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Week 3, Day 5: 0 words

No words today. So depressing. I found no time to write. The day just slipped past my fingers like water.

Okay, so yesterday, I posted about how there is a contest for a short science fiction story and how they want it to be inspired by a new science discovery or innovation. I wrote some yesterday and a character popped up, voice and all. His (yes, my character is male!) voice seems to be pretty strong, but despite that, right now he is something of an archetypes. God knows if it will last.  About the only thing I know is that it will be take place in the near future – about 10 or 15 or 20 years in the future. Probably 15 – it strikes me as a nice middle ground.

I don’t have an actual idea or even the bare bones of a concept yet, let alone a plot. I realized yesterday night if I use computers at all, it is going to read like cyperpunk. If I go the route of the social sciences, it’s going to turn into the type of story where you don’t know right off the bat if it is fantasy or science fiction. Not sure if I want that type of confusion in a short story. If I decide to use a biology based science, I’ve no idea what I will get.

I suppose it’s a good thing the character came first. I can develop him into a better character, but if the idea came first, the danger is that I might focus too might on that and leave the characters flat. On the other hand, this way there is the danger that I might leave my concept undeveloped. Not that there is much room to develop much of anything in a short story.

What I really need right now is a short, concrete plot.

Week 3, Day 4: 237 words

237 words. Not bad for today. Ended with a piece of dialogue, but it doesn’t feel right to me, so I am thinking that has to change and so the last few words don’t really count. We’ll see what I do tomorrow.

I discovered a story contest on twitter today. Here: http://crossedgenres.com/simf/contest/rules/. They want science fiction story based on some new (new as in this year!!!!) discover or innovation. I am going to try and see if I can write something. I can’t really think of any new inspiring discovery. At least, inspiring to me. If I do anything at all, it is going to be based on either biology or computers. Maybe some combo of both – nanotech with medicine. Or cybernetics. Or data mining. I read something about a scientist that managed to model a rat brain and what if someone managed to model a human brain . . . I don’t know. Maybe someone’s prosthetic suddenly got a virus? If it was a biological  prosthetic instead of one involving chips . . . maybe. Or something to do with neural networks. The last submission date is June 30 so if I am going to write something, I need to figure it out fast.

Today when I was spell checking yesterday’s work, I had written rouge, like the make up, and I did not want makeup. I wanted the other word, the one that meant something like rebel, wicked, bad boy, like that. I used word-web to find synonyms and I couldn’t.  For the life of me, I could not figure out how to spell the word I wanted. I could not even figure out what its synonyms were.  Then it hit me – I typed in scoundrel (thinking of various romance novels Scoundrel This, Rebel that and Devil the other). Finally, in word-web’s types tab, and lo and behold, I found rogue.  Thank you word-web! The only difference between rouge and rogue is that g and u are reversed.  But such a difference in meaning! Really, I can just picture someone reading rouge and laughing their ass off.

Wrote a mere 180 words today. I don’t understand why I am so slow. The words just aren’t coming. I think I was a bit frustrated today by how long it took me to figure out the proper spelling for rogue.

pictures that inspire: a cat and a mountain

Little Mountain by moroka323

Isn’t this photo pretty? I found it on deviantART. Someone whose user name is moroka323 made it. I love the misty blueness of it and the cat the mountain. I am thinking now one of my characters, who lives in the mountains, will have this cat for a pet.

342 days. That should please me, but it really doesn’t. I am just so tired and it took so long to come to a point where I felt I could leave off for tomorrow.

I found out about more one of my secondary characters today. I’d thought Kam was going to be a fairly minor character, but he is not. I found out somethings about him I didn’t anticipate. Maybe I should have. It looks like he is going to be a major character, but I am not sure what his role is. He’s nicer than I first suspected. Gonna have to figure him out.  What are his issues?

Week 3, Day 1: 403 words

Writing was hard today. I started chapter three and I did not want to write. This chapter is a turning point, I think, an early one. I could have done a few different things and not doing them is going to lock in some of the plot. But I am past the hurdle now and I am not going to go back and edit and change anything. At least not until the whole thing is over. That is not what this experiment is about.

Anyway I wrote more than 400 words and I am happy about that.

