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Thursday, March 14, 2013

judge that character #4

Sadly, no one has sent me another character, which means you must suffer with another one of mine...

     “All rise.”
     Arlen Howard rose to stand before the Council – the witch’s equivalent of court – dressed in an outfit she knew would do little to elicit mercy. The plaid skirt was much too short and the overlarge cashmere sweater didn’t hide the white tank beneath it or the snake tattoo that curled around her neck. She looked up sullenly at the five men who sat behind the raised curved desk, all dressed in their black judicial robes. Just like the courtroom across the hall. Except this court was reserved for offenses of a magical nature.
     “Do you have anything to say regarding the events culminating in the destruction of your parents’ barn?” one of them asked.
     Arlen had known they would ask her to speak. But every time she tried to think all she saw was the barn going up in flames. Even now she could almost smell the way the air had been fragranced with the last scents of summer and smoke from the burning hay. She could see in her mind’s eye the way the fire had grown so quickly, leaping like an acrobat, orange flames climbing like vines through the structure. And she remembered the heat of it – so hot – like hell, she thought, wondering, just for an instant, what it might be like to walk into that fire and burn. But what could she say? How could she make them understand how seductive the flames had been? How could she explain the way it felt to be so close to burning?

Now, feel free to judge my character, or, better yet, send me one of yours. Two or three paragraphs from your chapter one should be sufficient to: unicornbellsubmissions@gmail.com. There are still two days left!


Chris said...

It sounds like Arlen has just discovered an ability to set fire and she's mesmerized by its destructive power. I can't tell from this paragraph if she's remorseful or vengeful; maybe she's a pyromaniac or has some other mental imbalance that prevents her from understanding the consequences of her actions? Is there some sort of 'good witch/bad witch' judgement to follow, or am I way off here?

This is a fun exercise and I hope more people participate. Your notes on my submission were very helpful!

mshatch said...

Ooh, that IS an interesting interpretation - thank you! And I'm so glad my comments were helpful! I find critiquing each others' works - with honesty and kindness - extremely helpful and I hope some more people will chime in, too.

Patchi said...

Here is what I got: Arlen can't help but stand out. I don't know if she does it on purpose or if she can't help it. She is attracted to fire and the way it makes her feel. I can't tell if she set the barn on fire, but she did nothing to put it out. Mesmerized, she let the barn burn down.

I love your descriptions in this piece. I really wanted to keep reading!

mshatch said...

thank you Patchi :)

Jess said...

I agree with Patch--I don't think she necessarily did it, but she seems like a character who maybe ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time a lot :)

Jess said...

Make that Patchi--sorry, my letter "i" is sticking on my computer lately :)