Posts Tagged 'One-Shot'

Flash Fiction Thursday: Thief in the Temple

Ruins of the Temple at Delphi, google search image.

Thief in the Temple

As Artemis’ moon hung big and round and orange in the sky, and Zandra hid behind the towering stone columns and glanced over her shoulders, down the steps of the temple at Delphi.  In the darkness, the streets were empty.  She clasped her hands close to her breast and felt the pounding of her heart.  It was so terrifying and different, it could hardly be her own.  She felt the eyes of Athena on her, and was unprepared for her wrath.  The Oracle was corrupt, and she took the sacrifices and indulges the people brought to her to give false prophecies.  Only a fortnight ago the Oracle had assured her brother’s survival, but now he was dead, in the skirmishes in the countryside.  Adelphous’ story was not the first of the Oracle’s treacheries; he was one of many casualties of her clouded eye.

And so, taking back the gold pieces that they had given the Oracle to barter with the Goddess… it wasn’t thievery.  She could steal nothing from the goddess if it had not been presented to her.  Without Adelphous to mind the household in their father’s continued absense and to help with the grain harvest, they could scarce afford food to survive.  Her mother had already dismissed what servants they could  afford, and now, the family was desperate.  So Zandra had said nothing and disappeared with the cover of night.  She would not tell her mother, her sister.  She would not shame her family.  She would not be caught.

Zandra took her sandals in one hand and took the hem of her white linen dress in the other.  From her many visits, she knew the layout of the temple well.  At night, the Oracle disappeared to a separate room, where she attended to herself, for nobody could see her face.  The priestesses would be retired throughout the temple.  In the moonlight, she could barely make out the shapes of them as the rested on the stone floor.

One step at a time, she walked between the soundly sleeping priestesses.  The altar was at the farthest end of the temple, and she need only to be slow and soft in her footsteps.  There was no sound but her own footsteps, and the breathing of the priestesses.  Sometimes she could feel their breath on her feet as she moved.  The altar stood in front of her now, piled with treasures.  She let the hem of her dress fall to the ground and reached out her free hand to grasp some coins by the edge.

“Awaken!  Awaken!”  a female voice rang like thunder to the sleeping priestesses.  Zandra froze, but even as her mind was paused with fear, her feet knew to flee, and between the rousing devotees of Athena, she ran.

“Awaken!” the voice continued to appeal.  “The Oracle!  Athena has taken the Oracle!”

Zandra did not stay to hear the details.  She ran as quickly as her feet would carry her and did not stop until the Temple at Delphi, now lit with candles, was less than the height of her hand.  In the escape, she had dropped both of her sandals, but it hardly mattered.  She would do without.

Goddess protect them all, the Oracle was dead.

.

Author’s Note:
I’ve been sitting on this idea and will definitely come back to Zandra and Adelphous in a more refined short story, preferably not written while watching Pirates of the Caribbean:  At World’s End.  I don’t think that I could comfortably write a full-length historical fiction novel, but sometimes it’s nice to work with it in short stories.  Gotta use my degree for something, after all.  Was inspired to write something ancient-Greek since I saw My Life in Ruins and Cassandra Jade’s recent post inspired this specific story.
Much love,
Amber

Flash Fiction Thursdays: Acceptance

Rejection, from The Letter

Acceptance

Her eyes lurked in the shadows.  She saw the haggard man there and the scuffed iron pistol he held in his shaking hand, but she pretended she didn’t.  If Vengeance deemed she was going to die between these red silk covers, then so be it.  But she would die with dignity.  When the gunshot sounded and the burning metal pierced her soft bronze skin, she was ready.

.

Author’s Note:
In both my writing courses this past year at college, my professors emphasized that a story doesn’t have to be long to be a story.  I recognize length as one of my weak points in creative writing.  I am inclined to be incredibly long, even if I don’t need to be.  I think these five sentences give enough information to relay character and basic setting to the reader, but I’m interested in your thoughts- how can I make this better without making it longer?
Much love,
Amber.

