Friday Fictioneers -An Ordinary Teenage Disorder

 

Photo Courtesy of Jean L Hayes

Hi all. This week was a struggle and I nearly gave up, but here is my entry for Friday Fictioneers

Only two days until prom, and decorating is underway.

Molten glue drips onto my finger, welding another button to my skin instead of the heart shaped wire frame.

Alex glances over and I quickly turn my head away, feeling every blood vessel in my cheeks dilate.

God, what is wrong with me? A question all my friends must be asking as they avoid me, like love sickness might be catching.  It’s torture, this guessing game of what’s possible and what’s likely and what I want and what will actually happen.

Nothing is happening, I think, as he steps towards me.

 

 

TBAM – Chapter 2: E

Read the rest of the novel here. Sorry about the week break, I was moving!

In the end, Levi was not given the option of opening the door. The stranger opened it for him.

She wasn’t one of the people in the photograph. She looked like she could be in her late forties, but was possibly older under the subtle make-up. Her blonde hair was streaked with grey and pulled back into a tight bun. Levi noticed that her clothes were somewhat formal and unusual. Her grey, asymmetrical dress was made of a stiff material and had long sleeves. She was carrying some clothes with her.

“Good morning, Levi! How are you feeling?” Her smile was very unthreatening, but Levi stepped back. He was almost tempted to just go along with what was happening, but he knew he wouldn’t be convincing.

“I’m sorry, do I… do I know you?” he asked, nervously. Her smile disappeared so quickly Levi wondered whether he’d insulted her. “I’m really sorry, I don’t seem to remember how I got here,” he added, hastily.

“You don’t remember?” The lady blinked. Levi could practically see thoughts running around in her mind. “That’s… that’s unfortunate.”

“Unfortunate?” There was a pause.

“You hit your head,” she said, suddenly. “You fell. When you got here. So we took you upstairs, to rest. That’s probably why you can’t remember. Oh dear.” She took a step forward. Then a step back. Then she sighed. “We’re going to have to explain everything again. I should tell Lekivan. You… You try on some of these clothes. You’ll need to change after sleeping. I’ll talk to Lekivan and then you can meet us in the dining room.”

She dropped the clothes on the desk and rushed out before Levi could ask her where the dining room was.

TBAM – Prologue: A

So, I’m finally posting the novel that gave this blog its name. I’m (doing a lot of) editing as I go. I’m thinking of updating this every Friday. Might increase the frequency when exams are over.

“Are you a vampire?” The question had been burning in Levi’s mind for the past half hour, since he’d seen a man fall from a four storey building, land face-down with a sickening thump, and jump to his feet as if nothing had happened. He glanced at the porcelain coloured face of the woman who had dragged him into this grubby café after he had witnessed that incident, not daring to inspect it too closely. He did not want or need any further confirmation that there was something very unnatural about this lady.

“I think someone has been reading too many Twilight novels,” she said, smirking. “I’m not a vampire, no.”

“And the guys you were chasing? The ones who fell from the roof? They weren’t vampires either?”
“No.”

“Who were they?”

“Just bad guys. You really don’t need to know the details. You won’t remember them, anyway.”

Daring to steal another glimpse of her face, Levi saw that she looked severely bored. He did not know whether that was good or bad.

“I don’t think I’m going to forget anything that you tell me, not after… what I’ve seen.” Levi paused in the sentence after realising that it might be a dangerous thing to say. Amusement seemed to play around the corners of her mouth.

“I didn’t say you were going to forget.”

The waitress came within earshot and Levi fumbled for the drinks menu, which stuck to his fingers as he picked it up. Staring hard at the printed letters, Levi tried to grab at some of the questions that were dancing around his brain. Which one would she be most likely to answer? He couldn’t trust himself to look at the teenage girl who had come to ask for their order. She gave a small cough to break the nervous silence which had settled over their table.

