Spinning Threads I Might Not Finish

Four of our Stonehenge Circle Writers—Karen Blakely, R. A. Gates, Kelly Haworth and Cheryl Mahoney—are collaborating to write a new novel: Pesto, Pirouettes and Potions.  It’s unusual for this many authors to work together on one continuous story, so they’ve decided to blog throughout the drafting, to give you some glimpses into the process.

Blog post by Cheryl Mahoney

Last week R. A. Gates told you about writing Chapter One of the story, and introducing Lola.  I was slated to write second, so I dove into writing Chapter Two of the story.  My main task was introducing Charlie, our second lead character.  Charlie must have wanted to share her story, because the scenes flowed pretty well.  We also did more outlining for this story than I usually do for my own, so I was working with a paragraph of notes on what we decided to include for this chapter.  That may have made things easier, because the roadmap was very clearly laid out.

Since this was Charlie’s first chapter, it was mostly about setting up her character and her life.  I started with the bows at the end of a ballet performance—which sent me down a rabbit hole of research on modern ballet and the levels for dancers within a company!  I started inventing characters to form a community around Charlie, both in her dance company and in her neighborhood, which we had decided is very close-knit.  Even though I was creating characters for Charlie to know, I was also trying to hit the point that she’s lonely right now; her grandparents, who raised her, died a few months previously, and she’s also alone romantically.

The funny part about writing this as a collaboration at this point was realizing that I was setting up threads and ideas that I (or at least, I alone) wouldn’t be the one to write the results for.  For example, I wrote a bit where Charlie is hoping to get the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker this year, but someone else may be writing the scene that reveals whether she gets it or not.  With that in mind, I added more notes than usual, detailing what I was trying to set-up and how it might pay-off.  We may not follow all of those ideas, but at least that way it’s noted and can be considered by my fellow writers as they write forward.

It also was interesting to have more immediate feedback for my writing than usual, as I bounced ideas I was having off of my partner writers in almost-real time as I wrote.  I have people I talk to about my writing, but it’s usually not quite so in the moment.

I thought I’d share an excerpt from Chapter Two.  This is my favorite bit, as Charlie struggles to fall asleep and her dog Sammy comes to join her.

********

After Charlie’s mind went around the same circles two or three times, and she tried every possible position at least once, she gave up and turned the light back on.  Some nights were just going to be restless and blue, and there was no use fighting it.

She reached down to the bottom shelf of her bedside table and came up with her worn old paperback of The Two Towers.  She opened at random, landing near the beginning of Chapter Four.  She knew the story backwards and forwards, so she started reading where she was.

Only a few pages in, she heard a thump as the mattress shifted, and then Sammy’s cold nose was pressing against her shoulder.

Charlie rolled over to rub Sammy’s favorite spot between his ears.  “At least I have you, right, Samwise?  That was enough for Frodo.”  He’d had an entire Fellowship, but Sam was really the only one he’d needed, to get all the way through Mordor.

Sammy snuffled, turned around twice, and curled up against her.  Charlie went back to her book, the little terrier a warm lump at the small of her back, and read about Merry, Pippin and Treebeard until she fell asleep.

Stonehenge Story Starts: At First Sight (Prompt)

Welcome to Stonehenge Story Starts, a biweekly writing prompt and story sharing opportunity.  Every other Sunday, we post a writing prompt: an opening line, a concept, a plot hook, maybe an image.  Two weeks later on Saturday, we’ll post again with the writing the prompt inspired.

This week’s prompt is: Write about two people seeing each other for the first time.

(Prompt courtesy of thinkwritten.com)

The deadline to submit your story is Friday, October 18, and we’ll post results on October 19th.

Our writers will be writing for the prompts, but anyone is welcome to participate!  Just come by on Sunday to see the week’s prompt, write during the week, and send any writing you’d like to share to StonehengeCircleWriters@gmail.com by the following Friday at 8 pm.  On Saturday we’ll post participants’ writing (with credit to the author, of course).

Write as much or as little as you choose: a paragraph, a flash fiction piece (less than 1,000 words) or a short story.  (Note, for long writing, we may choose to post only a selection.)  You are encouraged to be as creative as possible with the writing prompts.  Try to do something unexpected, or explore a particular genre like science fiction or historical fiction.  Take the prompt literally, or decide it’s a metaphor.  Your only limit is your own imagination.

Happy writing!

 

Stonehenge Story Starts: Surprises in Flight (Results)

We hope you’re enjoying your Saturday!

This week’s prompt was:

Just as your flight takes off, you discover a shocking note under your seat.  (Prompt courtesy of getfreewrite.com)

 

 

Today’s story is from Cheryl Mahoney, making an unusual foray into the modern day to write a stand-alone short story.

*****

I had tried to deny the situation to myself.  Told myself that I didn’t know how many seats there were to a row, that maybe, just maybe, seat E could in fact be on the aisle.  But once I was standing in the aisle, looking at my row, there was no more deniability.

