In my last post, I talked about my newly acquired Writer’s Blocks, a fun new way for getting my creative juices flowing. As promised, I’m posting the first of the scenes I wrote from the roll of the WB dice that kicked the whole exercise off. Here’s how they came up, with the further explanation provided by the little insert that came with the set (click the image to see it full size):
- Hero — female child
- Genre — Fantasy
- Plot — Escape — hero must get away from an enemy, a place or an internal conflict
- Plot Twist — Death — major character unexpectedly dies
I thought it might also be interesting to show the actual notebook pages on which I wrote this exercise. In some ways, it was much more fun than using my word processing program and my laptop; you don’t get to do scribbles and cross-outs like this on a computer screen. Then again, my right hand doesn’t cramp up when I’m typing like it did with all this writing. As with the dice image above, if you click on a page it will bring up the full size version.
I am not surprised to see that my writing is much more normal and legible at the start and then gets smaller and more slanted as the scene progresses to the end and I’m rushing to get it on paper as though I’m racing a deadline clock. On this exercise, I struggled with the name of my villain. In the end, I took the name from a good guy character on a favorite television series and made him a bad guy (sorry, Castiel).
And now, ladies and gentlemen, the transposed pages with minor edits (because I just couldn’t publish errors from the draft pages online). Please forgive the repetitions; it’s just an exercise and not a true draft.
Trapped behind the glass and powerless, Keana could only pound against the barrier as she watched Castiel lift his sword high. Her scream echoed in her cage as the sword plunged down and robbed her of the little brother she loved so much. Castiel braced a foot on Jory’s back and pushed, shoving the young boy off his blade. As he stood there gloating, he pointed the end dripping with blood at the young man chained to the floor.”Give it to me now, Keana, and I’ll spare your other brother. Deny me again, and he’ll lose his head.”
“I can’t!” she screamed. “I haven’t inherited it yet! Not…” She shut up when she realized what she’d been about to reveal.
“Go on, tell me,” castiel demanded, stepping forward to rest the edge of his sword on Liam’s neck. “Or do you want to lose your last remaining brother?”
Save yourself, little sister, came Liam’s voice in her head. You’re the most important of us anyway.
Never! she shot back, her hand on the glass as she met his gaze. I’m nothing without my family so shut up and let me think!
Keana’s head dropped forward and pressed against the glass, trying to figure a way out. She knew what it would take to finally have her magic but wasn’t sure she was strong enough for it. But better she have it when she wasn’t ready than losing her family — or her magic — to someone like Castiel.
Backing up as far as she could in her clear cage, she lifted her arms and began to chant. The words she’d learned upon turning twelve flowed easily even though she’d never before spoke the old language aloud. When she finished, she stood there, waiting, but nothing happened.
Perhaps the gods didn’t think she was ready.
“See?! I told you! I can’t give you what I don’t have, so let my brother go!”
“I don’t believe you, little girl,” Castiel said, taking a step back and lifting his sword once again. “And your brother will now pay dearly for that.”
Keana screamed again as she watched the bloodied blade begin its deadly arc toward Liam’s neck. When her hand slammed against the glass this time, a sharp crack carried over all the other sound in the great room. Castiel barely checked the blow that would have killed Liam, and stared at the spiderweb cracks in the prison he’d paid handsomely for that the hag had promised was impenetrable.
Suddenly, Keana staggered back, and dropped to her knees at the sudden pain centered in her chest.
Ride it out, sister, and we can go home.
Concentrating on Liam’s voice, she put one hand [over] her heart and lifted the other skyward, and once more recited the chant. This time, the air above her outstretched palm began to glow and pulse. By the time she spoke the last word, her hand had already closed around the hilt of the long slender [weapon] known in legends as the Blade of the Gods. She could hear Castiel cackling in glee outside of her prison, but ignored him as she grasped the sword with both hands.
Until that moment, she’d never really believed the legends might be real.
“Now! Give it to me now, witch, or do you value the blade more than your brother?”
She stared out at the man she’d one called uncle, seeing he’d once again put his own sword to Liam’s neck.
“No, my brother is everything,” she replied, dropping the sword to her side. “Release me and it’s yours.”
Ignoring the screaming from her brother not to give in, she simply stood as the glass cage shimmered then disappeared. Keana slowly walked forward to where Castiel held her brother at his mercy.
“Now release him. Where can he go chained to the floor?”
In his eagerness, Castiel didn’t notice Keana had stepped too close, his attention riveted to the object he’d been searching for all his life. It wasn’t until he heard Liam throw himself to the floor that he realized her intent. A moment later, he shrieked in outrage as Keana skewered him through the heart with strength well beyond a fourteen-year-old girl.
“For Jory,” she said softly as she sharply twisted the sword in his chest. The killing blow dealt, Castiel collapsed, his weight sliding him off the long blade and onto the ground. With one more big swing, Keana’s blade broke the shackles keeping her brother tied down, and finally they were free.
Who knows? Maybe someday this will become a scene (albeit one much better written) that inspires a YA novel.