“Two black coffees, please,” Levi heard his companion say. He never drank coffee at this time, but he wasn’t about to disagree with her.

He guessed that it was between six and seven at night, but it felt later than that. Levi looked out of the grotty windows at the dark street outside and saw the orange glow of the street lamp illuminating the litter on the pavement. Inside the café, there was only one other customer, a woman with thick make up and peroxide blonde hair. She had been too absorbed by her phone to even notice them come in.

When the coffee arrived in grimy mugs, Levi ignored his and stared at the graffiti on their greasy table. Keats covered it with her elbow.

“What was I saying before?” She paused. “Ah, yes. I’m going to erase your memories. Tomorrow morning you’re going to wake up like this never happened.” She smiled as if this was something Levi had been waiting for.

“What if I don’t want my memories erased?” Levi eventually replied. Her expression changed to one of pity.

“Okay. So if I don’t erase your memories, you’d be perfectly okay with living the rest of your life knowing that people like me exist, that stuff like the things you just saw can happen, and you’d be fine with that? No. You’d go insane. Trust me on this one.”

Levi didn’t really know how to respond to that.

Too Gruesome? Books/TV shows affecting your work.

I find my writing to be influenced by the books I read. I don’t believe it affects me as much as it used to. Within my novels, I like the think my writing styles and voice are fairly consistent throughout whatever story I’m writing.

Within NaNoWriMo, it can be difficult to write quickly while maintaining quality. The point is that you’re supposed to switch off that inner editor and try and write pretty much what comes into your head. This has increased the degree to which the styles of the books I read come through in my own work.

For example, I recently finished American Gods. While I can’t possibly write as well as Neil Gaiman, I feel that I can feel it’s influence in a particular scene that I wrote. Here’s an extract:

 

“What a lovely surprise!” Keats almost jumped out of her skin. A slender man appeared from nowhere. He had sandy coloured hair, a wide smile and he looked to be no older than 25. He clapped his hands and chairs appeared. “Sit down! I rarely have visitors, but when I do, I like to treat them well.” Keats did not sit down, but Kanber did. She began to remember how pleasant this man had been to her last time she’d visited. Keats looked at the stranger with suspicion.

  “Who are you exactly?” she asked.

  “That, unfortunately, is a secret. I can’t tell you.” He answered her question with the politest of smiles. Keats snorted.

  “Are you aware that living in this place is illegal? How long have you been staying here?”

  “I’ve been here for so long that I’ve forgotten exactly when I arrived. But I remember the circumstances. It was a very sad day indeed. Would you like some tea?”

  “No thank you. Care to elaborate on those circumstances? What are you doing here?”

  “I’d like some tea.” Kanber butted in.

  “I wait.” He got up to make the tea, using magic alone to provide the hot water. “And before you ask why, it’s another secret.”

  “No surprises there.” Keats muttered. Kanber graciously accepted her tea and the man lowered himself down onto a chair opposite her.

  “This tea is really delicious.” Kanber noted.

  “Thanks. Secret recipe.” he replied.  Keats rolled her eyes.

Also, watching Hannibal seems to have taken its toll on my writing style too. I’m a little worried this might be too gruesome for YA Fantasy:

Minutes later, they were looking down at a bloody, butchered corpse on the floor of the prison corridor. It was the unlikeliest of mother-daughter bonding activities. Kanber’s eyes were fixed on the heap of broken flesh. Aside from a couple of fragmented tattoos, it would have been impossible to tell that this foul mess was what used to be Vett. Kanber started to feel a bit nauseous, but not enough to stop looking. Blood and bits of organ tissue slid down the prison bars. It looked as if someone crushed him against the bars until most of him had fallen out of the other side.

I’m interested to hear how other people prevent books/TV influencing their writing.