Two seats by the window.  First aisle.  Five seats in the middle.  Second aisle, and two more seats.  Placing seat E, my seat, squarely in the center of the row.  I was going to be cramped into a tiny seat with two people on either side.  Two sets of knees to climb over if I wanted to stand up.

I sighed, and set to stowing my bag in the overhead compartment.  It was going to be a long ten-hour flight.

Continue reading “Stonehenge Story Starts: Surprises in Flight (Results)”

Stonehenge Story Starts: Surprises in Flight (Prompt)

Welcome to Stonehenge Story Starts, a biweekly writing prompt and story sharing opportunity.  Every other Sunday, we post a writing prompt: an opening line, a concept, a plot hook, maybe an image.  Two weeks later on Saturday, we’ll post again with the writing the prompt inspired.

This week’s prompt is: Just as your flight takes off, you discover a shocking note under your seat.

(Prompt courtesy of getfreewrite.com)

The deadline to submit your story is Friday, October 4, and we’ll post result on October 5th.

Our writers will be writing for the prompts, but anyone is welcome to participate!  Just come by on Sunday to see the week’s prompt, write during the week, and send any writing you’d like to share to StonehengeCircleWriters@gmail.com by the following Friday at 8 pm.  On Saturday we’ll post participants’ writing (with credit to the author, of course).

Write as much or as little as you choose: a paragraph, a flash fiction piece (less than 1,000 words) or a short story.  (Note, for long writing, we may choose to post only a selection.)  You are encouraged to be as creative as possible with the writing prompts.  Try to do something unexpected, or explore a particular genre like science fiction or historical fiction.  Take the prompt literally, or decide it’s a metaphor.  Your only limit is your own imagination.

Happy writing!

 

Stonehenge Story Starts: You Can (?) Go Home Again (Results)

We hope you’re enjoying your Saturday!

This week’s prompt was:

Write a story about revisiting one’s childhood home.

 

Today’s story is from Cheryl Mahoney, writing a follow-up to her story about finding something hidden, one enchantment and 100 years later.

*****

Rose was back at the castle for many days before she returned to her old bedroom.  She wouldn’t have visited today, if Edward hadn’t suggested it.

He stopped her outside of a council meeting.  “I understand I’m living in your old rooms,” he said, smiling.  “I appreciate that you haven’t demanded them back—but I’ve been meaning to ask if you’d like to visit them?”

She hesitated.  She didn’t trust Terrence’s brothers, not even this one, who smiled more than the older two.  Was it merely chance that he’d happened to remember to make this invitation at a time when Terrence wasn’t around?  She let her eyes drop, and murmured, “I wouldn’t want to impose on you.”

Edward’s grin only grew.  “It wouldn’t be an imposition at all.  I only feel bad I didn’t invite you sooner.  I knew you’d be interested to see the place.”  He took her arm—but politely, unthreateningly—and steered her down the corridor.  “It’s right this way—well, you know that, of course.”

She could have said no.  She could have yanked her arm away, and she thought she probably would have, if he had gripped it any tighter.  But it was a polite, even courtly hold, and she wasn’t entirely certain she didn’t want to see her old bedroom.

“I quite like the place,” Edward remarked as they walked.  “So quiet, so removed.  Gives me plenty of room for thinking, you know.”

Sometimes she had liked the quiet.  Sometimes she had wondered why so many stories put princesses away in a tower, all by themselves, and why her own life had to conform to that particular narrative.

Continue reading “Stonehenge Story Starts: You Can (?) Go Home Again (Results)”

Stonehenge Story Starts: You Can (?) Go Home Again (Prompt)

Welcome to Stonehenge Story Starts, a biweekly writing prompt and story sharing opportunity.  Every other Sunday, we post a writing prompt: an opening line, a concept, a plot hook, maybe an image.  Two weeks later on Saturday, we’ll post again with the writing the prompt inspired.

This week’s prompt is: Write a story about revisiting one’s childhood home.

Our writers will be writing for the prompts, but anyone is welcome to participate!  Just come by on Sunday to see the week’s prompt, write during the week, and send any writing you’d like to share to StonehengeCircleWriters@gmail.com by the following Friday at 8 pm.  On Saturday we’ll post participants’ writing (with credit to the author, of course).

Write as much or as little as you choose: a paragraph, a flash fiction piece (less than 1,000 words) or a short story.  (Note, for long writing, we may choose to post only a selection.)  You are encouraged to be as creative as possible with the writing prompts.  Try to do something unexpected, or explore a particular genre like science fiction or historical fiction.  Take the prompt literally, or decide it’s a metaphor.  Your only limit is your own imagination.

Happy writing!

 

Stonehenge Story Starts: Mirror, Mirror (Results)

We hope you’re enjoying your Saturday!

This week’s prompt was:

Write a story about a magic mirror—what it can do, how it’s used, and who it’s used by (Prompt courtesy of @writingprompts)

We have just one story today: Cheryl Mahoney gave us a glimpse of a moment between two characters in her upcoming novel.

