This is super late (five days late, in the case of the first prompt), but I’m catching up on Preptober Prompts as I promised yesterday.
We’re starting with Leila’s final prompt: Use an adventure that happened to you in the fall as inspiration for an event in your story.
I don’t have adventures, so this should be interesting. My life is super boring most of the time. (I might have to go digging through old journals for this one.)
Oh my gosh. Reading over my thoughts from two years ago is HILARIOUS. XD But it turns out that it was in November 2016 that Allegra and I plotted the end of the world on napkins and straw wrappers at Taco Bell. (I have a rather loose definition of “adventure.”)
We were in Taco Bell for dinner and talking about my plans to make Concordia post-apocalyptic Earth (it’s weird to me that that idea is that young), and we decided to brainstorm how that would work, so on napkins and straw wrappers we made tons of notes on what would happen if Yellowstone Caldera erupted and how it would affect the country and that kind of thing. (I still have those napkins and straw wrappers.) Overall I remember just having a lot of fun with it and jotting things down as quickly as her mom could look them up and kind of laughing that this was so representative of our friendship. I mean, we do wacky stuff like that all the time. I made a Facebook post afterward that said,
“You know you have a great best friend when you plot the end of the world on straw wrappers and napkins at Taco Bell.
“You also know you’re a writer when you think that having a great best friend is plotting the end of the world on straw wrappers and napkins together.”
As far as this inspiring an event in The King’s Paladin… The event makes me imagine a scene where a couple of characters are somewhere without much to write on, trying to work out how to defend against the invading armies. There would be less excitement and laughter and more franticness and worry.
If we want to go off the emotions more than the events, it would be a scene with Coraline and Gabel, probably in the stables or out on a horseback ride, just having fun and hanging out. They’d probably be laughing over memories of training and avoiding the other students’ antics.
What’s an adventure you had one fall?
Week 3 Responses
This week is flash fiction prompts, hosted by Allegra on Of Rainy Days and Stardust Veins. (Definitely check out her blog. Her writing is gorgeous.) For those of you who don’t know what flash fiction is, it’s a really short story, generally <1,000 words.
Coraline stepped into the coffee shop and ordered her customary green tea. She smiled at the barista briefly before her gaze skipped over the shop. A history book caught her eye, with only a bit of blond hair peeking over the top. She stood on her tiptoes in an attempt to see the face of whoever was studying, but she was still too short.
She heard the barista set her tea on the counter and offered another smile with her thanks as she took her cup. As she stepped out of line, she bit her lip. She loved history and part of her wanted to go say hello to whoever was so engrossed in it, but the other part of her said that would be a terrible idea.
The history book lowered to the desk and Coraline’s heart skipped a beat. She couldn’t be caught staring. She saw a young man about her age run a hand through his hair with a heavy sigh before she could force her gaze away. Maybe he wasn’t enjoying that history book as much as she’d thought. Out of the corner of her eye she thought he might have looked up in time to catch her looking, but told herself he hadn’t as she made her way to a seat in the front corner of the shop, where there was the most light.
Coraline heard footsteps coming toward her table as she took a sip of her tea, and her hands shook so badly she missed her mouth and scalded her lips as tea spilled down her front. She felt her face go hot as she grabbed a napkin to dry herself off.
“Um… is this a bad time?”
Coraline looked up into dark blue eyes, sure she looked like a deer in headlights. “Oh. No. I’m fine. I mean… the time is fine.” She looked down at her tea, biting her lip so hard it hurt, cheeks still burning.
“I saw you checking out my history book.”
“Oh. Um. Sorry about that.” Coraline chuckled and looked back up at the boy, realizing it was probably impolite to look like she was ignoring him.
“It’s fine.” He smiled. “I was just wondering if you’re any good at it? I can’t see the point of it for anything, and I’m terrible at remembering dates.”
“Um, I’m okay at it I guess.” Coraline realized her hands were still shaking and pulled them off the table into her lap. “I mean, I really enjoy it and I tend to have an okay memory…”
“Would you be willing to help me out?”
“I… I guess?” She’d only ever really studied with Gabel. How was she going to help a stranger with it? She had no idea how he best remembered things or—
He was holding out his hand. “I’m Jay.”
Coraline shook his hand. “Coraline.”
“Nice to meet you. Um, let me go grab my book.” Jay smiled and headed back to his table, returning in a moment with the history book. “I’m especially having trouble with the Civil War. I don’t get the impression it was really about what they said it was.”
Coraline chuckled. “That’s a really long story.”
Jay shrugged. “I have time.”
Coraline squealed as she caught sight of the sale sign. “Candy corn: buy 1, get 2 free.” A deal that cheap meant they wanted to get rid of it because no one liked it, but who cared. Coraline snatched six bags off the shelf and Wisterin recoiled.
“Ew. Why are you buying that awful stuff? It tastes like wax.”
