Which Home?


Up until now I have always written something new for the Trifecta prompt, that is sort of the point for me.  While I am editing this novel I don’t have much chance to write new stories, and I fear the creative parts of my brain meats will dry up like beef jerky.  Writing something fresh with the prompt lets me just run wild with it, as opposed to editing with is soul numbing. However I have been neglecting the editing, so today I decided to post something from the novel instead, to encourage me to do better work on it.  It took almost as long to edit this passage (which started out at 500+ words, lots of which were so, really and very) as it does to write something new.  I tend to be uselessly wordy, over describing things and babbling. Having word limits has helped me work on this problem.

The following is from “Lost in Reflection” which will be released later this year.   The story is about Marney, a 16 year old who ends up trapped in a another world.

***

You can’t survive alone.  Most people stay in dense, walled towns like Derry, where the buildings touch and the people know each other.  The gates lock at sundown every day. Only in numbers do people have safety, because out there are dangers and temptations of darkest dreams and delightful nightmares. Every fairytale agrees about that.  There’s a sort of magic here which some humans even learn to use. A wizard lives in Derry to help keep the town safe from magical threats, native beings, and for lack of a better word, monsters.

I’m lucky the worst thing I met were cranky chickens.  There are so many scary things here that many don’t even have names.  There are rules: Don’t be alone outside a city at night.  If anyone offers you food and you’re not 100% sure they’re human, don’t eat it.  Don’t play games with non-humans, just to name a few. Most rules have exceptions.  If you’re out at night, light a fire, unless you think you might attract Fireflies. Don’t follow bouncing lights unless you’re already lost and think it might lead to safety.   There are too many to remember, and I have a feeling they change anyway.

Mrs. Shaw let me stay and work at the Milk Maid.  The work wasn’t hard; cooking, cleaning, and gardening.  The sort you do with your body while your mind thinks about other things.  At first I was always thinking about getting home, but soon I realized I was thinking about home less and less.

This place was great.  No one had called me fat or questioned my sexuality.  I didn’t miss school, and loved being treated as an adult.  I liked the people, inn, and town.  The happier I was the guiltier I felt. Mom had a hard time raising me alone, after my father left. Even twelve years later she has trust and commitment issues. When he left, it broke her heart in half, me disappearing must have shattered what was left.

26 thoughts on “Which Home?

    • If I can motivate myself to finish the editing then it should be out a few months after that. I just hate editing so much.

  1. I like your story. Many lines I can relate to. The sort you do with your body while your mind thinks about other things. is one. Trapped in another world and making the best of it… I like that.

    • I think manual tasks, like weeding or cleaning are really helpful for creativity, at least for me. When I am doing something that takes no thinking, my mind gets bored fast and starts thinking about all sorts of stuff to stay entertained.

  2. Kitty, I sympathize with your writing predicament. Glad you can use some material, pare it down, and share with us at Trifecta. My challenge? Simply remembering to get the post up in time! (You show no evidence of dried brain/beef jerky, incidentally.)

    This seems like it’s going to be a wonderful book upon full publication. There is an everyday feeling to it – not the “oogah-boogah” of the usual haunted stories. Like practical magic, one feels as though a mere mortal could indeed navigate this world, with a little help from one’s friends! Glad you posted, so I could read you.

    Peace and good hopping lights, Amy

    • Thanks! I am trying to go for a casual easy to relate to voice in this novel. I want the reader to feel like a friend is telling them the story.

    • Then I will be sure to tell you when it becomes a book. Knowing someone wants to read it makes the work seem less daunting and more worthwhile.

  3. I love Trifecta and the fact that I can read the talent of many writers. I agree with SLP on this, in that, it has a realism gives an every day feeling still with mystery. Your prologue is so me…I also too am uselessly wordy and have learnt only through others on WP to tone it down and try the less is more..though sometimes I am still guilty.

    • It is hard to get past wordy writing. I am hoping that with practice someday I will write more economically on the first draft, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

  4. Nice work editing this down. I can relate to your editing woes…I don’t think it’s fun, either. I love the line about work being something you do with your body while your mind thinks of other things.

    • Editing is emotionally hard and intellectually exhausting, way harder than writing in my opinion. I have to force myself to do it, editing is work. I think that more than anything made me feel I could start calling myself an “author” or say writing was my career.

  5. Really loved the setup to this especially. You did a great job creating this mysterious, magical tone. Something about the line “for lack of a better word, monsters” hit just the right note.

  6. I totally agree about the value of these competitions on making me economic with my words. What a great idea to use it as a writing tool for a larger project. I guess other do this a s well . Nice story piece .. just a tease.

  7. I would read this book in an instant – you hit exactly the right note for me. The world you’ve hinted at is so intriguing – what are Fireflies? What kind of magic? How did she get there? I have so many questions.

    I am a huge fan of word limits. They focus me. This is why I really, REALLY love the tiny 33 word challenges. I’m even getting better at eliminating excess words as I write, rather than having to go back and edit them out.

    Great job with this prompt! Can’t wait to read the book.

  8. I really enjoyed this. You created this town so vividly I feel like I was hanging out there with you, even though it seems pretty scary! Sad about Mom.

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