Writer in Motion

Wait, I’ve just got to blow the dust and cobwebs from this old blog…there, that’s better!

So, I’ve got a new project to work on with lots of other writers, and even two editors! This time a group of us will be showing our first drafts – unpolished work, like some I’ve written on here in the dim and distant past – then we will get feedback from other writers and edit our work accordingly. We will post our revised versions as we write them and in the end you should see a polished piece of writing with the help of professional editors Carly Hayward and Jeni Chapelle.

This should be fun, and there’s eleven other writers joining in. Their blogs are listed below. You can see what they are up to on the blogs and follow our progress on twitter at #WriterInMotion

Participating Writers

K. J. Harrowick (http://blog.halon-chronicles.com & http://kjharrowick.wordpress.com)

Jen Karner (http://www.SyllablesandSass.com)

H.M. Braverman (http://hmbraverman.com)

J.M. Jinks (www.authorjmjinks.com)

Melissa Bergum (will be posting via KJ’s site)

Thuy Nguyen (http://www.tmnstories.com)

Kristen Howe  https://kristenswritingendeavors.wordpress.com/

Kathryn Hewitt (that’s me!) https://spinningmyyarns.wordpress.com/

Sean Willson (https://www.seanwillson.com/blog/)

Paulette Wiles (http://www.paulettewiles.com)

Talynn (inkinthebook.blogspot.com)

Ellen Mulholland (www.ellenmulholland.com)

Editors:

Jeni Chappelle https://www.jenichappelleeditorial.com/

Carly Hayward https://booklighteditorial.com/

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Writer in Motion – week…

Oh dear, I got a teensy bit behind on this! I did manage 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo so that’s my excuse.

I have only had one round of critique partners and edits – but they were the amazing S. Kaeth, KJ Harrowick, and Stephanie Whitaker so that counts for at least double. Here’s a snippet of their great suggestions –

I probably should have spent a bit longer on edits, but their comments definitely helped improve it. Oh, and apologies for the ending…

Fire-Power

Fire-Power’s arm ached as she held the fire baton into the blue air of the world lying silent around her. Age had begun to slow her. Once she would have hung in the sky for hours without a twinge.

Now she was ready for the winner – it was time to pass her powers on.

Her first student was yet to make it through the rift. The culmination of years training girls to be her heir. She smothered a flicker of hope that her daughter would be in the vanguard. No, the best woman would win her fire, no matter who it was.

The wing of her suit flapped in the thermals rising in the heat of the day, ready to fly her to safety should she fall. She dismissed the idea. Age hadn’t burnt all her power. She would not fall.

A speck soared from the rift. It hovered for a split second then rocketed towards her beacon. A flame lit in her heart. Surely that was Flare’s flying style?

But another speck, and yet another, mimicked the first. The styles were identical at this distance. There was no telling who the leader was.

The fire roared above her head as the students closed in. An epic challenge came down to a simple race. The fastest to reach her would become the new Fire-Power.

She would have to resume her original name. Become Kerry once more. Fire-Power had been her life, her self, for so long she couldn’t imagine just being Kerry. Fire-Power fought for justice in the world, she was famed wherever she went. Kerry was nothing. Her head pulsed painfully.

If the rapidly approaching flier was Flare, Kerry could be a mentor, a mother, and a trainer. If it was another woman she would disappear. There would be no way for her to fight evil, no way to make the world a better place. The new Fire-Power would choose her own mentor.

She focused on maintaining her posture.

The lead flier neared. It wasn’t her daughter. Flare flew behind her companion – Poppy – her face a grimace as she strained to overtake. The woman was a worthy successor. Fire-Power knew that, but hope doused in a cold wave. Her old life was at an end.

She would have to watch the battles fought for the world on a screen like anyone else. No air currents lifting her to float above the earth, no stream of flames, no bone-weary satisfaction at a successful defence of her people. This was the last scent of smoke for her.

But with a flash of light in her mind Fire-Power wondered if she could hold onto her power for a little longer. Surely a few more months would make no difference?

Her hand gripped the baton, her knuckles white, like the heat at the centre of the flame. Could she let go?

Flare drew level with Poppy. The wings of her ice-blue suit strained in competition with Poppy’s dusky purple ones. Fire-Power held her breath, intent on the two students. Her legs locked as she prepared for the snatch of the baton.

