Monday, January 19, 2009

Today as a Writing Exercise

Status: Ummmm
Song: "60 Miles and Hour" by New Order

I’ve read various places to do writing exercises to work on your craft, but many of the topics they pick for those are boring. After all, you know you’re a writer if you can take the daily mediocrity and make something out of it. So, here goes.

If today were written as a…

Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, in a house not too far away, a young mother rose from her warm bed long before the rest of the family. It was still dark outside, and dawn was yet an hour or two away. As Jaime slipped past the rooms with their still-slumbering occupants, she didn’t wish them ill, even though they were still sleeping and she went to bed later—after all, the dishes had to be done. Jaime was good-natured and loving, and without an irritable bone in her body (or even a backbone, come to think of it). She shivered in the cold as she tiptoed barefoot across the frigid tiles, careful not to bump into anything and wake the others.

She opened the side garage door, and the frost coating everything sparkled in the light from the open doorway like the diamonds of the Queen’s crown. It was so beautiful that Jaime burst into spontaneous song. The neighborhood cats and the one yippy dog that never stops barking (no matter what time of day or night—but Jaime never got irritated by this) joined in. Their voices blended into a beautiful harmony that rose into the pre-dawn stillness. With regret, Jaime wished the animals a good day, then trudged off to her weight class, where she would try and get stronger so she could take care of the chores, which today included a top-to-bottom deep cleaning before the royal mortgage refinance appraiser arrived.

Jaime wished she could go to the royal ball tonight. The mother who caught the prince’s eye would win a housekeeper for a year. She sighed, a small tear escaping down her perfectly curled lashes even though she never put on any mascara. Unfortunately, the baseboards and walls would take so long she wouldn’t have time to get a suitable dress ready or round brush her hair. Maybe if she burst into tears later that day, a kindly fairy would grant her wish...

Old Picture Book

See Jaime wake up
See her go to her weight class
Shiver Jaime Shiver

See Jaime exercise
See her do a billion crunches
Lift Jaime Lift

See Jaime go home
See her wash walls and floors
Scrub Jaime Scrub

See Jaime get tired
See her not get to the basement
Tomorrow, Jaime. Tomorrow.

(Bad) Historical Romance

Jaime woke with a start. She hadn’t wanted to wake from the lovely dream, where she was reliving the glory of the previous evening. Lady Mary had insisted Jaime take her place when she became ill. And once Jaime saw Sir Jason standing across the room, his finely tailored costume only enhancing the body encased within it, she knew immediately why Lady Mary had suddenly been struck with a fit of the vapors. She came close to it herself when he strode over to her as soon as she entered the Beauchamp’s drawing room.

“I see you are wearing the trinket I gave you.” He indicated the sparkling bracelet on her wrist just before he raised her gloved hand to his lips.

She had to fight not to snatch her hand away, somehow sure he could feel the roughness of her work-hardened fingers through the fine material. Or maybe it was the fact his lips seemed to burn through the cloth. Or that he gazed at her with eyes like a clear summer sky.

He would know she was an impostor as soon as she spoke. She was much more forthright than her mistress, which would give her away instantly. Even though Jaime had been gentle born and still spoke like a lady, the years of taking care of her family when her father retreated into the bottle, and then finally having to become a lady’s companion cum servant, had cured her of any demureness.

She just had to extricate herself from his mesmerizing sapphire gaze. As soon as possible. “It’s beautiful,” she whispered.

“My lady,” he said. “Your voice?”

“My throat is sore,” she explained.

He captured her elbow and she could swear there was a slight smile behind the mask. “Then by all means, do not tax your lovely throat. I shall retrieve some punch for you.”

And that was the beginning of the most glorious night Jaime had ever imagined. Even thinking about it made her pulse quicken and her breathing deepen. Her bosom heaved.

But then her excitement turned to despair and she focused on her bucket of soapy water and the rag she was using to wipe down the walls. The royal appraiser was coming and there was so much work to be done. As she scrubbed at another spot she faced the truth: her love was doomed. Without her disguise he would only ever see her as a servant.

**Forgive me for the heaving bosoms, but it is a romance. And I’d appreciate it if those of you who have seen me in a swimsuit wouldn’t laugh too hard—I know “bosom” is a stretch.**


“There’s nothing left, captain!” Sporty, the engineer, shouted across the intercom. “That’s all she has!”

Jaime, the plucky star cruiser captain with something to prove, slammed her fist against the Com Board. “You have to!”

She was afraid she was out of her depth with this one. Her first voyage as captain looked like it would be her last. Maybe that slimy admiral was right: she was too young for this. She was willing to take the risk, had sworn in the Academy to do so, but as she thought of her crew all looking at her to somehow make this better, she knew she had to do something. She couldn’t let the Tralls—those cannibalistic, four-armed, blue-skinned, big-foreheaded, and the dirtiest race in the known galaxy—have her crew for dinner. By Snapthar’s Groin, she refused to be any specie’s entrée!

By sheer will, she remained standing as their ship was rocked by another laser blast. A junior navigator went flying over the rail to land in a crumpled heap below.

“That’s not good enough!” she informed her engineer.

“We’re completely out of ammo for our SPLAT torpedoes,” Sporty argued. “There’s just no more left.”

“Wait a minute,” Jaime said, struck by an unbelievably brilliant—or unbelievably stupid—idea. She turned to her science officer. “SPLAT torpedoes are liquid-based. Could we substitute other liquids for SPLAT?”

Bart considered, his face implacable. “Theoretically, but it’s never been tested.”

“Luwanda,” Jaime barked at her second-in-command. “How much of that green apple cleaner do we have on board?”

“Storeroom 51-G on deck 43 is completely full. Why?” Luwanda asked.

“Bart, I want you to get all the hands you can to 51-G. Transport it all to the weapons deck. Fill all the empty containers you can find that will fit in the SPLAT tubes.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Bart answered. At Jaime’s scowl he amended, “I mean, yes captain.”

“Let’s give those Tralls a cleaning they’ll never forget,” Jaime vowed.

*Whew* That was fun! I'll have to do it more often. (Yeah, I'm weird.) You ought to try it. Maybe I'll ask for genre suggestions next time. :)


Crystal Liechty said...

OHMYGOSH!!! This was freaking hilarious, Jaime! I can't decide which was my favorite because I have favorite lines from each of them: Tomorrow, Jaime. Tomorrow. And of course the heaving bosoms. You're so good at this! Now I'm trying to figure out a way to work that into our bootcamp because it's such a neat excercise.

Deborah said...

So this is what you're doing with your time??? What about all those baseboards? Don't those need to be done before you go gallivanting across the universe?

What would Sir Jason think? Wouldn't your neglect give Lady Mary all the excuse she needs to worm her way in?

Not mot mention those cannibalistic, four-armed, blue-skinned, big-foreheaded, dirtiest race in the known galaxy. But then they might not care that the baseboards aren't done. They're probably messy eaters anyway.


Lori-ann said...

DARN! I was going to comment on the heaving bosoms, but you squashed that idea. I was going to say - Bosoms? WHAT bosoms! Can they actually heave???

Sorry. Smooch, you know I love you.

I love your picture book story. Perfect.


I want fantasy romance all the way. Do it. Do it.

Jaime, this is great!!!

Lori-ann said...

I was just re-reading my comment and did you get the unintentional "squashed" word when talking about your heaving bosoms? Get it??? What bosoms? Squashed bosoms....

Never mind.


Jaime Theler said...

Ha ha, Lori-ann. Do not mock my bosoms. LOL Is it past your bedtime? It's past mine (obviously).