Benhá’s Main

I should write something about Levi’s. Too indirect?

Let’s talk about our recent main character. I’m pointedly not calling this a maquette as I’m not ready to lock in too many of her characteristics at this point. Unlike most of the seemingly well conceived blurbs I’ve begun here on 1000 Days this one doesn’t originate from a character or from a situation. This idea originates from three commingled concepts: a word, a characteristic, and a setting. Resolving a physical person out of those sparks hasn’t been a necessity…yet.

The main character is a girl becoming a woman or somewhere south of twenty but north of puberty. Black hair she wears long at home but braided and wound up in the market where she works. Her skin is pale brown. Song is a place of variety, but MC is nested well inside the fringes with regards to late teen girls. Maybe she’s taller than most.

She’s not exactly orphaned, but her situation allows her–as it would her peers–plenty of freedom. Something about her citizenship in Song is questionable though. Maybe she’s adopted or a foundling or maybe her family just isn’t multi-generational in the village. Nothing Disney-cliche just thick enough the opposition could use the difference as leverage when the time comes. Maybe her father lived away from Song and married an Outy. Or maybe both her parents are of Song, but somehow estranged and that works against her. In any case, she feels fully invested in the community, as does everyone else, until she’s afflicted with dermatographia and victim turns up dead.

She works in the market. What she sells appeals to both locals, Outies, and tourists so she has a broad experience with people. She doesn’t know it, but she has better knowledge of Out than many aboard Song. Though having never been–or rarely been–off Song she thinks it smaller than it truly is.

Friends are hard to come by on Song because same aged kids are few. Space is a premium, so families tend to have no more than two children and usually far enough apart to have one old enough to watch the next. MC finds herself trailing a baby boomer pack or leading it. Which would normally cause her to be fast friends with the one other girl in the same situation but….she’s not for some reason. That could be story related or not. The boomer pack could be back story.

409 words on day 501

Yes to Both

I thought of a few sceneless conversations I’m going to just hang here—somewhat—disembodied for now.

This one stems from my speculation that my MC would be young enough to be associating the feeling she was having about her skin writing with having gotten her period only a few years prior. From that came some wondering if her condition might only manifest during menstruation or at least might peak then. In this I’m still thinking of the aged Brother Gaine playing the role of monk.

“Is it possible this particular incident is linked to menstruation?”

She sensed his hesitance to use the long word at the end of his question, but since she didn’t recognize it, she didn’t know why. “What?”

“I apologize. I don’t know the customs of Song as well as I’d thought. I don’t know if speaking of this is proper.” He raised his hands as loose fists near his face like he was trying to hide his face or maybe hit something. She could see he was uncomfortable about something, but it made no sense. So far Brother Gaine, an Outy, had been the only one to understand her skin writing.

“I don’t know what you’re asking. I don’t know what men’s ‘truation’ is.” Gaine tightened his lips into a light smile and shook his head.

“Uh, your monthly cycle,” he offered.

What was so hard about that? “I don’t think so. I think it was barely a quarter moon that day. Or the day before.”

Gaine pressed his open hands to his face and mushed on his eyes. The tight smile opened to a tight chuckle. He seemed like a hooked fish giving in.

“Not the lunar cycle,” he circled his palm in front of her mirroring the moon around the earth. Then pointed directly at her with his eyes closed, “Your womanly bleeding cycle.”

A laugh erupted from her. She caught up his hand like a butterfly at the end of her sputtering and hugged it to her chest. She dropped it gently at the fear she felt from the unexpected closeness.

“The Leaks? Is this what you’re talking about?”

“Leaks?” He looked incredulous.

“Yah. It’s not some fancy word like your, but it’s…descriptive.”

“I forget how practical the Song is. I’m sorry not to have gotten to the point more swiftly. Do you think that may have been a factor?” She ignored his return to the original question. She liked seeing him unsettled and needed to erase [feeling she had earlier witht he hand-hug thing].

“That’s what women here call it. The men say Gon’s Prow. The Gons used to paint the prow of their boats bright red. [One more sentence about that].” Brother Gaine looked like he could wait her out. So she swam deeper.

“At least that’s what they say to us. When their out on the water with just the rest of the boys fishing they use a different word: chum.”

Gaine groaned. “Yes. Well, it freaks some men out. Plus we’re all rather gross.”


“Yes, we’re gross or yes, the incident might be linked to that?”

“Yes to both.”

Ok, so that ate up all my time this morning. I can’t even recall what the second conversation was going to be. So you just get the one.

553 words on day 498

Rub Some Dirt on It

Nora Jones is gonna be sinking soon on the radio.

I’ve been working on writing, but not writing these past several days. Yesterday I penned something with pen and paper. In the past when I’ve done that I’ve also promised to scan and post those here. Don’t bother looking I only fullfilled that promise once. I’ll not bother now.

What have been up to? I cranked out a beatsheet template in SuperNotecard that goes a long way to illuminating the structure of a story. I also added helpful notes to it that I hope will aid me in following and then understanding that structure better. These notes are paraphrased from Larry Brooks’ site. A site that follows through on it’s pledge to teach story structure. Something I missed out on when I took the novel writing class at Lighthouse in Denver.

I’m getting better at reading like a writer as well. Starting to see how book chapters are more than good places to stop reading and turn out the lights. I now get more of a sense from them that the author scrawled a line across a notecard or a sheet of paper or a monitor like “And then I need the MC to…” As if there were a plan. And then wrote it so well that it only seemed the MC was a living breathing choosing thing clearing her path in a true world.

I feel like I’m getting better seeing the point of conflict in a story. That sounds as dumb to me as I’m sure it reads to you. Let me try it this way: I’m starting to realize that facing conflict is what I enjoy about a character. What makes me like them more. I think as an author I want to coddle my characters. Like I literally don’t want to be too mean to them because I don’t want them harmed.

In this latest story idea I need done by Saturday night I’ve got murder rolling around in my head. I’ve not written it out because I just don’t want to inflict that level of conflict on my character, but I’ve also not let go of the thought. So far I’ve kept that incident at bay with the justification that murder might be a bit extreme for this short a story, but it nags at me: if this were the real world someone could die. Someone could kill. Someone could deflect the blame. Someone could take it. It complains that I’m being a pussy.

“Rub some dirt on it and hike on camper.”

434 words on day 497