Mar 27 2012

The Yoke – Third Draft Completed

Posted by Mathias

Last night I picked up my short story titled “The Yoke” and gave it a fresh look. The editing process added roughly 500 words to the story and it stands at 6,534 total words with epilogue.

Current “readability” statistics are:

Passive voice sentences 1%
Flesch Reading Ease 85.7
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 3.8

Not sure if it still needs another edit or not. Will probably revisit it in a few weeks and decide.

Mar 18 2012

This Weekend’s Free Writing Exercise – Marinda From “The Yoke”

Posted by Mathias

Marinda is a character from my short story, “The Yoke“.  The following is a free writing excercise seeing events prior to that story from her point of view.

[Begin 6:34 PM]

The foul, little runt of a man drew far too close to me for comfort. He never seemed to give my personal space any consideration. The fact that he smelled like an unbathed horse did not help matters much either. Nor did his eyes; eyes that I felt wandered far too freely about my body with hardly hidden fantasies of what he would do to a woman if allowed to.

Often times I could just think, strongly in my mind, stop it! And it seemed as though he would oblige and withdraw his eyes. Sometimes he would even take a few steps away as well. But I knew it was just coincidence and my imagination. I was a mage, trained in the arts of elemental magic and not some illusionist who delved into the manipulation of minds.

My hand never moved much from the hilt of my long, thin sword whenever Halen was around. I think he got the hint. Whenever I did tell him of my displeasure with his closeness, like as now while we hid together in the weeds, he would just tug on the thick, silver band with the large orange stone about his neck as if using that as an excuse. It what an exact match to the one about my very neck.

Only once had we made the mistake of separating the collars too far from one another. The raw, once boiled skin under where the stone rested still bore the rippling from the burn that such as foolish action caused. Escaping from the bondage the stone and necklaces kept us in would not be simple. I needed time to study the device. But again, I am a mage and not an enchanter. I was aware of the art of imbuing materials with spells, blessings and curses, but I was not well enough versed in them to understand the process. Usually, enchantments were weak against elemental magic. As I had already stated, I just needed time to study the devices and find out how to break them.

Getting that time however was something that was easier said than done. He was always watching us; the man we only knew as “My Liege”. That was what the guards all called him. Never a name. Never anything less. Any time I had tried to look at the devices it was not long before either he or one of the guards was there to separate me into a neighboring cell. They did the same with Tsala, a Southman and a shaman who possessed a fair knowledge of magic but not as detailed as mine. She was also part of the “group” and her magic was spiritual in nature. Kort, our muscle, and also a Southman, was not versed in any sort of magic so he never tried to meddle with the devices. Halen had tried to use his thieving skills to get them off more than once but could never find any lock upon them to pick.

The collars seemed to have been cast directly around our necks although none of us remembered it happening. And as long as we did exactly as “My Liege” requested, other than the cells and the inability to escape, we had been pretty fairly treated. Although he did keep my spell book isolated, ensuring that I would not use it to try and hasten our often planned escape, he did allow me any number of interesting tomes to read. Although none of them were magical in any way, they did keep my mind sharper than not reading would have.

Halen put his arm around my waist. I wanted to slap him, but the gesture was clearly not in an attempt for affection. At least not primarily. He was guiding me to look down the trail, to the coach slowly coming into view. Then, after doing so, he did pull me closer to him.

I pushed him off. “Halen!” My tone was harsh but hushed. “Enough of that. Let’s just get this over with.”

“Aw come on darlin’, don’t flatter yourself.” Even as Halen denied what he had been trying to do, I knew better. He was not that good at hiding it.

[End 7:24 PM]

Feb 23 2012

The Flames (New Short Story)

Posted by Mathias

I was goofing around last night and free writing as well as brainstorming some story prompts when out pops this new piece I have been working on. It’s a little strange and intriguing to me so I am adding it to my list of projects. It is definitely different than anything I have done stylistically thus far. It’s kind of freaky weird and hopefully it turns into something that I can move forward with.

Visit my information page for The Flames.

Feb 03 2012

Free Writing Excercise … Sheala Backstory

Posted by Mathias

This free writing exercise follows the rules I set forth in this post. Sheala is a character in a very old story I wrote back in college for a creative writing class. She is also a character that was integral to a lot of the Dungeons and Dragons campaigns that I ran, showing up often throughout them to interact with the player.  She is also a character in my story short story (in progress)  Sacrifice.

[BEGIN]

The room was dark, save for a few candles. A girl not yet in her teens stood at the side of the heavy desk. Her clothes were not much better than that of a beggar. Her reddish hair was brown with grime from lack of washing.

She watched as the middle-aged thief sitting behind the desk was busily writing the final words of a missive. The girl’s mind was anxious. Her foot tapped with frustration, not impatience. The man marked the letter with a seal of wax, imbedding the ring on his finger into it so as to identify its writer. He held it out for her to take. She did not. He shook it with annoyance and stared at her. She looked away. “Sheala!” he barked, “take this.”

She would not. “No,” she snarled back while staring him down.

“If you want your pay, you will do as you are told!”

The tone in his voice annoyed her. She did not particularly like Darvin that much. Nor did he her. “I’ve been doing ‘as I’ve been told’ for three years. And where’s that got me? I signed on to be a thief, not a courier girl.”

Darvin harrumphed, setting the letter down on the side of the desk. Rising out of his seat he started to scold her for her insolence. “Maybe if you had an ounce of talent you could be something else!” Sheala did not shrink from the verbal assault. The words struck her with their full force. “Every time we’ve had to bail you out because you couldn’t do something simple it cost this guild money!” Darvin sat back down with a dismissive wave of his hand. He reminded her, “And our members don’t like losing money. Now, take that letter to Farete.”

