Excerpt: The Porcelain Sisters

If you’ve ever wondered about my NaNoWriMo project that I wrote 50k words of without a sustainable plot, here is an out-of-context excerpt from a chapter. Allise is my protagonist.

*****

“Stop acting like you’re better than me.” Catherine practically sneered in Allise’s face. “Because you aren’t. Marianne brought both of us here, not just you. So if you don’t have anything else to complain about, then you can scurry off to your pond side daydreams.”

Allise dropped her head, sighing. “Marianne is the reason I’m here, Catheryn. I came to speak with Nell.”

“What does Marianne have to do with me?” said Nell, leaning against the shed wall and folding her arms across her chest.

“Don’t ever tell her. Promise me.”

“She’s your sister now.”

“May you never take the path I have.”

“She’s going to be just like her mother and that could get her killed.”

“Marianne was your mother.” Allise blurted it out. She almost didn’t. She almost changed her mind and made up some story to cover her mistake. But she couldn’t keep lying to her…sister. Nell had to know. It was the right thing to do.

Nell stared at Allise, her jaw dropped. For once in her life, Catheryn had nothing to combat Allise with. She, too, seemed incredulous. But it was an act; Allise knew it was. Marianne entrusted Allise with little Nell and Allise chose to bring Catheryn in on the secret. That, too, helped create the tension between the two young women. Marianne chose one before the other; she trusted her flesh and blood with one and not the other. Allise was never very good at reading Catheryn but she knew from the moment she told her Marianne’s secret, the other girl hated her every fiber.

“What?” Nell’s voice was terrifying. She spat the question with disbelief and rage.

Allise fought back her guilty tears and reached out to Nell with both hands. “Please, Nell. Forgive me. She told me never to tell you but I had to. I had to because – I had to tell you.” A tear threatened to spill and Allise blinked quickly to erase its presence.

“Why now? The Sisters all say that you found me when I was two years old. I’m fifteen now, Allise. Why, after all the time you’ve had to tell me, did you choose now to speak up?”

“Marianne’s dead, isn’t she,” said Catheryn for the first time in a few minutes. “You’re only telling her the truth about her own mother because there’s no chance she’ll ever get to meet her. Admit it.”

“Yes. She is dead.”

Nell sucked in a breath and spun on her heel. She marched out of the archery shed. Allise and Catheryn were hot on her heels.

“Nell, please, just let me explain,” said Allise pleadingly. She ran to catch up with the furious girl and grabbed her shoulders to spin her around. “Hear me out.”

The cold glare on Nell’s face crumbled Allise on the inside. Her stomach turned and she felt as if she would throw up if she kept looking into those horribly beautiful eyes. This wasn’t supposed to happen. How did you really expect this to play out, argued another part of her mind. Knowing she would destroy her relationship with Nell for possibly the rest of their lives, Allise cleared her throat and spoke.

“Your mother, Marianne, placed you in my arms when I – when we were nine years old.” Allise spared Catheryn a quick glance and withered under the hard stare she returned. “You already know you were two years old when we took you in and that’s the truth. None of us had any idea you even existed before that day. Even the other Sisters who grew up with Marianne were completely clueless. And before anyone could ask any questions about who your father was or if he was still alive, she was gone. I never saw her again. But there were reasons why she told me never to tell you. Reasons I am disregarding because I finally realized that you deserve the truth.

“She told me she was afraid of something. She didn’t know what it was but she knew something wasn’t right. All I know is it – whatever it is or was – drove her crazy looking for answers. To stay with the Sisters would just endanger more people; at least, that’s what she thought. As for you, she believed you would grow up to be just like her. Marianne never fled from danger; she embraced it and thrived on it. At the same time, she protected us from it. She never let anyone get hurt and she -,”

“Unlike you,” muttered Catheryn.

Allise swallowed. Try as she might, she could never repair her relationship with Catheryn. They never really had one to begin with but now Allise realized the depth of the tension between them. Nell looked from Allise to Catheryn to Allise again. Confusion clouded her face and she bit her lip harshly.

“What does that mean, Eryn?”

Catherine blushed and looked away. This was her game, thought Allise. Her forte. Manipulation.

“It’s nothing. I just – I’m just shocked that she would keep us all in the dark like this. Marianne was like a mother to me, too, and to find out that she had an actual daughter is…well, I don’t know what to say.”

“I meant,” said Nell, voice rising with each step she took toward Catheryn, “who did Allise hurt?”

“Look, Nell, just stop asking questions,” said Catheryn, holding up her hands like a protective barrier. To ward off the blame. “It’s in the past. I know Summer doesn’t – I mean, I know nobody blames Allise. Just forget I said anything, okay?”

Nell blinked. She inquired what Summer had to do with anything. Again and again, Catheryn ducked the topic and tried to force the attention away. Allie’s head raced and her skin crawled. Beads of sweat dripped off her forehead and rolled down her cheeks. She raised a hand and wiped the moisture away. Her heart beat quickly in her chest and she tried to stay calm. Breathe in. Exhale. Breathe in. Exhale. She thought of something, anything else. But all that filled her head was an image. An image Raine had described to her. Marianne, dead in a pool of her own blood, cold fist still clutching the deadly knife that took her life. Her soft blue eyes open and matted blonde locks falling over her bloody face.