If she were to give up her fire, she couldn’t watch who took it.

She shut her eyes as the two came closer. A rush of wind. A scream of triumph.

Her empty hand.

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Writer in Motion – week 2

Week two is self-editing. I mostly focused on tightening things up, with the odd sentence of clarification. My head has been rather full of my NaNoWriMo dragons this week! Hopefully, getting critique partner’s input next week will give me some idea of where I need to go with this!

So, here’s the slightly improved version –

Fire-Power

The blue air of the fire world lay still and silent around her. The first student was yet to make it through the rift.

It was time to hand her powers on.

The culmination of years of training girls up to compete to be her heir. She banked down a flicker of hope that her daughter would be in the vanguard. No, the best woman would win her fire, no matter who it was.

Her arm ached as she held the fire baton aloft, ready for the winner. Age had begun to slow her. Once she would have hung in the sky for hours without a twinge.

The wing of her suit flapped in the thermals rising in the heat of the day, ready to fly her to safety should she fall. She dismissed the idea. Age hadn’t burnt all her power, she would not fall.

A speck soared from the rift. It hovered for a split second then launched towards her beacon. A flame lit in her heart. Surely that was Flare’s flying style?

But another speck, and yet another mimicked the first. The styles were identical at this distance. There was no telling who the leader was.

The fire roared above her head as the students closed in on it. The end of an epic challenge came down to a simple race. The fastest to reach her would become the new Fire-Power.

She would have to resume her original name. Become Kerry once more. Fire-Power had been her life, her self, for so long she couldn’t imagine just being Kerry. Her head pulsed painfully. What would she be without fire and flying?

If the rapidly approaching flier was Flare Kerry could be a mentor, a mother, and a trainer. If it was another woman her role was gone. The new Fire-Power would choose her own mentor.

She focused on maintaining her posture. She couldn’t relax yet.

As the flier neared she realised it wasn’t her daughter. Her hope doused in a cold wave. Her old life was at an end. Now she would watch the battles on a screen like anyone else. No thermals lifting her to float above the earth, no stream of flames, no bone-weary satisfaction at a successful defence of her people. This was the last scent of smoke for her.

Flare flew behind the lead woman, her face a grimace of strength as she tried to overtake. The lead flier was her daughter’s companion – Poppy. The woman was a worthy successor. She knew that. But with a flash of light in her mind she wondered if she could hold onto her power for a little longer. Surely a few more months would make no difference?

Her hand gripped the baton, her knuckles white, like the heat at the centre of the flame. Could she let go?

Flare drew level with Poppy. Her ice-blue wings straining in competition with Poppy’s dusky purple ones. Fire-Power held her breath, intent on the two students. Her legs locked as she prepared for the snatch of the baton.

If she were to give up her fire she couldn’t watch who took it.

Her eyes shut as the two came closer. A rush of wind. A scream of triumph. Her empty hand.

If you want to see what everyone else made has been up to take a look at the Writer in Motion website at https://writerinmotion.com/ And I’ll post my next version of the story next week.

Return of Writer in Motion

WiM_Banner_NoTaglineWriter in Motion time again. I might be a little more distracted with it this time (I forgot to write an initial impressions post already!) as it’s also NaNoWriMo – or National Novel Writing Month. This means I am trying to write 50,000 words in November.

So, what is the prompt this time, you may be wondering? Well, here you are –

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Image by engin akyurt from Pixabay

My initial thoughts were superheroes! I’ve never written about them before, and I’ve been watching the odd Marvel film lately. So here is my rather rough first draft –

Fire-Power

She stared into the blue air of the fire world, trying to spot the first to make it through the rift. So many years of training the girls up to compete for her place.

Now she had to hand her powers on.

She tried to banks down the flicker of hope that her daughter would be in the vanguard. The best woman would win her fire.

Her arm ached as she held the fire baton aloft. Age had begun to slow her. Once she would have hung in the sky for hours without a twinge.

It was time.

The wing of her suit flapped in the hot wind, ready to steer her to safety should she fall. She dismissed the idea. Age hadn’t scorched her power as far as that.

