August 2020 Writing Challenge
Hosted by @ryan.ewing.writing on Instagram
August 1st, 2020
Who does your MC consider their rivals or enemies? Why?
In my YA Fantasy story, my main character, Merrick, considers the Temple of the Flame Lord to be his enemy. The followers of the Fire deity have systematically hunted down mages who could use the dark magic elements.
Merric, who had been unable to use any magic for his entire life, prayed one last time to have magic – any kind of magic at all, and he suddenly awakened a talent for dark magic. Now he must hide his magic or become hunted.
The Temple has positioned itself politically so that it can influence the civil officials of the kingdom, and thereby influence the monarch to pass laws against the use of dark magic. This has occurred throughout the kingdom, and the most heinous of crimes are always pinned on “evil dark mages,” as if those who can use dark magic are all eventually corrupted.
The Temple has a military force, the Paladins of Light, but Merrick spies them consorting with an illegal slave trader. Over time, Merrick finds the Paladins and the Temple are responsible for the tension at the border of their neighboring country.
August 2nd, 2020
Your MCs could get three things off of the internet for free. What do they pick?
- Itching Powder to dose her stepsisters
- Self Protection Knife for obvious reasons
- The number of the hitman who is being blackmailed by her stepmother (so she can convince him to give up incriminating evidence)
- Firestarter (since he can’t use fire magic, and he doesn’t know when his shadow magic will be discovered and he might need to camp out)
- A set of waterproof and thermal sleeping bags for him and his familiar (for the same reason as above)
- A compendium of herbs and medicinal plants, and seed samples for each type of plant (to give to his buddy and ally who is a healing and alchemy apprentice)
August 3rd, 2020
What vehicle do your MCs drive or what would they drive? Why?
Merrick will learn how to drive a horse-drawn cart, but he also learns how to slide through the shadows. It is viewed as a type of teleportation by those who do not have dark magic, but in reality, it is essentially allowing his body to sink into the shadowrealm, the realm of the dead.
Dark magic is the purview of the Grey God, the god of death and justice. The transportation spell allows dark magic users to temporarily enter the Grey God’s realm and use it as a shortcut to where they want to go. However, not all dark magic users can use this spell.
August 4th, 2020
Your MCs find an alien being in the forest. What do they do?
This actually happens in my YA Fantasy. Although it is not an alien from outer space, it is a spiritual animal of legends. I based the creature off of a dragon chimera with its origins in Mesopotamian lore.
The Mushussu, and I am pretty certain that’s where Disney picked the name for their cartoon version of Mulan, has scales all over, hind legs with eagle talons, front legs with lion claws, long neck and tail, a forked snake tongue, horns and a crest on top of a dragon head, and is sometimes depicted as having wings.
When my main character finds this legendary creature, it is napping beside a very special plant. The berries from this plant can be sold for a lot of money, and my main character tries to take away the berries without waking the creature.
As for some of the other characters, one immediately offers to heal the creature when he meets her. It’s his occupational disease as an apprentice healer. Another of my characters is likely to try and purify the world by killing the creature. After all, the creature is known to be associated with the Grey God of Death and has been treated as the harbingers of massacre.
As for my Cinderella retelling, she would probably consider how much it was worth. First she would calculate if it was a dangerous being, if she could take it down on her own, how much it would be worth in parts vs whole, would it be worth more if she captured it alive, etc. If it was worth more alive, could she tame it or breed it to make more profit in the future?
August 5th, 2020
What are your MCs favorite seasons?
For my YA Fantasy, Merric’s favorite seasons are anything other than winter. Every other season he is able to go outside and escape the confines of the orphanage and the expectation that he should be grateful for the “care” he’s been given. When he goes to the woods or the fields, he is able to be by himself and escape the reality that he is the only one in town without a single bit of magic – at least until his life turns upside down.
For my Cinderella retelling, she enjoys all of the seasons, as she is constantly thinking of things that could sell in each season, due to her father training her to be the trading company heir while she was young. At heart, she is a ruthless and calculating child of a merchant. She always looks for a chance at profit and to take back what is hers.
August 6th, 2020
Write a scene: your MCs encounter with a mafia don.
*Trigger Warning: Mentions of Human Trafficking
My main character in my YA fantasy meets the equivalent of a mafia don several times in the book. Here is one (still in the rough draft stage).
Merrick arrived at the front atrium of the mage’s academy, intending to wait for his two friends to join him for their trip to the town market. He quietly hummed while he rested on one of the many benches in the atrium. Bored, he examined the large mirror the academy placed in the alcove where the statue of the Grey God of death and justice should have been. He just made out the engraving around the edge of the mirror depicting the myth of how the Grey God swept over the land with a virulent pestilence and the world was saved by the Fire God’s friendship with a poor child. It looked like the same mural as the one in his hometown, only that mural decorated the inside of the Fire God’s temple, not the inside of an internationally known mages’ academy. He stood up and made his way over towards the mirror, propping himself up against a column as he stared at the engravings some more.
“My good sir Merchant Larse! Thank you for coming all this way!” the head master’s voice rang out in the atrium, and Merrick stiffened in surprise. Merchant Larse was from Merrick’s hometown. He’d once offered to hire Merrick, despite the young man’s reputation for having no magic at all. Everyone in town looked the other way, despite knowing Merchant Larse intended to make Merrick disappear into the jaws of his human trafficking business.
Why would the top figure of the mage’s academy be greeting an illegal slave merchant with that much enthusiasm?
Merrick was grateful for his prior move as he peered around the column to peek at the two. His bad feeling worsened as he realized that not only was the headmaster greeting Merchant Larse, he was also greeting one of the Paladins of the Fire God’s temple. The Paladin, once he took his helmet off, was one of the captains of a unit which passed through Merrick’s hometown regularly.
Once, he held out hope the Paladin was secretly investigating the illegal slave merchant. However, he lost all of that hope when he saw the Paladin purchase several young women from Merchant Larse, and then the following week, when the Paladin unit left town, there were new unidentified bodies in the town’s mass grave.
August 7th, 2020
What real world figures do your MCs look up to?
My YA Fantasy MC would look up to any orphans who were able to make themselves successful and happy lives, even without the aid of parental figures in their younger years. He is striving to survive without having parents, and he wants to know it is possible.
He would also look up to those who were considered outcasts or weird, who were able to turn their weirdness into something great. My main character has always been without magic as he grew up, and he was desperate for some way to find something that only he could do. This would provide his life with some sense of value.
For my Cinderella Retelling, she would look up to figures like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos. They are essentially some of the greatest merchants our modern era has ever seen, and she would like to rebuild her father’s trading company to be either as competitive or more than it was before her stepmother ruined the company.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into my WIPs. I will try to have the next week’s worth of prompts up soon.
August 2020 Writing Challenge Week 2 will be live on 8/22/2020 at 10:00 AM EDT.