Thursday, 6 December 2012

THE 5 ESSENCES THAT FLAVOUR A HERO


Indiana - a perfect hero
Nature abhors a hero. For one thing, he violates the law of conservation of energy. For another, how can it be the survival of the fittest when the fittest keeps putting himself in situations where he is most likely to be creamed? ~ Solomon Short

The true hero must be a real person with a complex personality.

If they start out big, and strong, and tough, and super-skilled, and super-powered, what is heroic about their journey? They are just doing the same-old.

A hero needs:

·         Flaws

·         Fears

·         Weaknesses

·         Internal contradictions

·         Quirks



To be a hero, the character must be layered in conflicts that, just as much as the physical difficulties, become the source of friction that roughens the path to a successful conclusion.

A hero has to overcome self-doubt and fear to conquer the obstacles in their path.

They are not heroic if the stakes aren’t higher, and the clock isn’t ticking.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

TEASER TUESDAY - Christmas Gems - THE STORY OF HOLLY AND IVY Rumer Godden


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of ShouldBe Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title and the author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


Tuesday nights before Christmas, after excitement and looks,
I plan to share stories from seasonal books.
The tales I am seeking were crafted with care,
With the best of the season enfolded in there:

;)

I recently discovered the author Rumer Godden. This probably came as a surprise to her as she was first published in the 1950s and passed away in 1998.

My first December Teaser Tuesday is from: The Story of Holly and Ivy written by Rumer Godden and illustrated by Christian Birmingham

On the opening page of the book it says: "This is a story about wishing:"

        An orphaned girl wishes for a doll to hold and a family to love her

        A Christmas doll wishes for a child to own her

        A childless woman wishes for a little girl to look after

This is the story of three wishes.

Read in instalments, this is a perfect children's Christmas story.

A lamp in the passageway outside gave just enough light. Ivy’s legs began to feel heavy and warm; her fingers and toes seemed to uncurl and stretch in the warmth; while her eyelids seemed to curl up.

I found this book on a display in a charity shop. It's a Christmas gem.

WHICH BOOK DO YOU RECOMMEND I READ BEFORE CHRISTMAS?



http://www.carols.org.uk/twas_the_night_before_christmas.htm


DID I MENTION WINNING THE COMPETITION?
NO, I DIDN'T MENTION THAT I WON IT. 
MY SHORT STORY IS GOING TO BE PUBLISHED IN E-BOOK FORM WHEN LAURENCE O'BRYAN'S: THE JERUSALEM PUZZLE IS PUBLISHED IN JUNE.
(IT'LL MAKE A NICE BIRTHDAY PRESENT!)
NOW, TELL ME HONESTLY, CAN YOU SEE ME AS CRIME AND MYSTERY WRITER?
So far, whole life included, I've read six and a half crime and mystery stories. 
Do you think I'll need to read a few more? 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

DO YOU HAVE BOOKS THAT INSPIRED YOU? HERE IS MY IDEAL BOOKSHELF, AND STEPHENIE MEYER'S TOO


I had to share this fascinating article. I found it in The Guardian, on Sunday.


Many authors whose writing has given pleasure to others have taken the time to create and describe their ideal bookshelf.

This is Stephenie Meyer's Ideal Bookshelf:

"I was the reader. That was my identity in my family: I was that girl who was always in a corner reading; I read my whole life away. I skipped children's books. My dad would read to us at night, and I first began to read on my own by reading ahead in those books. I was seven when I read Little Women for the first time, and it became nearly as real to me as the rest of my life.
I always identified with Jo; I was the tomboy. My big sister was Meg, the pretty one, the sweet one. We didn't have a Beth, but my younger sister was definitely Amy, the frivolous one who liked nice things. I was like Jo in every way except for her passion for writing; I was perfectly content just to read. It wasn't until much later, after I had published three books, that I went back to Little Women and realised that I had become even more like Jo. Now I was a writer, too.
Of all the heroines I was invested in throughout my childhood, Jane Eyre was the one I most identified with, despite my having a happy and supportive family. I liked heroines who weren't perfectly beautiful. I liked that everyone wasn't swept away and captivated by her. Jane Eyre has this huge stubborn streak, which I have, too. I have my ideals, and I really don't diverge from them – it's probably off-putting to a lot of people. Jane is like that, too; she sticks to things even when she's uncomfortable and unhappy and making other people feel the same way. Of course, she's pushed to deeper extremes than I've ever been forced to go to, but I always felt we would see eye to eye. When I think about the books that were formative to me as a writer, I can see how much I was influenced by Anne of Green Gables. When the series starts, Anne is a young girl, and we follow her as she becomes a teenager, an adult, a mother, and finally almost a grandmother. It's so rare that we get to grow up with a character. When I was first imagining my novels, I skipped from Twilight to Breaking Dawn because I was eager to see Bella as an adult.
My editor encouraged me to slow down and show more of her in high school. I don't enjoy a character as much when he or she stays the same age. I want to see what comes next. These books contain threads of what I like to write about: the way people interact, how we relate to one another when life is both beautiful and horrible. But these books are greater than anything I could ever aspire to create. I'll never love what I've done as much as I love what these authors have done. However, for me, just getting to create is its own reward."

My bookshelf would look like this:              


           
      

WHICH BOOKS WOULD MAKE IT ONTO YOUR IDEAL BOOKSHELF?

Monday, 19 November 2012

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING IN KEEPING, NON-DERIVATIVE, AND CRIMINALLY GOOD! - What a shame that wasn't a question!

Do you remember, I mentioned that HarperCollins created an opportunity for writers to be published alongside one of their exciting new writers?


The competition prize was for three talented authors to write a short story which will be published in a special, limited edition epub of The Jerusalem Puzzle: the second novel from Laurence O'Bryan. 

After reading the second chapter of The Jerusalem Puzzleentrants had to write the opening of the next chapter in no more than 500 words. 

*Squee! 

I'm one of the authors who have been invited to submit a short story for consideration by HarperCollins’ editors. 

Later, in December, the three overall winners will be selected to be published in the special edition Jerusalem Puzzle e-book next June.

NOW, I JUST HAVE TO THINK OF SOMETHING TO WRITE. SOMETHING, IN KEEPING, NON-DERIVATIVE, AND CRIMINALLY GOOD. Yikkes! 

HOW HAS YOUR DAY BEEN?

NEVER GUESS WHO WON THIS COMPETITION? ;)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY - DARRAH _ CRUMBS!!!


CRUMBS!!

“You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!” Charles Dickens


Six Sentence Sunday

I remembered to sign up for 6 Sentence Sunday *cheers and a very large grin

Now, I just have to work out how to get the post up quicker.

This Sunday I am posting from my romantic fiction.

DRAWN

Darrah has been charged with finding and rescuing the Regal's heir. The evidence suggests he was taken by a band of Sarkisians who feed directly from the living. Darrah fights her cultural prejudice and instinctive fears when The Sarkisian Council send Fauld Hale to work alongside her to rescue the boy and maintain the fragile peace between their peoples. 

Breakfast wasn't much but it was delicious:


Before she moved, Darrah wetted her finger and gathered up a few crumbs that dusted her thighs. She ran her tongue over the surface of her finger tip. It wasn’t the sound of his indrawn breath that made her pulse leap, it was the flare of heat more powerful than her leaf-fuelled fire had managed through the night. She shook her head and she refused to meet Hale's eyes. She also wouldn't bring her finger to her mouth again. She was too honest to do that to him after the restraint he’d showed…there were no crumbs left.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

10 WAYS TO PARENT-PROOF YOUR NOVEL


ARE PESKY PARENTS GETTING IN THE WAY OF YOUR MC’S ADVENTURE?
BEWARE:
PARENTS!