A speck soared from the rift. It hovered for a split second then launched towards her beacon. A flame of hope lit her heart. Flare’s flying style was the same. But another speck, and yet another mimicked the first. It was impossible to tell who the leader was.

The fire roared above her head as the students closed in on it. The end of an epic challenge came down to a simple race. The fastest to reach her would become the new Fire-Power.

She would have to resume her original name. Become Kerry once more. Fire-Power had been her life, her self, for so long she couldn’t imagine just being Kerry.

If the rapidly approaching flier was Flare she would be a mentor, a mother, and a trainer. If it was another her role was gone. The new Fire-Power would choose her own mentor.

She focused on maintaining her posture. She couldn’t relax yet.

As the flier neared she realised it wasn’t her daughter. The hope doused in a cold wave. Her old life was at an end. Now she would only watch the battles on a screen like anyone else. No thermals lifting her above the earth, no stream of flames, no bone-weary satisfaction at a successful defence of her people. This was the last scent of smoke for her.

Flare flew behind the lead woman, her face a grimace of strength as she tried to overtake. Fire-Power realised the lead flier was her daughter’s companion – Poppy. The woman was a worthy successor. She knew that. But with a flash of light in her mind she wondered if she could hold onto her power. Surely a few more months would make no difference?

Her hand gripped the baton, her knuckles white, like the heat at the centre of the flame. Could she let go?

Flare nearly drew level with Poppy. Her ice-blue wings straining in competition with Poppy’s dusky purple ones. They were side-by-side. Fire-Power held her breath, intent on the two students. Her legs locked as she held ready for the snatch of the baton.

If she were to give up her fire she couldn’t see who took it.

Her eyes shut as the two came closer. A rush of wind, a scream, and her hand was empty.

So, there it is. If you want to see what everyone else made of the prompt take a look at the Writer in Motion website at https://writerinmotion.com/ And I’ll post my revised version of the story next week.

Writer in Motion – wrapping up

Writer in Motion – wrapping up

Yes, I have put writing this off, and not just because writers always procrastinate! As my eleven year old has been saying during his last week at primary school this week, “I don’t like the last of things”. Who wants good things to end?

I’m sure the participants will keep in touch and we’ll still have angst-ridden chats about our writing and giggles about tacos. It won’t be as intense as while we were writing, editing, critiquing, and re-writing. But the pressure will be off too.

So, what did I learn from this?

For starters, that a great group is a massive boost when you’re writing – it’s such a solitary activity, and having support is vital.

Also that people can come up with such a massive range of ideas from such a small start. I mean, I knew that, but this brought it home.

Another thing I already knew that was highlighted in this exercise, was how much easier it is to see how to improve other people’s writing compared to your own! Having said that, such intense rounds of editing and critiquing did help me identify areas I need to work on with my writing.

Having a real life editor look at my work was great too. I really appreciated Carly’s expertise in identifying the purpose of the story, and how to show that.

And I realised that however good your work is you always have times where you are sure it is terrible. More importantly, that everyone has times when they feel this.

Now, I am moving on to polish my last novel – a feminist/ Neolithic/ time-travelling /patriarchal arse-kicking /magic fantasy. And to use the story I wrote for this as a part of a new novel I am planning to write. From a short story I’m hoping to work up to an epic fantasy – daunting, but fun. I’m writing world-building ideas at the moment, and hope to start a first draft in November.

What I don’t know is whether to carry on with this blog, and what to use it for if I do. Any ideas are welcome.

Thanks to everyone who took part in Writer in Motion, or who supported us. It was such a great idea and I’d do it all over again!

To see the wrap up posts of the other writers see their blogs here –

KJHarrowickBlog 1 Blog 2) | Jen Karner | H.M. Braverman | J.M. Jinks | Melissa Bergum | Thuy Nguyen | Kristen Howe| | Sean Willson | Paulette Wiles | Talynn | Ellen Mulholland | Jeni Chappelle | Carly Hayward tSheri MacIntyre | Jessica Lewis | Susan Burdorf | Stephanie Whitaker | Dawn Currie | Megan Van Dyke | SKaeth | Ari Augustine | Fariha Khayyam | M. Dalto | Sheryl Stein | Belinda Grant

Writer in Motion: Week 6

Writer in Motion: Week 6 editor’s input.

