W.A.F.F.L.E.: The Adventure Begins

Last night we had our first Writer’s Guild Meet-Up, which was quickly renamed to W.A.F.F.L.E.: Writers’ Awesome Fancy-Fun Literary Evening! So now we can say “Are you going to W.A.F.F.L.E.?” or “I can’t come. I’m W.A.F.F.L.E.ing tonight.”

We had five total in attendance, with several more not able to come due to scheduling, but we had a great time with out little group.

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Since it was our first time, we started out just introducing the projects we are currently working on, as well as anything we were currently struggling with on the projects. This took quite a while, but we had so much fun digging into what each of us were doing, and collaborating to find solutions and ideas for one another. It was a wonderful experience to be open to collaboration, to not be overly protect of one’s work, and it really helped us to not feel as if we were struggling onward in writing alone. Instead, there is a group of us, cheering or one another and ready to give a boost for hurtles.

After introductions, we had time set aside for writing: whether it be collaborating to help one person figure out a plotting problem, work independently writing our individual projects, or to write individual stories based on the same writing prompt. We decided to do a writing prompt, particularly one based off a picture, so we chose the one below:

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It was so much fun reading each other’s stories and seeing how differently each one turned out! It is amazing to see how different people’s imaginations work. As always, my husbands story was insane. I wrote without a plan, just developing the idea as I wrote. When the timer was up (25 minutes), everyone asked what would happen next in my story, and I honestly said I had no idea. I’m still not sure but this was such a great exercise for me in world building and exploring original ideas. Here is what I came up with:

The sea was peaceful, lapping against the steps of the palace. The evening sun glistened off the water like diamonds that danced on the waves. A breeze blew in from the ocean, refreshing and salty. One could even smell the fish market that was half a mile away. And it was always this, ever since the old world first began to be covered.

Every few years, a new city had to be built, for fear they would all be washed away. With every new layer, they grew closer and closer to the sky and they knew their time on this world was short. But there was no escape. The anticipation was daunting; each still moment was cherished.

And then, there, in the distance, something popped up out of the water. No, someone, a shadow cast over their eyes and hair clinging to their face. They didn’t wear the mask of a diver who had gone below the surface in hopes of finding a lost treasure, but how else could they appear so suddenly in the expanse of the water. They said nothing, gasping for air and struggling to remain afloat.

“Hello?” Constance called out to them, furrowing her brow. They seemed startled by the noise, flapping and splashing. “Do you need help?” Constance asked, but she didn’t have to wait for a reply. The answer was clear. She quickly grabbed a life ring from the wall and tossed it out to the stranger, who had the sensibility to grab hold. Pulling at the rope with haste, Constance lured the person to the steps, curious to see how they appeared so suddenly, and cautious about their purpose.

The stranger, a young woman, was dressed simply, with just a shirt and pants, but she was shoeless and her blonde hair had been hastily cropped short. She clung to the stone steps with an iron grip, her eyes wide, shaking from the chill of the ocean water. She didn’t look up.

Constance squatted next to the women, taking a deep breath to calm her own nerves. She didn’t want to startle the poor thing, but neither did she feel comfortable going for some water or further assistance. “Are you alright?”

No answer.

“What is your name?”

Nothing.

“My name is Constance. You are at the steps of the 9th Empiric Palace.” Constance waited to see if her words jogged the woman’s memory. Still no response. Constance sighed, looking around for someone who might have an idea of who this woman was. She was used to seeing bodies float up every now and then but never like this. Then the stranger looked up, her brown eyes and slender full the picture of confusion. “It’s alright, I promise.”

The woman nodded, slowly. Constance helped her to turn and sit on the steps. The woman began to breathe deeply, steadily, looking around her, taking in her surroundings, then staring into the ocean, her eyes wide and lost.

“What is your name?” Constance asked, hoping for an answer.

“Water,” the woman said and Constance almost jumped.

“Your name is-?” Constance began to ask. Surely that wasn’t the woman’s name. And if it was, she was not from this city.

“Do you have any fresh water?” the woman said, her gaze fixated on the ocean. She was clearly out of breath, and her voice wavered with hesitation. She looked sideways for a moment at Constance, but was clearly too uncomfortable to make eye contact.

“Yes. Just a moment,” Constance replied, standing up quickly, but as she started for the palace interior she slowed, turning to look at the woman. Should she leave her alone? The water pitcher was just inside. Surely the woman wouldn’t get into any trouble before she returned. Hurrying, it only took moments for Constance to reach the water and begin pouring a cup.

She turned to see the woman, still sitting with tired shoulders on the steps at the water’s edge.

“Constance, dinner will be served-” someone said and Constance was startled, dropping the brass cup on the floor. The clanking filled the empty hall and Constance looked up to make sure it hadn’t disturbed the woman.

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