Friday, 22 August 2014

Write ... Edit ... Publish ~ TAKING CHANCES (Aug.)

My excerpt for today's WEP challenge post is 695 words, according to an online word counter. It's an excerpt from my novel NAUSICAA, which I have edited and whittled down, but which naturally I'm still nowhere near happy with. But it's the best I can do for now! Critique is welcome.

They sat at the edge of a dry riverbed, gazing out across the sandy expanse to the plains beyond. Overhead, the weak morning sun hung in a washed out blue sky, bathing them in its pale light.

A breeze rustling through fallen leaves was all the sound that broke the silence.

Nausicaa studied the bent trees far out on the plain, sticking up through hardened soil. They reminded her of herself and the other rebels--scorched, wizened, and stripped of all leaves, but not yet quite broken.

They had spent the night out here, since manor rules prevented them from sharing a room, and neither had wanted to be alone. It was a beautiful night, with a fat, full moon illuminating the landscape. It had reminded Nausicaa of the artful backdrop in a video game she and her friends had played in high school. Gazing at it, she had fallen into a reverie about her past life, and for the first time in a long time, she had actually enjoyed reminiscing, instead of fixating on the present.

Their night had passed in silence, a meditative vigil before the dawn. But now that the sun had risen, the urge to speak overwhelmed her.

Studying the distant mountains, she said, “Part of me wants to run. Just run all the way to the horizon."

Jonathan nodded his understanding.

“But another part knows… I'd have to keep on running. Forever. And never look back."

He watched her for a moment, saying nothing. Then he sighed and murmured, “We cannot run from this, can we?"


In truth, they both knew that they would be running--backwards, not forwards. Their job in Persas was not done. The city still needed them to make one last stand. And that stand would be their last.

Jonathan folded his hands. “Where will we aim first?”

She answered, though he already knew the answer well enough. “We need to aim for the heart. We need…” She drew a deep breath and closed her eyes. “We need to kill them once and for all. Forget all the incidentals…all the limbs, so to speak. Cut off the head.”

“No easy task, that,” he said. But he didn’t argue. “You and I alone…I’m not sure how far we’d get.” To her surprise, he sounded bleakly amused. She smiled and rested a hand on his arm.

“We would have help,” she said. “We will call upon the Artemis.”


“Not what. Who. Anna Vander. The Artemis, we called her. Did I ever tell you I saw her?”

“Yes, you did,” he said. “In the prisons, wasn't it?”

“Yes. She was like…like an apparition. But she spoke to me.” Shame filled Nausicaa, as it had done back then when she'd first heard the legend's warning. “Stay back…it isn’t safe,” the Artemis had said, as if even she knew that Nausicaa couldn’t take care of herself.

But no, it hadn’t been that. It was more that the Artemis was accustomed to being legendary, and so naturally thought more highly of her own ability than of anyone else's. She had started young, while Nausicaa had spent her formative years confined indoors, never gaining experience on outside missions. There were fathoms between them in terms of experience. Still, it had stung to hear her own insecurities echoed back at her from such a mythic figure.

“She is formidable,” Jonathan said. “But an excellent choice in ally.”

“And perhaps…” Nausicaa lowered her gaze. “…Perhaps Actaeon will show up?”

“I have no doubt that he will,” Jonathan said. “If he is able.”

She didn't want to think about if he was not.

What about Ganza? she mused. Will they be fighting? And if so…on which side? She sensed everything coming to a head, Persas’s fate waiting to be decided once and for all. And she felt a rush of exhilaration, a desperation to see it happen quickly. She had had enough of her city being held captive.

It must be set free.

“When do we leave?” Jonathan asked, another unnecessary question.

“On the next train,” she answered, speaking words that would become famous in time.

With those four words, Nausicaa sealed the fate of Persas.


  1. Hi Trisha - very interesting snippet - I thoroughly enjoyed it .. though am bemused by the train ..may be the train was there back then and they are going backwards ... I think Nausicaa will win through .. though who with is another matter ..

