After the Fall

The tea was getting cold. Peter scowled at the liquid in the porcelain cup for a good three minutes before calling his wife. “Arlette, my tea’s gone cold. Get me a new one, and hurry this time,” he ordered. Arlette smiled and took the cup obediently, then sighed as soon as the kitchen door shut behind her. Her husband had been so wonderful when they had married; it wasn’t until after the Fall he began acting this way. But she couldn’t blame him. All the men were like this now: shouting at their wives, beating and raping them, locking them in their homes. The only instinct the men had left was one of survival, and to them that meant taking women and doing what they pleased with them in order to procreate.

Peter and Arlette had nine children in this bantam bungalow. Three sons, six daughters, the oldest of which, Mabella, was 17 with a husband and three children of her own. Arlette supposed she should be grateful she was Peter’s only wife; in these post-Fall times, most men have at least three. Mabella was one of four wives herself.

When Arlette brought Peter’s tea out, he took it gruffly and didn’t thank her. He didn’t complain, though, and she had grown to register that as a compliment. After a few sips, he gazed at her the way he used to, just for a fleeting moment before returning his eyes to the wall. “Arlette,” he said, setting his drink on the coffee table, “I’ve received an invitation.”

This got an eyebrow raise out of her. “What kind of invitation?” she asked, sitting beside her husband on the worn sofa.

He wiped his hand over his mouth. “A post-Fall celebration.”

No. She would not allow it. This was not a celebration as he called it, it was a place for men to take new brides, hosted once a year. Every man was invited, and every unmarried woman—but those were becoming fewer and further between as the years passed. Of Peter and Arlette’s six daughters, only the youngest was unmarried, and she was seven years old. The second-youngest was eleven and had gotten married two years ago.

“Are you going to go?” was all that came out of her mouth. Her husband’s faint nod was all she needed to stand up and storm down the hallway to her bedroom.

A million things ran through her mind. Amongst them, suicide. Could she really live a life where her once gentle husband was not only abusive and negligent, but also having sex with several women under this home they had shared for twenty years? Yet taking her own life didn’t sound like something she wanted to do. Even after everything Peter had done to her in the years since the Fall—the war that ended in a decimated population—she loved him. And their children, some of which still needed her.

So she decided against suicide, opting instead to murder any woman Peter brought home.

A week after the “celebration,” Peter still hadn’t taken a second wife. Arlette asked him about it one day, and he replied, “They aren’t women I would want to marry. Most of them are children. You’re my wife, and that’s good enough for me.”

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New Poems!

Distorted Reality. This is a new poem that I’ve written for Triond.com and I would love you to read it and give me some feedback!

Oh, and while you’re at it, please read my other poem, The Serpent.

Book Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither

Picture from here.

Wither, the first novel in Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden Trilogy, is a dystopian tale of arranged marriage and secret love. There is a healthy dose of disturbing details in this book also, but it is very elegantly and eloquently written.

(I’m going to take this opportunity to issue a SPOILER ALERT, just in case!)

In a book like this, there are so many characters for the author to choose to antagonize, and I was pleasantly surprised when DeStefano didn’t go with the obvious choice. In a story where not being able to choose your husband is the norm, one would expect the groom to be the antagonist. However, in Wither, this is not necessarily the case.

So if you’re into dystopia dosed with a healthy shot of star-crossed love and equal parts creep-factor, pick up a copy of Wither the next time you’re at a bookstore or library. Overall, I’d give this at least 4 stars (out of 5, not 10!).

Freelance Writing

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Not this kind of Helium. Picture from Wikipedia.

So, since I am a poor person, I have decided to start writing on Helium.com. Basically, you write articles/poetry/stories/etc (based on the available “assignments”) and you get a portion of the revenue. It’s not a lot, but it’s more than $0, which is my current income, being a high school student and all. Just thought I’d let you know, in case you’re interested in this kind of thing but don’t know where to start.

To read my articles (which would be greatly appreciated!), go here.

Writing Backwards

Writers are like snowflakes: no two are exactly alike. We all have different methods, unique inspirations, techniques that work for us but may turn out horrendously for another writer. Just as the plotting vs. writing-as-you-go methods are widely debated and compared, as are the chronological vs. all-over-the-place writing.

Personally, I would prefer to write everything in chronological order; however, my mind jumps ahead to scenes that are supposed to happen way at the end of the book, when I’m only writing the second chapter. And I can’t just ignore these scenes that pop up in my head, begging to be poured onto paper ASAP, or I would drive myself crazy!

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I wouldn’t recommend this kind of backwards writing. You might get very confused. Image found here.

Oftentimes, these scenes, chapters, sentences, or what have you, come to me more naturally than the scene I’m trying to get out at the time. When I’m stuck in the scene or chapter I’m writing, these disorganized parts in my head allow me to procrastinate a little—or a lot. But by the same token, they can be a great help when it comes to plotting, as it tells me what needs to happen between the scene I’m working on, and the one that comes to my mind earlier than I expect it to. In the long run, a little bit of disorganization can be a good thing.

So, what about you? Are you adamant about writing chronologically, or do you allow a little bit of story jumping?

Road Trip Wednesday #168: What Do You Love About Writing?

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway‘s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

So, what do I love about writing? To be honest, this is difficult for me, because I love every gritty detail about writing. In this post, though, I’ll focus on character creation. I talk to myself a lot, create scenarios in my head that are not unlike short stories, and often when I act out these situations, I’m playing a character that I have created on the spot. Sometimes I’m a woman in the 1800’s, discussing my distaste for my upcoming nuptials and the husband that will come with it. Alternatively, sometimes I am part of an uncivilized tribe that communicates with primitive grunts. This all comes naturally, and it allows me to create unique, well-rounded, unpredictable characters. And I absolutely love doing this.

Writing is an art, and each character is like my own Mona Lisa—many of them are just as miserable as her, too. Mine to craft from hand, creating a whole person, a whole family, from absolutely nothing. It’s a little like playing God, and I love each of my little paper-people as if they were my own children (in my own head, I sometimes even refer to them as such).

Feel free to post your own responses to this week’s question in the comments!