Thursday, April 5, 2007


Of the five stories I am currently working on, all of them are well over 2,000 words, and one just passed 11,000. That feels very, very good. I can't think of any other time I reached over 10,000 words on a story that was not for NaNo.

What impresses me lately is how I can go so readily from working on an historical fiction one day and switch to a fantasy the next. The characters are so completely different. Here, let me show you:

The meal was served, and the conversation observed over it was hushed, kept to small household matters that Aberlin was not a part of. The Earl's health was raised, but only exhaustion was claimed for his absence. Aberlin suspected more, but she didn't speak her mind. She concentrated on her meal and on the nuances of the conversation between Gilbert and his wife. Theirs was a common enough marriage, made as much for dowry and degree as it was for feeling. They were comfortable with one another in a manner that all strangers eventually become accustom to one another. But there was no true love between, not of the kind that had grown between her and Warrick. And, sincerely, Aberlin was sorry for that. For all her position as tolerated outcast, she was fond of Gilbert and of simple, homely Mary. They were good folk, honest in their word and in their expressions. Which is why she knew something was bothering Gilbert a great deal and it had everything to do with Aberlin.

But Aberlin had made a study of patience. She waited for the news to come to her.

It did so just as the meal was finishing. She knew it was coming when Gilbert looked directly at her, something he'd been avoiding throughout the meal. "We will be making a journey in two days. I am told you are to pack for a voyage."

Aberlin allowed herself a moment to control her emotions before she spoke. In only two sentences, Gilbert had eluded to far too much. She chose the most innocuous of her questions. "And in what manner should I prepare?"

Gilbert looked confused. Clearly, he'd expected a far more condemning sort of query.

"If I am to pack for a voyage," Aberlin explained calmly, "I should like to know in what manner to pack. Will the climes be warm or chilled? Should I expect much in dampness?"

"I . . . I really couldn't say," he stammered.
That is from my historical fiction The Lady Grey. Aberlin is very controlled sort of character. poised and patient. Rhys, from my fantasy Warrior Storm, most definitely is none of those things:

"You're awfully sure of who I am," Rhys told the girl.

The girl's face brightened. It was a pretty face, the kind that hasn't seen much sun or harsh weather, though there was something about it that spoke of past tragedies. Rhys was quick enough to recognize that. Tragedy leaves a mark even beauty can't
completely hide. "I knew from the lock in your hair. I'd have known you from that before I saw you speaking with Caleb."

Rhys' hackles rose and the girl shrank away from the show of anger. "What do you know about that?"

"I . . . I was on my home. I saw you in the street speaking with him." She hesitated, but a streak of courage showed itself with determination. "Did you come to get him away from here? Is he needed somewhere else?"

"The only thing that man needs is a kick in the head," Rhys growled. "And you need a kick in the ass. You've had your fun. Get on home."

"No, you've got it wrong!" The girl reached out as if to catch Rhys before she could walk away. "I need your help."

"Go ask the great Caleb."

"You don't understand." The girl sagged against the wall. "He's the problem."

"He's everyone's problem."

The girl straightened suddenly. "I could get you a horse."

Wariness edged through her, but Rhys hesitated. "How do you mean?"

"You said you needed a horse. I know where a couple are. No one would miss them."

So that was it, was it? "Them, huh? And for this act of kindness, you'd expect me to take you with me?"


"Look, girl, I'm not out on a joy ride. You've got no place with me and no business stealing horses."

"But I wouldn't be stealing them. Not exactly."

Rhys eyed the girl. "Sorry. Can't help you."

Rhys is great fun to write. I don't even bother avoiding cliches with her, because that's just the sort of character she is. In a rewrite, I'll weed them out and fill in either with something more clever or just make sure the tone conveys that sense of her, but for the rough draft I just play.

But I enjoy writing Aberlin just as much. She's a quick-study of others, but doesn't reveal much herself, for the moment. That's going to change later, when she has to trust someone she really doesn't want to trust (he doesn't really endear anyone with the word 'trust' actually). And Rhys will get to show some of her softer side later in the story, too, which will be hard for her.

It makes each day writing a new experience when I get to chose from such diverse characters, sometimes amid the same story. Rhys' dearest friends are as opposite in personality from her as Aberlin is, and Aberlin's nemesis come partner couldn't be further from her in disposition.

Which makes those head-banging days go a little easier. And makes days like today, when I whip through 1100 words without blinking, the most fun of all!

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