Non-writers may not quite understand this, so let me make an analogy. I’m sure you all like to read (or you wouldn’t be here). You must have encountered page-turners, books you cannot put down, so you just keep turning pages and don’t do any of whatever else you had been planning to do.
Once in a very great while, I have a writing session like that. The story takes over and I can’t tear myself away from the keyboard, and as soon as I try the sentences fill my brain and I can’t think about anything else. It’s rare, but amazing when it happens. And I went on quite the page-turning writing jag tonight, hitting over 3,000 words for the day before I stopped. And I didn’t run an errand I’d planned on and I didn’t cook what I meant to for dinner…but that can happen tomorrow.
Funnily enough, up until today I’d been having a kind of second-week slump. I was keeping up with my word count, but it was mechanical. I was turning out something acceptable, but nothing exceptional, and it was an act of will to move forward.
Then tonight I hit an intense emotional scene I hadn’t even planned on until…yesterday or this morning, I forget. And away we went, me and Maggie and the story.
First I creeped myself out describing the horrible magician’s awful workroom. Then I brought the magician in and terrified Maggie and myself a bit more. If I scare the reader half as much, I have a good scene on my hands. 🙂
So it was a great writing day today. Albeit an exhausting one!
And after all that, I obviously have to give you the scene. Or at least part of it. It’s maybe a little purple prose-y in spots, but that’s what revisions are for.
Maggie has snuck into the magician’s workroom to look around and…
She knew she was running out of time. She couldn’t risk staying much longer, and maybe if she just went and told Michael what she had seen, he’d have ideas. She looked up from the tabletop. Or maybe she really should drop a torch into the middle of it all and…
And then it was too late, because there were footsteps in the corridor beyond the door.
She looked around even more frantically now, for somewhere to hide, anywhere, anything at all. But the tables all had open space beneath them, the divan was directly against the wall, and there wasn’t even a large cupboard or wardrobe—maybe she should pick up one of those blades, but he had magic and what good was—
“If you wanted to come here, all you had to do was ask.”
How was it that he seemed to fill the towering doorway? How could one sentence from him suck out all the air in this enormous room? Maggie stared at his dark silhouette in the doorway, heart hammering in her chest, mind an absolute blank for an excuse, an explanation. “I was just—I only—”
He stalked into the room, torchlight casting strange shadows on his face. “I always intended to bring you down here. Just as soon as we were wed, my bride. Should I take this as a sign of unmaidenly eagerness?”
And then she truly couldn’t breathe, because a great wall of air struck her like a buffet, whipping through her hair, knocking her stumbling back a few paces, and when she lost her footing entirely it picked her up and slammed her onto the black divan. She tried to sit up, and a new gust of wind shoved her head back against the pillows.
“I won’t think less of you for it.” He was close to the divan now, looming above her. “I find eagerness…very attractive.”
His gaze bored down into her, until she felt his gaze was holding her on the sofa as much as the wind was. She stared into the depths of his eyes and could see no game there. He wasn’t playing, he wasn’t bluffing.
“You can’t…you can’t do anything to me.” She clutched at the idea, desperate and terrified. “You swore, I heard you, you swore, you can’t—”
“True, I swore to do nothing to you against your will. One little word would free my hand. All you have to say is yes. Now say it.”
His eyes held her, bottomless, endless, mesmerizing.
There was no warmth in them, no mercy, no compassion, and for her there was no hope, no chance, he’d win in the end, why was she prolonging it?
“Say yes, Evangelina.”
It was the wrong name. It snapped her out of his hold and she gasped, “No.” She dragged one arm over her eyes, blocking him out. “No, no, no!”
“Silence!” His voice was a whip-crack, cutting through her raw-voiced shriek, and she fell silent.
Tendrils of wind slipped beneath her arm, jerking it up and against the back of the divan. She found herself staring up at him again. He couldn’t touch her, he couldn’t touch her…
He was breathing heavily, glaring down at her. “My vow holds me only until sundown. Then you and I will meet again. And then you will learn very quickly that you play no tricks on me, you pry into nothing that is mine, you never defy me, and you deny me nothing. Now get out!”
She scrambled off the couch, shoved on by the wind, and fled to the door. She ran unseeing down the corridor to the stairs, and his voice followed her up the spiral.
“Until tonight, my bride.” His laughter echoed against the stones, rebounding and reverberating and filling her ears.