    Taking chances - is a good choice for your theme this month .. cheers Hilary

    1. Thanks, Hilary - it's technically a sci-fi, but in a bit of a post-apocalyptic world, so it has its 'period' aspects when they get out of the city.

  2. An intriguing story so far, leaving me wanting to know more. If the stand they take may be their last, that's pretty intense. . .

    That initial description set the stage for the bleakness they seem to feel, yet the hope comes through in the last few sentences. I liked this.

  3. Hi Trisha. Love your story. Your description of night and your characters drew me right in. You had me wondering what was going on, and that's a good find out I had to keep reading. I'd love to see what happens next.

    Critique? As you say, you're still editing this, so I'd just say there are some minor clunky bits that you probably recognize yourself...such as para. 2 ~ '...was the only sound that broke the silence.' Other than that type of expression, it's great...dialogue spot on.

    Happy editing!

    Thanks for posting to WEP. Always great to read your excerpts.


    1. Thanks, Denise!

      Yes, the first bits in particular were bits that I rewrote over and over during my edits. Then again, I did a lot of work on the whole piece. Anyway ... this is basically a second edit, so I imagine I still have a fair bit of work to do on the story as a whole.

  4. An intriguing excerpt, just enough for the reader to understand a bit of what has happened and lead us into the fight they are going to undertake to free their city. Love the last line.

    1. Thanks, Sally! Glad you were intrigued. :D

  5. Hi Trisha
    I love this! Just my cup of tea.

    Most is very good. I agree with Denise. I would add that the sun isn't weak though it may appear so. I would simply delete the word weak since you go on to describe the conditions. Also you use the word 'they' too much in the beginning.

    1. Thanks, Nancy. At first I did have their names instead of 'they', quite a bit in the beginning, but it felt too clunky. I will have to edit until I find the right balance. :)

  6. I was curious about the name, as I know it only from Miyazaki's work. So I looked it up. I didn't realize that Nausicaa was a character from the Odyssey, too.

    Nice work, Trisha!

    1. Yeah, I know her only from Greek myth ... and from my story featured here. :) Most of the characters in the book (my book) have Greek myth names, but obviously Jonathan's an exception. ;)

    2. I highly recommend Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, both the film and the manga.

  7. ooo this is intriguing! Nice job Trisha!

  8. 26th August 2014

    Dear Trisha,

    This snippet makes me curious to want to read more. Great dialog.

    I don't have a WIP right now, so I have make up stories from scratch every month. It must be hard to tear out a section of your longer story and make it work as flash fiction. I think I would have to stop participating in WEP if I had to use a real WIP. But that's just me.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Best wishes,

    1. It can be quite difficult, yes. :) But I find it easier sometimes, than coming up with something brand new at the last minute (because I am always preparing these posts last minute ;) ).

    2. 27th August 2014
      Dear Trisha,
      Wow! You write at the last minute? If I did that my text would be a lot worse than they are. I wrote an entirely different story two weeks ahead and ditched it because it was so bad and so off the mark. And then a wrote about a movie and did a non-fiction post similar to my movie post for July. And still, this is not entirely fiction. I borrowed something that a friend of mine told me about his father. Yes, life is stranger than fiction. This actually happened.

      Been reading some of your older posts, but haven't commented. You have a lovely blog.


    3. Thanks, Anna. I'm glad you have enjoyed some older posts. :)

      I find that I am not really sure what to do with my blog, but I keep posting on it anyway, just updating about my projects, and also participating in a few monthly hops, like this one. It chugs along.

  9. Trisha, I loved it! Such beautiful description and the dialogue was spot on! It's a great way to get new readers intrigued! I've taken a snippet from a WIP and cut it for flash fiction. It's not only great practice it makes me wonder why I didn't write it that way the first time. But it does take time! LOL

    1. Yeah, I seem to do it every time, because I find it easier than coming up with something fresh each time, atm. One thing I need to remember, though, is to save my revised snippet back into the main work. It's a lot of work to forget I even did, on one little snippet.

  10. This was picturesque and easy to imagine. I like how they discuss the risks, pros, cons, wishes, hopes and ultimate submission to their goal. Very well done...


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