Sphinx- Part 4
I am sharing a little of my writing process for this post. I had made mention previously that I use what I call ‘bursts.’ Bursts are short narratives that could be in the final story. They can be merely a few words, a sentence, a paragraph, a scene—it doesn’t matter. The important part is to just get what is bubbling in my head onto paper. Some are short. Some are longer. I use bursts for several reasons. During the early writing phrase it helps keeping my writing hand limber while I am in research phase and don’t write as much. The second thing it does is help inspire me: if I can get some bursts that I really like, I can potentially iterate on them until they are full blown scenes. Its also a morale boost. Once I have some bursts, I can confidently say I have written some of my story.
NOTE: When you read these, it may feel disjointed. A few will have bad grammar or may not even be a sentence. I grouped them so they will make it a little easier to understand.
NOTE: The protagonist has the temporary name Sekmet
She hated wearing sandals. They hurt her feet.
She envied her mother’s beauty. Sekmet had always wanted to look like her mother with her black complexion, full lips, straight back, and long graceful limbs. Instead she knew she favored her father—withered and bent as an old stick.
She used to sing all the time. Those who heard her said she had a beautiful voice. Her father was certain that she could find employment in the nearby temple of Hapi. “With a voice like that, they will take you in for certain. You will live a good life: good meals, fine clothes, and many suitors willing to pay a good bride price for you.” The days leading up to her audition with the temple’s choral priest had been some of the worst days of her life. She had difficulty sleeping and eating. She had nightmares. On the way to the temple, she had vomited twice. Her knees shook when she stood before the priest who stared at her crossly through his malachite darkened eyes. He did not say anything, only waited until she found the nerve to sing. Her father gave her a small push on the middle of the back. “Go on, Sekmet. Sing for him.” The priest sighed. She could tell he was about to leave. Summoning all her courage, she opened her mouth. What came forth was nothing like singing—only off key squacks. She could not continue and she looked at her feet. The priest stood and left the room without a word.
“The elements were just right—the wind, the fire, the sand. It gave birth to a new desert spirit—a rare one. Very rare. If we can catch it, the priests of Nit will pay handsomely.” He licked his lips and seemed to lose himself for a moment. “Most handsomely indeed.” He fixed Sekmet with a stern gaze. “You must not let this creature out of your sight. You understand that?”
She wrung the waterskin over her open mouth. A few drops trickled out.
Flung herself at him. Cat-quick, he grabbed a cup of water and splashed it on her face. She fell to the floor shrieking and clawing at her eyes.
NOTE: These are preliminary descriptions of the sphinx before it joins with the protagonist. I imagine it to be a spirit that resembled a fiery whirlwind–a mixture of wind, sand, and fire (or perhaps the sun’s rays).
Swirling. Flame. Breeze. Gust.
Sprinkles of glowing red sand floating in the air. Beautiful. She reached out and touched one with her finger tip. She pulled it back just as fast. It was fire hot.
The spirit became a sheet of glowing sand. It hovered in the air for a moment and then began to ripple. It formed little mounds and gullies. They reminded her of the sand houses she and her brother used to make as children.
More ripples. Out of the ripples came a face—her face. She laughed. The image laughed.
* * *
To the other writers out there who read my posts, I’m curious as to what your writing process is like during the early stages. Feel free to comment here!
Next up, I’ll post some of my current thoughts on main character, the setting, and what happens in the story (the who, when, and what).
This entry was posted on April 13, 2011 by danbracewell. It was filed under My Manuscripts, Sphinx and was tagged with African Girl, Ancient Egypt, aspiring author, author, beginning writers, Egypt, Fantasy, fantasy writing, Sphinx, women in stories, writer, writing.