Words for today’s prompt:
It was hot, muggy, with a 90% chance of alligators. It was mine and Corlin’s 9 month dating anniversary & I had hoped for romance on a Florida beach, not trekking into the heat of the everglades.
But Corlin was like that. Weird name. Weird guy. Remind me again how I ended up here? Oh right, free holiday, courtesy of Corlin’s uncle.
I slapped another cloud of giant gnats, my hands passing through them like through dust motes. They regrouped en masse and aimed for my nose. I swear I could hear them plotting. “Let’s fill her lungs. She’ll drop like ripe fruit. We still owe the ‘gators a meal.”
“Corlin wait up!” My boyfriend was way ahead climbing through the mangroves like an ape on crack.
“Shut up, Kate, you’ll wake the crocs,” he told me, but he slowed and beckoned me closer, waiting. If he said one more word about log size reptiles…
There was less and less bare ground now and by the time I reached him I was climbing, scared to death of slipping on the tree roots, moss, and slime into the bog. I grabbed Corlin’s waist and clung tight.
“Come Kate. Look up.”
I tilted my head back and above us was a treehouse. Well sort of. A platform with a bit of thatch, and vines all around the sides.
Monkey style, Corlin swung up the rope-vine ladder, pulling me up behind him, up up until we sat on the platform of damp planks.
There sat a large bowl of grapes and a lit candle around which more gnats flew, occasionally one getting fried.
Corlin gathered me close, said not a word but plucked a large grape and popped it in my mouth. It was tasty as only local fruit can be, but as I sucked the goodness from it I spluttered and spat. I’d nearly choked. What kind of giant seed was that? And Corlin grinned as he slapped me on the back, causing the seed to fly out into my hands.
Only it wasn’t a seed. It was cold, gold and sparkling through bits of grape pulp—a ring. With a diamond the size of—well—a grape!
Corlin knelt before me and took my hands in his. He looked deeply into my eyes and said, “Kate—will you?”
Sometimes you can read a book, and the whole way through shake your head at the author. They’ve jumped from one character’s point of view to another’s, sometimes without even giving the reader the courtesy of a paragraph break.They’ve broken dozens of other little rules here and there.
And yet you keep reading and when you’re done the book, you have to say you enjoyed it. Why?
I just finished a book like that, one of a series I’m reading. As a writer I kept thinking, the editor let this go? So why did I like it?
What did the author accomplish in spite of its flaws?
Three things came to mind:
- Characters–The author has created characters that we care about, characters each with their own set of troubles that need solving. We want them to be solved and we want to see how they do it. We want to know because they are are often conflicting with another character’s problems and our curiosity is piqued.
- Setting –The book that I read is a fantasy tale and so we come across the author’s imagination in all its original glory. We are introduced to a world different than ours. Things never dreamed of are shown to the reader and again–we want to know more.
- Plot–What, after all is an Orm Egg and why is it so very important that a whole lot of people do absurd and crazy things to attain possession before anyone else, things that make us root for them and their success? We are in for the adventure of the thing.
I think my answer is curiosity. It is one of human nature’s biggest flaws and greatest motivators. If we as writers can keep a reader’s curiosity alive and burning throughout the course of our entire book, we have accomplished the main.
It’s common for us to hold the door open for each other in public. We say please and thank you. “After you” and “go ahead” are everyday expressions. Yesterday evening driving through the city I stopped at a red light behind a city bus heading home for the day. The destination sign at its back flashed at me ”Out of Service.” I did a double take when it changed to read ”Sorry.”
l had to chuckle . It’s nice to know that people are still kind & polite in this degenerate world.
Later, having reached my destination I had to marvel again.
It was a writer’s event. Halloween. Costumes galore. Old, young, and in-betweens playing games, making a bit of a mess. It wasn’t a “high scale” place yet everyone scrabbled around the floor afterwards, picking up the bits by hand even though management brought out a broom. I watched someone “pay forward” a gift card they couldn’t use to someone who could. Perfect strangers. No strings attached.
But it seems, everyone has limits—
Do I shop in all the wrong places?
I experimented once when someone with a cart stopped 3 feet from me, looked about clearly wanting to pass. I played the goat, and continued to scan the shelves just to see what she’d do. Rather than say, “Excuse me” she shuffled for nearly 10 minutes before pulling back and going allllll the way around the next aisle to get across to my other side. She wasn’t the first.
While shopping I have been crowded out, sidled past, squeezed, bumped, glared at and nearly plowed.
One day while shopping I came this close (insert pinched fingers here) to marching up to customer service, grabbing the intercom and saying , ”Attention shoppers. Today we introduce to you a new turn of phrase–a new concept. . .You will receive 10 % off your purchase if you implement the following during today’s shopping experience…”