Let’s do it all backwards #wip #amwriting

by Mhairi Simpson on February 19, 2015

There are a lot of bits of accepted wisdom among writers, usually tried and tested things that everyone accepts really are good ideas. One of these is that you don’t show your stuff to anyone until it’s actually ready to be seen. I am, believe it or not, one of these people. I show my stuff to my editors before it’s strictly ready but their job is to edit so, you know, it works.

However, I’m really struggling with this scene. It’s the first high fantasy bit in this book I’m writing and as I haven’t written regularly in well over a year I’m finding it hard to put into words what I want to say.

[Please don’t all faint at once. Even I get stuck for words sometimes.]

So I’m going to write it here. And you can all point and laugh. But hey, at least then I’ll have something written.

[I was going to do this tomorrow. I have no idea why I obsess about setting schedules when I resolutely fail to adhere to them.]

***

“Captain!” It was Will, pointing over the rail. “Starboard bow!”

Masterson saw the light, gleaming between the stacks, and the Phire Fromeaire heeled over, graceful as a dancer, broken minds curling away from the silver-grey hull.

“Gangplank,” he called. Pointless words. The timber was already erupting from the ship’s rail, stretching out over the Soul Sea, piercing the snow. It was habit. A habit he hadn’t tried to break. Being Intact meant retaining yourself. Habits were a part of that.

Will leapt onto the plank and ran along it on tiptoe as it extended before him. Light flickered again, and Masterson smelled smoke. “Horel!”

But Horel was already running across the deck, up onto the plank, sprinting to catch up with his shipmate. The ship trembled as Masterson’s hands shook. What fools brought fire into a library?

“Douse your fire!” Will called, his voice fading as he vanished between the stacks, Horel close behind him, their passage creating short-lived tornadoes in the ceaseless paper snow.

Voices blazed, lowered, rose again. And the faintest icy breeze touched Masterson’s cheek. He couldn’t keep his head from lowering.

The air shattered, ripped apart by a glittering twist of pure, dark anger as it roared down, carving a path between flakes and stacks without disturbing either. Masterson forced himself to watch the Librarian’s arrival.

The stacks shivered and moved, reorganising themselves to accommodate the Librarian’s will, and offering Masterson a clear view of the intruders. Three fools in shining clothes, torches held aloft like trophies. He recognised the clothing style but couldn’t name the world off-hand. Not that it mattered. These three would never leave. Not that they knew it yet.

“You dare to bring fire into my library?” He didn’t look like much, not to outsiders, anyway. A small man in a tweed waistcoat and trousers, dull leather shoes and a grey beard.

The air stilled, even the paper snow halted in mid-air, flakes spinning slowly where they hung. One of the intruders, possibly thinking himself their leader, raised his torch higher. The Librarian gestured, a throwaway flick of the hand, and the flames died. The man’s face darkened in more ways than one.

“Is there not light here already?” the Librarian asked.

They looked around, as if they’d only just thought of it. “Yeah,” the leader finally admitted, dragging his eyes away from a scrap of paper turning oh so slowly in an unfelt breeze.

“Have you found what you seek?”

“Well, no, of course not. We only just go here.”

“Ah,” the Librarian breathed. “So you need more time.”

Will cried out but somehow he was drowned out by the leader’s single word answer. “Yes.” The idiot even smiled.

“Then you shall have it.” The Librarian lifted a hand, fingers spread wide, and the three intruders started back, but then froze, their faces stilled in the same moment they realised something was terribly wrong.

Their skin grew pale, the shadows and lines around their features deepening, darkening, growing sharper as the light changed. And then they tore, nothing more than paper and smoke, disintegrating into soft shards of memory and life and desire, merging with the snow which had once more begun to fall.

“Return to your vessel,” said the Librarian.

Will and Horel did as ordered, paper snow rustling around their feet. As they returned along the gangplank, it drew in behind them to vanish into the rail it had sprung from as they dropped back onto the deck.

The ship leaned away from the stacks and into the broader lane between the books and the wall. The crew came up to the helm.

“Time was,” said Horel, “when I thought immortality was a good thing. Anyone remember why?”

“We chose to stay,” Masterson reminded him.

“Yeah. I’m sure it seemed a good idea at the time.”

“If you want to leave so badly, why don’t you?” Will snapped. “There are any number of doors to choose from. Take your pick!”