While some characters are passionately fond of their parents, others find them terribly irritating. But the one thing the characters in your novels will agree on is that parents don't belong in the home. Not only do they create unnecessary boundaries, but they're also just plain annoying: whether that’s the buzz of a caring mother who won’t let the MC out to fight evil after dark and without their coat or the father who not only shows an interest in the MC's life beyond the home – they also insist on talking about the tattoo that has been mysteriously spreading up their arms. Mums, Dads, Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts, they can all cause painful interruptions, interventions, and unnecessary protection. They can provide the kind of advice that sorts out problems caused by simple mis-understandings and they’re champion when it comes to spotting an unsavoury character. It must be all those misspent years living, reading or watching well-crafted fiction. Even the common older sibling can be a major contributor toward de-escalating danger, preventing attacks, or providing additional muscles especially for younger children [source: Dr I Amreally Protective – Parent & notChild Daring Do Foundation].

With more than 10 quintillion children in the world of fiction being subjected to all kind of peril (that's 10,000,000,000,000,000,0000!), parent-proofing the novel can sometimes feel like a losing battle [source: My Smith’sonlyan Institute]. Fortunately, by understanding what attracts parental authority figures to your novel, you can begin making changes that will help get rid of them for good.

Just like characters, parents are only needed if they are necessary to provide food, water or shelter for your younger MC to survive. By enabling those young MC to source their own food supply and getting rid of parent's favourite hiding spots (such as a stable home,) you can reduce the risk that authority figures will take up residence in your manuscript. Of course, the best way to prevent over-protection and stifling of your MC’s internal and external struggle is to keep adults – of a non-antagonistic nature – out entirely.

To do this, you'll need to tighten up the entry points parents use to gain access, you can greatly improve your chances of staying parent free.

Places where parental-type authority figures can often be found:
·         Churches or other places of religious worship
·         Community meeting halls or rooms
·         Schools
·         Houses, of any type, made from any form of building material

Have you considered these possible solutions:
Killing off both parents
Writing them as emotionally and socially dysfunctional so they appear cold and distant
Ensuring they aren’t around often enough to be mentioned
Make them absorbed by their career path and climbing the corporate ladder
Have them wiped out by any form of predator – animal, vegetable, mineral or any other form of non-human being not covered by the Linnaean taxonomy of the natural world – including those who are living, dead or never alive (although, for stress free classification, I suggest cyborgs could be written across several lists simultaneously or merely written multiple times)

If things are desperate follow the following advice:

1.    Seal the doors – that will only deter the weak and faint-hearted
2.    Add screens to the windows – this should keep most smaller parents in check
3.    Maintain your garden or yard – cut back the plants they could hide under
4.    Repair the cracks – a determined parent, especially one with non-disclosed paranormal skills, could gain entry here
5.    Pay particular attention to pipes – sealant and grease would be effective even if they are capable of multi-form transformations or possess unreasonable strength and agility
6.    Cover large openings – a parent can sneak in through air vents or chimneys ( don’t scoff it has happened before (source: Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf – what greater love exists than that Wolfie would go to such lengths to protect a baby pig from the world beyond his digestive tract)
7.    Don’t invite them to dinner – admit it, you’re fighting the need to add a Come Dine With Me moment
8.    Store rubbish properly – a wily parent knows if any child could be bothered to put the trash out without a reminder, and bring the box back in after, he could hitch a ride inside
9.    Keep foundations clear – if your structure is wooden or weak, you know an authority figure will chew their way inside
10. Encourage natural predators – there’s a back catalogue’s worth of scary monsters between the pages of books. At least one of them has plans to gorge on your kid-sized MC. How about a parent entrĂ©e, right at the start, so you can show how fiendish your ant-agonist really is?

It’s sad to say, but for the sake of the plot, the real drama is created when your MC is an orphan even… when they’re not.

ARE YOU FINDING THAT PESKY PARENTS ARE MEDDLING WITH YOUR... NOVEL?

My thanks to HowStuffWorks - no bugs were hurt in the making of this post



Tuesday, 13 November 2012

6 REASONS WHY SACRIFICE EQUALS EMOTIONAL DEPTH

SACRIFICES HAVE RIPPLES TOO
Image from Wikimedia Commons
Thank you.

Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness. - Napoleon Hill

SACRIFICE IS NECESSARY:
It resounds through the emotional impact of every story yet even the smallest sacrifice is difficult.

