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Jedi Knight Muse

QOTD #51: Post a Snippet You Are Proud Of

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For this question of the day, I thought it would be fun for us to share small snippets of something we've written that we're proud of. It doesn't matter whether it's been super edited or is still really rough or not - the point is just to show something that made us go "wow, I really love how this is turning out" as we wrote it.

In this case, I'm going to say that a "snippet" is 1,000 words or less. If 1,000 words makes you cut off in the middle of a sentence or at an awkward spot you can extend it to the end of the sentence.

Keep in mind that these snippets may be unedited, so unless someone who is sharing specifically asks for it, do not give any unasked for non-criticism.

When sharing your snippet, feel free to tell us what it is that made you proud of it. Was it a particular bit of dialogue? A particular bit of description?

Here is mine, completely unedited. I really love how this scene turned out. It's an important moment for the character, Ivar, reconnecting with his court's dragon guardian. There are definitely some bits that need work, but overall I'm very happy with it.

Quote

 

The bright sun shone at the edge of the forest, lighting a path for Ivar as he rode his horse through the forest. The journey through the forest had been uneventful, allowing him to think about what he would say to Tharos. Would he be be able to convince the dragon to help him?

Ivar paused his horse at the forest's edge, bathing in the warm sunlight as he took in his surroundings and breathed in the fresh air. Up ahead was a rushing waterfall with a glistening lake beneath it. It seemed like a peaceful area.

And then he saw the bones.

Ivar led the horse further out of the forest and closer to the lakeside. Something crunched beneath his feet and he paused. He frowned and bent down to see a skull shaped object. His long fingers grasped the skull; it wasn't much bigger than the palm of his hand. What creature could this belong to? He looked around and noticed that there were numerous other, small pieces of white bone scattered all around, sticking out from underneath the dirt.

Ivar stood, still holding the skull in his hand, and cautiously stepped forward several more feet, pulling the horse along with him. At the edge of the water was a larger piece of bone sticking out from the ground, coming up to his knees. His eyes widened as he looked around, his blood turning cold.

He was standing in a graveyard.

The horse neighed and stomped his hooves against the ground in protest, kicking small pieces of bone up. Ivar pulled his gaze from the bones and dropped the skull to the ground, turning his attention back to his horse. He reached a hand up to give a comforting pat to the side of the horse's neck. "Easy, boy," he said softly.

Stomp! The ground beneath him shook. Stomp! Ivar looked around as the bones shook and jumped off the ground, dislodging themselves from their place beneath the dirt. Ivar braced himself, locking his knees together as he grabbed onto the saddle of his horse to keep himself steady. The stomping stopped.

"Who are you, and what are you doing here?" a deep voice asked, echoing throughout the clearing.

Ivar pulled the sword at his side from its sheath, raising it in a defensive stance as he let the horse's reins fall from his hand. Carefully, he stepped in front of the horse, looking for the source of the voice but finding no one.

"Are you Tharos, the dragon guardian of the autumn fairy court?" Ivar asked.

"Who wants to know?"

"My name is Ivar Loramyar, prince and rightful ruler of the autumn fairy court. I have come here to seek out one who was once an ally of my father's," Ivar answered. "I was told by the other dragons that Tharos lives here."

Stomp. Stomp. A pause. There was a rush of wind as the giant beast flew down from its hidden perch and landed in front of Ivar, folding his wings inward by his sides. Dark green in color, the dragon's scales and horns glistened in the sunlight. A skull clung to the tip of its giant claw, unnoticed by the dragon.

"I am the one you seek, young prince," the dragon answered, its long neck stretching out toward the sky. Thanos craned his neck down and brought his head face-to-face with Ivar's. Ivar stood perfectly still as he felt the dragon's breath through its giant nostrils and did his best to ignore its foul breath. The dragon sniffed before he pulled his head back. "I remember you from many years ago. You were only a boy then." He paused. "You've changed in other ways. You've been . . . altered."

Ivar narrowed his eyes and cleared his throat, shifting uncomfortably. If the dragon could sense the transformation that he had been forced into, what else could he sense?

