A few summers ago I started writing a story from a single sentence.
No one would have called him beautiful.
I didn’t really know what it meant but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. By the middle of July I had 2/3 of a story I loved, and still couldn’t stop thinking about, but no ending or any solid idea of where it was going. I went back to my notes and saw this sentence.
She is guarding something other than herself.
Oh. Yes. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know what it was she was guarding or why, or even who she was because there was something breathing inside that idea.
Writing fiction, creating anything really, is a dance with an invisible partner. Sometimes you’re leading. Sometimes the mystery is leading. When the dance is over you turn around and look at the pages, or the song, or the painting, or the performance, and you see it. Oh. Yes. This is what that dance was about.
In a crumbling otherworldly society once dedicated to life, love and beauty, one young woman must risk all to free…the Uske.
“The sun had begun to set but it was light enough for Alder to clearly see the thing in his hand.
It looked like nothing. Three inches of black stone or glass: rough and rounded at one end, hooked like a tail at the other. Vertical indentations lined the surface between the ends. He held it up to the light. The grooves were marked by spikes and shallows, difficult to see except by close inspection.
What difference would it have made if he’d looked at it in her presence? He had no idea what it was. Or why she thought it belonged to him. For a second he considered leaving it in the woods. He didn’t want a reminder of her. A reminder of the hot slice in his chest. A reminder of her early-morning gaze. Of the way she’d smiled at him. Of the way she’d waited until he took her hand in order to give him something. Not to take something from him.
For that reason alone he decided to keep the black stone thing. He put it in his pocket and sat near the entrance of the cave until dawn.
Even his kind couldn’t stay in the forest for longer than the length of a day or a night. He wouldn’t die like the others, but the painful consequences would be hard to recover from. Worse, it would make the others notice him more. Want him more. He’d never have time to sleep or get away. Or be alone.”
From The Uske board on my Pinterest