“And leave you and the Captain to hold the ship together yourselves? What kind of friend would that make me?”

“A quiet one,” Will muttered.

“Heading for the fifty-fifth,” Masterson murmured. The ship’s deck slanted as she set her new course. “We need to get ahead of the intruders.”

“It’s not possible, Jack,” said Will. “Even the Librarian doesn’t know how many universes there are. How are we supposed to know where they’ll come in from next?”

“We can’t. That’s why we patrol. Get up there.” He gestured at the crow’s nest. “Horel, you’re in the bow.”

The crew, such as it was, dispersed, leaving Masterson with the ship and his thoughts. And the ship’s thoughts. It had taken a long time to get used to the screaming, but as the ship grew, so its component souls had healed, just a little. They would never be whole, of course, and maybe the ship couldn’t survive in such circumstances, but their purpose gave them solace. He’d almost expected the three just destroyed to join the ship immediately but it was far too soon. They would linger in the soul sea for a long time, a very long time, before they became aware there was anything else.

The ship trembled. Masterson sighed. Another door had opened. Now they only had to find it.

***

Feel free to tell me what you think in the comments :)

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The Wednesday Word – HOSLICH

by Mhairi Simpson on February 18, 2015

Welcome back to the Wednesday Word.

(Disclaimer: all words are a product of my imagination. If you should find any Wednesday Word in a dictionary, a/ shame on you for looking it up and not making up your own definition and b/ I didn’t know it was there.)

Today’s word: HOSLICH

Noun: fur of the Miryan Mountain Dog which has been prepared for spinning or dyeing.

Example: “We’ve got fourteen bales of hoslich to dye by the end of tomorrow or you’ll all be begging at the Spinners and Dyers Guild almshouse!”

So, what do you think HOSLICH means? Leave your definitions and example sentences in the comments!

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Be A Bard – Holding Hands

February 16, 2015

Be A Bard is a storytelling card game. You play a card and keep the story going according to what’s on the card, the object being to lose all your cards. And no, it’s not quite that simple but that’s the gist of it. Today we will riff off the below image – Holding Hands. […]

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[RECIPE] – Gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free cupcakes!!

February 14, 2015

Okay, first off, I need to make it clear that these are not actually dairy-FREE. They are MOSTLY dairy-free. I used Bertolli instead of butter – a couple of highly lactose-intolerant friends of mine use this instead of butter and have no problems. I am also intolerant and I don’t have any problems with it […]

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[VIDEO] The art of getting started…

February 13, 2015

Yep, my first ever vlog! It’s an awful video – autofocus is not my friend, least of all on something like this – but the point I want to make is that you don’t have to be perfect to start. You do, however, have to start in order to have a shot at being perfect. […]

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Be A Bard – Butterflies

February 9, 2015

Be A Bard is a storytelling card game. You play a card and keep the story going according to what’s on the card, the object being to lose all your cards. And no, it’s not quite that simple but that’s the gist of it. Today we will riff off the below image – Butterflies. If […]

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Starting the writing engine

February 7, 2015

With all the challenges lately, regular writing hasn’t happened. In fact, it hasn’t happened for well over a year now. It’s not that I’m blocked, as such. It’s more that my brain suggests writing is not something I am currently capable of. Of course, once you get into the habit of not writing, and believing […]

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I had no idea sugar was THAT bad for me

February 6, 2015

A few weeks ago I saw the doctor. He was worried about me. I was worried about me, too. I’d had to up my meds myself, something no one EVER recommends, because it was that or walk into the sea at the end of our road and never come back. “What do you want to […]

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The Wednesday Word – FIRIAKO

February 4, 2015

Welcome back to the Wednesday Word. (Disclaimer: all words are a product of my imagination. If you should find any Wednesday Word in a dictionary, a/ shame on you for looking it up and not making up your own definition and b/ I didn’t know it was there.) Today’s word: FIRIAKO Adjective: Possibly an improvement on something, […]

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#BeABard – Resurrection

February 2, 2015

Today, the Bard has RISEN FROM THE DEAD!! What happens next?! NB: In the game, the propeller symbol in the top left corner means that the card is an action card – in this case it allows you to resurrect one of your cards from the graveyard…   “The Bard thrust a gnarled and dessicated […]

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