This version was written after the critique of an amazing editor – Carly Haywood. She told me to consider either making the flashback the entire story or put Dirna’s current thoughts into the memory. Here’s a snippet of her comments – 

Carly's edits

Again, it’s daunting having so much to work on. As with the critique partners comments I fixed the small or easy things first. It’s good to cross some things off a long list. Then I worked on bringing the present day into the story a little more. You can see if I succeeded below.

Time to Mourn

Dirna hated going back. During the war there hadn’t been time for anything but survival. But she needed to honour her oldest friend’s life. She wrapped her wolfskin cloak tight to keep out the cave’s coldness as she followed the glow-worm’s light. Not that she needed their guidanceshe’d created these tunnels.

She emerged by the river, gasping at the icy wind. The boat loomed, alone and grey. Grief slapped her remaining breath away, and her chest ached more the closer she got.

Her fingers stretched towards the hull, without touching the wood. Her hand shook and she stumbled back as the dizzy wave of memory reached for herthe sorrow imprinted in the splintering timber. She couldn’t do it. She wasn’t ready, but she must touch the boat to relive what she’d lost. She grasped at the wood, paint scratching under her nails.

Her tired mind punched into the bright blue day, fishing with Jarn. The freedom of the open air spun her mind after so long in the caves. Jarn grinned at her and she laughed back.

She’d forgotten how escaping the curfew sent her heart soaring into the wide sky.

They hugged the coast, hoping to stay safe, and avoid the elders. They set up their makeshift rods and stretched in the sun on the deck. Fishing lines lay still against the blue water.

That one moment; out of the war, out of time. She shook her head, and forced herself on.

A vast shadow dropped.

Only one creature was that huge.

A dragon

No matter how long it’d been since she’d seen one Dirna plunged into icy fear. Her stomach clenched as Jarn twisted round.

Dirna scrabbled for her staff. She could fight it. She’d done it before. But only with other sorcerersshe flung the thought away, she had to fight alone.

The emerald dragon snatched the boat from the water as easily as an eagle took a fish.

No!” Jarn shouted, covering Dirna.

It’s all right,” Dirna whispered, her hands shaking.

I’ve got you.” Jarn held her shoulders.

Dirna stared into his eyesher last look at him alive. She wanted to stop and pretend he still lived, pretend she’d saved him.

She raised her staff and frantically sucked in power. Jarn steadied her. The solidity of him let her concentrate on taking power from the cliffs swinging below them.

Rock crumbled into the sea, making the dragon spin around. The boat swung like a treehouse in a storm as the dragon banked.

Dirna used her spasm of fear to ratchet the magic tighter. She spun a net under the boat. Protect firstthe elder’s words screamed at her.

She bit her tongue, wanting to shriek at her past selftell her to attack, attack, attack.

She focused the strength stored in her staff at the dragon’s claws in both sides of the hull. The magic hit with a crack. The dragon gasped a vast stream of fire.

Dirna cringed to the deck with Jarn falling over her. One set of claws sprang open. The boat lurched, and Dirna clung to a chain.

Jarn fell.

Dirna leant her head on the boat. If only she’d known. If only…

She screamed as he spun past the rail, slipping past her outstretched staff with his fingers splayed. She struggled to extend the net she’d conjured to reach him. Her staff had nothing left. Before she could draw more power, Jarn hit the sea. The dragon let the boat go and dived to snatch its unprotected prey.

Dirna held the rail as her spell caught the boat, lowering it to the sea with a thwack. She cowered in a helpless ball as the dragon flew away with Jarn, limp and bloodied in its clutches. There was nothing she could dothere never was once a dragon had its prey. She yearned to slam her eyes closed, but she was transfixed by Jarn’s broken body.

Other sorcerers lined the shore. The alarm had been calledtoo late. Before they drew the boat to shore Dirna pulled the horror and the guilt from her mind and thrust it into the splintered wood. She couldn’t let it stop her fighting.

Jarn would have killed the dragons to avenge her and she would do the same for him. Numb anger swept aside her love and grief.

Dirna let the hull go and sank to the mud by the wreck, as hollow and torn as its timbers.

She’d fought the dragons. Then she’d rebuilt the town she’d founded with Jarn and the other rebels. She’d made the fairer society they’d dreamed of during the war.

