Live Writing Today!

#Livewriting Day begins now! My #novel-in-progress. Find out why, exactly, Eva’s desk is in fire. (I hope you know, ‘cause I don’t)
Prompt Call! From the call, you can leave me a #prompt on the theme of “what if?” (This is gonna be fun)

I’m aiming for 12 hours of #writing with at least 3 breaks, so I’m going to be at this all day.

The idea in long form:  I will write. That’s pretty much it.  I’m going to write all day, or as long as I can stand, and see if getting feedback as I go is as entertaining as I hope it will be.

Stop in, leave a comment, wave to me, ask me what’s going on, in general, talk to me.  Leave prompts!   I won’t be posting anything to this blog until later, if at all (unless I get a volunteer) so right now engaging directly by looking at the docs is the only way to read what I write today!

Cheers, and I hope this is fun all around.

7 thoughts on “Live Writing Today!

  1. (Pulling short stories from the prompt call over here.)


    The first person to harness the power of the light was, in certain circles, considered a miracle working. In other circles, they were considered the devil itself, and in many circles, nobody even knew who they were anymore.

    Magic had always been there, that was the thing. And people had known that there were places of high magic and places where the magic was thin, and that spells cast in moonlight worked far, far differently than spells cast in the full light of the noon sun.

    But when one strange person found that, if you used the right sort of lens, you could concentrate the light, everything started to change.


    Dahlia Antwerp arranged the lenses in her shop one more time. She didn’t have the set-up that the rich mages did, but she had been born under the full noon sun on summer solstice, and she had been kissed by magic from that first day. She had been born to the magic. She was not going to let a little thing like being dirt poor stop her.

    So what if her lenses were second-hand, scrounged and borrowed and bought at a discount because the glassblower had found a tiny flaw in them? People had worked with less than that in the past!

    She shifted the last lens to shine perfectly onto the wide stone of power that sat in the middle of her shop. The building, too, was stone — not so much a luxury as a necessity, even at the poor end of the Mage’s Quarter. All that concentrated light moving around could set a wooden building on fire, even before you got to the actual spells.

    The flaw in the smallest lens was still bothering her, but she knew she could handle it. She looked over her set-up one last time: instead of one or two big perfect lenses, she had seven smaller, imperfect lenses arranged to filter the light right down to the stone.

    Her great-granny had done it with a pair of broken glasses and a big field. She could manage this.

    Dahlia sat down just outside the beam of light and began weaving her spell. Her client wanted health. Health was an easy one, although she’d never say that where a client could hear her; health and death, growth and decay, those were the easiest things.

    She grabbed the light, letting the fire of it wrap around her hands, and began to braid it. A strand here, a twist there, a knot over there. She braided in her client’s feeling, the way that the woman had been stooped with age. She brushed in the sensation of a meadow at dawn.

    The light from the most flawed of the lenses thinned and threatened to break. Dahlia braided in a little of her heart-light, a little of her own summer solstice, to finish the spell, like felting wool back together with your own spit.

    The spell finished, sparkled, and shattered, as it was supposed to, into a thousand million pieces. Dahlia fell back, smiling, looking dopily up at the lenses.

    The flaw was getting bigger. She was going to need more than spit soon to hold it together.

    Soon. If this client paid well, she could afford a better lens. A bigger shop, a prettier sign. Better lenses all around, to attract more clients.

    The light shone in a wavering beam down on her stone. The magic was there. She just needed enough money to harness it properly.

  2. Love Conquers…

    “I’m telling you, Redmayne, they’re a good match. It’s going to work.”

    “And I’m telling you, Corporal, that it had damn well better work, because we are running out of ways to cover this one up. This nice young couple, put under just a bit of stress—”

    “They don’t even know we’ve kidnapped them, do they? They are still going to classes…”

    “We have this amazing VR system, these AI bots that can simulate human interaction, and what are we using them for? To make sure a couple in lust can become a couple deep in love. This is what the Service has come down to?”

    “It works. ‘Love Conquers All.’ Virgil was telling us that a long time ago. ‘Amor vincit omnia, et nos cedamus amori.’ You saw how well it did with the Johnsons.”

    “I did, I did. The Johnsons are something sort of impressive, I have to say. Or, rather, were. Pity about that.”

    “That’s why I’m trying young people this time. Sure, we need a more extended VR simulation than just Bingo, Church, and grandkids not visiting, but their hearts are less likely to give out when we fire the Love Beam.”