"A lot has changed in the time you've been gone, I'm afraid," Ivar replied.

"Hmph," said the dragon. Thanos turned his head to one side. "Where is your father? I have not seen him for many years. I always thought of him as a friend."

 

 

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This is the opening to a novel that is currently only 1 scene long (it's still in the planning stages, but I had enough to write the first scene). The rest of the scene after this isn't very good, but I like this first bit because of how much information is given to the reader without stopping the action.

 

Natani crouched behind her hut, hidden from all view, and vomited. When her stomach finally stopped heaving, she wiped her mouth and stared down at the effusion of her blasphemy. Her body had rejected the Mother's gift. She grabbed a stone and used it to rub the vomit into the dirt, erasing the evidence. She returned to the Circle where the rest of the tribe sat in quiet contemplation of their meal. It was always a somber experience when consuming the Mother's gift. 

The bones had been picked clean and for that, Natani was grateful, despite the hollow pain in her belly. She filled a stone bowl with water and went to sit next to Raigan. They shared a spot on the ground, south of the cookfire. The smell of charred flesh lingered on the air with no breeze to chase it away. The Mother, her effigy standing watch over the tribe, held back the wind and the ice and the cold.

But She hadn't saved Jogo.

Natani drew deeply from the bowl, the cool water washing away the bitter tastes in her mouth, leaving only memory. She had eaten the flesh of the fallen before and taken pride in their sacrifice. Why could she not do the same for her brother?

Raigan popped the last of the meat into his mouth and licked his fingers to show respect. His face betrayed no sign of the turmoil Natani felt, nor any other emotion. In a dozen more turnings of the moon, he would be old enough to join the hunt, and then it might be his bones blackening over the cook fire.

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10 hours ago, Jedi Knight Muse said:

And then he saw the bones.

-laughs- I love how you build up this lovely peaceful scenic forest setting and then turn it into a shivering anticipation of what will happen next.

-reads @Banespawn 's post - o.o' Powerful stuff you have there.  I look forward to reading more whenever you have more you wish to share.

My snippet...hmm....what to post...I've written so many things I love.  Some I still can't believe actually came out of my brain.  I think I will go with Berry's dance scene celebrating Prince Aurum's hundredth birthday.  While Berry is human, the prince and both his parents are High Fae (elves more or less).  The prince is gold skinned and haired, his mother Titania is all blues, and his father Auberon is forest greens.  I like color coding my fae, so sue me. lol FYI for those interested: Reginald is human, Starlight is a  flitling (tiny barbie sized winged fae), and Kormack is an Ork with drab green skin and a boar's nose and tusks, but not quite a snout.  Word count for the snippet is 904 according to my word processor.

