Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Snazzy Snippets

I saw this thingy and decided I wanted to do it, for two reasons: (1) it looks fun, and (2) this blog needs some new content at this point even if it is just a linkup. So. You people get to read my lovely first draft writing today.

Click on picture to go to linkup.

Your First 500 Words
This comes from Taken, since this is probably the piece of writing I've revised most in my short writing career and is probably a little bit better than other portions I could share.

“So who are we meeting again?”

Tyv’s eye twitched as he restrained what would have been the fifth eye-roll of the short conversation. The sun was hot and dry, and he was too deep into the cobbled network of streets to feel the sea breeze. The sun was setting, but it was still high enough to scorch Tyv’s eyes over the plastered buildings. He had to squint to see, and sweat was sticking to his skin under his threadbare shirt. He wanted to eat, and he needed a drink, but he’d get neither until he made it back to the abandoned inn. He wouldn’t be able to go there until he had gotten through the day’s work, which wouldn’t be over for another couple hours. All this meant he did not have patience to deal with Nitri.

Nitri didn’t notice and tossed his knife into the air, effortlessly catching it on its way down. He glanced at Tyv, waiting for an answer.

Tyv withheld a growl. “The two brothers you threatened a couple months ago.”

“Sh. I made a deal, Tyv.”

“There is a difference between those two words, you know.”

Nitri grinned, his impossibly white teeth providing stark contrast with his dark honey skin and curls of hair black as pitch. 

“Not where I’m concerned!”

Tyv couldn’t stop himself from rolling his eyes that time.

Nitri just grinned a little wider, satisfied that he’d provoked a reaction. Then he looked away and gave his knife another toss. 

“I think I remember them. Scrawny?”

“We’re all scrawny.”

“Speak for yourself, scarecrow,” Nitri said, using his free arm to flex his arm muscles under his black captain’s coat.

Tyv resolutely stared straight ahead and sped up the pace, feet brushing over the bumps of the cobblestones and hands hovering over the pair of knives he had sheathed at his own belt. His eyes darted around, watching for danger - they were in their home turf, after all. The twisting alleyways and dead-end streets coated in layers of dirt were littered with broken crates and barrels, piles of rotting cloth, splintered buckets, frayed scraps of rope - anything that was so broken that not even the homeless could find a way to use it. The lowering sun created dark shadows in the side streets, places for people to hide. Tyv’s skin crawled as he felt invisible eyes watching.

“Aw, come on Tyv!” Nitri said, slapping Tyv on the shoulder and making Tyv jump. “Lighten up. We’re collecting tribute!” He gave Tyv a moment to respond, which Tyv did not take advantage of. Nitri continued. “It might be some food! We’ll have a good meal tonight.”

Tyv had to admit that that would be nice, but he wasn’t optimistic.

“We don’t know what it is.”

Nitri sighed. “It had better be good. I don’t leave them alone for nothing.”

“This isn’t exactly leaving them alone.”

Nitri waved away the correction. “I’m not attacking them, am I? Taking everything they get by force? They should be happy to give me things.”

A Snippet You're Really Proud Of
This comes from later on in chapter 1 of Taken, and yes, I just love Tyv and Nitri banter. They're the best and that is why I love this scene.

“Come on,” Nitri said, putting his hands in his pockets and strolling down the alley. “Let’s head to the docks. After that we’ll be done for the day and we’ll head over to the market. Ambyr is down there, isn’t she? You can snatch her a knitting needle or something.”

Tyv jogged a few steps to catch up, then slowed to a walk next to his friend. “Ambyr wouldn’t have much use for just one knitting needle.” 

Nitri slung his arm over Tyv’s shoulders, and used the other arm to gesture as he spoke. “Whatever. Steal five if you need to. I’m sure that you’ll cheer up if she gives you one of her oh-so-pretty smiles.” Nitri grinned and leaned his head on Tyv’s shoulder, then looked up and Tyv and batted his eyelashes.

“That was a really bad imitation of her,” Tyv said, fighting a grin and shoving Nitri away instead.

“Oh yes? Well how about this then?” Nitri stopped walking and placed his left fist on his hip, then pointed at Tyv with his right hand. “Tyv!” Nitri’s voice was comically high-pitched. “Why do you insist on stealing? It’s wrong! Why have you let that dashing Nitri lead you astray?” 

Nitri struck a dancer-like pose, with the toes of his right foot pointed and barely touching the ground and his weight entirely on his other foot. He pressed the back of his right hand against his forehead while his other hand stayed on his hip, and he turned his head away from Tyv dramatically.

Tyv struggled not to smile, or worse, laugh. He wasn’t going to give Nitri the satisfaction. Instead, he leveled a glare at his friend. 

“That was even worse.”

Nitri’s pose dissolved and he pouted. “I thought it was pretty accurate.”

Tyv started walking again. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard Ambyr call you dashing.”

It was Nitri's turn to jog in order to catch up.“Well she thinks it. Everyone does.”

Tyv snorted. “I certainly don’t. And I doubt that Ambyr would find any thief dashing, despite how supposedly handsome you are.”

Those two are my favorite duo ever.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I'm Sorry for Going M.I.A. / Holidays

I am such a terrible blogger.
I feel awful for abandoning this little corner of the internet for such a long time, and I apologize to all of you wonderful people who think this blog is good enough to follow. Unfortunately, there's this thing called college, and college isn't designed with bloggers (or writers of any kind, actually) in mind. Until further notice, posting is going to be sporadic. I just don't have the time (which is very sad, truly), especially if I actually want to get enough sleep to function during the day. I also feel bad because I still haven't done those interviews with Mara. I will try to get them done, I promise. I just have no clue when.

For now I will leave you with something to think about when you work on your world building.
Around this time is when the Jewish people celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. I only know this because I happen to be studying Judaism and Israel this year in college, and my professor told my class about some Rosh Hashanah customs today. One thing he focused a lot on was the food of the holiday. Challah bread, a braided loaf with sesame seeds baked into the top of the crust, is a typical food, along with pomegranates, and apples dipped in honey. There are lots of sweet foods going around which is related to the idea of looking forward to a "sweet" year ahead. Rosh Hashanah is about getting clarity, making things clean and new so that the next year will be sweet. So between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (I hope I spelled that right), people go around fixing relationships, paying overdue debts, etc, in order to "clean up" and make things shiny and new and whole for starting the new year.
So here are a few questions to help you think about your world building some more:

  1. What holidays (originally "holy days" - think about that) does your world's cultures celebrate? (e.g. Rosh Hashanah, "new year.")
  2. Do the nations have any holidays in common, or is every one completely seperate? Why? (e.g. Rosh Hashanah is a specifically Jewish holiday, but I'm sure there were holidays similar to it around the same time of year in ancient Middle-Eatern cultures.)
  3. Where does each holiday come from? (e.g. Rosh Hashanah is an agricultural new year since it is in the fall, when a new cycle of agriculture begins.)
  4. What are the ideas behind it? (e.g. Rosh Hashanah is about making the coming year "sweet")
  5. What customs are associated with it? (e.g. dipping apples in honey and eating sweet pastries.)

I'm not an expert on Jewish holidays so if I made mistakes in my info, I'm sorry. I did try to remember it all as well as possible. But seriously, consider what your created cultures celebrate! What matters to them? How would they celebrate that? Why? How? Brainstorm and tell me your ideas in the comments!