Against the Order

A second Flash Writing prompt used for creativity practice…

vardezia_city_cave_georgia

Vardezia, Georgia. CC photo by Ben van der Ploeg.

Include a thunderstorm

Lightning sparks, highlighting the suffocating clay walls of my prison, wind tears at their tediously structured facades, and vibrations of thunder will soon shake the claimed mountainside.

Chaos. Everything the Order painstakingly fights against rolled into one raging storm, out of their control.  A satisfying reminder that no matter how they try to play God they will never be God.

Another flash shows a bedraggled man, eyes as mad as the air around us, clad in robes the color of midnight, a dagger in hand.  The Order’s Assassin.  They’ve decided to bypass the charade of trial, just as well.

More white light and he’s stalking my way, crimson tips his dagger and his hands are washed in it.  Blood?  I realize, he’s already killed, and it wasn’t me.

The next lightning strike.  He’s scaling the crudely carved window, tossing a gold piece my way, “For your silence.”  I throw it back and tie my long matted curls at the nape of my neck and spat, “I need no gold for my silence.”  My once feminine voice hoarse from lack of use.  He spares me one last knowing glance before producing a rope from his robes and repelling the steep cliff face.

Escape.  A plan develops and I strip my top skirt and wrap it around the rope, padding my hands, and follow without invitation.  No, I need not gold.  I need an ally, another to rise against the Order.

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By His Own Two Hands

The last several weeks have been full of learning and experimenting.  I’m excited to say that so many of our exercises allowed me to expand and work on my book, but that left little time to work on other writing.  There were a couple of flash writing that I wanted to participate in…I simply didn’t have time between the end of summer break, a sick child, a husband back in coaching mode, and my writing class.  I had a couple of hours this week and was trying to stir the creativity pot, so to speak, and decided to use those flash writing prompts as a start.  They aren’t 150 words like the rules required, but I didn’t turn them in so I decided to heck with rules 🙂  What can I say, I’m a rebel at heart!  (They are between 200-300 words.)

Anyway, here is the first prompt from Flash!Friday and my writing.  I’ll post the other when I have a few more minutes free…

marooned-howard-pyle

Marooned, by Howard Pyle, 1909. Public Domain.

Include: Arrogance

“I’ve no need of a crew aboard me ship.  Can man a vessel with these two hands alone, I can,” the braggart bellowed above the whistling briny wind.  George eyed his companion warily.  A glare meant to silence, only encouraging Jack’s grandiose claims.

The man he belittled continued his work inspecting the boat, sparing him no glance when he commanded, “Below deck with ye.”

“Ah, come now.  Tell me ye don’t doubt the abilities of a man ‘needs so many men.  Surely a few less crew and a few more women’ll make a long voyage speed by, no?” Jack laughed.  He was the only one laughing.

“Below deck with ye,” George elbowed his fellow and nodded an apology to the crew.

“I tell ye, I could man the vessel with these two hands alone,” Jack continued, undeterred.  The braggart next found himself thrown into the base of a dingy, lowered to the ocean’s surface.  Cast out to man his vessel alone. 

“Eh, what’s the meaning?  George, I say, retrieve me.”

“ Can’t you bloody fool.  Twas no crew member you insulted you git.”

“Twas the captain,” the sailor growled over George’s shoulder before ordering his men back to work, inspecting their work on his way to the helm.

Dialogue: I though it would be easy…I may be wrong

“What are you doing?”

             “Writing.”

“What are you writing?”

             “A story.”

“Who’s in your story?”

             “People.”

“What are they talking about?”

            “Umm…”

 

So, the last couple of weeks in our writing class we have been talking about dialogue, POV, and character voice.  In my mind, the most important part of dialogue is making it organic, authentic to the situation and personalities.  But what about slang?  What about regional dialects?

What about when the dialogue begins to go around in a big circle?  Sure that’s real life, but it slows down the progression of the scene and the growth of the story.  My instructor read my submission (a conversation between two characters using observations I’ve made of people’s interactions in real life) and asked how I felt about it.  Honestly?  I have no idea how I feel about it.  I included descriptions of non-verbal, tried to portray their personalities in their words, and tried to exclude dialogue that doesn’t move the story along, but I don’t think I portrayed anything that painted a solid picture of their origins or dialects.

I’ve been looking for resources to practice and grow in my dialogue writing and thought I would share a few of the articles I read.  If you have any resources or exercises you find particularly helpful I would love to hear about it!

The 6 Most Common Mistakes When Writing Dialogue…

16 Observations About Real Dialogue

Writing Dialogue (This is a book that I am in the process of purchasing.  Have you read it?)

Into the Sea (More Flash Writing)

Flash! Friday Volume 2-33 (aka:Flash Writing experience #3 for this girl)

Picture prompt and assigned theme of “freedom” with 150 word limit (140-160 range)

Miranda — The Tempest. Painting by John William Waterhouse, 1916. Public domain photo.

Miranda — The Tempest. Painting by John William Waterhouse, 1916. Public domain photo.

Into the Sea

by: L.C. Lara

(160 words)

The tempest swells tease me.  I feel the salty sea seep through the warped wooden slats and hear the monstrous roar of the mother wave overhead.  She’s reminding me, she can end my life if she fancies.

John and the Sea have that in common.

“Help me up woman!” John bellows.  As if I conspire with the sea to send him a tumble.

“Don’t smart me witch!” he hisses.  As if my wince of pain were not caused my his claws alone.

“Fix your mess!” he orders.  As if I were directing this dance of a raging storm.

The throbbing in my knees as I thrust onto the filthy cabin floor, whether by John’s hand or the Sea’s I shall never know.  The briny water assaulting my eyes, whether from my own tears or the Sea’s I shall never ask.

I have mistaken the Sea’s fancy.

Tis not my watery grave she threatens.

Tis my baptism.  My freedom she promises.

Concepts, Themes, and Premises…oh my, what???

Just to clarify, if the title isn’t a helpful hint, we are working on our story themes this week and turns out…themes, subjects, concepts, premises, etc. etc. etc.  are not synonymous.  Also turns out that there are a whole bunch of people on the wonderful information-filled web who believe some of those terms have the same definition.  Needless to say, this made defining my story’s theme that much more difficult.

Click image to find this book on Amazon,

Click image to find this book on Amazon.

A couple of definitions from my lecture notes and textbook (^^^depicted above ^^^)

Theme: “A theme conveys a concept.  It is the over arching message you want your story to convey to your audience.” (Concept being the one word or short phrase like ‘love’ or ‘war’ and the theme being something you want people to learn about that concept like ‘love heals all wounds’ or ‘war destroys nations’, that kind of thing…)

Premise: “A theme is what you are trying to say, a premise is why you believe to be true or false and want to prove.”

I found a few sites that helped me  with clarifying the difference between these three literary terms and defining what I thought the major theme was for my story.  This particular page was my favorite of the ones I perused.  I think it was meant for students critiquing/analyzing literary works, but it gave me questions to work through with my story and helped me organize my thoughts.  (I may or may not have also given my hubby a list of the questions and had him write his answers for the story to compare.)

Can anyone give more clarification on the differences between these literary terms?