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 –


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

2 Comments (+add yours?)

    Jun 28, 2019 @ 15:08:32

    Love the progression! Beautiful and sad.



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