From Chapter 2 of The New Queen

Lady Bell, Mistress of Entertainments, was taking the center stage.  She waited patiently for the room to quiet and the minstrels, jugglers, and others to finish their pieces and collect a few coins.  "Ladies, Gentleman, and other folk, I have for your entertainment worked closely with our very own Berry to arrange a particularly special performance for this most singular of occasions.  Though she has astounded, astonished, and delighted beyond expectation in the past," Berry felt sick as Bell built the crowd's expectations higher and higher, "I am confident tonight's performance will impress even the most critical among you.  Without further delay, please welcome Piper Reginald, Drummer Kormack, Illusionist Starlight, and Dancer Berry!"
Heart pounding, Berry thanked Bell and bowed to the head table, then to each of the other tables before she took her place in the center of the pentagonal stage.  Starlight took off from Reginald's shoulder to hover above the stage.  From that position, she would be casting illusion spells to illustrate the story of the performance.  Reginald and Kormack had taken up positions on either side of the raised area facing the head table.  All four saluted the royal family and guests once more in unison, and upon having their salute acknowledged with slight nods and smiles the show began.
Kormack set a slow steady beat as Berry knelt.  She forgot her stomach roiling in fear, forgot the crowd of nobles even the head table as she began to rise, hips echoing Kormack's beat.  With subtle movements, she began to weave her hands through the air.  At the same moment Reel put his pipe to his lips and blew his first soft low notes, Starlight began to cast her illusion magic.  
A pair of hummingbirds, one with brilliant green plumage the other with sky blue formed in the air near the tips of Berry's fingers.  As the Human dancer began to move around the stage, the birds followed the movements of her hands, rising or falling until Berry brought her hands together over her head.  
Apparently seeing each other for the first time, the birds forgot the dancer below them.  Flute and drum began to weave a sensuous melody as Berry circled the stage, hips quivering in time with Kormack's intermittent drum rolls.  Above her, the birds began to dart about, the green pursuing the blue.  In a climactic moment, they both dove for the center of the stage, and Berry dropped to her knees once more, head bowed, but shoulders and chest still moving and hands continuing to weave through the air.  At the moment when the illusory birds would have struck the stage, Kormack struck a resounding note, and Starlight created a burst of golden mist that billowed up and out obscuring the stage in a soft hazy glow.  
Rising once more to her feet, Berry went into a series of spins as Kormack and Reel played out a joyous tune.  The flare of her skirts and her movements as she spun back and forth across the stage matching Kormack's more striking beats with a kick of one foot or the other steadily cleared the glittering golden smoke.  As her shadowy form grew more substantial and visible, so too did a cradle sitting where the birds had dove together.
Coming to the front of the stage, Berry faced the head table, bending backwards to reach towards the cradle.  As her fingers brushed the illusion of a blanket a tiny gold skinned hand reached out toward her.  For Starlight, this was the hardest part, the close mingling of a complex illusion with reality.  Sweat stung her eyes as she continued to cast, making the infant hand grow to the size of a small child's as a little boy emerged from the cradle.  He walked on air, not dancing as Berry did, but following her as she leapt from the stage.  
This was the true climax of the piece.  Kormack beat a mad rhythm on his drum, it's deep tones filling the hall, joined by Reginald's lively piping.  Berry's hips moved in a seemingly endless shimmy as she led the illusory boy forward until she was within arm's reach of the table standing between her and those seated on the other side.  The little boy had continued to grow with every step until he was a tall young man.  Following the direction of Berry's reaching hands, he soared over the table and dove towards Prince Aurum, vanishing as the illusion collided with the reality.
For a terribly long moment, Berry stood with eyes lowered before the head table her chest heaving with short breaths as silence filled the massive hall.  <Why is no one applauding?>  She wondered, as her gaze rose just barely enough to meet Aurum's with growing fear.  Slowly, his startled expression gave way to a smile as Aurum rose from his seat and began to clap.  Relief washed over Berry as an instant later all other guests followed his lead.  Even Titania and Auberon rose briefly from their seats.  Dropping her arms, she bowed deeply to the head table before retreating to the stage and bowing to each of the other tables with her fellow performers.  Lady Bell's voice was incomprehensible to her as she departed the hall leaning discreetly on Kormack's strong arm for support.  
"You did well."  The tall Ork rumbled in his low quiet voice.  
"We all did well."  Berry murmured with a smile.

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5 minutes ago, Tangwystle said:

-laughs- I love how you build up this lovely peaceful scenic forest setting and then turn it into a shivering anticipation of what will happen next.

😄 that's exactly the kind of reaction I was going for, so yay! XD

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Thanks to this thread for getting me writing again! I'm fond of this bit because I hope it sets the scene:

 

It was wet and miserable outside the Dark Fortress. The building rose above the tiled roofs of the city, taller than all the rest, like a finger raised in insult towards the heavens. It was an evil thing, carved of black granite and covered in spikes and leering gargoyles. It had earned multiple design awards for architecture, which only made the locals hate it more. 

Two guards sat outside, one tall and skinny, and one short and stout. (Royal decree stated that there must be two guards at all times, for occupational health and safety reasons.)

The tall and skinny one was called Beanpole Ron. He had pants that were too short, revealing pale ankles, and his ears stuck out like a goblin’s. Beady little eyes peered from the slit of his helmet. The other one was new. He got called ‘Fat Percy’ (despite his protests) because he was almost as wide as he was tall. A portion of it was muscle underneath the padding. He had dark skin, a round head, and a dim-witted sort of face.

