Layanna

Lafayette

Man of Artistic Fingers
Joined
Jun 14, 2016
Messages
330
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
#1
This is suppose to be a story about fifty to maybe seventy pages long. I don't want to give you any ideas of what I'm trying to do rather I want see how it rises or falls.
Layanna

Layanna’s coffee brown eyes gazed out her cottage window and then they sighed. She loved the Emerald Light Mountains, the Emerald Valley and the people she served as a healer.

Her reverie was broken by a knock on her open kitchen door and a cheerful baritone voice.

“Looking out the window again, eh?” The baritone belonged to John Planter a local orchard grower. “Yer gaze appears ta me ta be one of sadness. Why is that?”

Layanna smiled ruefully at the short stubby balding hair man. His hairy brawny arms were holding a wooden box of fruit. “It’s the usual John my life is going nowhere.”

“Well, what’s wrong with nowhere?”

“Nowhere has no destination. That’s why it’s called nowhere. I want to go somewhere, but I don’t know where somewhere is at or how to get there.”

“Somewhere is with me, my love,” replied John grinning. “I’ve told ya before I love everything about ya from your bright eyes with their long lashes to your long cascading chocolate brown hair around your gentle shoulders and those cherry red lips with that warm and caring smile. Marry me and I’ll give you many offspring. Even though I don’t spread my seed around I know I’m virile.”

Layanna laughed and ruffled the stubby man’s balding head, “Oh, I know you are virile and a good man. You will make some fair maiden a very good husband. You’re the salt of the earth, but I need something more than salt.”

“More like pepper,” replied John raising his hairy eyebrows.

Layanna’s slender frame tilted back, she folded her arms across below her chest and her gaze went upward, “Perhaps.”

Sad, but still cheerful, John answered, “Perhaps if you keep praying the Creator will send you Prince Pepper.”

“Perhap. Perhaps,” she replied as John Planter sat the fruit box on the floor next to her kitchen table. With a shrug of his shoulders John walked out.

CHAPTER 2​

THE CALLING​

The next morning as Layanna was eating a breakfast of blue cherries, Diss cheese, and sipping blossom tea she heard a flutter of wings. She looked toward her open window and saw a large blue jay. The blue jay stared at her with both eyes turning his head, but said nothing. Layanna stood up, calmly walked to the blue jay while sipping her still warm tea. “Hello, Thirstan what brings you here?”

“The High Mage desires your attendance.”

“Oh really,” replied Layanna. “Whatever for?”

“He did not say,” came a quiet answer.

Taking another sip of tea the woman’s dark brows frowned. “Hmm. When does he desire my presences?”

“Today, at sun high.”

“Today! So soon? Oh dear, and I was planning on doing some gardening for some herbs” Layanna then sighed, “Oh well, when the High Mage calls one must answer. Tell Master Gane I will be there.”

“Thirstan wants a cracker! Thirstan wants a cracker!”

Layanna smiled, “Of course, Thirstan wants a cracker. What will it be cinnamon or honey?”

“Cinnamon cinnamon.”

*****​

Layanna Wand arrived a few strokes before noon. The climb up to the High Mage’s cottage was long and steep, but the green clad woman (she love green for it was earthy and represented life) was used to long and hard exertion and so was sweatless when she arrived.

Upon her arrival she noted the place hadn’t changed since her last visit. It was a mess. Books, scrolls, maps, charts, tubes, and bottles were strewn all over the dust coated room.

She smiled to herself. This is what happens when you’re the millennial bachelor.

“Good to see you again, Layanna,” said the fat man in the drab green coat as he played with his brown buttons. “It’s been awhile since I’ve seen you.” He then paused taking a drag on a very fat cigar, “Just how long has it been?”

“A year and some months,” she calmly answered. Now, get to the point. Why did you, summoned me?

Sensing her impatience he smiled and drolled on, “Oh yes, now I remember,” he replied taking another puff on his stogie, “it was the mayor’s birthday party. We were all invited.” As he continued puffing a cloud of blue smoke drifted around him while rays of sunlight filtered between its’ openings. “You’re probably wondering why, I summoned you?”

“It has crossed my mind.”

“A contagion has broken out in the Cherry Tree Valley and it is spreading.”

“That never sounds good,” replied Layanna seriously. “What are the symptoms?”

The High Mage paused with insouciance, “The victims turned a ghastly green or blue all over their bodies, experience shakes, nausea, and fevers, but worse of all they attract stinger ants by the hundreds. It has killed over 500 people. Its cause is unknown.”

“Doesn’t Cherry Tree Valley have a Master Healer of their own?”

“They did,” Gane replied taking another drag of his cigar watching the smoke swirling away. “Unfortunately, Harold also died of the contagion along with his apprentice. I would go, however I’m too old and fat for such a strenuous journey.”

“Oh, I don’t think you’re too old,” replied Layanna seriously.

“That’s kind of you, Layanna. However, someone needs to go …and…”

“And that someone is me,” finished Layanna. “But why me? Surely, you have other healers more qualified than me?”

