Categories
Micro-fiction Publications

Tale Foundry: False Face/Lying Voice

Original Post on Tale Foundry

Rut’s Beautiful Daughter

The faeries took Rut on her wedding night and her husband was none the wiser. Apparently logs served just as well as a woman, or so the faeries swore. The sprite-things whisked her away to Connla, took her name, and set her to raise a troll-child they called Scáthach.

“Your hair brings faeries,” Rut’s mother always told her when she was small. “They’ll come for your hair and your eyes.”

And her mother had been right. Nothing lured old-world faeries more than blonde hair and blue eyes. But Rut could not find it in herself to be disheartened. She feared the wedding bed and her husband who smelled of ale and piss. So Rut did not weep when they saddled her with a trollish child. She loved Scáthach more than anything beneath the good Lord’s creation.

“We like human mothers for the trolls,” said the sprites when they took her.

“Why?” Rut had asked them.

“Faeries cannot lie,” they answered.

***

“Is it pretty?” Scáthach asked her softly.

Rut started from her sewing and looked up at her daughter. Scáthach had tied in her hair a pink ribbon; a ribbon which Rut had brought with her way back when she’d come to the trolls in the beginning. The ribbon sat in the troll girl’s greasy hair like a wilting linnea flower. It did nothing to hide the girl’s blobbish nose, her too-wide eyes, her lumpish and lopsided figure.

“Prettiness doesn’t mean anything,” Rut said dismissively. “You are more than your prettiness, Scáthach. You are smart, and you are kind. You know the Good Book, which is more than I can say for your cousins who are heathens of the worst sort.”

“But… is it pretty?” Scáthach insisted. She fingered the ribbon sadly and the cloth fell from her hair to the floor of their cave-made home.

Rut set down her stitches and went to take the ribbon off the floor and tie it back in Scáthach’s hair so that it looked lively.

“You are very pretty,” Scáthach muttered. “I want to…”

“You are beautiful,” Rut said with a small, sad smile.

Categories
Micro-fiction Publications

Tale Foundry: Sacred Geometry

Original Post on Tale Foundry

The Sacred Shape of Xuralys
By C.W. Spalding

In the age of eight aspects—fifth age of goddess Xuralys, tenth eon after shape disfigured chaos—Ruvoque took up a dirk. Chaos was held a bay, but not overcome. For all creatures must lose the shape of Xuralys; and return to the sableblood sky as nothing more than rot. Thus Ruvoque went to the Tetrahedron for sacred geogrification.

“Even the shapeless takes on shape,” he intoned.

The tip of the incense snarled and spit smoke; its dying stank of ginger and limes.

“And even the shaped must one day dissolve,” Gala said to finish his prayer.

He glanced at her: silver robes and silver eyes. She met his gaze and jerked her chin toward the table. Hurry up, you’re falling behind again you dolt. He fought down a smile as he turned to the altar and the starlight trapped in its runepyre.

“But in this we make the exchange,” they said together.

“In this we shrug further into our shape-” Gala began.

Ruvoque finished: “And bind up the chaos.”

The starlight burned from red to white, contracting on itself like a scream. And its light turned to liquid fire; as tangible as water but as sharp as a thousand dirks and three times as deadly. Ruvoque took a steadying breath, catching Gala’s eye again as he shrugged his own silver robes up his arm. Gala had already done the same and clutched her own dirk in her hands so tight her knuckles turned white.

“We make our bones bright,” Gala whispered.

“We make our bones bright,” Ruvoque echoed.

They drew the dirks across their arms and thrust the open wound beneath the dripping ball of starmelt.

***

When Ruvoque woke up, he had been carried up and left on the mountain. He pulled up his sleeve, looking for the cut. But his skin had no mark. Had he then failed? No. As the daystar crested the peaks around him, he saw the shape of his skin had changed and run over with fire of its own.

“The sacred geometry,” he breathed.

Now to find Gala and the starmelt and perfect their shapes.

Categories
Micro-fiction Publications

Tale Foundry: Work Hazard

Original Post on Tale Foundry’s Page

The Oven
By C.W. Spalding

On the oven hung a sign which read “Do Not Enter.” Petre passed it every day as he loaded up the trolleys. The wheeled devices were so heavy, running in their treads like a train on a rail, and each one was chocked full of uncooked morsels of chicken. Each trolley was filled, pushed in, sealed up, and then set to bake.

“You about done?” Wurman asked.

“Just ’bout,” Petre replied.

He wiped the sweat from his brow on the sleeve of his plaid shirt and placed the last basket of legs on the cart. Wurman turned away to his own baskets; his quota was not nearly finished.

Man, it was hot. And loud. The industrial fans did little to quell the intense heat of the ovens’ baking.

“I’ve gotta piss,” Wurman said.

He was already behind.

“Hurry back,” Petre said warningly.

Wurman went hobbling off and Petre turned to push in his cart. But as he put his shoulder to the edge of the trolley, it didn’t budge. That was odd. He grunted with effort, pushing with his hips too. Still nothing. So, he glanced into the dark long tube of the oven.