There was a third guard, scarred and snaggle-toothed, who often lounged inside. Officially, his role was to boss the other two around. Unofficially, he made a lot of trips to the pub. He was called Sharky, and he fancied himself a great deal smarter than the other two. After all, that was why he was inside.

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I've been playing around with the inner story myths Fred and Taz have going and came up with this piece, told in Taz's voice.  I have no idea if it will even fit into the overall framework of book two, but it was a fun piece to craft and may end up in a collection of short stories if I don't find a home for it in one of the books.  Word count is 545.

Quote

Once, after the Beginning of Everything, there was a seed.  It came from the eye of a star thrown down to the world so the star could better see what lay down so far away.

Never made much sense to me, a star throwing its eye away like that.  Anything could have happened to it.  It could have rolled down a crevice, gotten stepped on, or taken as a prize by some critter who liked to hoard shiny objects.

But that’s the thing about stories.  They don’t have to make any particular kind of sense so long as they ring true, and I know enough about stars to know they don’t think things through very far.  So a star throwing away its eye so it could see what happened on the ground rang true in my gut.

Stars have big hearts, but their brains sure aren’t.

And something did happen to that eye.  After a while it got buried in the sand and then water was born and decided it wanted to collect in lakes and oceans and rivers as well as fall from the sky when the wind was right.

That eye sprouted like a seed and what came out was the first tree.

But sometimes the first tree didn’t come from a star’s eye.  Sometimes it came from one of the giant’s eyes that I kicked out when I rescued Fred from being eaten by it.  Sometimes it was an egg that hatched downward instead of up.

No matter how it happened there was always a tree at the end of it, which was the whole point of the story.

Roots grew down.  Stem and branches up.  It grew and it grew until the branches touched the dance floor of the sky and curved back down to earth.  And the roots went down, down, all the way to the heart of the world.  They twined around the slow beating pulse and pierced the muscle.

The heart should’a died if this was anything but a story.  But it ain’t so it didn’t.  The roots grew into the heart and fed off it and the heart grew over the roots and fed on them.  It changed the tree.  Changed it’s nature.  Then the roots turned and journeyed back up toward the surface.

Branches and roots met for the first time and completed the circle.  This tree became the World Tree, the thing that supported earth and sky and joined them like a pair of hands.

Then the tree grew fruit.  Not apples or pears or bright red cherries, but world fruit.  Every world in every part of the universe born on the tree.  Then all the gods and people and animals and magic came to make their homes on all the worlds like bees making love to plants so they kept bearing fruit.

That’s how our world came to be.  From a tiny eye that became a seed and grew a tree that found a heart and became a circle that loved living so much it became the central pillar for everyone to call home.

Fred says that’s what you call a never ending story.

But it began with blood.  With sacrifice.  With wonder.  With change.

People tend to forget all that in the retelling.

 

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“I heard the man just can’t keep his hands, or his seed, to himself.  The only reason someone hasn’t killed him yet is because he’s always paid off the families of the poor women with prompt generosity.  Personally, I suspect that some lords carelessly leave their daughters unsupervised near him just to get the money he has.  Don’t know where he gets it all; most of his people are simple farmers,” said one man, sitting in the common area of the Brellis castle.  He was just a simple guard, having arrived here with a small group of nobles and their entourages.  Several of the guards were gathered around a table, mugs filled with beer and the smell of beef stew and fresh bread wafting in from the kitchen.

“Everyone’s got to eat, you idiot.  Nowhere has land as fertile as the Crescent.  It’s funny that no one wants it, but usually it is metal everyone’s after.  Metal and gems.  Either that, or silk,” said another guard from inside his mug.

“Well, I hear that he’s just plain crazy, that he thinks that the more of his seed he plants, the more successful the actual plants will grow,” claimed a third guard, one that was younger than the first two.

“That’s either crazy or heretical; I’m not sure which.  But I don’t think that’s the case.  He doesn’t come across as the type to care that much.  No, I think he’s just a dirty old man.  Probably doesn’t realize he’s grown old and isn’t that great of a catch,” insisted the first guard.