    “You know, I still think that for all the effort we’ve put in, we could have just dropped all of Laurania into a VR simulation and not had to hit them — or Guilder — with the love beam at all.”

    “You think that, but the thing is, to be honest, research on Two College Kids in a Small Campus, that’s easy. Most college kids only interact with a handful of people, and moving all the people they knew to other schools or ‘failing out’ was surprisingly easy to do by transferring them during the Christmas break.”

    “But what about when summer comes?”

    “Sir, if we are not done with Laurania by the time Summer break comes, we are going to have bigger problems than simulating a large, drunken beach party. But good news! They had their first truly romantic date last night. The Love Beam is almost charged up!”

    “And may God help us all,” General Redmayne muttered. “May God have mercy on all of us, for the plague of love we are about to visit on our enemies.”

  3. Rice and Beans

    Author’s Note: I believe the protag here is of the people mentioned in this post:

    [Name] finished up a heavy meal of beans and red-grain, stretched, and bowed to her hosts. “Thank you for the kind meal,” she tried, in a language that wasn’t her first or even her third tongue, one that was built for a mouth with a different shape than her own.

    “Why do they always want beans?” muttered the Inn-Host to the serving-person. “Something about the Fwee-chiar, they always want beans. Lots of beans.”

    [Name] didn’t smile, didn’t think it was polite to indicate that she had understood them far more clearly than she could speak back to them. She bowed, instead, one last time, and exited as the beans began to settle into her second stomach.

    It wasn’t true that the Fwee-chiar always wanted beans, of course, any more than her family’s myths that the Roudendiay always ate meat, nothing but meat, not even a sauce on it, was true. It was just that, of the food things that the Fwee-chiar liked for long-travel, the one that this nation had the most of was beans — and, of course, this nation had a lot of beans, although they considered them a poverty food, something for the poor and starving. The Inn-Host had informed her, with a bit of sneering grace that she could read even on the person’s wriggly, mobile face, that their Inn kept four kinds of beans and three kinds of red-grain just for the Fwee-chiar who happened to travel through. Nobody else, the Inn-host had informed [Name], wanted things like beans and red-grain when they were at a fine place like this inn.

    [Name] had thanked him politely in her own language and then in his, and eaten the beans and red-grain as if they were the fine meal that they were. They weren’t as nice as her nest-mother made, of course, but nowhere in the world had [Name] found anything as nice as what her nest-mother grew and cooked.

    The beans had properly settled. She ran her fingers over the gill-like openings — her people called then chee-orie — hidden just inside a shirt that was thinner than it looked. Yes. Her second stomach was beginning to do its work.

    [Name] dove from the Inn — one reason her people liked the Courren was that they, too, lived high up in the air — spreading out her patagia as she went. The air was good here. The currents were friendly.

    She swallowed air, pushing it down into her second-stomach with a series of wiggles of her chee-orie. She played herself like a flute, moving the air this way and that, and headed north with a blast that sounded — so someone else had once said — like an angry tuba or a water-beast in mating season.

    She might not make the prettiest music when she flew, but [Name] was one of the strongest fliers of her people. Especially on a meal of red-grain and beans. Especially on Courreni beans and red-grain.

    A small cloud of sulphur and some noises like a water-beast in the midst of an amorous act followed her as she played the air in her second stomach, aiming herself for the horizon.

  4. Message in a Bottle

    The island Allycia had washed up upon had, improbably, also had contents of two different cargo ships — or portions of them — dashed on its rocks, along with three broken lifeboats (none of them worth risking a sea voyage in) and one very well-bleached skull.

    It was not the desert island experience she’d ever hoped for, but, then again, she’d never really been the sort to dream about being stuck on a deserted island. She had things to do, people to see, a world to explore…

    She explored the island for two days. She spent a little time each day hauling her stash of cargo boxes up into the sunniest places on the small island, making sure they were out of the tide, and the rest of the time exploring.

    It didn’t take long. The island was, by her measure, less than a mile on a side, inasmuch as it had sides, with a steep cliff on one side and a shallow beach on the other that let out into angry-looking barrier rocks that broke many — if not all — things upon themselves. Allycia had three nasty scrapes herself and a wound on her head that felt like a giant bruise but, while there had been a first-aid kit in the remains of one of the lifeboats, there had not been a mirror anywhere.