Sheala sucked in her next breath through her nose an exhaled it in the same way. She did not want to take the letter. There was no real money in being a simple messenger. On her shoulders she felt a pair hands. They were like a father’s hands, with a firmness meant to steady and soothe. But they were not her father’s hands. “Perhaps,” she heard the man to whom they belonged start to speak, “she just needs more training.”

“Arias,” Darvin talked over her head to the man behind her as he began writing another letter, “she has had the opportunity to learn from six of our finest members. Six. All of them have said the same thing. No matter what you think, she has no real talent.”

Sheala scowled. She had talent. She had been with Ebeth and his gypsies for years. Sure, as thieves they were not very well organized and they had pressed their luck too much which had led to their incarceration in Rickland. Luckily she had been able to get away even though she had got caught more than a few times during her stint with them. But she also had also been very lucrative to Ebeth’s little operation as well. That is exactly why they happily got her out of the trouble she found herself in from time to time. No, she had talent. She knew she had it. She just needed the chance to prove it. Sheala wanted to say something in her defense. But the slightest tightening of the hands on her shoulders told her to hold her tongue. She respected Arias enough to abide. He had been the one who got her into the guild.

“I think our normal methods may not be best for teaching her.”

Visibly frustrated at the discussion, Darvin put down his quill. He folded his hands on the desk before him in a measured patience and addressed Arias directly. “We have too many members and not enough work for them as it is. Do you know the kind of ire I would draw if I trained another thief and brought another hand to be paid onboard?”

[END]

Time: 21 minutes 42 seconds

Dec 14 2011

Short Story “The Yoke” Rough Draft Completed

Posted by Mathias

“The Yoke” has just completed being drafted. It stands at 6,069 words including a short epilogue.

Summary: “The Yoke” is a story about four adventures who are together not of their own free will but out of a macabre necessity. The party encounters a danger that threatens them all and forces them to chose their fate and their future.

Oct 19 2011

Getting Ready For A New Project

Posted by Mathias

I was brainstorming some ideas for my short story, “The Yoke”, last night and originally had an idea for a possible sequel. I know, a sequel to a story that is only halfway through its first, rough draft? Not only halfway through its initial stages but also a project that is right now #4 on my list of four projects? How presumptuous!

But that is the way I write. While I have a focus, I tend to jump around.

But as I developed that idea in my head and furthered it today it was apparent that the good ideas I was coming up with did not really fit into that world. So I have decided to open a new project which will be called “Wyvern Lord“. I have a couple pages of notes that I will be expanding and working from as I get this new project underway.

I will be updating the project page over the next couple days.

Oct 14 2011

The War Within (Short Story) Renamed

Posted by Mathias

After much consideration I have renamed my short story “The War Within”. The new title is “Second Chances”.

I have also moved the project along for comment from some people I know who have agreed to read it and give me feedback.

Once I get that feedback I will decide how to proceed.

Aug 10 2011

Quick Draft of “Sacrifice” Written

Posted by Mathias

Last night I sat down wanting to touch up some things with my short story “The War Within”. But I couldn’t quite get in the mood. The story still needs work however I just could not figure out what to work on exactly.

Some parts are right as I want them. So rather than do something I would later regret I started free writing the short story “Sacrifice” and adapt to a story in a whole other world.

Unlike “The War Within” which gives some background to a secondary character in my project called “Dark Moon”, “Sacrifice” gives flesh to a character that I have written about in short stories (unpublished) before. However she is much more the main character in those stories.

I think the exercise was a good one. It got me off my current rut with “The War Within” and quickly I had a new story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Right now it stands at 1,500 some words but there is a lot of straight dialogue without any added features to break it up. I plan on fixing that to make it more than just he said, she said, he said, she said, he said which is boring and can confuse the reader without pointers every now and again to let the reader know exactly who is speaking.

I have also decided to tell much of this story through flashbacks. Normally I abhor flashbacks but for this story I am going to try them. It seems to work.

Aug 09 2011

Two New Site Updates

Posted by Mathias

I have updated the site to include basic information on what are now two short stories I am working on. The first is being called “The War Within” which is the short story spawned by project “Dark Moon”. This story focuses on a particular event which helped form the world view of a secondary character in the later.

The second story is being given the working title of “Sacrifice” and is a short story spawned by elements I had started to put into “The War Within” but which did not seem to fit that story’s main character. They did however fit another character from another short story I wrote nearly two decades ago for a writing class in college. I am adapting those pieces of story that I scrapped to a new story in a completely different world.

More on all these projects soon.

Aug 01 2011

Found: The short story I wanted

Posted by Mathias

Ok. I have some good news. That short story I wanted to write? You know, the one that instead turned into tens of thousands of words and what appears to be a novel? Well, I have found it within the plot of what I am writing.

It is going to require some changes to the longer story I have been typing out, but I think those changes are going to be for the better. Most of those changes have to do with the way magic is used in the world and a little bit of tweaking of the world history as well. It is amazing how thinking out a small part of the story to make it into a short story of its own allows me to see better ways to do other things within the main story itself. It also solves a couple conundrums I have been having with certain plot points. Putting the ideas for this story down have clarified a lot of the problems.

What happened was I was just free writing and jotting down notes yesterday when I was brainstorming some interactions between two of the novel’s characters. Out popped the short story in the form of a monologue by one of them.

Having happened long before this particular story, of course this short story does not fit into the novel’s full framework. The character’s summary of events in the novel does not tell the whole story so here is the chance for me to do that now and add some depth to this particular character, a female elf whose perspective and actions are only viewed in “Dark Moon” through the POV of the main character. So it has what I think is the makings of a good short story to work on.

It has taken a while to get there. But I have gotten there.

Title not decided on yet. Working title to be come up with.