Oct 10 2012

Potential New Project: Outsider (A Novel)

Posted by Mathias

Over lunch today, when I should have been working on the final edits for Under the Darkened Moon, I jotted down 1,800 words in a free writing exercise.  The story seems to have take on an interesting shape and intrigues me.  The story has a current working title of “Outsider”.
(more…)

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 09 2012

Reading Level For A Good Story

Posted by Mathias

A friend of mine, a published author, suggested that any story I write should have a Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level of between 3.5 and 5.5 or 6.0 at most. I thought that seemed low so I cut and pasted some segments of published novels I have around in digital format into Word and checked. All of those tests actually fell into that range.

So I took the new Chapter 1 I have just written for Under the Darkened Moon and ran it though the readability statistics analyzer in MSWord.

The results were:
Passive Sentences – 2%
Flesch Reading Ease – 86.9
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level – 3.8

So looks like I am in that range and if there is anything to this I have that, probably minor, hurdle hurdled.

Just to make sure though I ran my free writing exercise which I recently completed though the tool as well.

Passive Sentences – 5%
Flesch Reading Ease – 83.4
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level – 4.4

I also ran my short story Second Chances:

Passive Sentences – 5%
Flesch Reading Ease – 85.8
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level – 3.8

Yep. Looks like I am solidly in that range.

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

Jan 27 2012

Free Writing Exercise This Weekend

Posted by Mathias

This weekend I am going to set down and do some free writing. My plan is to post what I write here on the site.

The ground rules I have laid out are simple. No topic has been chosen. Genre will be fantasy or science fiction. No in depth editing will be allowed. Editing will be limited to only the last ten words written at any give time. This means that once a word is on the paper and is past this set limit it stays regardless of grammatical correctness, spelling or other such faults.

We will see how this goes.