    One of the broken crates held bottles and bottles of port. She managed to pry a cork out the knife in the first-aid kit and had a very alcoholic dinner her second night there.

    She woke in the middle of the night to pouring rain and managed to crawl under the dubious shelter of the broken lifeboat.

    The next day, once she had managed to recover slightly, she pulled together every scrap of wood, every broken crate and lifeboat and paddle and piece of driftwood, and, with a few (quite a few) false starts, made herself a shelter that would keep out the driving sideways rain and still allow some breeze in.

    Then she sat down with the back of the shipping manifest, a pen made from a reedlike stick, and some of the port and wrote a note.

    Note after note, bottle after bottle. There were at least seven trees on the island that bore edible fruit (as well as three that bore nothing but a sticky, stinky pitchy goo); there were several small animals she could — and eventually did — trap, although she found herself keeping one of them as a pet after it looked at her with wide, sad eyes. But there was also a lot of port, and she found she could finish a bottle without pain in four days.

    Drink a bottle, write a note, send the note. Explore and map one small quadrant of the island so thoroughly she knew when a lemur shat in it. Work on making the house more comfortable. Drink a bottle, write a note, send the note.

    She tracked days by bottles, carved into one wall of her house. She had sent out twenty-five bottles when she saw something bobbing against the rocks.

    It wasn’t the first thing she’d seen there; her rocks caught things like a net set out for fish. Three days ago, she’d found a broken shipping crate full of dishware. She now had several nice pieces of dishes, had started working on a broken-dish mosaic with limestone cement, and had carefully stored several large pieces of styrofoam.

    She made her way out to the object bobbing against the rocks — carefully, because there were underwater stones that would cut one’s foot or leg, set like traps to keep the unwary in.

    There on the rocks bobbed a bottle. Hers? Her heart sank, but she picked it up anyways. No, this one had a heavily dimpled bottom and a thick artificial cork.

    Back on land, she pried out the cork. Help, I am trapped on a desert island. Crashed April 12, 2016.

    The unknown writer had been there almost six months longer than she had! If she had any sense of time anymore, that was…

    From the cruise ship Expedition. The stars from the most northern point are…

    The writer followed, much as she had, with a star map, a description of the currents, and a discussion of what had bumped into their island.

    Allycia studied the note three times and then, as the sun set, began to draw sea charts. The next day, she pulled the most intact life boat from its place in her house’s construction and started making repairs. The pitchy goo of the tree that had vexed her served — as it had in house construction — as a tolerable glue. The styrofoam added flotation. Someone’s wedding sheets — or so she thought — which had been acting as a toga for her now served as a small sail.

    It was still not the sort of thing she’d risk the open ocean in, but if her charts were at all right, there was another person just out of sight to the north. And that, that was worth the risk.

    She had never really imagined herself on a desert island, but exploring some tropical islands with a friend and a cute pet or two? That was totally up her alleyway.

    She set sail in early morning, with nothing but the sun and the currents as her guide.

  5. Making Music

    Names from here — — on “rare.”

    It was probably cliche to say that a particular concert was a “make it or break it” moment, but Marianela was pretty sure this concert was their “make or break” thing. It was their first time in front of a real audience, there were real record producers in the crowd, and there were real names in music out there, too.

    They had gotten here by rocking hard, not taking any breaks, and writing their own lyrics whenever they could. They had gotten here by practicing eight nights a week and only sleeping when they absolutely needed to. They had gotten here by blood, sweat, and tears.

    But they had definitely gotten here with instruments, and right now, they had not a single one of those. She had walked into the equipment room to check everything out. She had locked it on her way out. She had gone back in to check for the lucky lizard foot she kept hanging from her guitar.

    Now she was — they were — staring at an empty room. Not a single instrument remained, not even a triangle.

    “What… what in hell… what do we do?” Ashlyn was near tears. Marianela couldn’t fault her; she was pretty sure she was already crying.

    “We go on stage,” Lorretta answered slowly, “all four of us, and we sing our hearts out. I’ll grab something I can bang on for a beat and you carry the tune, Ashlyn, and we can do it. We’ve got to do something, you know. And we can’t run away with our hats in our hands now.”

    “I think you’re mixing metaphors.” Yvone didn’t talk much, and she didn’t look like she was going to break that trend now. “I’m in.”

    “Then let’s do it.”

    They went on stage like that, not a single instrument except an upside-down pot and two spoons stolen from the kitchen. Loretta sat on the single stool out there and set the pot on her lap.