“Either way, he’s never tried to take advantage of a married woman, as far as I know.  He seems to respect them at any rate,” mused guard number two.

“That we know of,” repeated the first guard staunchly.

“He has so many daughters, and grand-daughters, that you’d figure he’d be practically giving them away,” said the third guard in a lower voice.  Surreptitiously looking around the room for a moment, he continues on to say, “Do you think I have a chance to...”

“No!  Don’t you finish that sentence,” interrupted the first guard.  “He’d probably put all our heads on the block for even thinking such a thing.”

“As for me, I think he just has control issues, but knows he doesn’t have the power to boss around any of his peers.  Women and children are easy enough to control,” opines the second guard.

“I would figure they’d all be out of control with how many of them there are.  There are more of them than he could shake a fist at, and probably more than his guardsmen could contain if they really wanted to defy him.”

“I can imagine him making his wives fight each other for his favor.  Or maybe to leave them alone.  Could go either way.  It seems like the kind of entertainment that would keep things exciting after he got used to having so many women around.”

The second guard just shook his head and turned away, while the youngest guard just stared at the first guard with a look that was half shock, half grin.  The expression didn’t fade until the second guard cuffed him on the back of the head as though he were an errant child.

“Only in the winter, when there isn’t much else to do,” said a soft voice from behind the first guard.  He turned his head to see a young woman standing there.  Although she was carrying food for them, her clothing showed that she wasn’t a mere servant.  Suddenly that guard became very interested in his mug.  The young woman had a look of mild amusement on her face as she set a bowl of hot stew in front of each man.

“Next time, you should be careful what you say; someone important might actually hear you,” she said wryly before turning to leave.  By the time it occurred to the guards that they should say something she was gone.

Usually I'm not great with dialogue, so this bit always stuck in my mind as some decently non-wooden conversation.

Edited by Mynoris
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On 5/9/2019 at 9:30 PM, TricksterShi said:

I've been playing around with the inner story myths Fred and Taz have going and came up with this piece, told in Taz's voice.  I have no idea if it will even fit into the overall framework of book two, but it was a fun piece to craft and may end up in a collection of short stories if I don't find a home for it in one of the books.  Word count is 545.

 

O.O This is so epic!  And I love how Taz works in the alternatives.  Have you submitted this for the monthly writing challenge of Myth and Legend?  Cause it's a winner if my vote counts.

 

On 5/12/2019 at 6:12 AM, Mynoris said:

Usually I'm not great with dialogue, so this bit always stuck in my mind as some decently non-wooden conversation.

It's very good conversation.  I wish the guards had names though, instead of just numbers the whole way through.  The ending though, heh.  Very good.

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On 5/15/2019 at 2:17 AM, Tangwystle said:

It's very good conversation.  I wish the guards had names though, instead of just numbers the whole way through.  The ending though, heh.  Very good.

Well, that was a first draft, and the guards aren't the focus of the story.  It's unlikely they will be seen again.  I often leave minor characters nameless in a first pass.

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On 5/15/2019 at 4:17 AM, Tangwystle said:

O.O This is so epic!  And I love how Taz works in the alternatives.  Have you submitted this for the monthly writing challenge of Myth and Legend?  Cause it's a winner if my vote counts.

Thank you!  😊  Taz certainly likes to think sideways and in roundabouts so she tests out the whole picture.  I probably should have submitted this piece for the challenge, but I had 'Hold the Rope' done first so I put that one in.

On 5/12/2019 at 6:12 AM, Mynoris said:

Usually I'm not great with dialogue, so this bit always stuck in my mind as some decently non-wooden conversation.

The conversation was really good, and even without the characters having names they were distinctive and easy to follow.  I love how you were able to convey so much about your characters in just that snippet.

On 5/9/2019 at 4:10 AM, roadmagician said:

There was a third guard, scarred and snaggle-toothed, who often lounged inside. Officially, his role was to boss the other two around. Unofficially, he made a lot of trips to the pub. He was called Sharky, and he fancied himself a great deal smarter than the other two. After all, that was why he was inside.

 This made me laugh out loud, especially the last paragraph!  I love the wry humor and the description.

 

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