Story Telling

Story A Day Challenge – Day 10 – The Tunnel

Jacob stared into the tunnel. The opening was brightly lit but a few feet in there was total blackness. He mentioned this to his companion, carefully sounding casual.

“It only looks dark because the front is lit up. Don’t be such a chicken,” Susie mocked.

“I’m not a chicken!” His ego stung, Jacob looked away so his new girlfriend wouldn’t see how scared he was of the dark.

“I know you’re not, I’m sorry. Come on, let’s just go for it. You said you wanted to.” Susie said, using her power pout and twirling her red hair dangerously.

“I do, but it’s really dark in there. How do you know we’ll be able to find out way?” Her lips were almost convincing him.

The girl sighed. “It’s a straight tunnel. We can’t possibly get lost. Don’t worry about it, let’s go do something else.”

Jacob heard the disappointment in her voice. Time to man up. “No, let’s do this.” He grabbed her hand and they got into the cart that would take them through the tunnel.

When they passed the outside lighting he was pleasantly surprised to see there were more lights inside. These were more subtle, romantic even. He put his arm around Susie and moved closer. His nerves were on fire but he was determined.

As he leaned in to kiss her, his first kiss ever, the electricity went out in the Tunnel of Love, plunging them in darkness and bringing the cart to a standstill. For one moment the fear came back, but the girl’s breath on his face dispelled the panic. When she kissed him he decided maybe he wasn’t so afraid of the dark anymore.

The Prompt
Today’s prompt has your main character about to enter a tunnel.

My first ideas about this prompt were all creepy. There were tips included with the prompt and most pointed in that direction. I decided I wanted to go a less obvious route. I’m so happy I’m not as young as these characters anymore!

Rough draft 280 words

What If?

I don’t know about the rest of the writers out there but I find what if questions extremely helpful. If I’m trying to figure out a character, or I’m struck with writer’s block that kind of question is my go-to first step.

I’ll give an example of how it’s helped me. About a year and a half ago I decided to write a middle grade fantasy story. I had this random idea for a story about a fairy that didn’t really fit in with other fairies. I don’t normally like fairy stuff but I went with it. Maybe she would suck at magic or maybe be clumsy when flying. I didn’t like either of those so I started with the what-if’s.

What if she wasn’t good at magic because she couldn’t do magic the way the other fairies wanted her to because her magic worked different? What if all she wanted in life was to become a fairy godmother but failed to achieve that? What if she had no idea if she could fly because fairies didn’t fly anymore? What if she looked different than all the other fairies? What if she made some friends that also wanted to be fairy godmothers but couldn’t for some reason?

I somehow came up with hundreds more. Each what-if made me think of another. Eventually this turned into my nanowrimo project for this year. The idea wasn’t new but I had been working on other things. Plus I was too scared to write it because I had never written something like that before.

So a story idea about a fairy who didn’t fit in turned into more. It is about a fairy named Tomorrow (Tommie) who wants to be a fairy godmother more than anything. In the Fairy Godmother Academy, she learned that magic had to be carefully controlled. Creation magic was forbidden. For centuries the fairy community had used creation magic to change themselves to look more human. They got taller and their wings got smaller until most were born with no wings. No fairy alive could fly. As a whole the fairies were less powerful than that had been. No one remembered why, but everyone agreed that creation magic had been depleted and it was dangerous to use. Then Tommie was born. She was like the fairies of old. She was small, about four feet tall when the rest were near five feet. She had wings that were larger than her body was. She had huge purple eyes. But the biggest difference was that she was more powerful than the rest of her community. A lot more powerful. Controlling her magic only caused chaos and using it the way that came natural to her only got her in trouble. Eventually she has her final exam to become a godmother but failed. Various adventures ensue. Along the way she makes some friends who want to become fairy godparents too. Not one of them is a fairy and each of them is a little different than their families and peers. They start a campaign to change the rules when a bigger problem occurs. The gates to the fairy realm are failing.

Not too bad a base to start with. All of it started with the one what-if question: What if there was a fairy that wasn’t good at magic because hers worked differently than everyone else?

I still have a long way to go and I’ll keep asking my what-if’s until I don’t need them. This is only the beginning of a series. What tricks work for the rest of you? I hear people say ideas are cheap but I’m always looking for new ways to generate them.

Now I know I said I might talk about minotaurs in my last post. That one is in the next book. As I was researching him and making a character sketch, I realized I haven’t quite figured him out. What I know is that he is not evil. He might have evil urges but he’s choosing to be good. He’s got perfect memory. I mean he lived in a labyrinth, he had to be able to find his way around. I think instead of it being just one guy from Greek mythology, he will come from an actual race (maybe a created one). There aren’t that many around though and they are all bad. He might be a vegetarian. Tommie and her friends will meet him in their travels along with a really tall gnome, who was raised by garden gnomes.

Busy busy

I haven’t posted in a while. I’d love to say it’s only because I’ve been busy but mostly my creativity has been sapped, or it’s hiding. Part of it is World of Warcraft. Another is I’ve had a lot to do. Mostly it was setting up a new domain. I had no idea how clueless I could be until I did that. Today my cousin is having a baby so I’ll be at the hospital for part of the day. It’s my husband’s day off so I’ll be hanging out with him on WoW. I do plan to get some writing in for my nanowrimo project. I’m extremely behind but I have some new ideas so I should get caught up over the next few days.

Hopefully I’ll be able to post something tonight. Don’t surprised if it’s all about a minotaur named Raythe who doesn’t want to be evil. Maybe a pretty troll or a near sighted Centaur.

Sci-fi vs. Fantasy

I don’t know if this is normal or not but I love science fiction movies but I’m not really that into reading it. I adore fantasy novels but most movies in that genre don’t do it for me. Also, I don’t have the guts to try to write sci-fi. I don’t know if it is lack of interest in the books or if I don’t have confidence in my ability to pull it off.

Breaking down my lack of desire to read sci-fi, I think it has to do with how complicated those books can be. I feel like I’m smart enough to understand complex things but in a novel if two pages are needed to explain a machine or a process then I catch myself scanning. A good example of what I mean is Michael Crichton. If you read his stuff you’ll notice that he uses very technical terms and then spends pages explaining those words. Some people like that, but I’m not patient enough for that kind of thing. I’d rather have a complex story.

In all fairness I’d rather read and write page turners. I don’t see myself ever writing something that a reader would have to read slowly to understand.

Plus, magic. Magic is so awesome. It can be anything you want it to be, do anything you like. If I’m writing the story then I can make up the rules of how it works. I guess I find magic cooler than science in written form.

Now, sci-fi on TV or in movies, that’s a different story. You don’t have to be told every detail of a spaceship because you can see it. Things that are complex are easier to explain to an audience because of the visual. That’s good for me because I do want some explanation. I truly do want to understand what I’m watching. I have the opposite issue with fantasy tv and movies. I want little to no explanation of how magic works. Give me the basics and I’m happy. A good example is Aladdin. The genie says there are three things he can’t do and never really explains how he makes all the other things happen, because…Magic.

I do want a lot of complexity in the stories. Perhaps that’s why I read epic fantasy. There’s a tiny bit of description about magic and multiple complicated story lines.

So for me it’s not really a debate, I like both, in different ways, (Science Fiction is clearly friend-zoned). Also I’m shooting myself in the foot because I have a project to work on in the future that falls a little into the sci-fi category. That’s the story I’m most afraid to write. Maybe I’ll make that my nanowrimo project next year.