“Because, my dear,” replied Gane staring at his smoke circles, “you need the experience. You have been a healer and I might add a very good healer for more than five years now. Yet you have left Emerald Valley only once. That is not enough to gain experience as a healer or a mage. Besides that, you’re young and healthy.”

“But, I’m not as gifted as Harold is or was,” replied Layanna nervously.”

“Ah, but you’re resourceful,” answered the High Mage grinning at her.”

“I’m also expendable,” sighed, Layanna.

Master Gane smile, “Tut tut, my dear. I wouldn’t put it that way.”

Layanna smiled back, “No you wouldn’t you’re too polite.”

Sensing that she was dismissed she walked toward the door to leave then turned her head when she heard the old man clear his throat.

“Layanna remember inside you have magic and strength.”
 

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
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#2
There's a couple of concerns I'd have at this stage -

1. POV use - This is definitely something you could look to tighten to draw in more of the character experience. At the moment she is mainly just talking and reacting to what people say, and doesn't show much of any innter drive or conflict that might make her feel more alive, sympathetic, and someone we should root for. After all, by the third section she's effectively expecting to die, and her response is to simply smile.

2. Story - hasn't begun yet. This is all basically warming up the reader before the story actually starts, when really it would be helpful to start the story at the first word. So this all comes across as background information that doesn't really do much expect provide context rather than story.

I'm also left wondering at what age group you're aiming at, as I'm not sure at this point.
 

Lafayette

Man of Artistic Fingers
Joined
Jun 14, 2016
Messages
330
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
#3
Your confirmation is good. I'm telling the reader what she is thinking and feeling instead of showing and I don't like this method. Currently, I'm stuck. I know what is wrong with it, but I don't know how to fix it. Perhaps, starting the story sooner as you suggest would solve this problem. However, I like setting the mood and character first, but then again my way is not working.

This story started out as birthday present for wife and was darker. A friend of mine told me this was not the way to go in that my wife would prefer something lighter. On reflection I deemed he was right and so wrote it in that mode. Nonetheless, I like my original idea better in that my heroine runs into a schitzophrenic villain.

Thanks for your input. If you have any more please feel free to give.
 

CTRandall

I have my very own plant pot!
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#4
Perhaps a better start would be in Cherry Tree Valley with the contagion? Maybe we're there when Master Harold dies? That would give a clear sense of drama and the stakes in the story. Or maybe you could start with Layanna's arrival there? It would be easy to fill in her backstory and relationship with Master Gane in bits and pieces as you go.

Setting the mood and character is fine and good but I don't think your current opening does that (Brian said why). And if you need a lighter story for your wife, perhaps that should be a different story completely. Unless you're aiming for over-the-top, absurd humour, deadly contagion is difficult to make light. If this story idea is dark, tryimg to ligjten it runs the risk of just making it bland, grey and wishy-washy.
 

Lafayette

Man of Artistic Fingers
Joined
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Messages
330
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
#5
I will try a variation of your idea. Your's is a lot better than what I have. Thank you.

Speaking of variation there seems to be a misunderstanding. I have already written and finished a different form of this story for my wife in July. Her version is the lighter one, one that young kids could read without having nightmares.

Even though, I'm not out to cause nightmares I believe a villain with schizophrenia is a dark subject.
 
Last edited:

chrispenycate

resident pedantissimo
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#6
Layanna

Layanna’s coffee brown eyes gazed out her cottage window and then they sighed.
Probably a hyphen in 'coffee-brown', and the idea of the eyes 'sighing' doesn't touch me.
She loved the Emerald Light Mountains, the Emerald Valley and the people she served as a healer.

Her reverie was broken by a knock on her open kitchen door and a cheerful baritone voice.

“Looking out the window again, eh?” The baritone belonged to John Planter
comma
a local orchard grower. “Yer gaze appears ta me ta be one of sadness. Why is that?”

Layanna smiled ruefully at the short stubby balding hair man.
ommas separating off adjectives (short, stubby, balding) and do you really need the 'hair'?
His hairy
comma
brawny arms were holding a wooden box of fruit. “It’s the usual
comma Punctuate - full-stop (period) or semi-colon)
my life is going nowhere.”

“Well, what’s wrong with nowhere?”

“Nowhere has no destination. That’s why it’s called nowhere. I want to go somewhere, but I don’t know where somewhere is at or how to get there.”

“Somewhere is with me, my love,” replied John grinning. “I’ve told ya before I love everything about ya from your bright eyes with their long lashes to your long cascading chocolate brown hair around your gentle shoulders and those cherry red lips with that warm and caring smile.
a bit over the top in his descriptive?
Marry me and I’ll give you
Why not 'ya'? And I'm not sure about all those 'your's - possibly, to keep the dialect feel, 'er's?
many offspring. Even though I don’t spread my seed around I know I’m virile.”

Layanna laughed and ruffled the stubby man’s balding head, “Oh, I know you are virile and a good man. You will make some fair maiden a very good husband. You’re the salt of the earth, but I need something more than salt.”

“More like pepper,” replied John raising his hairy eyebrows.

Layanna’s slender frame tilted back, she folded her arms across below her chest and her gaze went upward, “Perhaps.”