SACRIFICE IS DEVELOPMENTAL:
If you ask the character to give up something that’s securely theirs then they must, by definition, within the act, develop or grow.

SACRIFICE IS AN OPTION:
Sacrifice must involve a choice: sliding into the jaws of adversity doesn’t count; jumping into it to save another does.

SACRIFICE IS A STRUGGLE:
When there are choices to be made, sacrifice is usually one of the options;  the imperfect struggle that might bring a character to turn away from safety, comfort and self-preservation is the most human one of all.

SACRIFICE MUST BE AN ACTIVE DECISION:
Even if the end result is the same, to act impulsively and without recognition of the consequences is an imperfect sacrifice.

SACRIFICE IS A GIFT:
Sacrifice is a gift... but one you don’t expect to be around to share.

Hi *waves just incase everyone has forgotten allll about me ;)

I’ve been absent from my blog and the world continued turning – that’s like shocking ;) My family responsibilities have been responsibly embraced, and now I am back in my familiar routine ;)

While I've been anti-shirking, I hope you've been having fun... and have been both happy and productive.

DID YOU DECIDE TO TAKE PART IN NANOWRIMO THIS YEAR?

I have been but I'm FOUR DAYS behind with the word count. 

When I was catching up, this weekend, I discovered I get a lot more written when I have long blocks of time for writing. This is a shame, as it’s completely the opposite of my normal snatch and grab routines. Oops.

HOW DO YOU WRITE BEST?

Thursday, 18 October 2012

WRITING WAY TOO FAST -Tom Odell - Another Love

I have never written as much, as fast, as I did last week.
I put it down to this track by Tom Odell which I played on repeat. I tried to match the writing with the intensity and the of driving pace of the song. 


IS THERE A PARTICULAR PIECE OF MUSIC INSPIRING YOU AT THE MOMENT?

My sister is visiting from Australia. Although my notebooks and research may take up a lot of the back seat, we are going to take our Mum going on road trip. :D

Sunday, 14 October 2012

THE JERUSALEM PUZZLE COMPETITION

This week, I learned about an amazing opportunity for writers to showcase their talents:

HarperCollins have created an opportunity for writers to be published alongside one of their exciting new writers.


The competition prize, for three talented authors, is to write a short story :(but, don't start writing those short stories yet ;) which will be published in a special, limited edition epub of The Jerusalem Puzzle: the second novel from Laurence O'Bryan. 

Firstly, you have to read the second chapter of The Jerusalem Puzzle.

Then, in no more than 500 words, say where you would take the story next either in the form of a synopsis, or the opening of the next chapter.

You need to be a member of Authonomy to participate in the contest so remember to register first if you're interested.


The authors of the ten entries judged to be the best will be given the chance to submit short stories for consideration by HarperCollins’ editors. They will also get advanced ring-bound book proofs of The Jerusalem Puzzle.

At the start of December, three overall winners will be selected to be published in the special edition Jerusalem Puzzle e-book next June.

If you want to enter you must email your 5oo words to yourauthonomy@harpercollins.co.uk by midnight GMT on 31st October.

With such an exciting prize awaiting the successful writers, I've written and posted my entry - already.

WHAT MORE COULD HARPERCOLLINS DO TO TEMPT YOU TO WRITE AN ENTRY?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

WHINING AND WANING - COUNTING DOWN AND TYPING


HMS DOLPHIN?
I CAN SEE WHY.
Photo credit: NASA, public domain
Time is too slow for those who wait,
too swift for those who fear,
too long for those who grieve,
too short for those who rejoice,
but for those who love,
time is eternity.

Henry Van Dyke

In 1764 HMS Dolphin voyaged to discover the lands in the south of the Atlantic Ocean. Many previously unchartered islands were identified and surveyed. The captain of the vessel was John Byron.
Small ship. Unpredictable seas. Unknown destinations. I bet time moved with heart stopping irregularity once they had passed out of well-known waters.
Voyagers and voyages without the thrill of the unknown you just wouldn’t bother.
The deadline for Harper Voyager open submission is 14th October. Deadlines smedlines ;) my Voyager project is keeping me busy.

DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT IS KEEPING YOU BUSY?

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

DRAWN DOWN A DARKER PATH

OR, THE ONLY ONE WHO KNOWS
WHAT YOU'VE DONE?

The plot of DRAWN has moved on, the seeds of betrayal have been spread in the furrows of actions at suitably regular intervals ;)

I'm struggling. I don’t want to reshape my character – he has a lot of good points – but, based on the facts as he knows them, he has made a decision with consequences. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about bravery. Fear. And the nature of cowardice.

With the empire under attack, what situation might make a person, abandon their friends, desert their responsibilities, run away or betray the people they love.

Having run away, if not the truth, what do they say when questioned by others? What do they believe, inside?

Later, could a character believe the lies they've told? Believe them to the point where they convince themselves that the fabrication is the truth?

If classic masculine qualities are physical strength, courage and calmness in the face of danger or adversity, could a person see themselves as brave if they abandoned their duty and hid? What if, putting themselves first meant they had to actively put someone else in danger? Betray a friend.

Are all lives equal? Is one life more valuable than another?

Should it be survival of the fittest? Surely, anything else is unnatural.

HAVE YOU EVER FOUND YOURSELF UNABLE TO SEND YOUR MC ALONG A DARKER PATH?

Sunday, 30 September 2012

COUNTDOWN - 14 DAYS TO COMPLETION

I love oak trees, they are so gnarly.
A combination of the two middle trees
is definitely where I pictured Gaell and Rylo.
I have one - or technically fourteen days - until my fantasy novel has to be ready to submit in response to Harper Voyager's call for submissions. My fingers aren't typing quickly enough, they need to squeeze my brain into gear and I'm sure the problem would be solved ;)

I've been going through, on chapter at a time, applying Donald Maass' writing tips.

The alterations I made to the opening were inspired by tip 55

55 What do you like best about your MC?  How soon can we see that on the page?  How often?  Add more than you think needed.


DRAWN

CHAPTER 1

LOOK-OUT


As they always did in the days between harvest and fall, high winds blew across the valley.
Another gust of wind flustered her loose sleeves as Gaell crawled further out along a thick branch. Her fingers couldn't reach all the way around the wooden limb, so she dug her nails as far into the bark as they’d go and she inched along a little more. Looking down, she sucked air slowly into her lungs. The branch, comfortingly still, reminded her of the planks that ran through the rafters in the wool shed. If she were at home, indoors, she would have run along a board this wide.
“Gaell!”
The squeak made her pivot and steady herself, placing a hand against a smaller branch. Her friend who had been a sickly shade of green since he realised the height of the oak tree she wanted to climb, was now the whiter-shade of pale.
“Are you all right?” She crept back a step. “Do you want me to…”
Hugging the tree, with one cheek pressed to bark, he waved his free hand.
“Rylo?”
“No. A deal is a deal,” he said. Slowly, he lowered himself until he could squeeze back against the solid part of the tree. “You go. Dance along the branch like a squirrel. Don’t worry about me.”
She crouched, perched on the branch. Hesitant. Always small and thin, her friend had never looked so young – so sheltered. “Rylo. You said you’d climbed trees before.”
Rylo picked at the surface of the rope that lay along the branch between them. He stopped with a sudden reddening of his skin and rubbed the wiry threads flat. “I may have exaggerated.”
She narrowed her eyes and moved a pace back to where he clung like a tick on hair.
“Go. Go,” Rylo said. I’m fine.”
Gaell had never seen a less fine specimen. But, Rylo picked up the rope she'd lashed around the tree before winding it around her dress like contrasting piping. While she watched, he tucked the rope across his stomach. Then, he waved weakly at her.

The submissions Harper Voyager are looking for are all forms of adult and YA speculative fiction: Epic Fantasy ;) Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and Supernatural. It is also worth knowing, you can make as many submissions as you'd like.

