Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Nature of Magic

Magic - n. the art which seemingly controls foresight of natural events and forces by means of supernatural agencies. (taken from Webster's Pocket Dictionary and Thesaurus of the English Language)

Webster was kind enough to share with me what magic meant to him but 'magic is different for everyone'. Which is what this blogfest is all about, showing what magic means to you (or in my case, your character).

My entry explains magic from my character, Cassie's, point of view. She is one of two MCs in The Lullaby. Currently, this segment is not in my manuscript but may be included later. It is 799 words according to Word. I managed to write all of this in one day (give or take for editing). This may not sound like much of an accomplishment but it made me happy because I have been in a bit of a slump lately. I am very grateful to Laura Diamond and Tessa Conte for hosting this blogfest.

          “What is this supposed to be anyway?” Richard leaned in, casually plucking the pendant from her absent-minded fingers.
     Cassie jerked out of her thoughts. She snatched the necklace back, holding it to her chest. The raindrop clanged against the rainbow circling it, the sound of metal-on-metal traveled across the rooftop. She looked at the small painted shapes in her hand, remembering, “It’s happiness.”
     “Okay, I’m confused,” Richard admitted, watching her face.
     “Big surprise there,” Cassie smiled.
     “Hey, play nice,” he shoved her shoulder.
     She laughed, echoes bouncing back from a hundred different buildings, and pushed him back. His eyes shone bright as he grinned at her, then they became serious.
     “Really, though, what does it mean?” He wasn’t letting her squirm away that easy.
     A sigh pressed up against her lips but she suppressed it. She took a second to line up the right words, “I was little when I decided I didn’t want my mother to be my mother. The word ‘mommy’ was forbidden. Her name was Maggie, she yelled every time I tried to use it, emphasized by a slap to the face.”
     Cassie’s breath came fast as the memories resurfaced. Richard remained silent, waiting for her to go on. Her eyes closed but her voice grew stronger.
     “At the age of five, I ran away. All I packed was a patched teddy bear and a candy bar already half-eaten. As you can imagine, it didn’t last long.” Her hand drifted down to her stomach, feeling the old hunger pains.
     “The walk seemed endless. I wanted to stop but even then I was smart enough to know I couldn’t. Maggie would find me, and then she’d scream and her hands, feet would lash out, and it would hurt. But when I sat on a bench to remove a rock lodged in my shoe, I couldn’t help it, I fell asleep.”
     Richard took her hand, his face stony. The expression looked strange on him. He gave a soft squeeze.
     “Rain woke me up. It, and all the hurrying people, confused me. Vision was limited. I scrambled to my feet, soaked. With no idea what to do but get out of the rain, I ran for cover and crouched in a doorway, leaning against the door. It felt nice and sturdy.”
     Cassie laid back against the roof, staring up at the stars, and a small smile seemed to almost appear on her lips, “The world was suddenly upside down when the door opened. He looked at me and I looked at him. He was small, young, younger than me. His mouth opened and I braced for the hurtful words that were sure to come. ‘Are you happy?’ That’s exactly what he said to me. My voice floated upwards before I could stop it, ‘No’.”
     The smile was now certain, stretching her skin in a way that was becoming, “He invited me inside. And I went, because what other choice did I have? At first, I was wary, especially when I met his mother. But she, she was everything a mother should be. She fussed over me like no one ever has. Fed me till I was fit to bursting, let me stay under her roof, found me dry clothes that actually fit.”
     “Sounds nice,” Richard joked, tugging at his baggy pants.
     “Hm, it was,” she sat back up, focused directly on Richard. “While I was there, I learned what happiness is, and that everyone has a right to it. Everyone,” her words were excited now, her face glowing, “me, you, all the people in this club, everyone. That knowledge changed my whole life. It was like I was Harry Potter and someone had just handed me a wand for the first time.”
     “What does the necklace have to do with all this?” Richard asked, feeling the buoyancy of her words.
     She looked down at it again, “He gave it to me, the little boy. His lisp was so cute when he told me what it meant,” her voice changed to imitate him. “To get to the rainbow, you must first go through the rain.” She switched to normal, “I gave him my teddy bear.”
     Her eyes glazed over, her focus shifting again. She drew Richard’s hand closer, playing with his fingers. When she realized what she was doing, she quickly released them. He wished she hadn’t. “I don’t know why I told you all that. It’s not your problem.”
     “I don’t mind. What’s one more?”
     “I need you to look at me.”
     She turned her head without thinking. He was close, so close she could feel his light breath on her face. She couldn’t pull away. His eyes reeled her in, promising summer, spring, warmth.
     “You are my rainbow.”
     His lips pressed down softly on hers.


  1. This was a beautiful extract Brooke! Great job.

    Love your description of the rainy day, and the little boy and his explanation of the locket gift.

  2. It's an interesting take on what magic means to the character, though possibly, the dialogue comes across just a fraction too much like you describing a scene, rather than the character doing it.

  3. magic and romance. a great combination.

  4. @stu I was afraid of that. I suppose for first draft it works but I know I'll have to work on it during revisions.

    Thanks Trisha and Michelle. And welcome to my blog, Michelle. ^^ I hope you enjoy.

  5. awwww that's such a sweet story!!! Love it! Magic is where your heart is happy, one might say...

    Thank you so much for taking part!

    Do check in on mine or Laura's blog on March 30th to see the list of finalists and vote on your favourite.

  6. And thank you for hosting it. ^^

    Will do.

  7. What a brave little girl. Interesting story.

  8. Oh I love the rainbow story from the little boy. So sweet. And magical. Thank you so much for sharing this little snippet for our blogfest.

    ~ that rebel, Olivia

  9. Aww, I really liked the romance between the characters. Thanks for participating!

  10. This was good. Here's how it could be better:
    1) Change up the order of the characters' actions and switch up some of the sentence structure so that it's not so much "He said this...she said that...then he did..."

    2) Give us more of what they're feeling. You tell us a LOT through the characters dialogue, but I need more than just "I want through intense hunger" I rubbed my stomach. Maybe she twitched at the thought? Her heart twinged? Her stomach grumbled sympathetically. Her eyelashes fluttered holding back something that might have been tears years ago but now was just a memory. Let us SEE how she feels, not just hear it through her words.

    Otherwise, nice job. Good luck in the contest.

    <3 Gina Blechman

  11. Gina, I think you are what every writer looks for in a commenter. You give helpful constructive criticism yet encouragement at the same time. A perfect blend. When I come back to this piece I will definitely consider your suggestions. ^^

  12. Awww! I think I felt my heart melt just then. Great selection!

  13. Why thank you. ^^ I am grateful for every bit of encouragement at this point. I'm just coming out of my slump and this definitely helps.