For the past six months or so, I've been going through The 3 A.M. Epiphany, a book of writing exercises. Since my goal was to do one exercise a day for the purposes of writing something new, I skipped most of those that required intensive research and most recently, those that were meant for editing works in progress. I missed only a couple of days since I began. But now I'm done, and I'm not sure whether I'm going to lay the book aside and just try to make sure I write SOMEthing every day, or whether I'm going to start afresh changing the length requirements or whether I'm going to randomly select an exercise from each chapter or ...
The exercise I did today gives away one of my characters on an MU*, which I kinda don't want to do, so I give you the second to last, which was to have characters from a novel or story "rehearse" a scene. I ended up digressing into this:
Shihyali pulled her hair up in a tie, dropped it, then made an absent gesture as if to cut it off at the roots.
"You'd look very fetching like that," Evnissyen said from where he sprawled, his body arranged with self-conscious lack of grace.
She shot him a withering look and said nothing. It was clear from her expression that she knew how he intended it.
"We have to work this out." He tapped one hand impatiently on the chair arm. "How we're going to come to an agreement. In the - you know."
They were both ginger about the idea of being fictional. She felt a bit superior, knowing she was the narrator, but that didn't protect her from anything, even if the author was notoriously unlikely to rewrite. It also meant he had more room to think independent thoughts. She suspected he spent a lot of them on - no, that was unfair. He was some kind of ascetic, as far as she knew.
"This concerns Rhadiath - my Rhadiath," she said. "My first priority is to protect him."
"Your Rhadiath." He snorted. "Not that I think he has the cunning in him to toy with you, but that's never going to work, you know that, right?"
"How would you know?" she shot back.
"You're not a real noble."
"Neither are -" She stopped. While they could argue his temperment and loyalties for hours, it wouldn't get them anywhere, and it wouldn't solve the conversation they had to have when the story resumed. She had started to adjust to the concept of space in between, of times that her journal omitted and the world seemed to spin to a standstill ... a standstill of planning and choreography.
He smirked at her. "You know perfectly well I am. But I'm going to tell you that he would never believe such a vast conspiracy without proof - and you don't have proof. You know that."
"I'm going to demand you get me proof."
"You know I can't do that."
"I can bloody well demand it anyway." Shihyali ran a hand through her hair. "And why can't you? Because it would endanger your neck?"
"Oh, that's right, you're pretending you don't care about my neck." She threw a shoe at him. He ducked. "Where did that come from?"
He rolled his eyes. "Even if I could get your information ... you know how delicate the situation is."
"You know I don't really believe in your rebellion," she said. "I'm not going to take that for an answer."
"Am I going to have to blackmail you? Because while we may not be on good terms, I admire what you're doing and I don't like doing that."
She shot him an irritable look. "I'm not going to change my nature just because you don't like threatening me."
"I'm not asking you to change your nature." He smirked. "Just your dialogue."
"Faugh!" She dropped back hard. "This would be a lot easier," she addressed the ceiling, "if you would just leave Rhadiath alone. Don't I have enough complication in my life?"
"Who are you talking to?" "
Whoever is directing this affair," she said with a wave of her hand. She narrowed her eyes as his smirk intensified. "Don't even think about it."
"Difficult not to." A slight smile teased his lips. "I did kiss you ..."
"Maybe they forced me to." Shihyali kipped to her feet again. "All right. Say this. Say I offer to help your rebellion - in limited fashion - in an attempt to defend Rhadiath."
"An attempt?" Evnissyen arched a brow ironically. "But all right. I trust you enough to do that - I really do," he added to her skeptical look. "I'll remember that."
"No, you won't," he said. "These chats we're having don't actually exist. The next time we're here, maybe ..."
She nodded once, grimacing. "I suppose I know that. I had a conversation with Arriatri here the last time that would have made things so much simpler - they're not supposed to be, are they?"
"Wonder what happens at the end? Do we get a sequel? Obviously you live, it's your journal, but ..." He waved a hand.
"Not necessarily," she pointed out. "I could end one entry announcing my execution the next day."
"You should do that anyhow. Scare the author."