Tag Archive: Fantasy


Toxic

Happy New Year!!! Here’s to a fresh new year of creativity and stories! Looking forward to reading and writing, and sharing stories and ideas with all the other awesome writers on the internet.

This piece was written for Words on Wednesdays in The Write Practice. Today’s word was Toxic. I really enjoyed writing it – maybe I can do something with these characters sometime?

 

As Thomas opened the huge wooden door to the stone walled chamber, she was the first thing he saw.

Vivienne – beautiful, bewitching, toxic. He had to lean against the door frame for a moment to steady himself.

She lay on her side across the chaise-longue in front of the fire, in a black and red corset and thigh length boots, with her long curtain of sleek shiny black hair tumbling down her shoulders.  She broke into a seductive smile, and Thomas was sure he could hear her purring.

“I knew you would come,” she said, her voice slithering towards him and tickling his ears. It was intoxicating.

Thomas cleared his throat. “Don’t imagine I’m falling for this, Vivienne.” He told her, in what he hoped was a strong unwavering voice, “You are pure poison. Toxic. If I touched you, I would burn in hell.”

Vivienne giggled “Oh come now! Let’s be friends!”. She rolled smoothly onto her back, lifting one long, shapely leg and hooking it over the back of the chaise. She lifted her hips a little, the sight of which almost caused him to stop breathing. It would be so easy to give in and lose himself in lust, but he had come here for a purpose, and he must not fail.

He took the dagger from his belt and marched purposefully towards her. He was breathing hard, his heart racing at the thought of what he must do. Her intoxicating scent hit his nostrils and surged into his lungs, and it took every last scrap of will power he had to hold the dagger above her chest.

“Must….stab….” he gasped.

But his senses were overpowered. He could hold back no longer. His dagger dropped to the floor, and he fell into her embrace, into the burning fire and poison of this evil, toxic witch. With one move, she flipped him over onto his back and moved on top of him, a ritualistic dance.

Annabelle tutted. She had watched the whole thing from behind the door.

“If you want something doing properly…” she muttered to herself, as she entered unseen into the room. Picking up the discarded dagger, she lifted it with both hands and plunged it into Vivienne’s back.

There was a split second of silence and stillness, as if the world had stopped for a moment.

Finally, Vivienne exploded with a roaring scream, filling the room briefly with hot red smoke and then vanishing with a noise that sounded like a hundred souls being sucked into a void.

Thomas fell to the floor, wide eyed and gasping. He looked at the chaise where he had been locked in Vivienne’s clutches moments before.

“Thanks,” he said, looking sheepishly up at his friend.

“Think nothing of it,” said Annabelle, curtly. She turned and walked out of the room.

 

Flitter-mouse

This is a story I wrote for a competition a while back. I didn’t get anywhere in the competition, but I was proud of my story anyway. My Tea with Trolls story went down so well with everyone the other day, I thought I might throw this one at you too. 

Flitter-mouse

I stood outside the dusty shop and hesitated for a moment. I really didn’t want to do this but I had no choice. It was the lesser of two evils – I didn’t want to go through another night of hiding in the bottom cupboard of the large dresser that stood in the parlor. It was too cramped. For 13 years old, I was small and slight but still, it was not as easy to hide there as it had been when I was 5. That was when the creatures of my nightmares had sprung, uninvited, into my real life. Every full moon they came to get me. In the early days, before my grandfather had his stroke, he would hide me in the dresser and then sit in his parlor chair, smoking his pipe. The smell of the tobacco hid my scent, and when the creatures came he would tell them I was not at home. They would turn grudgingly, and slither back into the night.

Nowadays I had to fend for myself.

I had found this shop quite by accident when I was 10. I was on my way to school, an awkward little girl with mismatched socks and clothes that I was going to grow into, walking alone as usual. I spotted the shop out of the corner of my eye – a crooked little building with faded peeling paintwork, broken roof tiles and filthy windows. It took me several months to pluck up the courage to go in, and several months more before I was brave enough to buy anything.

I had tried a variety of amulets and incantations lifted from dubious hand written spell books, and last time a throat burning, stomach churning potion. None of it had worked for long. The creatures guessed at my tricks. They were always just a step behind me.