One Step At A Time

Shane Reading Backstage during The Letter

Last night, I had a decision to make:  go to bed?  Or write?

A while back I decided that yes.  Yes I am invested in The Sin Series, but if I publish, I want to publish a one-shot book before trying to market a series.  Because The Sin Series is like… my life… I don’t want to pitch that one to agents and have it turned down and be forced to self-publish, if I publish at all.  If I’m going to be turned down, I want it to be with a one-shot, so I can learn and improve and use any feedback I get in also expanding The Sin Series.  That left me with two options:  ‘Tweens or Absolutely Mad.

Absolutely Mad is a book that draws on the verse of Alice in Wonderland.  Since Lewis Carrol’s canon is no longer under copyright, I am free to do whatever I want with the characters and the world.  The main character, Yvette Hatter, is cynical and sarcastic, but curious enough and has an imagination, so it doesn’t take a huge leap of faith for her to believe that she has been pushed into a magical looking glass into the world of Wonderland, where a half-crazed Cheshire Cat is making himself dictator of the land.  It’s very much a distopian novel, but it’s out of all my usual conventions.  Absolutely Mad is written in the first person, to begin.  The story is also only told by one character, Yvette, which is also out of my norm.  Because this story is so far out of the normal for me, I don’t want this one to be the first one I venture into.

The other option is ‘Tweens‘Tweens was inspired by several things, from a comment made by one of Bryan’s roommates (“Everyone knows that covers are impenetrable to monsters!”) to an episode of Charmed (season two, I think) to someone telling me that I was good at writing children’s voice (gee, thanks!).  ‘Tweens starts in the real world (allowing me allusions, thank goodness) but there are ‘tweens all over the real world during which people, especially children, are susceptible to the Land Between.  Things like dreams and doorways, where children and those who still are a child at heart are liable to be scooped up by creatures of the ‘Tween and taken into their world.  Lucy Brown is seven years old, and her parents think that she is prone to nightmares and will have nothing of her complaints.  Her older brother, Timothy remembers the Land Between and is there to help her when he can, but he’s also a college student and is beginning to get tired of his little sister crying to him constantly.  He doesn’t have much of a choice, though, when Lucy is snatched away into the Land Between, and the only person who knows enough to go after her is Timothy himself.

So.  To tie in the first sentence, last night I had a choice:  go to bed, or write.  I compromised.  I wrote 1000 words in ‘Tweens.  In fact, I made good progress in Timothy’s voice, bringing him into the the Land Between in his recurring dream.  I was really pleased with myself.  I think that ‘Tweens is going to need a few good drafts before I will even think about querying (and that’s after finishing the manuscript) but I am always pleased whenever I am able to sit down and get something done like that.  Even if it’s only 1000 words (which takes me about an hour), it’s something.

On a side note, I noticed on Miss Rosemary’s blog, she has her specific story goals in the sidebar.  I think that is something I should consider doing myself.  I’ve never been one for due-dates, but if I manage to get published, I will be working on deadlines, and it’s something I should get used to.  Besides.  Left to my own devices, I get nothing done.

Right now?  Right now I am going to go read another 25 pages in Alabi’s World for school and then I am going to sit down and push my way through ‘Tweens until I need to leave for work at  4:30.  Sounds like a good, productive plan to me.

To Reach the Unreachable Star

Houghton Walkway

To Reach the Unreachable Star

He pressed his face against the window and imagined that through the thick Plexiglas, he could feel the cold of space.  His bright green eyes absorbed the light of a thousand stars and silently, he prayed to whatever god was listening- please, please for the love of everything good and right in the world, let me pass this test.  He wouldn’t tell his peers this, but he was terrified.  Lieutenant Markus Albrieght had been studying for today’s test for six months in paperwork, but in reality, all his life.

He wasn’t entirely ashamed to admit that his interest in flying had come straight from Star Wars.  Sometimes he and a couple of the other hopefuls would go to a local club after training and swallow down a couple of Bud Lights and joke around about it.  “Gee, Scott, why did you join the Project?” “I was one of the fastest pilots in my squadron and my lead recommended me.  You?” “Well, you know that scene in Star Wars where Luke blows up the Death Star?  Yeah.  That’ll be me someday.” They always gave him a weird look and treated him like he was joking.  But he wasn’t, and he didn’t mind laughing along with them.  They all had little quirks, after all.