“Exactly! It’s the perfect fall gift for Eliot, always reading by candlelight.” Coraline grinned. “With enough left over for the guys.”
“Oh. Here I thought you were with Gabel actually liking the stuff.”
“Nope. We’ll have to keep it away from him, though, or he’ll eat it all before we can get it to the others.” Coraline laughed.
“Well,” Wisterin grinned, “let’s get this stuff home, shall we?”
Coraline stepped into the library, immediately hit with the smell of old books and fir-scented candles.
“I have a present for you.” Coraline smiled, handing Eliot a wrapped bag of candy corn.
“Oh?” Eliot’s brow was furrowed as he took the ‘gift.’ He unwrapped it and rolled his eyes. “Goodness. Every time.”
Coraline busted up laughing. “Well you fall for it every time.”
“It’s so odd to give someone a gift out of the blue that it catches me off-guard.”
“Mhm. I’m sure that’s it.” Coraline grinned. “If you’ll excuse me, I have a few more gifts to deliver.” She lifted her stack of wrapped candy corn and skipped out of the library toward the garden.
As she’d predicted, Toril and Dorian were playing chess by the garden wall. Wisterin was perched on top of the wall to watch.
Toril looked up, while Dorian remained intent on the chessboard.
“Coraline,” Toril replied.
“I have something for you.”
Dorian looked up, then, looking confused.
Coraline stifled a grin as she handed each of them a bag of candy.
When the packages came open, Dorian rolled his eyes. “I swear, if this goes on another year…”
“Then what?” Wisterin asked. Coraline grinned.
“I’ll pour it all over your mattress and then whatever’s left I’ll throw at you, one piece at a time.”
Coraline and Wisterin both laughed.
“I’d like to see that,” Wisterin said.
“Thank you,” Toril said as he tucked the candy under his chair. He hated the stuff just as much as the rest of them, but he was always more diplomatic about it.
Coraline looked up at Wisterin. “Would you like to do the final honors?”
“You know I would.”
Coraline tossed the third bag up to Wisterin, who caught it before jumping off the wall.
Wisterin grinned. “Let’s do this.”
The smell of sweat hit Coraline first, then the erupting sound of loud laughter. The barracks were a place Coraline generally tried to avoid, but she hadn’t pranked Orlan with candy corn before and she was looking forward to seeing his reaction. And dreading it, hence sending Wisterin instead.
Wisterin had no qualms about the setting, just strode up to Orlan where he was sitting, shirtless, joking with his men. Coraline tried to keep her eyes on his face.
“Orlan,” Wisterin said, “I have something for you.”
Orlan raised an eyebrow, and his men laughed and whistled. I grimaced.
Wisterin rolled her eyes. “Nothing that interesting.” She handed Orlan the package.
He opened it up and frowned. “What is this?”
“Candy corn. Can’t you tell?”
Coraline bit her lip. This was not going to go well. She should have just continued leaving Orlan out of the tradition…
“I can tell. Why would you give me this?”
“It was Coraline’s idea.”
Great. Throw me under the bus, why don’t you?
“I do it to everyone…” Coraline stammered. “Eliot, Dorian, Toril, usually Wisterin…”
Orlan glared at her. And now he hates me even more. Great. “Don’t ever do this again.” He threw the bag at her and she caught it just before it would have hit her in the face.
“I won’t.” Coraline turned and hurried out of the barracks.
Coraline took the remaining two bags and the one Orlan had thrown back to the stables and found Gabel brushing Maris, the roan mare she often rode. His touch was gentle and tender, as it always was with the horses, and he wore the same contented smile he always had when he was working. Coraline couldn’t help the smile that spread across her own face as she watched.
When Gabel finished and moved to put the brush away, he spotted Coraline and she hastily removed the smile from her face.
“Hello, Coraline.” Gabel smiled. “How are you?”
“I’m okay.” She shrugged. “I brought you something.” Coraline held out the candy and he took it with a grin.
“Thanks. How’d the pranks go?”
“I got them all, as usual. Except Wisterin, who was in on it this year.”
Gabel nodded and set the candy on a stack of saddles. “That explains the extra bag.”
“Actually… we tried to prank Orlan this year.”
Gabel frowned. “I take it that didn’t go well.”
Coraline shook her head.
“Well, I appreciate the candy.” He smiled and held out his arms for a hug.
Coraline wrapped her arms around him, inhaling the scent of leather, hay, and cinnamon. It was a smell deeply reminiscent of the season, and she felt safe and content in his arms. Orlan would get over the prank. Hopefully.
Today was day 3, but I’m going to double up tomorrow because this post is already really long and I need some more time on the prompt.
Do you have a favorite prompt so far? Don’t forget to submit your own prompts for the last partial week this month! We need three prompts before the end of this week, and if we get more than that I’ll put up a vote for top three. Submit a prompt (or multiple prompts) below!