There must be something on the rail.

When he stepped inside, the oven was cool. The tube was stale with the smell of grease. It muffled the monotonous roar of the factory. As Petre peered into the darkness, he pulled out his mini-flashlight.

Oh, there was the source of his troubles. A stray basket which must have fallen off the night before lay wedged with its corner in the rail’s divot. Quickly, he went inside to grab it. And he chuckled as he picked it up. Stupid thing.

But then he heard a rumble and he turned to get a face full of trolley as it was pushed in.

“Wurman?! Wurman!”

He could see the door, over the trolley. He cried out. But not louder than the factory’s noise. The last thing he saw was Wurman smiling, having done a good deed for his friend Petre, as the door… swung shut. The oven hurred to life.

Categories
Reviews

Fanfic Is

Fanfic is whatever you make it out to be. You cannot claim a whole genre of literature is bad: not romance, not sci fi, not fantasy, not contemporary. There will always be gems, no matter where you go, you merely need the tools to find them.

I personally slam on Disney for fanfictioning themselves to death. But, fanfiction does have a place. Here are three things you would learn if you took two seconds and two braincells and fanficked around a little on a Saturday afternoon.

Passion. Sometimes the hardest thing about writing is finding what you’re passionate about. And getting past all that initial worldbuilding and character building can be a really huge hurdle for some people. So why not start with a world already built, with characters already made. If it’s the way to start, you should start there. Cause you already have passion with regards to those characters. You’re already invested in what happens to them. So, you fanfic.

A heavy dose of “this is the life of an author” which can be many things. People might never read what your write. People might read what you write. Both are terrible, more terrible than finding half a fly in your spaghettis. You have to live with the knowledge that you probably already ate one half of the fly, and that this fly has probably touched every strand of spaghetti you’re about to eat. Anyhow, people reading what you write is just as terrifying as people never reading what you write. Because people, we’re more judicious than crows.

We will all write something bad. Perhaps the last miserable thing you wrote was a project from third grade, oh you gifted soul. But for most of us, we will write poorly-stitched-up bodies of text for a very long time. And you have to live with that. And so does everyone else. So, if it is bad, that’s how it is. Fanfic is. All that it is. And not all of it will be bad. So just write it already.

I call back to an earlier post of mine where I wish there were clearer ways to share and share alike in the literary world. We have such strict rules for images, surely a book is a type of written image too? Anyhow, the rules aren’t clear. And if anything they’re quite murky to the inexperienced. If Disney wrote fanfics and then rewrote worse versions of those fanfics, then why should you not as well?

Categories
writing

What Was Promised

Arguably, one of the most important things while writing is keeping your promises. Now, what do I mean when I say promises? I am referring to something which the reader anticipates based on the genre or your storytelling. Not keeping promises is one of the reasons why so many story twists fall short. When you fail to keep promises, you fail your readers and you’ll leave them feeling dissatisfied.

So.

How can we, as writers, make and keep promises to our readers? Here are 3 ways we can offer and fulfill.

The Rule of Threes

three monkey statues

One of the way many writers strive to make and keep promises to readers is to point something out to them multiple times before it becomes relevant. I’ve talked about it before, but this is sometimes called the rule of threes. You want to make sure that you’ve mentioned the important things multiple times so that your reader doesn’t feel like it came out of nowhere.

Can you think of an example where a writer presented information multiple times before it became plot relevant? Hasn’t that made the payoff all the better for you as a reader? If it has or hasn’t, go ahead and comment below to explain why it did or didn’t work.

The Power of Genre

library organized by color and topic

In each genre there are patterns and plots which shine through time. If you want to make and keep promises, you can prove to your readers that you’re going to adhere to those norms. If you bait your book as something its not, your reader will feel cheated. However, if you live by these norms, you’ll find yourself with happy readers.

Before you rip me to pieces, may I just add that variation from those standards can be a good thing when it enriches the plot. However, you can stick to genre standards and still come out the side with a perfectly good story. So, take this one with a plate of salt and you’ll be alright.

What was a time that you’ve felt you were deceived by a book? Did you want to keep reading after that, or did you shove that one on your unfinished list? Alternatively, what was a time that you got something better than what you were promised?

Clear Expectations

man in mirror

Do we know what your main character wants? The easiest way to make and keep a promise is to tell us what your character is working toward. Even if the story pulls them away from that goal (as it so frequently does), we, at least, will know what the character will lean toward when choices have to be made. Use your character’s inner narration to make and keep promises on occasion.

Beware of doing this one too much though, or you’ll find yourself telling your reader to death. If you smack the audience too many times with narrative intentions, they’ll form callouses, but if you use it from time to time it can help them stay focused.

Have you ever been the gladder for a character explicitly stating their intentions with inner or outer dialogue? What were times this absolutely didn’t work?

Thanks again for stopping by and I hope that you all have a marvelous Nanowrimo.