August 2020 Writing Challenge Week 3

August 2020 Writing Challenge Week 3

Hosted by @ryan.ewing.writing on Instagram

*Trigger Warning: First prompt has to do with gunfire at a gathering.

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August 15th, 2020

Write a scene: Your MCs are at a gathering when gunfire suddenly rings out. How do they respond?

YA Fantasy *No guns will make appearances in my YA Fantasy. This is just a character exercise.*

A sharp sound split the air, and no one recognized the source.  It was a discordant tone that made the students and their chaperones look up in confusion.  The earth mags had a strange look on their face, as did the fire mages, as if something familiar had crossed their path, but they weren’t quite sure where they’d felt it before.

But one of the students suddenly collapsed.  Another student grabbed him, thinking he was just joking around, but when the collapsing student coughed blood, those around him started to panic.

The healing mage who was serving as a chaperone shoved her way over to that student, but when another sharp crack filled the air, a second student collapsed. 

Screams broke the air, and student started to run.  The teachers and the older students who had experience fighting immediately ran for cover, yanking on the arms of the panicking younger students to get them to move away from open areas.

“What is it? Where is it coming from?” Merrick panted after having run around the corner of the ruin walls.

“I’ve got no idea, but I can tell you that anything that works that can cause you to cough up blood almost instantaneously is not good news,” said his friend, who was an apprentice healer.

“Let me see if I can sense someone’s mana,” Talia said as she closed her eyes and spread out a thin layer of her own mana into the surrounding area.  However, she was disappointed in that she could not find anyone within bowshot range.

But one of the newer teachers, who’d just retired from being a mercenary had a pale face. He recognized the gunshot for what it was.  Death and destruction from outside of even the strongest mage’s range.  And it was a technology developed in a country they didn’t have good relations with.

A gun was inside their borders, shooting at their young mages. He could only conclude that someone wanted to snuff out their future fighting forces.

Cinderella Retelling

The bright chatter of the ball was suddenly eclipsed by the sharp crack of a gunshot.  The men in their tailcoats all turned their heads in the direction of the sound, resembling startled deer.  Many ladies brought their fans up to their faces, hiding frowns of concern and confusion. 

Cinderella shoved the rifle into the hands of the prince’s attending knight, and patted her hands on her ballgown, as if she was smoothing out wrinkles rather than attempting to wipe away stray gunpowder.

“That should keep the fat pig busy for a while,” she said, referring to the nobleman she’d just shot in the leg.

“Any particular reason you chose that pig over others?” the prince asked, his amused tone showing he did not care about the crime she just committed.

“He is the bait. He’s one of the middlemen who our friendly hitman could identify.  I want to see which of the pig’s friends worry they will be next.”

The prince smiled and offered her his arm as they approached the grand staircase down into the ballroom. 

“I must say, your style of hunting is entertaining.”

“Thank you for the compliment, but the night is young.  Wait until you see what I have planned for later.”

The attending knight passed off the rifle to a manservant and then hurried to catch up with them.  He wasn’t sure what he had done to displease the captain of the knights and get assigned to their crazy prince and his even crazier lady friend. As his stomach cramped in anxiety, he vowed he would bring the knight captain a case of his favorite whiskey in the morning.

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August 16th, 2020

How would your MCs react to being prank called?

Merrick would be very confused.  He doesn’t have any family members who would prank call him, and he is usually with the two friends who would do those kinds of things.  I would like to think neither of his friends would prank call him. 

Plus, the amount of magic it would take to send a familiar with a message would allow a magic user to trace the magic back, thus defeating the purpose of a prank call. And no one would send a prank letter through the mail as it costs a good bit of a working person’s wage to send a package through the mail carriages.  The mail carriages have to hire guards to deter bandits and thieves since many of the packages contain wages sent from the city to relatives in more rural areas.

Cinderella would just hang up on the person.  She does not have the time or the inclination to indulge such buffoonery.  And don’t let her find out it was you calling, because she will plan some sort of trouble for you to get into, just so you won’t have time to call her with nonsense anymore.

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August 17th, 2020

If your MC could pick where they would pass away, where would they pick?

Merrick doesn’t have a location that he views as a comfortable home. He would rather pass away surrounded by people who have become his family.  If he had to pick a location, he might pick Alberic’s house in the woods.  Alberic is his mentor, and the first person to recognize his magic and his worth as a person.  He is also the person who, upon finding out Merrick’s elemental affinity, directly told the young man he was not evil just because he wields dark magic and shadows.

