creative ramblings & reverie

Friday, October 8, 2010

Writing Exercises

I've been happily inspired by the Archetype Plot Scenario Generator.

The first scenario I was given:
The story starts when your protagonist breaks a mirror.
Another character is detective who has a gift for poetry.

So I've begun a short mystery set on Mallorca (while Goat Song languishes, awaiting long stretches of unfilled time that will mysteriously appear any day now).  My detective, named Vilalta, writes ghazals and takes the same approach to solving crimes—playing with opposites, jumping from one consideration to the next with no apparent connection or narrative pattern—something his logic-driven colleagues can't appreciate.  He tries out words and suspects in his head while making pa amb oli for a simple supper, or tumbet when he has more time to spend in his open-air kitchen.

Unsuspecting Abigail Demaere brings at least seven years' bad luck upon herself, beginning with an accusation of murder, when she breaks the favorite mirror she'd retrieved from the shambles of her life in Brussels and brought with her to the hilltop of windmills her sister Anne-Marie is renovating for a retreat center on Mallorca's west coast, looking forward to a fresh start.

     Abigail flung the bottle of Havana Club AƱejo at the beautiful, taunting baritone voice.  But she heard it hit glass, instead, a shivering blow—and break, and break.  In the pure Mallorcan darkness, in her intoxicated state, she’d shattered the mirror she hadn’t remembered would be there, hung on the fieldstone wall of the penultimate windmill.  The light from the open door of the mill where she slept, on the far end, hadn’t reached much beyond the threshold.
     After a moment of silence, absolute except for the insect-like whine of a motorbike far away, below them, down on the road to the port, Jaime’s disembodied chuckle mocked her but admired her action, fading as he went away.  The whisper of his rope-soled footsteps across the upper terrace vanished too as he reached the steps down to the unpaved driveway and his Jeep, which he had started for just before she threw the rum.  Away from the monastery, he always wore espadrilles.  Dusty black cotton, or, like tonight, jaunty blue and white striped, setting off his sunburnt ankles—a darker bronze than you’d expect for one who worked indoors in cool old thick-walled halls directing choirboys. 
     She heard the engine again startle the somnolent past-midnight air, and the Jeep retreat down the long hill of almond orchards, down the rutted dirt driveway that came out eventually on the main road between Andratx and S’Arraco, the big village and the small, and continued on to Palma, back across the island to Lluc.


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