starshipcat (starshipcat) wrote,

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Writing Challenges

The latest Odd Prompts writing challenge from More Odds than Ends is from nother Mike: Everyone was thrilled when a private elementary school opened in the area. Then the students started arriving at the school for little monsters…

This could be interesting, especially if you took it beyond the obvious. I got to thinking how about Japanese monsters, and all of a sudden I started thinking about Ixilon, and particularly Gorlath's use of transformation magic to turn many of the people of Maroa into the creatures of folklore, both the fair folk of the people of the lowlands and the yokai and youma of the mountain people. Which means that I have yet another piece of the saga that I've been calling Unto This Last, although I think it'll probably be the over-title of several volumes, and I don't yet know exactly how they're braided together.

A bit of background -- the Land of the Cincinnati is on a world that resembles the old view of Mars, with a breathable atmosphere and a network of canals to bring water from the polar ice caps to the arid lands.


The New School

For as long as Deborah McMillan could remember, the old Morgan place had stood empty. When she was a child she'd overheard various elderly neighbors and family friends talking about people who had lived there at various times, but not a one of those families had ever been named Morgan.

That peculiarity had only made the empty house all the more fascinating to her younger self. Even without any formal education in architecture or history, she had been able to see that it was unlike the other buildings in town, yet not so unlike them as the slender towers that stood on the yonder bank of the Lowell Canal.

In time she'd learned that the fairy towers had been built by this world's original inhabitants, long vanished when the worldgates opened for the first wave of human migration. It had been one of those groups that had built the old Morgan place, giving it that distinctive fortress-like appearance that made it easy to envision as a magical castle out of a storybook.

When she was in school, she'd had some fanciful notions of living in that big old house someday. Growing up had disabused her of such dreams. Just because a house had been vacant since the back of forever it didn't mean you could just fix it up and move in. This wasn't the Settlement when the people of Old Cincinnati had come through the worldgate to find the whole region abandoned, free for the taking. Nowadays everything had an owner, and Deborah could soon see that the salary of an official of the county board of education wasn't going to buy it.

Now it had a new owner, and from the scuttlebutt she'd heard at the office, they were turning it into some kind of private school. which would bring it into her purview, she realized.

Might she finally get a proper look in there? She still remembered how badly she had wanted to look inside when she was a child, how she'd gotten in trouble just for talking with a friend about slipping up to the windows and taking a peek.

However, she'd need a good reason to make a visit. Indulging her curiosity under color of law would get her a lot more trouble than the scolding her father had given her after hearing from Mrs. Norby about the plan to peek through the windows.

All the same, it wouldn't hurt to ask a few discreet questions. Being a local girl would make it easier to get the conversation going in the right direction without appearing to pry. Her old friends from school were now parents, so of course they'd take note of such things.

Not to mention knowing who was apt to know all the latest gossip. Like Betty Miller – what was her married name? – who was a hairdresser. Not one of Deborah's close friends, but close enough that if she were to drop by for a quick trim, it would be unsurprising for her to want to catch up on what was going on around the old neighborhood – and Betty would be happy to fill her in, including whatever was going on with that new school at the old Morgan place.


I might've written more, but right now I'm in the midst of preparations for Archon this weekend, and I know that this is but the beginning of one minor thread in a vast work, one that I can't truly undertake until several other novels before it are written. Still, I've got some basic idea where it's headed, and a decent number of notes to guide my path.

My prompt was You go to your mailbox and find a package from a teacher you had years ago. and it went to Cedar Sanderson. She's made it into yet another episode of her ongoing story of Chloe from the Groundskeeper world.

I also got a story in for this week's Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Writing Challenge. In it I go back to the Grissom timeline, with an unusual one in which Reggie Waite actually shows some caution.

As always, if you'd like to participate in Odd Prompts, just send your prompt in to to be assigned a prompt of your own. Or if you're not up to the commitment of trading prompts, you can always check out the spare prompts and see if any of them tickle your creativity.

There will be a new word and picture prompt up at Indies Unlimited on Saturday. Until then, the polls will open tomorrow for voting on the Readers' Choice Award, and will close at 5PM on Thursday.

In the meantime, keep writing
Tags: magic, space, vignette, writing challenge

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