    The audience was silent. It was a big crowd, a giant crowd. Ashlyn walked up to the mike and grabbed with with both hands.

    “Hello Vegas!” she called. “We’re gonna give you something different today. Hit it, Retta!”

    Loretta had tested the pans before hand. She laid down a beat. Yvone and Marianela picked up a sort of do-wop background melody, and Ashlyn started singing their favorite song.

    It was working. It was actually working. And then someone handed Marianela a guitar. She had it strapped on and had tried a test chord — one that belonged in the song, and that wasn’t easy — before she realized that had been no roadie, but one of the most famous men in all of country music.

    Someone was rolling a couple drums onto the stage, just right so Loretta could pick up the beat. Not someone, no. That was Andy Lynne Tyler, who was only the hottest lady drummer in the country, maybe in the world.
    (Next to Loretta, of course)

    And Yvone had a bass, and there they were, sliding through the end of their favorite song and into the one people paid to hear, Ashlyn’s smoky whisky voice hitting all the notes just right.

    And the crowd, the crowd that was full of the most important people in their lives, it roared. It stood up and, as one body, it applauded.

    “Toldja,” Loretta muttered into their bows. “All we had to do was sing.”

  6. In the Fire…


    The snow had been falling down for something like two weeks.

    Gwen hadn’t been sure about the whole retreat thing nine days ago, when she had headed out here to the Middle of Nowhere, Vermont.

    But it was supposed to be a thing, the five of them. A reunion from their college days, some time away from Significant Others and kids and pets and jobs.

    Gwen had gotten to the cabin by the time Kristi sent her regrets: her airport was closed.

    Of course, that was about when the “local” airport closed, too, but Lori was driving in —

    — except her wife had the flu and someone had to stay home with the kid.

    Well, Vicki just lived a very narrow state over —
    — and Vicki had no excuse at all, she just “wasn’t coming.”

    There was no use even hoping on Mallory; Mal was coming from California. But Mal was also the last one, after waiting for literally an entire day, to call off. There were just no flights coming in to the North East.

    That left Gwen stuck alone in a cabin in the middle of the woods, in the middle of a storm, in the middle of Nowhere, Vermont.

    She had plenty of wood for a fire and three Girl Scout badges in flame management, enough food for five people for a week and a half, even though they’d only been planning on staying four nights, and enough blankets for at least three people. She was warm, she was fed, and for about three hours a day, she had internet — and for about seven hours most days, she had power. It was being spotty, but it never stayed out for too long.

    Mostly, she had a stack of paperbacks she’d been planning on reading on the flight home, five big spiral pads and seventeen pens, designed for writing “memory books” — and the fire.

    And she had been here, alone with the fire and her notebooks, her thoughts and the snow so white outside it was like she was no longer living in any world she understood, for eight days.

    And the internet had been down for two.

    Gwen stared at the fire. The stove was a nice one, enameled iron with a really big window. She found herself listening to the way the fire crackled and popped, the way it hissed and seemed to almost sing.

    Today, it seemed to be making words in the pops and crackles. It seemed to be making — well, not English words, that would be ridiculous, but something that sounded like a language.

    She flipped to another page in her memory book — she had been working on a last testament, which was a little more morbid than she was ever inclined to — and began transcribing.

    After a while, she noticed that the pops and crackles had slowed down, and every one of them repeated itself two or three times, until she had it written correctly.

    After a while longer, she noticed that it looked something like morse code when she drew it out, (pop) O, (crackle) ^^^, (hiss) ~~

    Some time later, she started making sense of it.

    She realized as the cold air and the sun hit her face that she’d fallen asleep in front of the fire, taking notes in fire code.

    She started the fire up again, took her daily pilgrimage to the front door, and saw that, while the snow was still piled halfway up the windows, the sun was out and shining.

    Only after she’d set some oatmeal on top of the stove to cook did she look at the notes she’d written.

    Beware the Yeti (repeated) Beware the Yeti, they come only in the deep snow. Beware the deep snow. Beware. Beware.

    Gwen flipped to a new page. She thought about burning her notes, but if nothing else, she could use it as an example of why humans were not meant to be alone for this long.

    She looked out the window at the deep snow — the deep, deep snow — and then at the doors, which she hadn’t bothered locking, because who would be out in this?

    She wasn’t even surprised at herself when she locked and barred both doors and pulled the shutters closed on all but the most sunlit of the windows.

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