DO YOU HAVE A MANUSCRIPT YOU ARE CONSIDERING SUBMITTING TO HARPER VOYAGER?

Thursday, 27 September 2012

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY - SIGNIFICANT OTHERS - SIX WAYS TO MAKE SECONDARY CHARACTERS WORK FOR YOU

DIFFERENT FLAVOURS?
IMAGE FROM WIKIMEDIA

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves. ~ Carl Jung

Is your secondary character proving to be no better than a negative reflection?

Is your secondary character too loveable? 

Is their comedic talent in danger of stealing the show?

Here are six ways to zap their star quality and to make sure your MC is memorable but not in danger of stealing your MC’s spotlight:

·  Screech them into second place by writing them unable to modulate their pitch, nothing grates on the nerves like a well…poorly–placed, high-pitched, comment.
·  Uh? Spread their attention too thin: give your secondary character has a method of communicating with others and make sure they do it whenever your MC wants to share a deeply meaningful observation
·  Attention deficit, in a best friend – no matter what kind of situation they're experiencing – makes for a more clearly defined MC
·  Have that secondary so-and-so sprinkle litter, cups or the broken-hearted around them, it will give your MC something thoughtful and strong to do
·  Give them two ears for listening but an over active tongue – nobody falls in love with the secondary character who displays a tendency to interrupt your MC’s train of thought.

While they’re there, your secondary character can bring out the best in your MC

From Donald Maass’s writing tips:

#7 What does a sidekick or secondary character see about your MC that your MC denies? Force a showdown over it.

#58 What’s one way your MC tackles the big problem? Find another character who can do the same thing, or the opposite.

My secondary character is loyal, reliable and even tempered but finds it hard to think outside the socially acceptable norms. My MC is impulsive, changeable and rebellious.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MC AND SIGNIFICANT SECONDARY OTHER IN THREE WORDS?

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

TUESDAY TEASER - RIBBLESTROP FOR EVER AND HARPER VOYAGER OPEN TO SLUSH


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of ShouldBe Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title and the author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I am reading MG:  Ribblestrop Forever by Andy Mulligan 

This is the second Ribblestrop adventure. In this book, Inspector Cuthbertson is only a step behind the children-determined to destroy the school forever...again-and there's only a mad librarian around to help. The orphans are in for a worryingly-adventurous kind of adventure.

This excerpt is a timely reminder of the potential hazards inherent in eating boiled sweets while piloting aeroplanes ;)

You get four sentences for the price of two today:

The gobstopper spun against his uvula, where the digastric
muscle strained at once to eject it. The plane bobbed yet
again and the pilot panicked. He tried to swallow and disaster struck. The gobstopper was sucked straight into his
windpipe where it lodged like a cork in a bottle.

I THINK IT'S GOING TO SNOW

Get your boots out, Harper Voyager is opening up to slush ;)

If you are writing any kind of speculative fiction - science-fiction to fantasy - you need to know about Harper Voyager's decision to open themselves to unsolicited submissions. The window is between 1st to 14th October. Check this link. If your novel is polished, rather than published, this is a great opportunity to get your work noticed.

IS YOUR CURRENT NOVEL READY TO SUBMIT? WILL YOU BE TEMPTED TO THROW YOURS AT THE HARPER VOYAGER'S WALL?

Mine is about 50% short of the target. I can get a lot done in 19 days but I don't think complete and edited is anywhere near achievable.

OK. What do you think? This is my only stab at a YA fantasy. There's miles to go before Gaell can call herself anything like at home. Is it worth me doing little but work and write? I have ironing to fit in somewhere. And shopping. And football ;)


