Friday, August 17, 2012

1,000 Daily Challenge: Day Four

Sorry this one is a day late! I didn't get on the computer yesterday evening, so although I finished my writing quota for the day, I hadn't the time to blog about it. But here I am now, trying to find a funnier idiom than "better late than never" and failing miserably.

Yesterday was another new experience for me.  Color of the Sky has been all about new experiences so far, I think.  (It's a genre so different from anything I've written before, how could it be otherwise?)  Until yesterday, I'd never written anything serious about danger or terror.  My stories have always been so happy-go-lucky, but yesterday I dabbled for the first time in cold perspiration.  (Ewww.  Bad choice of words there...)

It's pretty different, writing about fear.  I've written embarrassment, I've written anger, I've written nervousness and apprehension-- but never sweating, shaking terror.  The scene I had to write was hard.  There are parts of it that I don't like at all.  But I can rework it later.  And you're probably tired of hearing the "just keep writing and edit later" mantra so I'll stop that.

I made it to 1,182 yesterday, and when I was finished I felt almost as drained as the characters themselves.  It's not easy, trying to figure out how much to include and how much to leave to the reader's imagination.  What to describe and what to state as simple fact.  How much drama to put in and how much numbness.  Whether to lighten the mood with a touch of humor or save it for another, more appropriate time.  (I agonized over that one and eventually went with the second.  There's a time and place for everything, and jokes aren't usually appreciated when you're being attacked by bandits.)

But then, nobody ever said writing was easy.  Or if they did, they lied.  (That sounds profound and deep, but I really stole it off a refrigerator magnet.  Refrigerator magnets tend to sound like that.)

Sometimes when she could not sleep, Margot would make lists in her head—lists of the tasks she wanted to accomplish the next day, lists of ideas for a story she would tell Fina, lists of her favorite things. The last list was practically never-ending. Tonight, however, she was in the mood to list all the things she particularly hated. Scratchy blankets, thistles in one’s foot, soured milk and brothers who did not care were battling it out for the top spot when she became aware of a steady thudding sound from below.

Voices drifted upwards, voices speaking a rough peasant form of the Occitan dialect. Margot could only hear a few words, and those she heard were not the kind Mother would have wanted her to hear. She was tempted to clamp her hands over Fina’s innocent ears, but she was too frightened to move.

Somehow it seemed safer to cower by the window instead of on the bed.

“Are you praying, Margot?” Obediently, Fina slung an arm around Margot’s shoulders and gripped the windowsill with her other.
“As hard as ever I can, at least I was until now—I can’t concentrate and do that at the same time, so you pray while I tell you where to step.”
The most horrible part was flinging her leg over the sill and finding nothing but soft, yielding air all around. After that, once her foot found a tough and solid vine, it got easier.

Before she could even begin to formulate an idea as to what to do next, a new sound struck her ears—one that made her blood run colder than it ever had during any of Chantal’s ghost stories.


Elizabeth Rose said...

These are fantastic snippets, Amy! For someone who says she doesn't have much experience writing about fear, you do it amazingly well.

Miss Dashwood said...

Aww, thank you, Lizzy!