So, in chapter 2, a new province showed up. I didn’t expect that; in fact, I thought a new country would show up. I thought it would be a country across a Mediterranean type sea. Not sure how the country turned into a province. But it did and it is filled with mountains. I am thinking there is a little strip of sea bordering the mountains, which eventually leads to the ocean. I don’t know too much about this place yet.

So, the main city itself. I am thinking it is going to be an island. A large island, smack dab in the middle of a place where the main river connects with a few other rivers. Some of the other rivers are going to be come off the mountains, I think. So anyway where the rivers and the original sea I had imagined (not the little strip that showed up with the new province!), where they meet, there is going to be a large island. There is my city.

In the beginning, I thought a large part of this country was going to be a desert but I think with a large river system, the large sea, most of the country can’t be desert. Some it, maybe, but not large chunks. I am disappointed.

I think I am going to have to draw a map. I suck at drawing.

Week 2, Chapter 2

Chapter Two

He handed me into the carriage and settled down beside me. The driver was a young soldier, maybe two years older than me, and he set off the moment we were seated.

I ignored the passerby and turned my attention to Kam. “When did you get back, my lord?”

“Seven days ago. You weren’t at the ziggurat yesterday,” he said.

Kam went to the royal ziggurat. Usually mama went, too, always on Father’s arm. The priest couldn’t deny Father, but he was a prissy idiot and glowered at me every time I went with him. I had no idea if he objected to me because I was Father’s bastard daughter or because I was an entertainer apprentice. I never went because of him and if Father asked, that’s what I would say. “I had studying to do.”

Kam curled his lip. “Of course you did.”

“You -” I started, but another carriage rolled up beside ours and my heart sank. My step-mother.

Our carriage came to a stop. The driver recognized her, too.

Two of her daughters were inside with her. She wore a cream and gold dress. It set off her dusky skin beautifully. Her gold and ruby crown gleamed in the morning sun. She always wore the crown, as if she needed its reassurance she really was Father’s wife. I suspected she even wore it to bed. She eyed me like I was the dirtiest mongrel she had ever seen.

“Kam, what are you doing with this – this -”

“Taking her somewhere, mother,” he said, voice mild. “I would appreciate if you didn’t stop us.”

“You must not -”

“I must do my duty, mother. Now, driver, if you please.”

Our carriage started again and I breathed a sigh of relief. She was another reason I avoided the ziggurat. The woman practically lived there.

I studied Kam and wondered at how short he had been with his mother. Only now did I see tension in the lines of his body. His face, too, his usual mask was less causal than I remembered.

“You’ve never spoken that way to your mother before.”

He snorted. “I doubt you have ever heard me speak to my mother before.”

I had, always in public. Kam was unfailingly polite, even when his mother was throwing a screaming fit.

Kam felt no need to make conversion and I was very aware of the silence between us. I didn’t say anything else, just watched the palace come closer.

The palace was large enough to see from almost anywhere; at least its walls are. Good luck trying to see past them or get beyond them.

One of the guards was always a magician. This time she was an upper journeyman; I knew because she had a gold half-moon pinned to her uniform. A lower journeyman would have had a silver moon.

She examined both the driver and Kam, to make sure they were both really real. Everyone is examined, even the Queen, so it is no insult. But higher ranking people usually get higher ranking magicians to test them, but Kam was not bothered by having a mere journeyman test him. He’d told me once that his military rank was more important than his noble rank.

She examined me too. Her fingers were cool on my brow and and I had to keep from tensing. My breath was slow and deep, like they’d taught us to relax and make the body look as natural as possible.

Her magic trailed down my body. It felt like icy drizzles of rain. I willed my stone not to respond. It became a cold hard lump between my breasts. No way to tell if it was responding to her magic or to me.

She nodded to Kam and stepped away, signaling. I slumped in my cushioned seat in relief. Thank god.

The palace was large and imposing. Made of an ugly gray stone, it gave the impression of a squatting, growling wolf.

The driver dropped us at the front steps and went back to wherever carriage drivers go.

The stairs were wide enough for only one person and a guard stood next to each step. Kam motioned for me to go first. So I lifted my terribly wrinkled rose silk dress and climbed. I ignored the guards as thoroughly as I could.

The inside of the palace wasn’t any more reassuring, filled as it was with dour stone statues and paintings of battles. Kam took firm hold of my elbow – I suppose he didn’t want me wandering around – and led me forward.