As they always did in the days between harvest and fall, high winds blew across the valley.
Gaell crawled further out along a thick branch that held aloft a section of the great oak’s canopy. She licked at her lower lip as she wriggled forward. Her arms couldn’t completely encircle the wooden limb, but she inched along. Thinking about it, there was a caterpillar-like quality to her movements. Gaell grinned and nodded her thanks. Then she spread her knees to secure her grip and let the rough bark rub the surface of her toes as she wriggled with efficiently away from the trunk.
Dawn glowed a warm orange that lightened the dark sky but not enough light to disturb her view. For once, she was glad her hair was uniformly long and plaited in two tidy brown ropes that dangled down over her ears. The fabric of her old, grey mourning dress was smooth enough to slip over the rough bark but it was unfortunately still pale enough to show the stains. She would have to find something more suitable to wear next time she slipped out to find adventure.
First she had to make sure she didn’t fall, of course.
The wind blew her cowl until it snapped and flapped at her neck as if she were being attacked by a silken bird. Shaking her head, excitement uncurled inside and she breathed out slow and long. She felt as if she had been holding her breath for a very long time. While she waited for the wind to settle, she stared at the grain in the bark and pictured again the fleeting thought, the image, that had pulled her from her bed so early.
“Can we go yet?” asked the boy who clung to the rope they had lashed around the trunk of the tree. He gripped the knot, wrapped around his stomach, in one hand and pressed his back against the thick body of the oak. He clung to the rope with white knuckled fingers and, although his arms would make only useful twigs Rylos to took his role very seriously. He was dressed in his scholarly best: the silver tunic, black silk stockings and laced boots. His cowl was pulled up to cover his head and ears to keep the wind from nipping at his delicate Vagan skin.
“No,” said Gaell, more forcibly that was needed. She turned back to her task and shuffled forward again.
Rylos sniffed. “I agreed to one hour. It was a bargain. I’m sure it’s nearly been an hour.”
Gaell shrugged her shoulders. It was as non-commerce a gesture as a person could make. In truth, including the time it took her to get him out of his solsaal, her hour was almost up. She refused to look at hm. She was doing him a favour, Rylos would learn the essence of trade was in the details.  “We haven’t been here for an hour.”
“I don’t know why you wanted to make this deal,” Rylos called at her back. “I still don’t see what kind of trade could benefit from climbing the tree anyway.” He grumbled away to himself and tugged and tested the line. “Nothing of any value grows here.”
There was so much tugging, Gaell had to grip to keep her balance. Poor Rylos. He was the reason Gaell was able to come to the tree anyway. Who else would accept her trade? He was also the reason why she did not plan to fall. No doubt, Rylos would try his best to hold the rope if she slipped. Fell. It was all she hoped for. She would make every effort to find whatever it was that drew her to the tree and she wouldn’t break her neck in the process. As well as having no desire to experience that level of pain, Gaell couldn’t bear to think of Rylos’ face if he failed to keep his side of the bargain. Generations of reliability snuffed out by a fall that had nothing to do with profit. It was too terrible to consider, she thought with a grin.
“Gaell?” called Rylos. “Why are we here?”
Gaell sighed, “Does it matter?”

Thursday, 20 September 2012

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY - 9 FACE SAVING THOUGHTS


banksy d*face 
Outside, among your fellows, among strangers, you must preserve appearances, a hundred things you cannot do, but inside, the terrible freedom. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

This Thursday, I’ve been having an even more thoughtful time than usual.

I dived deep into the subject of Face: the superficial appearance, voiced beliefs and attitudes that may, or may not, be an accurate reflection of a person’s character.

(I'm knee deep in this topic, that's Thoughtful Thursday for you.)

FACE:
· Everyone works to maintain face
· The individual’s face is shaped and reshaped depending on who is there to see it.
·  Presenting the right face can be the difference between being accepted or rejected.
·  When surrounded by others, the face shown by any individual can a reflection of others in the group.
·  Face is one way the subtleties of power is seen even when the group is, theoretically, made up of equals.
·  Face affects behaviour.
·  The biggest struggle a person deals with during the course of their day is to understand the public face every other individual presents to the world.
·  The difference between the protected, private and true identity of an individual and their public face can be the truth behind two people’s relationship or a major cause of aggression.
·  The ability to always present an appropriate face is the highest – and lowest – form of communication.

FACE IS SO BRITTLE IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE IT CRACKS... I PLAN FOR IT.

HOW IS YOUR PUBLIC FACE HOLDING UP FOR YOU?