Alice’s Restaurant

January 5, 2007

FanLit Forever’s Challenge 3, First Round

Filed under: FanLit — aliceaudrey @ 11:58 pm

We have several polls set up on FanLit Forever to determine how we are going to work Challenge 3.  I think we are fairly safe in assuming the poll to determine how many chapters the challenge will run is going to result in a 6-chapter challenge.

Won’t it be nice to get away from these one-chapter challenges?

Anyway, I’m going to write this blog entry on the assumption that we are working with 6 chapters, a maximum of three entries per chapter of no more than 10,000 characters each.

It looks like option F is going to win the “type of challenge” poll.  That means in the first round we will have to write a chapter in which something happens to make the hero/heroine face a problem AND include three objects which have yet to be named.

For the sake of this blog I’m going to pretend the winner of the premise poll is “An accident/shipwreck/plane crash/carriage accident leaves two people stranded together,” and the three objects are Goose Feathers, Earth, and A Book.

Pulling it all together round one requirements would look like this.  Write the first of a six chapter story in which two people are stranded together by a travel-oriented accident and thus forced to deal with a problem.  The chapter is to be no more than 10,000 characters long.  Goose Feathers, earth, and a book must appear somewhere in the chapter.  No more than three attempts to write such a chapter may be submitted.

We’re looking more like Avon every day.

So, how do we get from that to a chapter?

Let’s say Cindy’s horse, Jack,  wandered over here from Christina’s blog.  Maybe he was pulling the carriage that tipped over ten miles from the nearest inhabitation.  Quit laughing, it could happen if the right person is holding the reins.

We could go any of several ways with this.  For an Historical Romance, the two people could be old flames who suffer a carriage accident.  They end up in an abandoned hovel and rekindle old passions while coming to a new understanding of their past.  One that requires they eventually settle fundamental differences.  For a mainstream it could be brothers who had a falling out.  For Fantasy one of the people could turn out to be Jack, the horse, who is psychic and has a few things to say to his mistress about what she intends to do with him when their rocket ship crashes on Earth instead of Sentaury 3.

I’ll go with the two brothers, and call them Andrew and Benedict.  They both fell in love with the same girl, who flirted with both, encouraged fights between them, then married someone else.  Then she ran off with someone else.  At the time they agreed to bury the hatchet, but then never spoke to one another again.  Andrew’s plane crashes near the family’s remote cabin.  Benedict is already at the cabin and rides Jack out to rescue Andrew.  Unluckily Jack won’t let anyone but Benedict ride him, and so they are stuck at the crash sight.  Andrew can’t move on his own, but isn’t so badly injured he will never recover.  He jokes about doing a nose plant in a plain and coming up with a mouth full of earth.  Benedict makes him comfortable with goose down pillows he found in the wreckage.  In the chapter they come to realize it wasn’t the girl who put the wedge between them.  It was Andrew’s belief that Benedict always usurped his place in the family as Andrew is the eldest but Benedict, a math wiz, runs the family business.  Note that they do not settle their differences, merely face the fact they exist.  The whole thing comes up when Benedict, who has an eidetic memory, starts reciting passages from the girl’s diary which he read while they were competing for her.  While discussing the passages they come to appreciate one another more.

Remember, in round two something must go wrong.  Leave room for that to happen.

Unluckily the brother’s story only comes in second for the first round of Challenge 3.  In the second round, if the first option – “Write based on the winning chapter from prior round (except first round)” – is chosen then either the brothers must work their way into someone else’s storyline, go to “Continuations of Challenge Chapters” or disappear.


FanLit Winners

Filed under: FanLit — aliceaudrey @ 9:55 am

The rankings for the FanLit Forever Challenge 2 have been posted.  If you entered something into Challenge 2,  go claim your kudos.


Suzie’s House1: A Matter of Economics

Filed under: fiction, Suzie's House, writing, Writing Romance — aliceaudrey @ 12:27 am

Suzie stirred the stew, sending up inviting whafts of  basil, thyme, and onion.  Wisps of steam from the stock pot spread the scent throughout the kitchen.  Suzie paused to take in the warmth and beauty of her kitchen, a long last look before she lost everything.

Light-yellow walls she had painted herself, oak cabinets she had refurbished, polished granite counters she had spent more than one paycheck on, everything looked homey and welcoming.  She was going to miss this room even more than the rest of the five bedroom Victorian “painted lady” when the bank foreclosed.