Allise could hardly contain her anger at the person who did it. She wanted to cry and scream for the only person who ever cared about her to come back to life again. Earlier, with Raine, she had put up a brave face. She convinced herself that it didn’t hurt; that hearing a description of exactly what happened to Marianne didn’t cripple her faith. But it did.

This would break everything.

 

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Guilty As Charged

(Song: “Johnny Boy” by Twenty Øne Piløts)

The title gives it all away. I have not been writing as much as I could and should be. There. I said it. The thing is, I’m okay with taking my time. Obviously not this much time, but I think you catch my drift. I’d much rather write Absolution in a year and have thirteen plot holes as opposed to writing it in four months and having seventy-five trillion plot holes. I’m not exaggerating very much. That’s what will happen if I force myself to write a story I want to be perfect.

I haven’t done much poetry writing recently but have no fear! There are still a few sitting in my “EtherealPens Poetry” folder, and there should be a short one up next Thursday. It’s called “Monster” or “Monsters” but I can’t remember exactly.

Something new I’m working on in my writing (when I actually do write) is writing more than I need. Basically, I’m writing extraneous material. There are scenes I’m positive an editor would cut out in a heartbeat. As long as I keep my chapter’s role in the plot fresh in my mind, I take the story for a spin. I’ve got extensive dialogue or interactions between characters that doesn’t really mean much.

When I say it doesn’t mean much, I mean that it doesn’t push the plot. It’s just a transition scene. For example, Graham and Rio have a conversation in the back of a truck on the way to the military base. If I didn’t let myself write that scene, the temptation to keep driving the story would cut out some perhaps important character development. I know that less is more in most instances. I know that an editor would rather cut out as much as possible. Still, it’s important for me to have the flexibility to cut scenes. If my whole story is go go go, there won’t be enough time to show my characters’ personalities and relationships and friendships. Who knows how many of those scenes will stay? Not me, that’s for sure. I think I’m okay with not knowing, though. Having random scenes drives me to write more often and gets me into a habit of writing, even if the scenes aren’t very crucial to the plot.

Until next Thursday,

Indy

I Miss You

Hours go by like minutes

Whenever I’m with you.

There’s always something new to share

Or something new to do.

 

We pass the time with laughter

And wish of days gone by.

I always feel my heart grow warm

Whenever I’m with you.

 

But when you say goodbye to me

And I goodbye to you,

I feel the warmth leaving my soul

For I have no longer you.

 

Minutes pass like years

As I sit all alone.

Nothing really matters now

Because I’m not with you.

Not Today, Writer’s Block

(Song: “Paper Parachute” by Ninet Tayeb)

“Not today, writer’s block,” she said, staring triumphantly at the screen. Two sentences. Two. Sentences. “Oh my gosh, I actually wrote something!”

Who am I kidding? I haven’t written even that much. I am officially (it was official before but it’s now official again) the worst aspiring novelist ever. Hooray for being the best at what I do! Or don’t do. I’m the best at procrastinating.

**EDIT**

So funny story! I always like to write a post and then put it on a schedule. That’s the only reason I consistently post at 8:00 AM on Thursdays. This past week, I only wrote up to the point before “**EDIT**” and then freaked because I forgot to finish the post. Short story summarized, never put something on a schedule without finishing it. Or at least getting it to a reasonable length and a good stopping point.

Back to the world of writing/literature: Today I finished Cress, the third book in Marissa Meyer’s fantastic sci-fi-meets-fairytales series. For me, Cinder moved a little slowly, and I didn’t really get into her stories until Scarlet. I have to say, Cress is my favorite. Unfortunately, I do not yet have Winter, so I can’t speak for the final book.

Would anyone be interested in me doing the occasional book/book series review? I was just thinking about it today, and I think it would definitely motivate me to read more and improve my semi-serious-posting skills. Comment below if you’re interested in reading about what I’ve been reading!

I recently put up a writing tips post on Whimsical Wordsmiths (a collaborative writing blog) so if you are interested in my semi-serious stuff, go check that out and give the blog a quick follow!

Next week, if I can correctly remember what I put up in the schedule, there will be another poem! Lookin’ forward to you folks reading that.

Until next time,

Indy

…But I Don’t Want Them Anymore

Break my heart

Break my soul

Leave me to lie on the ground so cold

 

I won’t beg for your love anymore

I just want it all to stop

You said you could make it all okay

But I don’t think you can do anything

 

Don’t make me empty promises

They just won’t make me heal

Let go of my shaking hands

Cause they don’t belong to you

 

I was yours to cherish

I was yours to hold

I’m now more broken than I was before

Thanks for the Tears…

At first I didn’t see what you saw in me.

Why did you care?

Why was it me for you?

I didn’t see the “light in my eyes”

Or the “way I laugh until I cry”.

You told me this and more.

 

Then I started to believe in me.

Why didn’t I realize?

Why had I become so blind?

I began to love the scar beneath my eye

And the dimple I make without having to try.

I loved all this and more.

 

But soon you stopped talking to me.

Why didn’t you come?

Why did you just leave?

There’s a black tear in my eye

And I’m shaking as I cry.

You left me here alone.