Cinderella would choose to pass away in her own home, as long as her step family had been kicked out.  She is on a quest to recover her inheritance, including the estate she should have inherited when her father passed away.  By recovering what is hers and kicking out her stepfamily, she will be able to regain control of her father’s trading company and slowly build back up the resources lost while they were under her stepmother’s negligent care.

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August 18th, 2020

What is the biggest event of your MCs’ backgrounds?

The biggest event in Merrick’s life prior to the opening scene is when he was found to have “no magic at all.”  This statement from the temple sealed his fate of being viewed as a useless person who would amount to nothing good.

The biggest event in Cinderella’s life prior to the opening scene is of course, the loss of her mother, the arrival of her stepmother, and the subsequent loss of her father.  These events have shaped how her position in the household declined and she is relegated to being a maid of her stepfamily.

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August 19th, 2020

Your MCs find out someone has taken money from them. How do they respond?

Both Merrick and Cinderella would be extremely mad.  They would try to regain their funds and take revenge on the person who tried to steal from them

Merrick has never had very much money at all, and what he does have was gifted to him by his mentor, Alberic, on his way to the Mage’s academy.  He knows that money is precious, and that it can take a very long time to earn it, or it can cost your soul and dignity to ask for money from others.

Cinderella knows what it is like to have money, and also what it is like to have lost the use of the money. She has scraped together the last of her dowry, which she had to hide from her stepmother, in order to set up her new company.  All of this is in order to have the financial independence and the economic strength to force her stepfamily into a bad situation, as well as to avoid having to agree to a political marriage.

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August 20th, 2020

Write a scene: Your MCs spend a day at the beach.

“Wow.  That’s a lot of water,” said Merrick as he stared out at the ocean, squinting against the bright sunlight.

“This is a lot of sand.  I hate sand.  And the ocean is full of nastiness. If you get scrapes or cuts, I’ll have to put a poultice on it tonight, otherwise it’ll get infected.  Plus, there are scary things in the water,” complained his friend, who had brought an excess of luggage to ensure he had a plethora of healing herbs should something untoward happen.

“Aw, pipe down, you cowardly healer.  Shouldn’t you be fine with the water since healers all have some affinity for water?” The earth mage was already building a small town out of the sand, which Merrick was intrigued by.

“I’ve only ever been to the ocean with my teacher.  She had me gather a whole bunch of ingredients from the sea. Have you ever been chased by a giant, people-eating fish? No? I didn’t think so.”

Merrick walked away from them, and approached the waves.  He asked his familiar if she wanted to come out of his shadow to play.

“No, way!”

“Why not?”

“It’s too bright!  There aren’t any shadows around. I’ll come out to play once the sun’s gone down.”

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August 21st, 2020

How would your MCs cope with a lockdown/shelter in place order?

It would depend on where they were when the order was put in place.

If Merrick, my main character in my YA Fantasy, was in his hometown during the lockdown or shelter in place orders, he would likely be forced to work for the illegal slave merchant.  If this happened, he is much more likely to run off into the woods and build himself a little cabin after a few days of travel.  After all, no one in his town thinks he has magic, and so they think he is a freak of nature and a useless orphan. 

However, if Merrick is just outside of his hometown when the orders are given, he would take shelter in Alberic’s cabin, where he and his mentor would spend their time honing Merrick’s magic skills to make sure he can hide them from the temple.

If he was already in the capital city, he would likely just stay in the mage’s academy. Since he doesn’t have a place to return to, the healers at the academy might order him to help them grind herbs and mix concoctions.

As for Cinderella, she knows how to keep herself busy.  She has plenty of maid work that could be done if her step family is still in the picture, and she also has plenty of work ahead of her in trying to make sure that her brand new cosmetics company sells perfumed soaps to those who are going to be washing their hands a lot in the future.

5 thoughts on “August 2020 Writing Challenge Week 3

  1. Really interesting and unusual character exercise! I’m going to have to do this with my own characters.

    On a slightly different note, I think it’s totally possible to work guns/firearm technology into a YA fantasy. It’s not traditional, but fantasy is about thinking outside the box.For example, take Megan Whalen Turner’s series The Queen’s Thief. In my own WIP, guns are introduced to a previously traditional-medieval fantasy landscape, and I’m exploring how they would change that world and the ways in which it would stay the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved The Queen’s Thief series! I considered whether I wanted guns in my YA fantasy, but I decided against it, at least in this generation of characters. But yes, it would definitely change the dynamics of battles and assassinations. I have really enjoyed doing this series of prompts, so I’m hoping to make it much more of a regular exercise. I highly recommend this as a way to play around with your characters and get some extra inspiration.

      Liked by 1 person

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