Wednesday, June 17, 2015

777 Challenge

Announcement: If, after reading this post, you want to see more of my tiresome ramblings, I left a one-star book review on Goodreads, so you’re free to check that out.

A few days ago, the lovely Heather of Sometimes I’m a Story tagged me for the 777 Challenge. The rules are as follows:

Go to page seven of your current work-in-progress, scroll down to line seven, and share the next seven lines in a blog post. Once finished, tag seven bloggers to do this on their own blog.

I’m going to tweak these rules a teeny bit (bet you didn’t see that coming). In order to give you a proper snippet, I’d like to include a little more than I’m supposed to, which means you get a bit more context (hopefully).

As for this work in progress, I’m not going to tell you much about it. What I will say, though, is that it’s the first book in a Fantasy trilogy (I have the next two books drafted, but not edited yet). If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you may remember me mentioning DSS. As I’ve said before, DSS does not stand for “Dumb Stupid Story”, but I won’t tell you what the working title is right now, because I am guaranteed to change it. Basically, last November I decided to resurrect that story, so I wrote/rewrote it and its sequels from the ground up, keeping only the elements, characters, and plot points I liked. (And I hope to be mostly finished with edits for DSS #1 by the end of the summer, if all goes well.)

So, without further ado, here is my snippet, in all its melodramatic glory:



“I don’t have a choice,” I snap, and I wish she could understand the conflict in my soul. I wish she could save me from what I must do. “If I don’t avenge my father, I’ll be ostracized. Like Thaddeus when he failed to defend his sister’s honor. Do you want an outcast for a daughter?”
“This is madness.” Mother catches the wall to support herself, and I am so tempted to break. But one of us has to be strong. Her pale hands form white-knuckled fists at her sides. “Your father wouldn’t want you to throw your life away on a fool’s errand. If you wish to prove your love for him, you’ll do what he’d tell you to do…if he were here.”
“But he isn’t here,” I say, though my throat feels full of sand. I climb another step. “And I would be a traitor if I let his murderer live unpunished.”
(DSS, copyright © Elizabeth Brooks)


And since I’m super busy this week and I don’t have time to write a proper post (sorry), here is another (longer) snippet starting on page 77 (you know, to fit with the theme): 



The earth lies scorched and ruined; the air hangs charred and stale. Fanned from the wreckage by the fickle wind, thick plumes of ash drift upward to color the silver sky. Already the events of last night feel like only a faded memory—the tavern a dim illusion. My heart tightens as I resist the urge to drop to my knees and cradle my head in my hands. Instead, I stand there, swaying, trying to figure out if I am hearing ghosts or if Jude is simply trying to get my attention. Suddenly the line between strength and frailty feels so horribly blurred. A thousand unnamed thoughts dart through my hollow frame, and I understand none of them.
Through the haze obscuring my senses, I vaguely notice when Jude laces his fingers with mine. Somehow I draw the strength to take a step forward, then another and another—to pantomime the motion of walking, to pretend I am still breathing. All around us the skeletons of burnt-out houses rise to scrape the thickened clouds. And the wind plays its own sighing rhythms through the frames of blackened board.
Warm debris crunches beneath our feet as we tread the rubble-strewn road, and my lungs constrict within my chest. All those houses, all those shops, all those familiar places—gone, completely and irrevocably destroyed. My mind refuses to accept it.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Jude asks, tightening his grip.
“Yeah,” I nod, surprised at the solidity in my voice.
In the distance, through a shroud of shifting grey, I catch a glimpse of something else, just a peek. Trembling in anticipation, I tug Jude forward, breaking into a run when walking proves too slow. Down twisting streets lined with rows of charcoal trees and firewood cottages like fence posts, I fly from numbness, all the while steeling myself for what I will find when I arrive. Then I round a corner and see it, still standing, still holding its unburned face above the earth—my home, no longer obscured by the rising ash. Even as I approach the door, I struggle to believe my eyes. The building sits in a circle of unspoiled ground, untouched—unscathed—by the flames. With my back to the ruins behind, I could easily convince myself that the devastation was merely a nightmare, but the twin windows on the front are broken in and the red dust on the threshold is marred by large footprints. Clawed footprints.
When I push the door open, the hinges complain, rebuking me for disturbing their slumber, but the interior is painfully silent. Nothing stirs; no one is home. And then I notice the thick streaks of soot on the floor and the marks of boots in the gummy ash. Torn and besmeared with grime, the lace curtains hang limp above the shattered windowpanes, and glass lies sprinkled every which way as though a faery exploded in a shower of sparkling shards.
Sucking in deep, measured breaths, I tiptoe to my room, unwilling to know what lies ahead yet unwilling to stop. Just as I had expected, my belongings are strewn everywhere, my bed sheets torn, my clothing shredded.
(DSS, copyright © Elizabeth Brooks)

(Cue dramatic music.)


And there you have it. (Also, I’m dying to know what you think this story is about, because I doubt you’ll be able to guess it from my samples. But I’d still love to see you try.)

I’m not going to tag anyone for this, even though I’m supposed to, but if you want to do your own post, let me know and I’ll link to it. Or, if you’d like to share your snippet/snippets in the comments section, feel free to do that too.


  1. You should post more :) Your writing is so good! And interesting :) What happens next...?

    1. Thank you! I'd love to post more of my story (and other posts too), but I've been so busy lately. I'll have to see how the next few months play out. And I could tell you what happens next...but then that would ruin all the fun. ;)

  2. Wow, everything is caught up in the middle of things! This is really interesting, and I'm so curious about the situations. Still, obviously things are tense and violent, and I do love tense and violent stories... Heh.

    1. Thanks! I'm glad you found it interesting. :) And yes, this is rather tense and violent (although the sequels are more so).

  3. OH. I LIKE THIS. That first one really intrigued me with all this talk of honour and avenging...I'm going to cautiously guess fantasy??? But probably not?? lol I'm curious!!

    1. Thank you! Yep, you are correct--it's fantasy. And I'm glad you liked the honour and avenging idea--sometimes I worry my heroine is a little too intense that way, even though it's her culture and all.