Suzie pinched off three portions of bread dough and rolled each out, though she was more in the mood to punch something.  She changed her mind about making a braid out of the bread, and put the three portions back together to make a loaf. 

How ironic that she would loose her home, the home she had fought tooth and nail to keep in the divorce, to a simple inability to pay the mortgage.

One tear rolled down her face.  She rubbed it off with the back of her hand, and blamed the onions.  When someone knocked on the back door, she welcomed the break from her endlessly repeating thoughts.

“Come in!”  Suzie shouted.

“You’re cooking?  Stove AND oven?”  Miranda let herself in, then teetered across the kitchen in ridiculous shoes – this time hot pink strappy things with spike heels inverted so the wide part hit the floor and the minuscule tip attached to the vamp.  Suzie bet the heels would snap off in less than a week.  The shoes went with a sequined mini skirt and feather-trimmed halter top.  Her hair was blond streaked with pink today.  Yesterday it was red.

Miranda flopped onto a kitchen chair.  “What’s wrong?”

“What do you mean ‘what’s wrong?’  Nothing’s wrong.”  Suzie shaped the loaf, then dropped it into a battered bread pan.  She refused to look Miranda in the eye.  If Miranda knew what was happening she would be sure to make trouble.  Suzie wasn’t sure what form the trouble would take, but didn’t doubt who would take the brunt of it.

She draped a cup towel over the loaf and stuck it on the stove where it would probably over heat on the side near the burner and be too cool on the side away.  Then the loaf would puff unevenly.  She told herself she’d give it a turn every few minutes, knowing she lied to herself but pretending she didn’t. 

“You don’t go to this much trouble if there’s nothing wrong.”  Miranda plucked at a feather at her shoulder.

 “I cook every day.”

“Not if you can help it.”

Suzie pulled out  a chair on the opposite side of the kitchen table.  Sitting, she ran her fingers over the smooth surface.  “I like to cook.”

“Sure, when you’re in the mood.  Which always seems to be when you are avoiding something else.  Now spill.”

“If you hadn’t rescued me from Tommy Crocker in the third grade there’s no way I’d let you be so rude to me.”  Suzie faked a glare.

“But I did rescue you.  So spill.”  Miranda leaned forward with her elbows on the table.

“Miranda, I’m going to have to sell the house.”

“No!”  Miranda drew back as if she’d been slapped.  “You love this house.  I love this house.  The judge said you could keep it, and there’s nothing your rotten X-husband can do to change it.”

Suzie tried to smile.  Miranda had stood by her through the whole messy business, siding with her when Rob tried to lay claim on a house he hadn’t wanted to begin with.  If she hadn’t used her inheritance as the down payment, he would never have set foot inside.  He’d matched her on mortgage payments about half the time, but made her pay by getting his tubes cut after Ben was born so she couldn’t fill the rooms with children.

In the divorce proceedings Rob tried to claim the house for himself simply because he knew it would hurt her.  When that didn’t work he tried to force her to sell, or cough up money he knew she didn’t have.  Luckily the judge had not agreed.

“He can’t do anything, but the bank can.  I’ve been running behind on the mortgage for months.  They’re threatening to foreclose.”

“I know you never have enough money with the book keeping job, but you always pay it all eventually.  Can’t they cut you a break?”  Miranda jutted out her jaw in righteous anger.

“I lost my job.  Even if I can make this month’s payment, what about next month?  And the month after?”

“There must be something you can do.”  Miranda tapped one hot-pink talon on the table top while her eyes narrowed.  “I’ve got it!  You should rent out your extra bedrooms.  Sort of like a long-term bead and breakfast.  What were those called?  Boarding houses!  You should make this a boarding house.”

“I thought of that, but who would I rent to?  Some stranger who answered an add in the newspaper?”  Suzie shuddered.  “I have to think of my son.  I can’t let just anyone live here.”

“So rent a room to me!”  Miranda leaned back in her chair, her smile decidedly smug.

“What?”  Suzie’s throat felt tight.  She hoped she’d heard wrong.

“Rent a room to me.  I can help you find renters for the other two rooms. That’ll put you in the black.  Then you’ll have more than enough to pay the bank and I’ll get at least one good meal a day.  What could be better?”

Suzie thought about what it was like when they lived together in the dormitories in college, and blanched.

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