“Heya Albrieght, ya coming?”

Markus looked over his shoulder at one of the other hopefuls; they all called him Johnson, but nobody knew his first name.  That was the way it was around the Project.  It was all hush-hush, and they were not permitted to talk about any of the details, not even with their families.  Markus had a wife back home in Illinois that he hasn’t seen in six months, since he had read in a magazine on base that NASA was looking for “men and women in the Air Force looking for advancement opportunities”.  It was a vague enough advertisement, but it wasn’t the words that interested him.  It was the image in the background.  It had the stereotyped moon and stars background, but there was also a ship in the background that looked a little too much like Luke’s X-Wing.  With his wife’s blessing, he had followed up with other on the base and next thing he know, he was here, with men like Scott and Johnson, dressed in a bland grey jumpsuit, only a pen-and-paper test away from sitting in the cockpit of NASA’s newest program.

“Yea, I’m comin’.  Just gimme a minute.”  Markus pressed his palms against the window and let the cold settle in his fingers.  He closed his eyes and breathed slowly, trying to calm his heart as it threatened to explode.

“Just don’t take too long.”

Markus listened to Johnson’s heavy boots walk away and he exhaled.  In half an hour… in half an hour he would know if all these months of training were a waste of time… or a dream realised.

Flash Fiction Thursday: Come On, Get Higher

Paris at night, Via French Kitchen in America.

So far so good on another weekly commitment- I bring you this week’s “Flash Fiction Thursday”.  All typed on my boyfriend’s computer while he is at work.  And he has this snazz-tastic illuminated keyboard.  Squee!

.

Come On, Get Higher

L’Hotel Promenade in Paris overlooked the most beautiful, bluest part of the Seine.  From her balcony, Adrienne could feel the north wind picking up her ebony curls, carrying with it the fresh smells of croissants and perfume.  Indeed, it was signature feel of Paris, and she had come here for the same reason that every other single woman in her twenties came to Paris:  for love.  Romance novels always made it seem so simple.  All a woman need do is slip on a pair of treacherous high heels and a form-fitting black dress, and a man in a tuxedo with a cigarette clutched between his fingers was supposed to sweep her away into the yellow lights of the city.

She tapped her glossy pink nails on the metal rail of the balcony and sighed irritably.  It wasn’t that easy.  Nothing in life was that easy.  She thought any reasonable girl would kill for a chance to spend her life “just sitting and looking pretty”.  It only happened to woman like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly.  Princesses of the silver screen.  And what was she?  Adrienne was practically a doormouse compared to them. A wannabe fashion designer who hadn’t been able to make herself a name in New York.  So what? she thought to herself and took a gulp from her half-empty glass on chardonnay.  Paris was le centre de la mode.  If you wanted to be a fashion designer, you wanted to be in Paris, not the Big Apple.

Adrienne swung her body around, sloshing chardonnay on the wire balcony and it dripped to the sidewalk below.  Go to Paris, she had told herself, Be a model, fall in love, make a lot of money.  Then nobody will question the dip of your necklines or the length of you skirt.

She set the glass on a cluttered counter, covered in unopened bills.  Some belonged to her roommate, but most of them belong to her.  “Helene!” Adrienne shouted into the dimly lit living room, where she knew her roommate wasn’t.  “I’m going to go climb the Eiffel Tower and fall in love.”

When Helene didn’t respond (Of course, she is at work, Adrienne scolded herself), Adrienne sat stubbornly on the floor and pulled on her favourite pair of bright red Prada stilettos. She wobbled out the door, leaving her wallet, bills, and woes behind her.

Paris; le ville de l’amour….


tweet-a-twitter-twoo?

something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

Like what you read? Click here to get the latest posts sent straight to your email!

Join 6 other followers