So here I was again, desperate to find the answer.

I pushed at the door. The tinkling bell above the entrance announced my arrival, and I shut the door behind me and waited, biting my lip.

It was dark inside the shop, and it took a while for my eyes to focus on the dusty shelves lining the walls that held all manner of unusual objects – battered pots and tattered books, packets of incense sticks, strange contraptions that ticked and whirred, and bottles of potions that glittered darkly.

It was a moment before I noticed the old woman standing there watching me. When I met her eye, she gave me that familiar toothless grin that made the hairs on the back of my neck prickle.

“Back again, little Flitter-mouse?” she crooned.

“Um, yes,” I replied, fidgeting my feet and twisting my fingers round each other in my clasped hands. I cleared my throat a little. The words were having difficulty forming themselves in my mouth, “That potion you gave me…”

“You want some more?”

“NO! No,” I shook my head vigorously. I didn’t want to go through that again.

The old woman observed me shrewdly, nodding to herself.

“Some thing else.” she all but whispered with a wicked grin and beckoned me forward as she turned to the back of the shop.I followed her through a curtained archway behind the dusty counter into an old glass-house.The unwashed panes were murky and covered in green mildew. It was humid, and smelt damp and musty. Plants of various sizes fought for space in old plant pots. I noticed that some of the plants were moving…there was an ominous hushed rustling sound, as tendrils slithered and crept, and leaves wriggled and dripped.

I stood in the middle of the room my hands clasped under my chin, making myself as small and thin as I could. The old woman was hunched over in the corner, busying herself with a small pair of clippers and a trowel, humming tunelessly as she worked. Finally she turned round and held out a cracked, faded pot containing a small green cutting in a little bed of soft brown soil. It had one leaf and a tiny bud.

I took it from her uncertainly, holding it at arm’s length.

“It won’t bite!” she cackled, “It’ll grow fruit, and you want to eat ‘em if you want to stay safe. Before the full moon rises, girl!”

She took every last coin I had in my purse for that little cutting. But it was worth it.

Over the next few days, before the full moon, my cutting grew into a majestic plant with sturdy green leaves, and on the day of the full moon, pale yellow fruit appeared, with soft velvety skin, like little peaches.

And so, with much trepidation, on the night of the full moon, as the sun set in a pinky-orange sky, I sat on the cool stone step in the door way of our cottage with a little yellow fruit on my plate.

I lifted it to my mouth and bit into the soft flesh. It was sweet and juicy and so good to eat that I did not at first realize that my body was changing. I shrank smaller and smaller, and webs appeared between my fingers as my hands stretched into wings. My ears grew bigger, and I sprouted black fur all over my body.

You might think this alarming, yet somehow the transformation felt natural, even the first time it happened. I turned into a little bat the size of my human hand. And the best part, the most amazing, exciting, exhilarating part was that I could fly.

I swooped and I flitted, I dived and I soared, around the roof of the cottage, over the garden, through the trees in the wood.

That night, when the creatures came, those monsters from my nightmares, with their shadowy faces and their rasping moans, could not find me.

And they never will.

Anyone else want free e-books?

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

I recently joined a group called Story Cartel. It was set up by Jeff Goins and Joe Bunting as a way of ensuring reviews for new e-books.

The idea is that they send you notice of new e-books, and you can download them for free. In return, all they ask is that you write a review on Amazon.

Seems like a good deal to me – who doesn’t want free books? And they say one of the best ways to improve your writing is to read. Plus I’m hoping that one day I can put out an e-book and get reviews in the same way. Its all win, win win!

While I was downloading today’s free book, Roxy by PJ Reece, I checked out the authors blog and saw that he has another book out about writing stories – Story Structure to Die For. I had a look on Amazon uk and it was £1.50 (!!!) so I thought what the hell, lets see what he has to say. I really like his ideas about heroes and tragedies, and how to draw your readers in. I’m going to try his ideas with the re-write of my nano book.

Incidentally, just in case you didn’t know (because I didn’t until fairly recently), you don’t actually need a Kindle to read free books – you can download an e-book reader on your laptop or your phone, and voila!