Taking Back The Crown – Part Seventeen

 Sonya put all her efforts over the next few months into not only recovering physically, but emotionally from her last encounter with Seta. After looking in the mirror, Sonya concluded it was hardly surprising that Seta had not recognized her. It was a long time before her face did not bear horrendous scars from the disastrous battle in Helena. Sonya was surprised at the number of recruits that remained. They had lost almost a quarter of their number in the battle, but almost everyone that survived remained loyal to the cause. They even had new magicians turn up, eager to fight.

 Linden seemed suddenly reluctant to talk about plans with her. Every time Sonya suggested how they would attack next time, he shrugged her off, saying they needed to be patient. This went on for about five months, until one night, her turned around and put his face uncomfortably close to hers.

  “We need to play the long game.” he began, quietly. “If we had another Litian heir, we’d have more of a chance…”

 “You’re not suggesting…” He put a hand on her hip, making it perfectly clear what he was suggesting. “It’s out of the question.”

 “You’re being selfish. These men are laying down their lives for you, and you won’t even do this to help them?” He stayed where he was, still gripping her with his left hand.

 Sonya thought about it. Was she being selfish?

 “No. The next battle, we do things my way.” Sonya pushed past him and walked out of the room.

Taking Back The Crown – Part Fifteen

Sorry about the missed day. Been a little distracted of late. I can only hope this mood improves by the time I start NaNoWriMo.

 Eighteen months later, their small army marched into Helena with Sonya and Linden at their head, but they didn’t see a soul. They pressed on, Sonya feeling uneasy, until they reached the central square.

 “This is a mistake.” Sonya breathed.

No sooner than she had finished whispering those words, a screaming mob of Rutilus and dark magicians had surrounded them. Sonya found herself taken back to the night of the raid on the Palace, watching as people were slaughtered. Not again. It wouldn’t happen again. She surged forward, throwing attacks at her enemies and watching them fall. Her recruits followed her into the chaos. She suffered blows on her back, front and legs but kept going until she found herself against the tall Palace gates. Sonya turned to see hundreds of Rutilus pressing towards her, and she couldn’t keep them at bay.

  What can I do? What can I do? Sonya thought. A Rutilus threw an attack, and she was blown into unconsciousness.

 Linden saw this happening and used his magic to shoot a blue flare into the sky. This was the signal to retreat.

 “What about Sonya?!” Orika yelled above the din.

 “She’s gone! There’s nothing we can do!” With that, he teleported back to the base.

 Orika ignored him and dived into the mass. With the aid of some other recruits who did not want to lose their leader, she retrieved Sonya’s body and finally retreated.

Taking Back The Crown – Part Fourteen

For months there were arguments about how they should oust the dark magicians from Helena.

 “We should approach from the North and slowly clear everyone out.” Linden advised. “There aren’t enough of us to split into groups. If all the Rutilus come in from the Back Desert, they’ll be able to pick us off, one by one.”

 “No, we need to take them by surprise. If we take Magdalene, the leader, before she can call them in, they might just leave us.”

 “Your highness, I appreciate you are concerned, but I have experience in these matters. You must trust me.”

 Sonya walked out of the room, frustrated.

While the plans were discussed, Sonya spent time teaching new recruits everything she knew about magical combat. She was even taught new things by those who had studied different methods under trainers from other lands. In the end, Sonya had her own style that she was comfortable with, but she never stopped feeling guilty about her incomplete training with Seta.

 She made friends with Orika and, six months after moving to the camp, confided in her about the Training Ground and the circumstances in which she left. She neglected to mention her feelings for Seta, but Orika understood and comforted her.

 “Why not go back and explain properly? He might want to fight with us.” Orika suggested.

 “For a group of magicians who train in combat, they’re very anti-conflict. They don’t get involved with other people’s wars.”

 “Maybe in general, but he might not be.” she pointed out. Sonya was doubtful. It was best to leave Seta and those painful memories behind.

Taking Back The Crown – Part Thirteen

If I’m completely honest, writing this part made me a tiny bit emotional. Also, I may not get around to posting tomorrow as I’ll be out all day.

