Friday Flash: Purple Oil Flowers

I don’t know where this come from and I had a little trouble with it, but it’s done.

 

Purple oil flowers covered the landscape as far she could see. A money maker, these fields, but so far from any shops.
 
She cast a longing glance to the west, past the big tree, picturing the town miles down the road. Her brother would be meeting with PurpleFlow’s finance people right about now. Her job was to babysit the flowers.
 
Too bad they needed nothing from her. The flowers were like a weed. They would grow anywhere at all, as long they had the right soil. But that was her secret.
 
She sighed, tucked her matching PurpleFlow phone into her jean pockets and went out to make a soil check.
 
The soil compost containers were stacked against the back walls. Faint whimpers emanated from the last, top-most crate. She detoured to check on it.
 
The young man looked fine. His blood trickled into the soft, black soil. His hazel eyes were dazed from the pain, but his still struggled against his chains. His wrists, elbows, knees and ankles were rubbed raw, but that didn’t matter. She’d made small holes in his limbs so the blood drained slowly. Too much would ruin the soil.
 
But the whimpering! She grabbed a ball gag she’d left in the box for just such occasions and stuffed it into his mouth. The strap cut into his mouth, but she didn’t care.
 
She petted the top of his matted, stiff hair and closed the crate lid. The bottom one was ready; the boy in there was just a skeleton now. She filled a container with the soil and set off to fertilize her fields.

X is for X Placeholder

X_GI use X as a placeholder. His friend X, Uncle X, baby X, pet X, and event X and so on.

Lots of times I don’t know what the character’s name is and I don’t have time to go searching baby name websites for a good name. So the picture-placeholder-femalecharacter becomes X on the page. It’s a silent reminder to find a name later.

It’s the same thing for scenes. Sometimes I’ll be writing and I need a scene to show something somewhere in the middle of the story. I’ll insert Scene X in big bold letters wherever the scene needs to be.

As for why X and not A or – or some other symbol as a placeholder? I don’t really know. I suppose X represents the unknown to me. No doubt this is a result of spending years in the classroom being told to Find X.

How do you deal with unknown characters?

V

V danced for the crowd. The red folds of her dress swirled around her, sometimes obscuring her from the crowd, sometimes revealing her.

The crowd chanted her name: Red V. V. V. Red!

The music thrummed through, a counter point to her own nature, named for her. Venom.

The crowd swayed with her.

She twirled over the stage, her bare feet pounding the floorboards. Thump. Step. Thump. Leap.

With each step the venom in her music spread. One by one the people in the crowd crashed like felled trees.

Only one man was left standing. The reason she was here. The reason for these destroyed lives.

He grinned and jumped atop the nearest body. But the music didn’t stop and she didn’t stop moving.

Soon he, too, fell.

She was free! She turned one last somersault and landed on his chest.

U is for Unchangeable and Unchanging Characters

Some characters are unchangeable, unchanging, and in fact, have no business changing.

This isn’t the normal thing that is taught in writing classing and it is not the normal writing advice given. But, months after watching the Skyfall, I have become convinced of the truth of it.

I blogged about Skyfall after I saw the movie. I don’t mention it in the post, but I feel like this movie hurt Bond’s icon status.

In this movie, 1) Bond grows older and 2) also has a past, complete with parents and big house.

Someone asked me how it was and I replied: emotional. Which is damn odd for a James Bond movie.

Before this movie he was the Man of Mystery. He had no past, no future, few connections to people other than a bevy of Bond Girls in each and every movie.

The only movie he ever changed in was the one where the girl he was in love with betrayed him and broke his heart. Nothing otherwise.

Every writing class, most every piece of writing advice will say that characters need to grow. Good stories have characters that grow and change.

I feel like someone tried to do exactly that to James Bond in Skyfall and it failed.

I feel like him getting shot by friendly fire, retiring in the Caribbean, and coming back vastly off his game were attempts to give him a character arc he wouldn’t have otherwise. I also feel like he doesn’t need to have a character arc necessarily.

James Bond is an icon. No need to mess with that.

Or if they insist, they ought to have done it slower. Lots slower. The character development should have been done at a snail’s pace, over a number of movies. That might have worked. As it is, I just feel like they were trying to shoehorn a past and development and all that jazz into his character.

Also, at the end of Skyfall, he says he’s ready for the next mission at the end and its business as usual. So, yeah.

I have to reconsider if I even want to see the next James Bond (comes out next year!) in theaters. If it is like Skyfall, than maybe not.

N is for Noble Characters

So I don’t really feel like blogging but have to complete the challenge so…

This is a list of some noble characters.

Noble, as wordweb defines it is: having or showing or indicative of high or elevated character

l. Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden

The man works as a private detective. He consorts with paladins and vampires and faeries. Despite it all he does things that are not always in his best interest and not always -or entirely – for money.