Ok, that’s enough plugging stuff today I think. I’ll post another story next, I promise!

Tea with Trolls

One of the practice pieces in The Write Practice this week was to write in the style of JRR Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’I really enjoyed writing this, and could have written pages and pages on it. 

There was an afternoon late one spring when a troll unexpectedly came to have Afternoon Tea with a wizard.

The troll hadn’t intended to take tea at all – Afternoon Tea is a delicate refined affair, much unsuited to the particularities of a troll. Supper was more his thing – a hearty meal slurped straight from a bowl and soaked up with big chunks of bread.

It was a warm and sunny afternoon. He had been merrily stomping through a hitherto quiet little village, bashing through doors and smashing windows, collecting unwilling dwarfs and hobbits with which to make a stew. In a bag over his shoulder he carried a growing collection of them. They were unusually still; some had frozen with fear and others had passed right out and were happily oblivious to their impending doom.

The Wizards house was much like the others in the village – small and slightly crooked, but brightly painted and cosy looking. So imagine the trolls surprise when the door was opened just as he was about to put his fist through it, and who should be standing there but a smiling little old man with silver hair in a long grey robe.

The Wizard carried a long staff. He waved it in a casual manner in the general direction of the troll, who succumed almost immediately to a severe bout of amnesia.

“My dear boy!” cried the wizard, “You are here at last! I have a pot of tea and a plate of hot buttered crumpets waiting for you in the drawing room! Not to mention a rather delicious spiced apple cake that I made just this morning! Won’t you come in?”

The troll, who could not recall at all who he was or why he was there, managed to mutter “Er…” before finding himself being divested of his coat and hat and being ushered into the little hallway.

“That’s the fellow!” said the wizard congenially, “Now why don’t you put down that bag of yours, it looks frightfully heavy!”
The troll looked with surprise at the bag as if noticing it for the first time. It WAS rather heavy, now the wizard came to mention it, and he was very glad to heave it off his shoulder and onto the carpeted floor of the hallway (much to the relief of its contents who set about planning their escape).

The wizard took the troll through to a curiously floral drawing room, where afternoon tea had been set on the table. A steaming teapot sat amongst plates of sweet and savory delights. The troll sat rather awkwardly on a chair that was much too small for him and attempted to take tea. It wasn’t easy at all! The china cups were much too dainty for his huge unwieldy fingers, the tea not sufficient to slake his thirst, and the sandwiches (cucumber, crusts removed) did not satisfy the hunger in his belly. Added to which the wizard kept up a stream of endless chatter that the troll could not keep up with and which prevented him from having the time to just think for a moment why he was here.

All too soon he found himself being hurried back out into the street with an empty belly and an equally empty bag.
“Goodbye then!” called the wizard, “No need to thank me for having you, the pleasure was all mine! Mind how you go!” and he banged the door shut.

The troll stood for a moment staring at the door, trying to work out in his befuddled brain how he came to have had tea with a wizard. But as it made his head hurt to think about, he decided to let the matter rest. He stumbled out of the village in a distracted way with a puzzled frown on his face, and was never seen again.

Indubitable

Our ‘Word on Wednesday

37/366: King Johann of Saxony

37/366: King Johann of Saxony (Photo credit: Magic Madzik)

‘ for The Write Practice blog was ‘Indubitable’, and here is what I wrote:

The new King sat on his horse at the gates of his castle and looked down across the town to the mountains and valleys beyond. It was finally his, all his, to rule over as he chose. All he needed, as he had informed the Court this morning, was to find a Queen to rule at his side. Someone to share his vision, support him in his campaigns, reflect his nobility, and most importantly – bear him a son.

“Your majesty!”

He looked down. At the side of his horse, the Royal Chancellor Lord Grovel stood, hands clasped, a pleading look on his face.

“Your majesty, I beg your forgiveness,” he began, bowing his head, “But….with the war having ended so recently, do you think it wise to be travelling off so soon? When your country needs stability –“

“I will give it stability, Grovel.” the King said, firmly, “What my country needs is to see their Ruler with a line of inheritance. My father is dead. I am now their King. I must marry, and have a son to sit on my throne after me.”