Now there was time to mourn.

———————————————-

To see how everyone else is getting on click the links here –

KJHarrowickBlog 1 Blog 2) | Jen Karner | H.M. Braverman | J.M. Jinks | Melissa Bergum | Thuy Nguyen | Kristen Howe| | Sean Willson | Paulette Wiles | Talynn | Ellen Mulholland | Jeni Chappelle | Carly Hayward  Sheri MacIntyre | Jessica Lewis | Susan Burdorf | Stephanie Whitaker | Dawn Currie | Megan Van Dyke | SKaeth | Ari Augustine | Fariha Khayyam | M. Dalto | Sheryl Stein | Belinda Grant

Writer in Motion – Week 5

Another week another edit. This time with the help of other writers. I was one of a group of three who critiqued each others work. Kristen, KJ and CoffeeQuills had some great suggestions for me–I had to show Dirna’s motivations and world a little more. Here’s a snippet of the comments they made –

WiM

It’s a little daunting seeing all the highlights and comments! I usually leave some time before launching into edits – it’s easy to either get defensive about your cherished phrases, or go too far the other way and change everything.

Of course, they were right about almost everything, and I hope I incorporated their ideas in the new version –

Time to Mourn

Dirna hated going back. The wartime had been a different world. But she needed to say goodbye to her oldest friend. She wrapped her wolfskin cloak tight to keep out the cave’s coldness. Glow-worms tracked the way, not that she needed guidance–she’d created these tunnels.

She emerged by the river, gasping at the icy wind. The boat loomed, alone and grey. Grief slapped her, and it would hurt worse the closer she got.

Her fingers stretched towards the hull, as close as possible without touching the wood. Her hand shook and she stumbled back as the dizzy wave of memory reached for her–the sorrow imprinted in the splintering timber. She couldn’t do it. She wasn’t ready, but she had to relive the memories to let the hurt go. She grasped at the flaking paint.

Her tired mind punched into the memory–a bright blue day, fishing with Jarn.

The freedom of the open air spun her mind after so long in the caves. Jarn grinned at her and she laughed back. Her hair flung with the wind as the boat skated along the waves.

They hugged the coast, hoping to escape notice from the elders as well as the dragons. The elders said they must stay hidden for fear of the dragon’s return, though no-one had seen a dragon for weeks.

They set up their makeshift rods and stretched in the sun on the deck. Their lines lay still against the blue water.

A vast shadow dropped.

Only one creature was that huge.

A dragon.

Dirna’s mind plunged into ice. Her stomach clenched as Jarn twisted round. Dirna scrabbled for her staff.

She could fight it. She’d done it before. With other sorcerers–she flung the thought away, she had to fight alone.

The emerald dragon snatched the boat from the water as easily as an eagle took a fish.

No!” Jarn shouted, covering Dirna.

It’s all right,” Dirna whispered, her hands shaking.

I’ve got you.” Jarn held her shoulders.

She raised her staff and frantically sucked in power. She stumbled on the swaying deck but Jarn steadied her. The solidity of him let her concentrate on taking power from the cliffs swinging below them.

Rock crumbled into the sea, making the dragon spin around. The boat swung like a treehouse in a storm as the dragon banked.

Dirna used her spasm of fear to ratchet the magic tighter. She spun a net under the boat. Protect first–the elder’s words screamed at her.

She focused the strength stored in her staff at the dragon’s claws. The magic hit with a crack. The dragon gasped a vast stream of fire.

Dirna cringed to the deck with Jarn falling over her. One set of claws sprang open. The boat lurched and Dirna clung to a chain.

Jarn fell.

Dirna screamed as he spun past the rail. She stretched her staff in his direction but he slipped past it with his fingers outspread. She struggled to extend the net she’d conjured to reach him, but her staff had nothing left. Before she could draw more power, Jarn hit the sea. The dragon let the boat go and dived to snatch the unprotected prey.

Dirna held the rail as her spell caught the boat, lowering it to the sea with a thwack. She cowered in a helpless ball as the dragon flew back to the mountains with Jarn in its clutches. There was nothing she could do–there never was once a dragon had its prey close. She yearned to slam her eyes closed, but she couldn’t turn away from her last sight of Jarn.