Sad, but still cheerful, John answered, “Perhaps if you keep praying the Creator will send you Prince Pepper.”

“Perhap. Perhaps,” she replied as John Planter sat the fruit box on the floor next to her kitchen table. With a shrug of his shoulders John walked out.

CHAPTER 2​

THE CALLING​

The next morning as Layanna was eating a breakfast of blue cherries, Diss cheese, and sipping blossom tea she heard a flutter of wings. She looked toward her open window and saw a large blue jay. The blue jay stared at her with both eyes turning his head,
I can't picture 'both eyes turning his head'
but said nothing. Layanna stood up,
comma splice (probably 'and')
calmly walked to the blue jay while sipping her still warm tea. “Hello, Thirstan
comma
what brings you here?”

“The High Mage desires your attendance.”

“Oh really,” replied Layanna. “Whatever for?”

“He did not say,” came a quiet answer.

Taking another sip of tea the woman’s dark brows frowned.
she drinks tea through her eyebrows? Oh, I occasionally filter it through my moustache, but…
“Hmm. When does he desire my presences
There are two of her?
?”

“Today, at sun high.”

“Today! So soon? Oh dear, and I was planning on doing some gardening for some herbs” Layanna then sighed, “Oh well, when the High Mage calls one must answer. Tell Master Gane I will be there.”

“Thirstan wants a cracker! Thirstan wants a cracker!”

Layanna smiled, “Of course, Thirstan wants a cracker. What will it be
comma
cinnamon or honey?”

“Cinnamon cinnamon.”

*****​

Layanna Wand arrived a few strokes before noon. The climb up to the High Mage’s cottage was long and steep, but the green clad woman (she love
loved
green for it was earthy and represented life) was used to long and hard exertion and so was sweatless when she arrived.

Upon her arrival she noted the place hadn’t changed since her last visit. It was a mess. Books, scrolls, maps, charts, tubes, and bottles were strewn all over the dust
hyphen
coated room.

She smiled to herself. This is what happens when you’re the millennial bachelor.

“Good to see you again, Layanna,” said the fat man in the drab green coat as he played with his brown buttons. “It’s been awhile since I’ve seen you.” He then paused taking a drag on a very fat cigar, “Just how long has it been?”

“A year and some months,” she calmly answered. Now, get to the point. Why did you, summoned me?

Sensing her impatience he smiled and drolled on, “Oh yes, now I remember,” he replied taking another puff on his stogie, “it was the mayor’s birthday party. We were all invited.” As he continued puffing a cloud of blue smoke drifted around him while rays of sunlight filtered between its’
no apostrophe
openings. “You’re probably wondering why,
do you really need this comma?
I summoned you?”

“It has crossed my mind.”

“A contagion has broken out in the Cherry Tree Valley and it is spreading.”

“That never sounds good,” replied Layanna seriously. “What are the symptoms?”

The High Mage paused with insouciance, “The victims turned a ghastly green or blue all over their bodies, experience shakes, nausea, and fevers, but worse of all they attract stinger ants by the hundreds. It has killed over 500 people. Its cause is unknown.”

“Doesn’t Cherry Tree Valley have a Master Healer of their own?”

“They did,” Gane replied taking another drag of his cigar watching the smoke swirling away. “Unfortunately, Harold also died of the contagion along with his apprentice. I would go, however I’m too old and fat for such a strenuous journey.”

“Oh, I don’t think you’re too old,” replied Layanna seriously.

“That’s kind of you, Layanna. However, someone needs to go …and…”

“And that someone is me,” finished Layanna. “But why me? Surely, you have other healers more qualified than me?”

“Because, my dear,” replied Gane staring at his smoke circles, “you need the experience. You have been a healer and I might add a very good healer for more than five years now. Yet you have left Emerald Valley only once. That is not enough to gain experience as a healer or a mage. Besides that, you’re young and healthy.”

“But, I’m not as gifted as Harold is or was,” replied Layanna nervously.”

“Ah, but you’re resourceful,” answered the High Mage grinning at her.”

“I’m also expendable,” sighed, Layanna.

Master Gane smile, “Tut tut, my dear. I wouldn’t put it that way.”

Layanna smiled back, “No you wouldn’t
Punctuate
you’re too polite.”

Sensing that she was dismissed she walked toward the door to leave
comma
then turned her head when she heard the old man clear his throat.

“Layanna
comma
remember inside you have magic and strength.”
 

Lafayette

Man of Artistic Fingers
Joined
Jun 14, 2016
Messages
330
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
#7
Thank you for your commas, er I mean comments. And I thought I was getting better at punctuation. I gotta get out from under this rock.

Outside of improving my grammar do you have any other ideas of how I can improve the story?
 

chrispenycate

resident pedantissimo
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Messages
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#8
There are very good reasons why I concentrate on grammar - I wouldn't want to inflict my personal style on anybody. But decent grammar and punctuation is useful, too, so as I can manage that, I get out my little red pen…

However, I will dare to say I find this reads a little synthetic - the dialogue doesn't flow nuturally, and if anyone can say
paused with insouciance
and make it sound anything but affected I want him, her or it in my list of audiobook readers :D[/Quote][/Quote]
 
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