He took me up to the second floor, past filigreed balconies, the throne room, the grand ballroom and the smaller receiving room. The second floor had smaller versions of everything on the first floor and a few studies besides for the use of Father’s ministers.

Father waited for me in the small sitting room adjacent to his personal library. I don’t know if he ever used the library. Father’s wasn’t really the scholarly type and the library probably suffered because of it. But I did know he used this sitting room for informal, yet official meetings.

The room was wooden. Wooden table, wooden carvings decorated the walls, wooden slats covered the glass windows. It had pale green silk curtains, too, but the covered the slats.

Breakfast covered the table. Father looked up from a plate of sweet cakes and smiled. His smile lit up his face and I couldn’t help but smile back.

“Isi,” he said, holding out an arm.

I hugged him and his solid bulk was still reassuring, for all that I wasn’t a child anymore.

He let go and surveyed me. “Has that guild of yours feeding you right? You are too thin. Sit, eat. I had the kitchen make your favorite egg pastry and spicy bread.”

I laughed. “They do well enough.”

Now that Father had pointed them put, I saw a whole platter of egg pastries. My mouth watered.

“Kam, you – ah, my lord magician, excellent timing.”

My heart stopped and my mouth dried up. Hell and damnation. I hadn’t expected to deal with magicions. Not beyond the gates.

I looked up and found myself staring at the full crimson robes of an adept. The symbol of his rank, a large gold circle crossed by a sword, was pinned to his chest. A heartbeat later I recognized his craggy seamed face. He was the Magician Minister. I’d seen him eating through a window last night.

Oh, this was bad.

Father patted my hand. “He’s harmless, Isi. Sit. Eat. You, too, Kam.”

I realized that Kam had been watching the magician warily, like a man watching a serpent someone had told him was harmless.

“Yes, sir,” he said and dutifully took the chair beside me. Calmly, he filled a plate with spicy bread and the pepper spread.

I decided to follow his example.

When the magician decided to sit with us, I kept my eyes on my own plate and prayed no one would notice me. No such luck.

“Isi,” said Father.

I looked up. “Father?”

“This is Adept Belay. Adept Belay, my daughter Ising, my step-son Kam.”

I nodded at him, not trusting myself to speak. Tam gave one short, brisk nod.

“Such verbose children you have, sire,” he said.

Father snorted. “There is no need to be afraid,” he said to us.

I looked down at my plate.

“Yes, sir,” Kam said.

“You shall see,” said Father.

I hoped I never would.

“Isi, how much do you know about Outain?”

I blinked. Outain was a northern province, nestled inside the mountains and the way there wasn’t easy. They were an odd people and for all that they belonged to this country, their ways were supposed to be very different. Sometimes I dreamed I’d been born there, because the children of their nobility had all the freedoms of the peasants. Even their bastards. Maybe especially their bastards, because they were counted among the peasants. Here, bastards weren’t. But we weren’t nobility either. We didn’t have the freedom of the peasants or the privilege of the nobility. Most of us ended up either in the army or working as an entertainer; both places could have people from any class.

“Just that their ways are different, Father. I’ve never met one,” I said.

“Kam?”

“Their soldiers are among the best. They have no peer with the bow, the sword and the staff. They are as disciplined any officer can ask for. They lack education and are rather provincial.  In addition, they are very willful and stubborn.” Kam’s voice was cold and precise.

Adept  Belay brows rose. “You have Outain soldiers under you?”

“I have commanded Outain soldiers, yes,” said Kam.

I wondered at the differences in how they said that.

Meet and exceeded my daily goal. 🙂 Yah!

The week’s word count comes up to 1, 468 words. Weekly goal is 1, 400 and so I am on target. I am grateful. Considering how many non-writing days I had this week and how I got sick, I am lucky to make the goal.

I feel like my story is finally going somewhere. I can see a little of its shape now. She finally, finally met with her father. I thought it would happen last week, but here I am, at the end of the second week and it only happens today. A few unexpected things have happened already – the stepmother showed, a magician appeared and I hadn’t planned on either. I’d thought her mother would have appeared when she met with her father, but so far, her mother is MIA. Truly, I’d expected her mother to be a powerful character, but so far she has yet to show herself.