I’m just about finished with my finished draft of the story I’m writing for a collection of tales from the world of my SAGE fantasy trilogy (link is to my SAGE page on this site). I hope to finish the story by the end of the month. I hope to finish the draft of the collection by the end of September. (Crossing my fingers!)
Scrivener makes working from scraps both easier and more difficult than working in one document. Easier, because sub-documents arrange, rearrange, and access more easily than bits all smooshed together. More difficult, because … MORE THINGS!
Here’s an excerpt. Salali ran away from home to escape an arranged marriage.
You’ll Learn Soon Enough
excerpt by Marian Allen
Suddenly, she came upon a clearing. In the center of it stood a structure made entirely of wood, light shining from its slatted windows. Was this a house? It was so small. So lonely.
As she gazed in wonder, the door swung inward and a woman came out.
She was tall and brown and as slender as young Salali herself, although the woman’s plaited hair was streaked with gray and her face was gently lined. Her gown was a simple green shift with a belt of brown cloth.
She held out her hands to the weary traveler and said, in a clearer Layounnan than the farm folk had used, “Welcome! You’ve come a long way, for our home is far from everywhere. Come in and rest.”
With relief as great as her curiosity, Salali took the woman’s hands and gratefully allowed herself to be led inside.
“Put down your things,” the woman said. “Come up to the fire. The nights are cool and damp in the trees.”
Salali realized her feet were, indeed, chilly and wet. She made herself comfortable, although she was conscious of the contrast between the style of her clothing and that of her hostess.
“My name is Erda,” the woman said.
“Salali of Nishi.” She blushed, for she hadn’t been able to restrain herself from darting glances around the wooden room. “I’ve never been outside the city walls before.”
“And I’ve never been within them! Look around, and don’t be shy. Tell me how my house is different from yours, and we’ll both be amused.”
They chatted and laughed, sharing the last of Salali’s scant supplies, a loaf of Erda’s bread, a bowl of stew from Erda’s hearth, and milk from Erda’s goats.
Although she hadn’t meant to, Salali confessed her defection and the reason for it.
Erda rhapsodized on the subject of marriage, and Salali felt courtesy-bound to agree that the right groom would make all the difference.
The fire was cozy and Salali was travel-worn and footsore.
She closed her eyes, just for a moment.
A faint whiff of the sour but delicious bread she had been given the night before brought her wide awake.
She swung her sore feet to the floor, and encountered grass. Above her, tree branches woven together with living vines formed a high roof. Around her, plants and vines grew in a ragged circle to enclose her, leaving peepholes and the semblance of barred windows, but no door.
On a stump nearby her bed sat a plate holding a small loaf of brown bread, a small round of yellow cheese, and a cup of cream-topped milk. On another stump was a stack of rich green cloth with her pack holding it in place.
“Hello?” Salali stood in the fragrant shade. She rose on legs that nearly collapsed, they ached so from yesterday’s unaccustomed exercise. She shuffled to the living wall, inserting fingers in one of the peepholes and prying at it to open an exit. The greenery resisted. Using both hands and all her strength, she pulled at the small gap. Tendrils bound the plant material together like the tiniest stitches that make the strongest seams. She pulled again and cried out as the stems she touched sprouted a fur of tiny nettles, too small to pierce deeply, but not too small to hurt and irritate.
“Hello!” Where was Erda? Was this her doing, or was she imprisoned, too? “Erda? Anyone? Help!”
Her hostess from the evening appeared at one of the prison’s “windows,” frowning, lip lifted.
“You slept late enough. Lazy girl! You’ll learn better, soon enough.”
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character wakes up in a different place than they went to sleep. Good thing or bad thing?