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Is the phrase "Once upon a time..."
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Monthly Writing Prompt
For this month's writing prompt write a scene using the following sentence to start;

The streets were deserted. Where was everyone? Where had they all gone?

Writing Tip
Our monthly writing tips are written by our very own TerishD. You can read more in Terish's Blog located in "The Abstractions" area of the forum.

Look Back

When not able to write ahead, it helps to look back. In my case I had written a paragraph ahead of the story. What I needed to do was add a section of exposition (talking) presenting some facts. In going back, I realized that I could insert a section where a 'tour' of the surroundings could be done. This allowed for character interaction, story development, and other things that enabled me to present the facts in an entertaining manner.

One should not face a writer's block with the mentality of bursting through it. I have found in my own experience that a writer's block is usually due to my mind indicating that it has a problem in 'channeling' the story. One reason might be a re-imagining of certain story points. Another reason however is that there is a problem in where you are at in the story, so you need to look back and find out the problem with the 'journey' that prevents the tale from advancing.

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 Chapter 3, don't hold back. Need all the hlp I can get!

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PostSubject: Chapter 3, don't hold back. Need all the hlp I can get!   July 4th 2009, 8:47 am


Last edited by Swami on July 6th 2009, 5:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 3, don't hold back. Need all the hlp I can get!   July 4th 2009, 8:47 am

Oh gods, the damage to her eyebrows were still showing? Just another reason to feel downcast today she conceded. She knew Edna was just attempting to cheer her up, but the feeling of impending doom was far too great, whether it be a falsity or not.

Edna didn’t wait for an answer this time. ‘Very well,’ she said, rummaging through her cart. ‘I will pour you one of my specialties containing Hellebore, crushed Jacinth, strained Wild-Elf Mushrooms for kick, and, of course, the secret ingredient, which I don’t feel you’re ready to learn about just yet!’

Alyssa watched in silence as the Magnus produced a copper jug from her cart and set it on the counter, and then revealed an opaque bottle, muttering under her breath to be the secret ingredient, and stood it beside the jug.

She fumbled a protest but Edna dismissed it. ‘You will try this whether you like it or not dear. You are my apprentice after all. And also, I need somebody to sample it as it’s a brand new recipe.’

Edna uncorked the black bottle and brushed away whatever living mass tried to worm its way through the nooks and crannies of the opening. Once open, a gust of dark motes rose from the inners, juxtaposed with the foulest smell to have ever disgraced Alyssa’s nasal. The Magnus showed complete indifference to the rotten odour and continued to speak. She said:

‘And once you’re feeling better, which I promise you will do, you can finish unloading the cart and then wheel it back to my cottage to pick up the rest of the stock.’

Alyssa was defeated. She could only watch as Edna produced a jar of green fluid, a bowl of crushed red mineral, and the mushrooms, and poured quantities of them into the copper jug. Then, if the smell of the mixture wasn’t already enough, she proceeded to pour whatever congealed black substance, what she called ‘the secret ingredient’, into it, and stirred it with a small wooden spoon. Smoke poured from the brew, and the copper vessel convulsed ever so slightly, which caught the attention of Mrs. Spritzlecart who was now arriving at her crafts stall, looking at the jug with great curiosity. For a moment Alyssa could have sworn an oath that the smoke pouring from the mixture took on the form of a laughing imp before evanescing completely. A bitter smell wafted throughout the vicinity which made Alyssa nauseate.

Edna produced a small tin cup from beneath the counter and poured in the mixture, which had taken on a blackish-green bile texture, and then handed it to the hesitant girl. Alyssa shakily took the cup, heeding it tremor with the bubbling gunk. She did not want to drink it.

‘Oh don’t fret Alyssa that just means it’s ready. I promise once you drink it you’ll feel as right as an adamant.’

Alyssa watched as Edna’s eager face nodded in affirmation of her drinking the potion. She had no reason not to place trust in her mentor, and decided what the hell? The nightmares were a heavy burden to bear. Sure, they might be a passing phase, but right now they dominated her life. And Edna could brew a tonic worthy of a king, so hesitantly, fighting biliousness; she emptied the effervescent contents down her throat. And good lord she wished she’d never!

It tasted evil, that’s the only word Alyssa found to describe the juice, and she retched and coughed as it trickled down her throat in vile clumps. Her senses became overwhelmed by its foulness, and the after taste? My Gods! She let the cup fall from her hands and bounce on the stone paved ground of the square, coughing and spluttering obscenities, much to the delight of Edna and Mrs. Spritzlecart.

‘I think she likes it,’ the craft stall owner commented, laughing.