“That is indubitable, my Lord,” Grovel was now wringing his hands, looking up anxiously at his master, “But surely the matter could…wait?”

“Wait? WAIT?” the King roared at him, causing his horse to rear up a little. The King pulled sharply on the reigns, and his horse stilled with a ruffled whinny.

“NO, Grovel, it CAN’T wait!” said the King sharply. “I must be married at the earliest opportunity, and have a son to secure my family’s inheritance! THAT, Grovel, is indubitable!”

Lord Grovel groaned despairingly. He was almost in tears. He loved the King. He loved him TOO much. He had dreamt of this moment; to see the man he adored on the throne, in his rightful place, had been Grovels only wish and hope for a life time. But in his dreams he had envisaged that HE, Lord Grovel, would be at the King’s side – guiding him, supporting him, nurturing him. And yes, of course the King would marry in due course, indubitably, but it would be a small matter of no significance. A necessary chore, a ‘by-the-by’.

But apparently the King wanted more than that. He wanted a Queen for his life-long companion. And Grovel could see the life he had imagined slipping through his fingers and landing on the dusty floor of the courtyard, to be trodden underfoot by the King and his guard.

 

 

The Spell

We had an ingenious exercise for The Write Practice this weekend – to write in the style of one of our favorite authors. Well, my favorite author of all TIME is JK Rowling, but I always try to emulate her depth of emotion and attention to detail when it comes to her characters. So I decided instead to have a go at writing in the style of Terry Pratchett, another of my favorite story tellers. And yes, I do realize I have used the word ‘favorite’ too many times in this paragraph, but its Sunday morning…..it’s ok to be lazy.

 

Lila stood in the circle of wild mushrooms, and took the items she had acquired from the school room out of her pocket. As she did so, the piece of dried up chewing gum that Boltoph had given her fell to the ground. She decided to pretend she hadn’t noticed this. She didn’t think it was likely that the chewing gum had belonged to Miss Sharp anyway, even if it WAS stuck to the underside of the teacher’s desk.

And what she had needed were things that really belonged to Miss Sharp, if the spell was going to be a success.

It wasn’t that Lila was a particularly vindictive girl. It was more that Miss Sharp was a particularly vindictive teacher. Adults were supposed to be wise and learned; they were supposed to guide you kindly, and teach you the sorts of things you needed to know to survive being a grown-up. Miss Sharp didn’t even really teach literacy and numeracy very well.

And she most especially did not like Lila.

As she sorted through the things she had taken from her teacher’s desk, Lila’s subconscious told her that her hands still smarted from being slapped with the wooden metre ruler until they almost bled. But Lila ignored her subconscious. She needed her hands to work, and they couldn’t do that if they were just moping and feeling sorry for themselves.

She had a small blouse button, a hair pin, one of Miss Sharps over sharpened pencils, a small stub of white chalk and a shoe lace. The shoe lace had been a bit of a risk; it was new and unused, and wrapped neatly in brown paper, stored away in Miss Sharp’s desk. Lila was hoping that Miss Sharp wouldn’t be returning to school in the same state she had left that day, and wouldn’t notice the absence of spare shoe string. Plus she needed something to tie the other items together, and had it would have been a much greater risk to have tried to purloin a hair from Miss Sharps head.

Lila carefully tied the items together and put them on the ground, still ignoring the chewing gum that lay just a few inches away. She took the candle and matches from her pocket.

She knew she was supposed to tell the candle what she wanted it to do. Should she tell the match as well? And what about the match box that she would strike the match against to light it? Lila wished she had read the spell instructions a little more carefully.

Just to be on the safe side, she told EVERYTHING what it’s job was, struck the match, lit the candle and then after a few moments, poured melted wax onto the shoe lace. Then she held the flame against it and watched the little pile of objects burn. The flame didn’t last long, and the items were more singed than burnt, but it would do. Then she took the items outside the circle of mushrooms, put them in the hole she had dug in readiness and filled the hole with dirt again.

“Take THAT, Miss Sharp!” she muttered.

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

Life has been crazy in the past week or so. Busy with home life; alternately frustrating, heartbreaking and ridiculous at work; BUT exciting and absorbing in my writing life!