2. Samwise Gamgee

He follows Frodo when he didn’t have to, to keep Frodo safe.

3. Surreal SaDiablo

She’s an assassin and a prostitute. But she used her skills to kill those who need killing and also put ignored her own needs to do what she felt what was right.

I am tempted to put Anita Blake on this list, but am resisting. What do you think?

Who are your favorite noble characters?

M is for Myth

M_LeMannequinI loved myths as a child.

I devoured Roman/Greek myths in grade school. (Of course they were the only myths we learned in class.) Later, I discovered Norse myths and Celtic myths and Native American myths. I tried Egyptian myths, too, but they just confused me.

Actually, I think I stopped reading myths because of that confusion. It seemed to each god had ten different names and I couldn’t tell who was talking to whom.photo-main

They were a balm when I couldn’t read my usual mysteries and children’s horror.

I turned to them when I needed to create myths for my own world. I love the loki stories, the coyote stories. And, also, the turtle and elephant stories.

That’s not to say they feature prominently in my own world. But it’s a jumping off point, you know?

L is for Lies

L-12A couple years ago, while randomly browsing the internet, Iran across this title: Telling Lies for Fun and Profit by Lawrence Block. (His books are good.)

It’s a book on writing and the title got me thinking. I never picked up the book, but the title stuck in my head.

A story is made up, a piece of fiction. It doesn’t exist. That, on one level, makes it a lie.Lies

But! Everyone knows a story can’t be real. Not everyone knows such a thing of other, more normal lies.

On the other hand, a story must have emotional / psychological truths. How would anyone relate to a character otherwise? And it must have at least some factual truths, else someone will cry: bad research!

The best lies are supposed to have truth, so that doesn’t mean the story can’t be called a lie. Even so, I cannot quite convince myself I write lies. Perhaps it would he easier if the word didn’t have negative meanings.

What do you think? Is aIl fiction some bizarre form of lying?

Has anyone read the book? Does it offer an explanation? Maybe the title is just an example of someone’s expertise at title creation something eye-catching and memorable.

K is for Kinky

Kinky is my K word-and I don’t mean hair.

I don’t talk about these books much. They are not a guilty pleasure; I don’t feel guilty. But some people act oddly around them.

I mean books where all kinds of erotic things happen – things involving handcuffs, rope and other adult toys.

I got into this genre almost by accident. The first book I read was the first Sleeping Beauty book by Anne Rice in high school. I didn’t like it and I couldn’t finish it. I still don’t. I think it crosses the safe, sane and consensual line. Especially the consensual line.

I was a member of LKH’s forum at the same time and someone recommended a book by Joey w. Hill called Natural Law. I looked it up, I read reviews -and than found it in the library.

I haven’t looked back.

Natural Law is an early work. But it is nothing like Sleeping Beauty. Nothing! I was wonderfully pleased.

Joey W. Hill is one of my favorite authors these days. Her writing has only become better over the years -hotter, more intense. I only wish I could write with such intensity.

I have found other writers I like – Kim Dare, Chris Owens.

I haven’t read Shades of Gray , but, for reasons I don’t entirely understand myself, I am not really tempted to. It’s not the subject material. I think I’ll dislike it as much I disliked Twilight.

Do you read kinky romances? How did you discover them?

Jinni

My J word jinni. My take on it is slightly different.

Only the tip of his nose, lower cheeks and jaw was spared. The rest of his face was covered in shadow as dark as night.

His stared at me with eyes like chips of the sun-drenched sky, given life. I had failed him, I and I alone. Seated on either side of me, the other village elders trembled like leaves in a gale. The villagers gathered around us, shocked speechless.

Oh, but for all the honor we did our dead, had either of us expected this?

I kept my gaze fixed on his face; I didn’t want to look at the rest of him. I knew what I had done too well. “Blessed jinni, what may we do for you this night?”

His mouth opened; broken, bloody teeth shone in the firelight.

I rubbed my knuckles under the table, massaging away remembered pain.

“Die.”

I jerked. He’d been blindfolded. He couldn’t have recognized me.

He turned his burning gaze next to me, on my twin, whose life I had chosen over the fruit of my own blood.

The jinnis’ words came again: “Die.”

The villagers gasped. I looked up to see my son staring at me. His head whipped between me and the jinni of his own dead son. Understanding appeared on his face like a storm,  with soft rain and gentle breezes, than with the force of winds powerful enough to uproot whole trees.

He knew I’d betrayed him. I failed to protect his boy from the filth of my twin, as I’d failed to protect him decades earlier.

My son’s anger was a blade sharp enough to let free my lifeblood. And, this time, I didn’t fight him, didn’t try to protect my twin.