*****

            “Rose?  Rose, I know you can hear me.”

Rose didn’t lift her head from her pillow.  “Go away.”

“Don’t you think it might be helpful to talk to me?”

That didn’t even merit a response.

“I’m sorry about Terrence.”

Rose pushed herself up to sit on the bed then, to glare at the woman looking out of the mirror on her wall.  “Don’t talk about him.  Don’t even say his name.  And you know you’re not sorry.”

Continue reading “Stonehenge Story Starts: Mirror, Mirror (Results)”

Stonehenge Story Starts: Mirror, Mirror… (Prompt)

Welcome to Stonehenge Story Starts, a weekly writing prompt and story sharing opportunity.  Each week, we post a writing prompt: an opening line, a concept, a plot hook, maybe an image.  The following Saturday, we’ll post again with the writing the prompt inspired.

This week’s prompt is: Write a story about a magic mirror—what it can do, how it’s used, and who it’s used by (Prompt courtest of @writingprompts)

Our writers will be writing for the prompts, but anyone is welcome to participate!  Just come by on Sunday to see the week’s prompt, write during the week, and send any writing you’d like to share to StonehengeCircleWriters@gmail.com by the following Friday at 8 pm.  On Saturday we’ll post participants’ writing (with credit to the author, of course).

Write as much or as little as you choose: a paragraph, a flash fiction piece (less than 1,000 words) or a short story.  (Note, for long writing, we may choose to post only a selection.)  You are encouraged to be as creative as possible with the writing prompts.  Try to do something unexpected, or explore a particular genre like science fiction or historical fiction.  Take the prompt literally, or decide it’s a metaphor.  Your only limit is your own imagination.

Happy writing!

 

If you like to plan ahead, next week’s prompt will be: Write a story about a magic mirror—what it can do, how it’s used, and who it’s used by (Prompt courtest of @writingprompts)

 

Stonehenge Story Starts: An Important Discovery (Results)

Happy Saturday!  Our writers went on retreat today, so we’re posting a little later in the day than usual.  Today’s story results were all freshly written this afternoon.

This week’s prompt was: “I knew I’d found something crucial when…” (Prompt courtesy of eadeverrell.com)

Three writers wrote for this prompt, including a new author for this blog, Mattias Bergman.

**********************

Karen Blakely

I knew I’d found something crucial when the door seemed to materialize in the wall right next to me. I’d been down this alley several times before and couldn’t remember ever seeing that door. My stepmother would have pointed out that I probably just hadn’t been paying attention the other times; she liked to point out my deficiencies like that.

But this time she would have been wrong. I was — fairly — certain I’d have noticed this door. It wasn’t like the others that looked like utilitarian rear exits into the alley. None of them were meant for customers. This door, however, was definitely trying to coax people in.

It was arched and ornately carved out of some beautiful dark wood that seemed to shimmer in the hot summer sun. There was a bronze plaque on it with the head of a raven emerging from the top. I had to step closer to make out the words engraved on it. I squinted to see past the dazzle of reflected sunlight.

Bookstore

Books for all Tastes and Needs

Welcome

I stopped and stared; the more I thought about it, the more certain I became that this door had not been here two months ago when I’d last walked this way. Could someone really have opened a new bookstore in that short a period of time? And if so, why have the entrance in the alley?

I’d been in lots of bookstores over the years and had read a variety of welcome signs, but Books for all Tastes and Needs was a new one. Especially since the word Needs seemed to be emphasized; the letters slightly larger and cut more deeply into the bronze. And although I made it a habit to never pass up a bookstore if I could help it, for some reason I felt hesitant about entering this one.

Continue reading “Stonehenge Story Starts: An Important Discovery (Results)”

Stonehenge Story Starts: An Important Discovery (Prompt)

Welcome to Stonehenge Story Starts, a weekly writing prompt and story sharing opportunity.  Each week, we post a writing prompt: an opening line, a concept, a plot hook, maybe an image.  The following Saturday, we’ll post again with the writing the prompt inspired.

This week’s prompt is: “I knew I’d found something crucial when…” (Prompt courtesy of eadeverrell.com)

Our writers will be writing for the prompts, but anyone is welcome to participate!  Just come by on Sunday to see the week’s prompt, write during the week, and send any writing you’d like to share to StonehengeCircleWriters@gmail.com by the following Friday at 8 pm.  On Saturday we’ll post participants’ writing (with credit to the author, of course).

Write as much or as little as you choose: a paragraph, a flash fiction piece (less than 1,000 words) or a short story.  (Note, for long writing, we may choose to post only a selection.)  You are encouraged to be as creative as possible with the writing prompts.  Try to do something unexpected, or explore a particular genre like science fiction or historical fiction.  Take the prompt literally, or decide it’s a metaphor.  Your only limit is your own imagination.

Happy writing!

 

If you like to plan ahead, next week’s prompt will be: Write a story about a magic mirror—what it can do, how it’s used, and who it’s used by (Prompt courtest of @writingprompts)