 

 “Who is he?” Seta asked. He was sitting on the floor in her room. He’d clearly been there for quite some time. Sonya had warped in fifteen seconds ago, and now stood in front of him, unable to move or answer. To let him think that she had been visiting a boy was unbearable, but if he knew the truth…

 “If you won’t tell me where you’ve been, then I have to assume the worst, Sonya.” Seta’s lips were turned down firmly at the edges. It was clear he found the whole situation unpleasant. “Sneaking out at night, the way you’ve been distracted… I suspected what was going on, but I really didn’t want to think it was true. Give me any explanation…” He was almost pleading.

  Sonya couldn’t even look at him. The shame burned her chest and eyes.

 “I know the rules are strict but, in the end it’s your choice to stay here… You’ve really disappointed me. I can’t ignore this deceit. I have to tell the Elders.” He walked out of the room, leaving her drowning in the sense of her own disgrace.

While he was gone, Sonya made up her mind. She quickly searched through her room for things she wanted to take with her, but realized she never really kept any personal effects here. Taking a deep breath, she transported to the camp and went straight to Linden.

 “Back already?” he asked, looking concerned.

 “I’m back for good. I’ll be staying here permanently until we take back Litia.”

Taking Back The Crown – Part Twelve

Sonya visited Linden’s camp every night while she completed her training with Seta. As time ran only slightly slower in the Sprite World, she survived on very little sleep. Seta noticed her fatigue, but she gave him no hints as to why she was tired. To keep secrets from him, to put this emotional distance between herself and her mentor, saddened her. However, she had many distractions.

 Linden had been correct in his assumption that magicians would be more willing to fight with a member of the Royal Family at their side. The numbers grew quickly, and there was barely enough room for all of the recruits. Eventually, they created a concealed camp on Litia’s outskirts, one that was much larger. This made things much easier for Sonya, as the time difference meant she could get more rest.

 After weeks of patrolling Litia’s outer districts, they had not seen anyone, Rutilus or human. They came closer and closer to Litia’s capital, Helena. Only when they reached the edges of the capital did they come across small groups of Rutilus. Most of the time, they hid. When the time came to attack, they wanted to be prepared and they wanted the element of surprise. On one patrol though, they were seen by a female Rutilus. They captured and restrained her in an abandoned home.

 “Your efforts will be in vain!” she hissed. “We are all faithful to Magdalene. If she calls us you’ll have our entire race to contend with!” She spat in Orika’s face, broke her bonds and sent an attack flying across the room. Linden yelled out as it hit him in the face, cutting deeply across his cheek. Sonya quickly reacted, using her magic to trip the Rutilus before she could escape.

 Sonya executed the Rutilus that night. It was the first time she had killed anyone, and was shocked to find it so exhilarating. Having the power to rip someone’s life away was terrifying, but Sonya had no regrets. It needed to be done.

NaNoWriMo Dry Run

ImageToday I did a dry run for National Novel Writing Month. To hit the target of 50,000 words in thirty days, I’ll need to write approximately 1700 words per day.

I timed how long it took to write 1700 words. I often found myself distracted, but I was pleased when I managed to reach my goal within three hours and forty minutes.

Given that I’m now into my summer holiday, and I don’t have much else planned in July, I think it’s a fairly realistic target, although I can see it taking longer and longer to complete each day as I get more tired and I get into parts of my novel that I haven’t fully planned out yet.

I’m working the first three days in July on a residential summer school, where I will never be “off-duty,” so to speak. I probably won’t have access to my computer. That means I’m already going to be behind as soon as I start. I imagine that there will probably other days where I don’t manage to meet the target. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll catch up without too much difficulty.

The novel I’ll be working on is the sequel to TBAM. I’ve already written 11,900 words. I’ve accordingly adjusted the target on my NaNoWriMo account. My major concern is that I’ll run out novel by the time I hit 62,000 words!

Here’s my Camp NaNoWriMo Profile Page.