Another shell from the would be raiders burst on the port side of the Marcail. The krunk of stone pellets hammering the hull immediately followed. The Maker’s Marcail rolled to starboard then. Partly heard Mr. Cameron’s curse from behind and Captain Munro’s shrill gasp from below at the same. She thrust her head through the break in the gunwale where the rope ladder hung by one of the two rails; Captain Munro swung at the end of the ladder like a knot or the hanged.
“What happened? Are you OK?” Partly yelled down.
The Captain looked up, but whatever it was she was going to say turned into a gulp of air like a drowning woman. The starkness of indecision pressed Partly’s flattened body further into the deck than she’d already pressed herself and the coursing trees and buildings below became a blurred background to the one-woman tableau clinging to the end of the rope ladder. Reaching out was useless; climbing down was impossible; getting up was abandonment. But just watching was worse Partly thought.
“I’ll get Mr. Cameron! He can help.” Partly moved from prostrate to upright so quickly she never heard the Captain croak, “No, wait.”
Partly sprinted around the galley to the pilothouse ladder. A series of four pops and four clangs rang out below deck. The Marcail pitched sharply to a dive as she grabbed hold of a rung with one hand.
233 words on day 808
Brian punched Michael in the stomach then shoved his hunched over photographer away from the arched doorway. Again.
“I said you can’t come in.”
Michael stumbled down the few steps Brian had just become the king of. He sputtered and collapsed when he abruptly hit the tiled patio thinking there were more steps. A professional photographer for over ten years now, his instinct to sling his camera hand back from impact and to shrug his opposite shoulder in a way to minimize the damage done to his gear bag didn’t even register as his knees met the ground. Ultimately his forehead meeting one of the steps arrested his fall.
“Sorry,” said Brian. He didn’t move to help Michael.
Another photographer, tall and lean and probably a woman, broke from the pack gathered on the patio to help Michael to a seated position. She said, “Shit dude! He’s your photographer.” Brian shrugged.
“He’s been warned. You’ve all been.” Brian didn’t bother to address the crowd, but instead spoke directly to the woman as if she’d become their spokesperson. She rose from Michael’s side to confront Brian, but Michael grabbed her wrist.
“Don’t bother Cecilia,” Michael whispered. Then louder, “He’s made his point.”
“Good. Then I won’t need to hurt anyone else. Get back to the food and the band.”
I’d thought to pick up yesterday’s efforts again this morning yesterday. Today I’m feeling more tabula rasa. I’ll bow to that.
“Grunga had taken our thalpot and we, the Narimen, were after it—and him.”
I suppose that’s all there is to creating conflict. Or at least to defining the scope of the conflict. If I wanted actual conflict and not just its scope I’d need to describe the value of the thalpot to both the Narimen and Grunga. I’d need to outline Grunga’s abilities to capture the thing and the skills he possessed to get it away first and maintain control of it second. His Invisibility Boots and his Fist of Doom ought to do the trick. Somewhere in there it might make sense to learn how the Narimen planned to get the thalpot back and with what or who’s help.
Then of course they fail, regroup, plan again, and re-fail. Third times a charm after that of course, but I’d still need to have the reader thinking the return of the thalpot to the Narimen was in jeopardy right up to the moment it wasn’t…in jeopardy.
So there you go. There I go. A rescue plot or a quest plot or whatever.
As I think back on nearly everything I’ve written here on 1000 Days I realize that I’ve been creating mystery not conflict. I’ve set a scene where I want the reader to wonder what or why the character is doing what they are doing. Of course most of these mysteries could become conflicts, but that wasn’t where I was headed with them. Presenting conflict was my hope, but not my intent. Obviously hoping conflict would come along results in very little conflict coming along.
Shit or get off the pot.
No need to worry about the Narimen or the return of their thalpot. This post was a Mad Libs style hypothetical.