StoryaDay Madness in 3 Pieces


I am writing every day even if I’m not posting. Most of what I’m writing is unfinished anyway, and I doubt most of it will ever be submitted for publication. But whatever. It’s fun writing regardless and sharing things here and there.

Here are a few unfinished snippets of things so far.

First is a flash forward of sorts for one of my manuscripts.

She needed a new name. Completely new. Her grandparents had been clear. “Don’t even let it begin with the same old letter or have the same number of syllables. It can have no clues.”

But it was hard. How could she take a name that had nothing to do with who she was. But any name like that would leave clues. She wrote down the rules:
Cannot begin with the letter d.
Cannot end with a.
Must have more than two syllables. (What about just one?)
Cannot have a v.
Cannot sound like the name of someone I miss.

She went to baby naming sites. Her given name had been unique and the rules didn’t say she had to pick something common. Though of course she knew that rule should be there. She ought to pick something like Rachel or Michelle or Jennifer. Good names. Strong names. Names to be found anywhere. She clicked on a list of unique baby girl names. Amoret. Bryony. Jessamyn. She realized how many names were two syllables or ended with a. The name Temperance made her laugh.

Then she saw the list for unusual names. How were they different than those labeled unique? She clicked. Caoimhe? How was that even pronounced? Consuelo? She didn’t think herself capable of pulling that off. Moon? She almost liked it. But instantly heard the jokes in her head and scrolled on. Thessaly? Tuesday?

She went to vintage names. Annaliese. Antoinette. Guinevere. Magdalene…tempting. Rosemarie. Verity! Ha! But no Vs allowed.

Badass princess names? Well, why not? Athalie? Beatrix? There was Jessamyn again. Several names made appearances on all the lists so far. It sort of made it harder to not be allowed a name ending with a, but it also made it easier. It eliminated so many choices. Rosamund? Salome? Xanthippe? What?

There were flower names and bible names and space names. Space? She clicked. Astrophel. Celestial. Gemini. Mathilde.

She might as well give the classic names a try. She scrolled quickly down the page and changed her mind.

What a task to choose a name. Everyone she’d meet from here on out would know this name. She’d have to answer to it for the rest of her life. A lover would whisper it. A document would declare it. It would be her signature.

The other day, the Story-a-Day prompt was one of those use-these-words-somewhere prompts. I wrote something silly and here’s half of it. The assigned words are in bold.

In the very last cubicle on the very top floor of the tallest office building in the country’s last city worked Phillip Malachi MaGrew. His cubicle had one great big window and his job was to count the clouds that appeared over the western half of the city. He had to write descriptions too.
March 4th, slow stratus in sector two, 9:04 a.m., accompanied by the usual drizzle and consistent gray. Update: cleared at 11:42. Cloudless sky for the rest of the day. Ended daily observation: 5:32 p.m.
April 12th, long, thin cirrus coming over the horizon, distinct lines bending upward at approximately thirty degree angles, sectors 2-4, 10:56 a.m. And increasing over the late morning and afternoon. Followed by cirrostratus late afternoon. Rain suspected for evening. Ended daily observation: 5:29 p.m.
May 22nd, weak cumulus on the horizon, sector 7, 1:17 p.m. Strengthening an increasing at 2:10 p.m. Looking like cauliflower by 5:00. Ended daily observation: 5:31 p.m.

One time he received a note to be more judicious in his word choice. He described a stratocumulus as shimmying across sectors 7 through 1. Our clouds, the head reviewer of notes wrote, do not shimmy. Please defamiliarize yourself with the approved words. Your cooperation in this matter, Observer 12, is appreciated. Phillip Malachi MaGrew wished the Observation Office allowed the use of real names, at least for such inconsequential observers like himself. No cloud would hunt him down to yell about its secrets. People on the lower levels who observed pedestrians, dentists, and school teachers wanted their names tucked securely away and were trained not to reveal them even under duress. Phillip, staring at fat and growing cumulonimbus clouds threatening to cover sectors 2 through 8, wondered how often his fellow Observers met with duress. He’d never know, of course. They were allowed only limited conversation.

A ping from the overhead speaker told him he could get himself a cup of coffee. The sky over the west of the city continued to darken. He stood and stretched. Grabbing his mug, he trekked down the corridor past the other cubicles. He knew not to glance inside, Every Observers break was timed so that they would not be together. The break room Observer waited by the doorway. She saw Phillip and made a note in her book. They didn’t exchange hellos or otherwise acknowledge each other. She walked over to the coffee pot and noted how much it contained. After Phillip filled his mug, she noted what remained.

Phillip considered adding cream or sugar. He could it was allowed. But he didn’t want to watch Observer 56 check the measurements. He didn’t want to listen to the scratch of her pencil, judgment in every line. They weren’t Judges. Not at all. Training had been clear. They observed and noted. They volunteered no opinions. Such things were for designated Judges or Inspector, and Phillip was glad he wasn’t one of those. Heading back to his cubicle, he also gave thanks clouds were above opinions. He stopped and chuckled at his inadvertent pun.

Another prompt, which I’ve always liked, is to write the same scene from different points of view. For this, I wrote about the queen’s POV and the king’s, but here is someone else’s.

“I don’t have time to talk to you, but if you insists, I”ll tell you a thing or two. Yeah, I knew all about Her Highness and her endless crying for a babe. She bout drove me mad, asking for potions and tricks and making me say spells over her belly. The queen was all right as far as queens go. She wasn’t given to whipping us for sending up her tea too cold and that was a plus. But I coulda told you the day I first set eyes on her that wasn’t up to birthing so much as a pea. And she wasn’t ever gonna be the one getting up in the middle of the night and honestly I’m glad I never have to witness that baby spit up on a royal gown. Folks like her don’t know the first thing about babies. They don’t got to know, do they?

Well, I don’t mean to sound hard hearted. It’s sad to be without your mama even if you’re a princess, and I’m sure the child will see her fair share of trouble. But her hands will stay soft, won’t they? And she’ll have enough gowns to live through many winters. So yeah, she’ll be sad but we all got to be sad from time to time, even daughters of kings. But I know that man is hunting for a new wife, and I bet you a your weight in apples, she isn’t gonna want nothing to do with this here infant. I’ve seen it before.

I’ve said enough. I still blood to wash up. I got to do it all myself because its the blood of a queen and you can’t trust folks like you used to. And I’ve got to tend to that baby. The other girls in the kitchens help with that, of course. The baby’s with the wet-nurse now. Some people say the wet-nurse is also witch, but I don’t care two figs. Might do that princess some good to have witches milk running through her for a while. I’m honestly not going to care. I’m sure you understand. The common maid like can’t afford to care about some infant princess, who, to tell you the truth, might die before the month is out. So I’m not going to to care. Not tonight. Not ever.”

Thank you for reading!

2 thoughts on “StoryaDay Madness in 3 Pieces

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