Before we get too deep into snippets, however, I wanted to share this month's Character Encounter. Character Encounters are hosted by Kendra E. Ardnek at Knitted by God's Plan and you can find out more about them HERE.
This month's encounter takes place in a tree. Although mine kind of takes place in a forest of trees, not actually in a tree (because I wrote it in the car and all I could remember was that the prompt had something to do with tress).
I encounter Daniel and Varina from my spy(ish) series. They are probably my favorite characters that I have created and I haven't written anything about them since last November! I missed them. And one simply can not write about Daniel and Varina and forgo listening to the mandatory George Gershwin.
Without further ado, the encounter...
"This map says to go left at the big evergreen. Daniel, we're in a forest, exactly which big evergreen does the map specify?" an angry female voice asked.
"Don't blame me, I didn't write the bally thing!" replied an English-accented voice of the male persuasion.
"But how in the world are we supposed to find the corpse if we can't even follow the murderer's map?"
"If you ask me, the murderer never should have made a map in the first place! What sort of person kills someone and then draws a map to lead to the body?"
"I don't know!" The female was exasperated. "Maybe he thought he would forget where he buried the body so he drew himself a map."
"If so, why didn't he specify which big evergreen he meant?" sassed Mr. Accent.
I, as author and creator of the two quibbling characters, decided it was high time to intervene. I had been on a youth group hike when I heard the familiar voices of Daniel Adams and Varina Webb bickering in the distance.
So, while the rest of the group were busy eating lunch, I slipped off. I wouldn't be missed - at least not for give or ten minutes.
I hastened towards the arguers and stepped out from behind a large evergreen before blows could be exchanged.
The usually calm and cool Daniel was, for once, quite as flustered as his more hot-blooded companion, Varina. Both were fuming - quite literally, for it was 86 degrees outside (probably nearer to 186 in the sunshine. It's a good thing we have so many trees in the Pacific Northwest). Varina's ponytail had come mostly undone and Daniel's hat had gone askew. It looked as if they had forgotten to bring water with them, silly fools.
"Excuse me," I said, "I couldn't help but overhear your raised voices. "Do you need any help?"
"Ah- yes," Daniel said after a moment of scrutiny in my direction. He pushed his hat to the back of his head and walked towards me, map outstretched.
"My name is Daniel and this is my associate, Varina. We were wondering if you knew where a big evergreen could be found."
"Don't give her all our information!" Varina hissed. "She could be working for The Wolf!"
"Oh, please, she's a child!" said Daniel.
I coughed. "I'm legally an adult now, actually."
"Oh, excuse me," Daniel said, quite courteously. "Anyway, do you have any clue where this big evergreen is?"
"Well, you estimable colleague did have a good point," I said. "We are in a forest, which means we are surrounded by many big evergreens. You could try looking at the next instructions on the map and see if that helps you get anywhere."
"Good idea. Isn't that a good idea, Vare?" Daniel asked.
Varina grunted in response.
"That's a yes," Daniel told me. "Thank you for your help, Miss."
"No problem," I said. "Wait right here a moment," I added. I couldn't let them go on without water bottles. I legged it back to the clearing, grabbed two unopened bottles from the pile, and then legged it back to Daniel and Varina.
"Here," I said, distributing the much-needed liquid.
"Thank you," Varina said, opening her bottle and glugging it down.
"Thank you," Daniel echoed.
"No problem," I said again and, while they were drinking, slipped off to rejoin the youth group.
Now onto the snippets...
In my head I had been reading her resume like I read books to Sally - you know, with the funny voices and all that - and when I opened my mouth to speak to Gwendolyn, the back of my throat was sore, as if I really had been reading aloud in funny voices. I cleared my throat with a rumble and thrice more with other unpleasant sounds which was a mistake because it made my throat hurt even more.
"Mee, mee, mee, mee, mee..." I warbled, like in my old barbershop quartet days, trying to sooth the vocal chords.
Gwendolyn was staring at me as if I'd gone completely mad and thrown my hat to a perfect stranger in the park in winter - which was absurd, of course. I hadn't done such a thing since my quartet days. That, however, was not the thing to tell a girl you're interviewing for the job of nanny.
"My throat," I said by way of explanation. I had meant to say it the way blokes do in pictures - suave, smooth, sophisticated, so that even if what come out was perfect rot, everyone would nod and smile understandingly. Unfortunately, my vocal chords decided to wreak havoc on my plan and, when I said, "my throat," my voice cracked and raised to the pitch of opera star for a brief second. Perhaps I'd missed my calling.
"I do hope I'm not coming down with something." Now it sounded as if my voice had decided to take a spin down a gravel road. In a rickety old carriage.
Gwendolyn just stared and said nothing, dear girl.
-When I wrote this on the spur of the moment the other night right before turned my light out, I had no idea who this person was that was having such atrocious voice problems. I didn't even know if it was a male or female. The next night, however, he decided to reveal himself to me. His name is George and he has troublesome twin brothers named Oscar and Arthur and two daughters. There's more, but I don't want to tell you yet. I think it's going to turn out rather Wodehousian, though. Rather Jeeves and Woosterish, what?
King Francis' castle, unlike King John's, looked as if it came out of a book of princess stories. It had spires which reached to the sky, crawling vines creeping down the pale stone walls, bright banners billowing boisterously in the wind, and glorious gardens galore. The whole effect was bright, open, and airy.
The Great Hall - which was the first room which one entered in to after passing through the massive double doors - really was great. You had to crane your head all the way back just to see the ceiling; and what a ceiling it was. Arches criss-crossed in the Romanesque style and designs had been frescoed between the arches.
One visitor to the castle sustained permanent neck damage from ogling the mind-boggingly beautiful roof. The royal family was good enough to pay the hospital fee and hire the best full-time nurse in the kingdom. (Years later, she decided that since she was his full time caretaker anyway, why not marry the man and be his wife too? The lived happily ever after and had ten children, all of whom were taught to look at the ground, so as not to strain their necks. For years, everyone thought the children were shy and antisocial, when, actually, the opposite was true. They were quite boorish and outgoing, when you got to know them well).
-This is from my yet-unnamed fantasy novel, which I have been working on all year. The ceilings are based off of ones we saw in Holland:
I've also been semi-writing a Beauty and the Beast retelling for the Five Enchanted Roses contest. I wasn't planning on writing one - because everyone and their sainted aunt seem to be writing one - but then I had a persistent plot ploy and had to write it down. The only problem is that, for some reason, I can't get it out of my head that Beauty and the Beast is supposed to be a solemn story, and I can't write serious fiction. Example: In After the Twelfth Night, two characters are having a pretty nice heart-to-heart moment and then one of the characters blurts out "I never knew my father!"
Live long and prosper.
P.S. This is a sneak peak from my Plot Bunnies post:
What sinister beastie lingers in yonder backdrop? LOOK OUT JULIET!