The other sorcerers lined the shore. The alarm had been called–too late. Before they drew the boat to shore Dirna pulled the horror, the grief, and the guilt from her mind and thrust it into the splintered wood. She couldn’t let it stop her fighting the war.

Jarn would have killed the dragons to avenge her and she would do the same for him. Numb anger replaced love and grief.

Dirna let the hull go and sank to the mud by the wreck, as hollow and torn as its timbers.

She’d fought the dragons. Then she’d rebuilt and protected the remnants of their life after the war ended.

Now there was time to mourn.

————————————————–

The next step is having an editor look at my work before revising it again. This is a little scary as I’ve never worked with an editor before. However, I’ve been assured that Carly Hayward is a fierce angel so I’m in good hands!

To see how everyone else is getting on click the links here –

KJHarrowickBlog 1 & Blog 2) | Jen Karner | H.M. Braverman | J.M. Jinks | Melissa Bergum | Thuy Nguyen | Kristen Howe| | Sean Willson | Paulette Wiles | Talynn | Ellen Mulholland | Jeni Chappelle | Carly Hayward  Sheri MacIntyre | Jessica Lewis | Susan Burdorf | Stephanie Whitaker | Dawn Currie | Megan Van Dyke | SKaeth | Ari Augustine | Fariha Khayyam | M. Dalto | Sheryl Stein | Belinda Grant

Writer in Motion Week 4

Week 4 – Self- edits

It’s always hard to know where to start with editing. For this project I looked at comments people had made about the first draft – they liked the emotion mostly. So, when I read through and added notes about what to change “add more emotion” was the most common! Here’s a snippet of my notes –

Dirna finally had time. Well, she would if she could creep away with no-one finding something urgent for her to deal with.   Show motivation not tell   She stuffed some bread, nuts and water in a cloth and tied it to her staff. She left before dawn, creeping through the cold tunnels. add atmosphere/description

She came out by the river, gasping at the icy air. The boat was right there. Gulping a breath to steady her she walked right up to it. More emotion When her fingers were stretched as close to the hull as possible without touching the wood she paused. Description – tied to emotion- tired/wrecked like her life since war

In the end I added words rather than cutting them. Luckily, mine wasn’t too long to start with – but more than the original 500 word limit. I also read my work out loud as that helps highlight the clunky phrases and repetition.

Here’s the result of my first edit –

Time to Mourn

Dirna finally found time. She left before dawn, knowing no-one would be around to ask her to solve any problems. The problems never ended. She sighed as she gave a quick glance to check the tunnel was deserted. She wrapped her wolfskin cloak tight to keep out the cave’s still coldness. Glow-worms tracked the way, not that she needed guidance – she’d created these tunnels.

She came out by the river, gasping at the icy wind. The boat loomed, alone and grey. She stopped, as frozen as the rock she’d left. Grief slapped her, and it would hurt worse the closer she got. She gulped a breath and walked to the boat.

Her fingers stretched as close to the hull as possible without touching the wood. Her hand shook and she stumbled back as the dizzy wave of memory reached for her – the sorrow imprinted in the splintering timber. She couldn’t do it. She wasn’t ready.

But she had to. She touched the flaking paint.

Her tired mind punched into the memory – a bright blue day, fishing with Jarn.

Warmth wrapped her. Freedom of swimming in the open air spun her mind. Jarn grinned at her and she laughed back. Their first time out of the caves in weeks. Her hair flung out as the boat skated along the waves.

Hugging the coast, hoping to escape notice from the elders as well as the dragons, they set up their makeshift rods and stretched into the sun on the deck. They were intent on their lines, lying still against the blueness.

A vast shadow dropped on them. Dirna’s mind plunged into ice. Her stomach clenched as Jarn twisted round. Dirna scrabbled for her staff with skittering hands.

The emerald dragon snatched them from the water as easily as an eagle took a fish.

‘No!’ Jarn shouted, covering Dirna,.

‘It’s all right,’ Dirna whispered.

‘I’ve got you.’ Jarn held her shoulders.

She raised her staff and frantically sucked in power. She stumbled on the swaying deck but Jarn steadied her. The solidity of him, the rock-hard support of his faith in her made her put everything into taking power from the cliffs swinging below them.