‘Yes, and she’s going to feel it too. One of the strongest potions I ever concocted that beauty is. Heaven knows she needs it though, poor lass,’ Edna remarked.

‘Yeah I know, we’ve all noticed she’s been feeling down lately, poor girl.’

Alyssa, fighting the need to vomit, wiped her mouth on her sleeve. ‘What in Gaia’s name did you make me drink Edna? Just what is the secret ingredient?’

‘Oh, it’s just the blood of a Basilisk, nothing to worry about,’ she said, hardly stifling her laughs.

‘You made me drink blood? I thought we didn’t use living creatures in our potions? And you make me drink blood? Oh heavens Edna, no wonder I feel sick!’

‘Its okay, Alyssa, the basilisk is an evil creature who causes nothing destruction and can turn folk into stone by a mere look. The Budics from Stanza bring me blood in trade for my strongest fertility remedies. Really, it’s fine, and is a vital ingredient in many of my potions.’

‘I can’t believe you did that, you know I don’t eat meat. And now I have just drunk blood!’

‘I know dear, but just you wait and see. When that potion kicks in you’ll be thanking me and dancing round the square. You mark my words. Now, be a good girl and help me unload the rest of the stock would you?’

As she finished unloading the cart, a tingling sensation stirred deep in her gut. It wasn’t unpleasant; in fact, it soon turned into a prolonged frisson, which made her feel somewhat aroused. It was a strange feeling, and surprisingly welcome. She might have accused Edna of adding Ambergris, but before she found her voice, she began to feel extremely light and fluffy like a cloud. Sounds around the marketplace began to echo hypnotically, and her being became almost ethereal. She had the distinct premonition that if the wind picked up she might blow away over Elemenphis and this didn’t sound like a bad idea at all. This thought took a strange turn all of a sudden, and she did indeed find herself flying above the clouds, scraping them as she flew. Alyssa knew she was hallucinating but she didn’t care. It seemed palpable enough, and memories of the nightmare were slowly diminishing into little more than lost dreams. Then, out of the complete blue, she found herself falling, no drifting, towards the lake outside her uncle’s cottage. It was ever so peaceful in these visions, like her mind was free of her body. Butterflies of all spectrums flittered around the mere, which in turn sparkled brightly beneath the metaphysical sun. She landed on the mud path, and no sooner than she did frogs jumped from the Rhododendron thicket and began dancing around her feet. Alyssa laughed, and for the first time in months she found a smile. She felt happy again. She was content. The Magnus really was a Queen of Tonics.

Edna watched Alyssa with great love and compassion as the pretty young girl danced around the square. The Wild-Elf Mushrooms had been the real secret ingredients in the mixture, Edna knew. They brought about the hallucinations, and the blood of the Basilisk made them potent. She could hear Mrs. Spritzlecart laughing, as were others, but only in jest. They all loved Alyssa, she had always been a bubbly, friendly girl, and watching the nightmares take a toll on her really did break Edna’s heart. Alyssa’s smile brought Edna relief, but she knew the time was coming when Alyssa’s fears would be made flesh.

And she could do nothing more than pray for Alyssa’s survival when the nightmares did in fact become real.
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PostSubject: Reply   July 4th 2009, 11:01 am

I am sorry, but I have read this before. Did you post it on another site? It might just be very similar, but it was very similar.

Only complaint, change of PoV at the end. Watch it. I like things like that, and used to do it all the time, but editors do not (it confuses them).

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 3, don't hold back. Need all the hlp I can get!   July 4th 2009, 11:38 am

I posted the 1st draft of this chapter on this forum ages ago. This is the 1st edited version.

I changed POV to leave the reader with a question before moving onto the next chapter. I think when I come to my 2nd revision I can lengthen the cange of PoV, to make it seem a bit more natural.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 3, don't hold back. Need all the hlp I can get!   July 5th 2009, 1:33 am

I suppose in this case, it is an issue of style. I like your word choice in some places while in others, it feels as if it could be phrased differently.

I am still not sure what to make of all this yet, it is like I am being told a drama as if it is a fight scene.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 3, don't hold back. Need all the hlp I can get!   July 5th 2009, 6:13 am

Urs wrote:
it is like I am being told a drama as if it is a fight scene.

I don't understand what you mean lol

In the next chapter things start to happen, and then 2 more chapters on the battle takes place. Well, a small battle then a massacre, then it's all go after that. There's a long journey ahead, and they're hunted as they go along, and come across trouble wherever they go.

It's just nobody will care that she has to leave her life if they don't know about it.

I merged chapters 1 and 2 together in the end, and now this chapter is actually chapter 2. I'm working on chapter 3 now, and it does start moving things along, so I'll post it when I'm done.
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