I think I have finally found a creative writing community that I am comfortable with. I was searching for one earlier this year, but it is really hard to join a group that has already formed, and who know each other well – they don’t always take kindly to new comers. It’s like going to a new school and trying to find a group of friends to hang out with. People are suspicious and guarded, wary that you might try and spoil their group dynamics or usurp their leadership. They make me want to run home and tell my mum…

However, I have started following The Write Practice, which is all about (no surprises) practicing your writing. You get frequent writing prompts, and are encouraged to create a piece on the given subject for 15 minutes and post it on the blog. And then you can go and look at what everyone else is producing and comment on their work. I’m feeling inspired – there are some SERIOUSLY good writers in there. I know I’m really going to learn something from them, which is exciting and exhilarating.

The prompt yesterday was not so much a subject as a style.  Free writing is what we were encouraged to try, in order to “to unblock the mind and increase cre­ativ­ity and fluidity”. Just writing, without worrying about spelling or grammar or editing – you can always go back to those later – just letting it all go and writing from your heart.

So I gave it a go, and what came out of my pen was a stream of LURVE….where it all came from I couldn’t say, but I REALLY enjoyed writing it. And then I thought back to the Harry Potter fanfic I used to inflict on some good friends of mine, and realised that most of that was about love too.

Apparently I am not just a fantasy fiction writer, but a Romantic fantasy fiction writer.

The fantasy bit has to stay in there though. Reading other people’s posts there were a couple of pieces that stood out for me, but the one I loved the most was about a girl who had wings. The author didn’t say why the girl had wings, other than to say that she wasn’t an angel, so my imagination was sparked right there. And then it was just a few short paragraphs – girls loves boy, boy appears to be in a tryst with another girl, first girl goes crazy and breaks window with fist (I’m summarising here…she wrote it much better than that…). The love triangle thing was great, but I would love to know WHY the girl has wings…and does the boy have them too? Does the other girl? And if not, do either of them know that the first girl has wings, and will it make any difference to how they feel about her if they do?? It’s so much more interesting to me than just ‘boy meets girl’. I hope the author gets her book published, because I LONG to know what the story is.

All this has given me a focus and a direction for my own creative writing. I want to write love stories with a twist. I want to make peoples hearts beat faster whilst making the hairs stand up on the backs of their necks. I want to write about heart broken unicorn tamers who fall in love with shoe-making elves, or romantic tales of  jealous Kings and cake making dragon tamers …

Well, maybe not, but you get the gist.

A Shorter tale…

Today I am having a writing dilemma.

I am entering some work for the writing competition on The Write Practice web page. It’s a short story competition, and you can enter as many pieces as you like. There is a word limit of 1250, so in essence, this is ‘flash fiction’.

Last week I had a go at my first piece of flash fiction (I used this article from The Guardian for guidance and found it very helpful). I was going to post it here in my blog, and at some point I probably still will, but for now I am thinking of entering it for the competition.

I would really love to write fantasy fiction, or at least, if I ever get ANYTHING published, I would like it to be in that genre. However the piece I wrote last week is…let’s say Modern fiction? (in that it is set in the NOW, or at least in relatively modern times, and doesn’t have unicorns or castles or wizards or flying monkeys…).

With this is mind I decide to enter TWO pieces, and had a go at writing some fantasy flash fiction. It didn’t have any unicorns or castles or wizards or flying monkeys in it, in case you were wondering. But it IS  a tale of magic and monsters and witchcraft, and I sort of fell in love with my own story. That happens sometimes.

A 1250 word count limit for fantasy flash fiction – not as easy as it sounds. Well not for me anyway; my imagination is boundless, and once I started writing it was hard to stop. I had to end it more suddenly than I would have liked, because of the word limit! But I LOVED writing it, and it would be such a shame not to do SOMETHING with it.

So, my dilemma is this – do I enter it as it is, if for no other reason than to showcase my fantasy fiction work (since the web page owner says he reads EVERY word of EVERY story)? Or do I try and cut a middle bit out to make the end better…or do I just make it longer, allow my heroine to play out her story til the end, and save it  for another competition or literary magazine?

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