Rock crumbled with a crash into the sea, making the dragon turn with a jerk. The boat rocked like a treehouse in a storm. The dragon banked, trying to regain its balance.

Dirna used her spasm of fear, ratcheting the magic tighter, she spun a protective net under the boat. She aimed energy at the dragon’s claws, shooting it from her staff with a crack.

The dragon gasped a vast stream of fire with a shriek that stunk of blood and rot. Dirna cringed back to the deck with Jarn falling over her. One set of claws sprang open, making the boat lurch. Dirna clung to a chain.

But Jarn fell.

Dirna screamed as he spun past the rail. Her staff stretched out but he slipped past it with his fingers outspread. She struggled to extend the magic to reach under him, but her power had depleted. Before she could reach for more Jarn hit the sea with a cry. The dragon let the boat go and dived to snatch him up.

Dirna held the rail as her protective net caught the boat, lowering it to the sea with a gentle thwack. She cowered in a helpless ball, watching the dragon flying back to the mountains with Jarn in its clutch. His face, broken and bloodied, filled her view. She yearned to shut it out, slam her eyes closed, but she couldn’t turn away from her last sight of him.

Before the other sorcerers could draw the boat to shore Dirna balled the horror, the grief, the guilt and soaked it into the splintered wood below her. She couldn’t let it stop her fighting back. Jarn would have killed the dragons to avenge her and she would do the same for him. Numb anger took the place of the love and grief.

Dirna let the hull go and sank to the mud by the wreck, as hollow and torn as its timbers.

She’d had to fight, to rebuild, to protect the remnants of their old life.

But now there was space to mourn.

————————————————————–

The next stage is getting feedback from two other writers. We are all swapping work. It is always easier to see the problems in other people’s writing. With your own work you can’t help thinking about what you meant to write rather than what you actually wrote!

To see how everyone else is getting on click the links here –

KJHarrowickBlog 1 Blog 2) | Jen Karner | H.M. Braverman | J.M. Jinks | Melissa Bergum | Thuy Nguyen | Kristen Howe| | Sean Willson | Paulette Wiles | Talynn | Ellen Mulholland | Jeni Chappelle | Carly Hayward  

Sheri MacIntyre | Jessica Lewis | Susan Burdorf | Stephanie Whitaker | Dawn Currie | Megan Van Dyke | SKaeth | Ari Augustine | Fariha Khayyam | M. Dalto | Sheryl Stein | Belinda Grant

Writer in Motion – Week 3

Writer in Motion

Week three – first draft

I decided to go with a little snippet of backstory for an epic fantasy I’ve just started planning. I thought it through a little, but did no formal planning – as you can probably tell – it’s very rough and ready! Still, it makes a start.

Now I can think of sharpening it up, adding to the description, and cutting any unnecessary information. Next comes refining word choice, polishing sentence structure and checking spelling and grammar. Once I’ve edited it into some kind of shape I’ll post the next version.

Here’s my basic story, it’s an adult fantasy –

Time to Mourn

Dirna finally had time. Well, she would if she could creep away with no-one finding something urgent for her to deal with. She stuffed some bread, nuts and water in a cloth and tied it to her staff. She left before dawn, creeping through the cold tunnels.

She came out by the river, gasping at the icy air. The boat was right there. Gulping a breath to steady her she walked right up to it. When her fingers were stretched as close to the hull as possible without touching the wood she paused.

Was she really ready? She withdrew her hand to rub her numb face. She would never be ready. But it was time. She reached back to the wood and brushed the flaking paint.

With a lurch she was back.

A bright blue day on the sea. Fishing with Jarn. They’d shrugged worry off. No- one had seen a dragon in months. Dirna swam in that free feeling of the open air. They hadn’t been out of the caves in weeks. Hugging the coast, hoping to escape notice from the elders as well as the dragons, they set up their makeshift rods and sprawled on the deck.

They were intent on the waves. By the time the vast shadow caught them it was too late. They barely scrambled to their feet before the emerald dragon snatched them from the water as easily as an eagle took a fish. Jarn covered Dirna, letting her draw from the cliffs. She sucked in the power frantically, almost falling as she raised her staff on the swaying deck. But Jarn held her.

