive street meeting turns into romance - quick; pretend you’re my girlfriend
romance HEA

So, there are seventeen stories that I have plotted out, thought up names and back stories for the main characters, found cool photos that look like my head canons, done some research on places and items that feature in the story, written a few words and maybe made up a Scrivener project for them. SEVENTEEN! It’s about 400,000 words in total, I think.
And it’s not just that I have that many stories, but I have more than ten genres, as well!
And that’s not even counting the other half baked ideas that I have never made a start on, or the short stories that people tell me should be extended, NOR is it counting the manic number of fanfiction stories I still have to finish.
So my over thinking thoughts (as per the cartoon) go something like this… oh, my god I've written a hundred thousand words of bog standard portal fantasy with a magic girl who is probably a Mary-Sue. Who would want to read this? Start next story. OMG I have written a story that uses an ancient god. I have appropriated that from another people, I am a horrible person, and who would want to read that? Start next story… etcetera.
I get that this is me censoring myself. Instead of going back and fixing the issue, I get intrigued by a new shiny idea. I will probably self-publish these, so I'm not trying to sell them to a publisher or literary agent. I won’t spend fourteen years getting it perfect like the Aussie guy who won the 2014 Man Booker prize this week. (Richard Flanagan won with The Narrow Road to the Deep North.)
I'm not that kind of writer. After making a cover, the worst that could happen is that I upload them and they don’t sell. Although my fertile imagination could think up a few more scary options. *laughs at self*
At least I didn't follow the cartoon and delete them! It’s all there to be edited. You can’t edit a blank page.
It can be fixed. It can be finished. I just need to pick one and do it.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

I see you

In one sentence is the spark of a story. Ignite.

Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a memory about this sentence. Write something about this sentence.

Be sure to tag writeworld in your block!

I see you.
Words that changed her life. Her dull, ordinary life. Full of the creeping minutia of everyday stuff. Work, commuting, doing her laundry, grocery shopping, coffee with friends and watching TV. Her companion-less, single life.
‘You are old enough; you should be married,’ her mother would nag. ‘I'll be too old to be a grandmother.’
She told her mother that if she kept inviting what she considered to be nice boys over for dinner then she would never set foot inside her mother’s house again. What her mother thought were nice men, she didn't like at all. They were too loud; too abrasive.
She liked her friends. She liked the occasional man. But she liked being alone more. And the more time she spent alone, the more she preferred it. She didn't even have a cat or a fish. She argued that she liked it that way; that she might go away for a weekend or something, and that to leave a fish or cat alone would be wrong.
Withdrawing from friends meant that they kind of forgot about her. they would organise a night out and not tell her; she always said ‘no’ anyway.
She was walking along the street when a person bumped into her. They didn’t apologise. It was almost as if they didn't see her.
It happened more frequently until it was a daily occurrence.
She decided that she had reached a new level of existence. Her own kind of nirvana. She was invisible.
She revelled in it. She smiled at nothing. There was a new bounce in her step. Everyday was more interesting and exciting than the last with her new found gift.
She danced in her house. Threw her arms above her head and shouted to nothing, “I am invisible!”
And a voice replied, “I see you.”
© AM Gray 2014

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Quiet achiever

I said back in the first week of October that my story ‘I'll be home for Christmas’ has ever so quietly crept up the statistics table.
Its still doing that, but what I hadn't noticed was how well it is doing on Wattpad. It just passed 1,000 reads. For contrast, on Ao3 it is just over 400 hits and on FictionPad it has 105 hits with 23 followers. With 74 chapters, it doesn't take too many reads to push up the stats, if someone finishes the story. So I find it rather intriguing that the math just doesn't add up. Unless people are following it with the intention of maybe reading it one day? With those numbers one or two people have actually read it all the way through. *shrugs* I don’t know.
I kind of skim read it myself this week. A reader was reviewing every chapter (bless them) and I had to read it to remind myself what happened so that I could reply. They said they were a Cullen fan and hadn't read much wolf fic before. For some reason this story gets a few comments like that. They expressed surprise that I only  had 3,700 reviews… no, really, I told them, that’s huge for a wolf fic.
I just did a quick search on FFN - it has fixed up the search tags a bit more - and found that for a Paul/Bella pairing the story with the most reviews has 3292 and is of course, Apologies… written by ME! bwahaha
When I change that to Edward/Bella the story with the largest number of reviews has just under 25,000.
Sigh. Wolf writers always were swimming against the tide.
Read the story here at fanfiction, here at fictionPad, here on A03 or here on Wattpad.