The rock crumbled, making the dragon start and the boat sway like a treehouse in a storm. The dragon banked, trying to regain its balance. Dirna spun a net of magic under the boat to protect them. Then she aimed a thin concentration of energy at the dragon’s claws.

It gasped a vast stream of fire that stunk of blood and rot. Dirna cringed back to the deck with Jarn crumpling over her. One set of claws in the wheelhouse sprang open, making the boat plunge. Dirna clung to a chain.

But Jarn fell.

Dirna screamed as he spun past the rail. He was flung past her net. She tried to extend the magic under him, but the shot at the dragon had depleted her power. Before she could reach for more Jarn hit the sea. The dragon let its other claw go and dived to snatch him up.

Dirna held the rail as her protective net caught the boat, lowering it to the sea with a gentle thwack. When she could stand she could only watch the dragon flying back to the mountains with Jarn, broken in its clutch.

Before the other sorcerers could draw the boat back to shore Dirna balled the horror, the grief, the guilt and soaked it into the splintered wood below her. She had to let it go so it wouldn’t stop her fighting back. Beating the dragons that killed her best friend.

Dirna let her arm fall and sank to the mud by the wreck. She’d had to help the others rebuild. She’d been one of the few left.

But now she could mourn.

                                     —————————————————————————–

To see how the others are getting on take a look at the blogs here –

K. J. Harrowick (Blog 1 & Blog 2) | Jen Karner | H.M. Braverman | J.M. Jinks | Melissa Bergum | Thuy Nguyen | Kristen Howe  | Sean Willson | Paulette Wiles | Talynn | Ellen Mulholland |

And the editors blogs here – Jeni Chappelle | Carly Hayward

After Writer In Motion started, a bunch of other great writers joined us. Follow them and their processes from idea to edited work here –

Sheri MacIntyre | Jessica Lewis | Susan Burdorf | Stephanie Whitaker | Dawn Currie | Megan Van Dyke | SKaeth | Ari Augustine | Fariha Khayyam | M. Dalto | Sheryl Stein | Belinda Grant

Writer in Motion – week 2

This is where it starts! We have been given the prompt for our writing – this picture –


Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

See more details on Jeni Chappelle’s blog at – https://www.jenichappelleeditorial.com/post/wim-week-2

So, I wrote the first words and ideas that came into my head after seeing the picture – from the simple “boat” and “stars” to the more idea-provoking “Steampunk – fly to the moon” and “retired adventurers”. Then I stopped. Time to think things through and let ideas percolate for a while.

I do my best (or most prolific) thinking lying in bed just before sleep or first thing in the morning. And, no – controversially – I don’t write these ideas down at the time! I figure if they are good or important enough they will stick in my mind when I’m ready to write. Maybe I’ve lost a few things this way, but it seems to work for me.

I have scribbled my two best ideas down now, but I will sit on them for a day or two to plan out a story in my head – at least getting the setting and main character sorted out. So far I have a cheesy Grandpa telling the grandkids a story about his adventures, and a backstory for the epic fantasy novel I’m currently planning.

When I’ve decided which to go for I’ll sit and write as it comes into my head. Sometimes it’s what I’ve thought out in advance but often it winds off in another direction. This is my favourite part of writing, where the ideas just take over and you plunge into a new world, not knowing where it will take you. The hard work of shaping it comes later.

If you want to shadow us and write your own work check out the twitter hashtag – #WriterInMotion. To see what the other Writers in Motion are planning in response to the prompt see their blogs at –

K. J. Harrowick (http://blog.halon-chronicles.com & http://kjharrowick.wordpress.com)

  1. Jen Karner (http://www.SyllablesandSass.com)

  2. H.M. Braverman (http://hmbraverman.com)

  3. J.M. Jinks (www.authorjmjinks.com)

  4. Melissa Bergum (will be posting via KJ’s site)

  5. Thuy Nguyen (http://www.tmnstories.com)

  6. Kristen Howe  https://kristenswritingendeavors.wordpress.com/

  7. Kathryn Hewitt (it’s me!) https://spinningmyyarns.wordpress.com/

  8. Sean Willson (https://www.seanwillson.com/blog/)

  9. Paulette Wiles (http://www.paulettewiles.com)

  10. Talynn Lynn (inkinthebook.blogspot.com)

  11. Ellen Mulholland (www.ellenmulholland.com)

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