Prompt: A Piano Bar

Prompt: Piano Bar

I got a book for Christmas from my Mom, filled with all kinds of writing prompts. This is the first prompt in the book. I kind of messed up on writing it as the prompt is actually: A Strange Request at a Piano Bar. I forgot all about the strange request part. Another thing about these prompts is that they include ten words you are supposed to use for them. I used all ten of them (that was my main focus and probably why I forgot about half of the actual prompt itself). Here are the ten words I had to use:

  • Carnival
  • Sprained
  • Mask
  • Oxidation
  • Awkward
  • Apple
  • Juvenile
  • Controversy
  • Twirl
  • Sassasfras

Anyway, look for the words in the prompt, and please let me know what you think of it!


The carnival is in town. Tents and rides are being set up as campers and trailers pull into the lot next to the site. It isn’t set to open until the following night, but there is a kind of hustle and bustle going on. Everyone working in that space knows what to do. They work in a forced harmony. The kind that comes from years of doing the same thing, over and over, in cities across the country. Sure, there are subtle differences in each city, quirks of the lots that they set up in, but overall, the setup and takedown are the same. 

“There’s a piano bar not too far from here,” Caleb explains, a half-eaten apple in his hand. 

Caleb runs one of the games that seems impossible to win. Oh, people get close enough to winning, but they rarely ever do. His prizes are getting old. Some stuffed animals that he has on display are likely older than him. He has been with the carnival his whole life. His parents met in a town just like this, his Dad running the very same game he is. His Mom, a recent and young widow. They fell in love during that week the carnival was in town and his Mom ended up leaving her old life behind, to travel with his Dad. Caleb was born a year later. He’s somewhere in his late twenties to mid-thirties. His age hard to pin down. Sometimes, you think you can guess it based on something he says. But usually, you can’t tell. It has become something of a game to him, one that his parents are in on. 

“A piano bar?” Jilly asks, her head tilting to the side. Her long and braided hair falling in front of her tattooed face. There probably isn’t a space on her body that is unmarked by ink. She has been traveling with this carnival for a couple years now, but before, she worked with another. She doesn’t talk much about her previous experiences. Jilly is another one whose age is difficult to tell. She looks young but the way she talks about her life when she does, it makes her sound older. 

“Fras you should come,” Jilly says, to the newest member of the carnival. 

Fras, or Sassafras, looks up from the task she was working on. She has heard Caleb bring up the piano bar before. He’s been talking about it, on and off, for a month, maybe more. Fras frowns before answering. She knows that Jilly is rolling her eyes at the frown, even if she can’t see her do it.

“We have so much work to do…” She says, trying to appeal to their tendencies towards working hard. 

“And we’ll finish it soon. You are nearly done anyway. Caleb, pick us up in an hour.”

Caleb flashes Jilly a grin, and then he bows low before he speaks up, a twinkle in his eyes.

“As you wish.”

He walks away, tossing that apple core in a trash bin.


“And then I stabbed him in the gut!” Jilly exclaims.

With a twirl that makes her braids whip around her head, she goes to face Fras with a frown.

“She isn’t even listening to us, Leb.” 

“I hate when you call me that, Illy.” Caleb retorts, but the nickname Illy has never bothered Jilly. Everyone knows that, even Caleb.

Fras sighs and looks over at her two companions. She is in a funk, and she knows it. She needs to pull her head out of it. But she feels an immense amount of guilt over what happened with Rigsby in the last town that they were in. She knows that a sprained ankle in the grand scheme of things isn’t  terrible. But Rigsby’s job requires him to be on his feet all the time, and he’s been out of commission. Even Rigsby himself has told Fras that it wasn’t her fault, but she doesn’t believe him. She knows she has been needlessly awkward around him. In Fras’ defense, she is an awkward person even in the best of times. 

“I am just thinking about Ri—….” 

“Stop thinking about that old man,” Jilly says. She slings an arm around Fras and pulls her tight against her. Fras can smell whatever perfume Jilly uses, a scent that she can’t readily recognize. Something that reminds her of flowers, but none that she can name.

“I—…”

“Jilly is right,” Caleb says, with a look back at the two of them. He has a kind of nervous energy, jittery tonight, that Fras isn’t sure she has ever seen from him before. “Besides, Rigsby is over it. I think he’s been enjoying bossing everyone around to help him out.”

Fras knew that Caleb had a point with that. Everyone has been grumbling about it, wondering if his sprain has improved and he is just milking now. Still, the guilt swirls around in Fras, but she tries to tamper it down.

“Okay,” she says.

“Okay what?” Caleb prompts while Jilly gives a one armed squeeze that Fras knows is supposed to be comforting and not suffocating.

“Okay, I will stop worrying about him.”

“Good!” Jilly and Caleb say at the same time.

It causes Fras to laugh, a true one, not one of her forced ones. 


“There are too many juveniles in this bar,” Caleb says aghast, as they enter. 

Fras gives a quick look around the place, and sure enough , there are a lot of kids in the place. Or maybe the more accurate description would be that there are too many families in the place. She doesn’t know what time it is, but it must be after dinner. It wasn’t dark on the walk to the bar, but it will be soon.

“Don’t cause a scene, Leb.” Jilly says, with that patent eye roll of hers. She tugs a mask over her face as she says this. The mask has been around her neck, and Fras originally thought it was a scarf or something she was wearing.

“Don’t cause a scene you say, as you pull a mask over your face?” Caleb asks, the tone of his voice fighting amusement. 

“You can still see my eyes,” Jilly replies, as if that matters any. 

Jilly moves away from them, heading towards the bar where a man in an ill-fitting suit is seated. She leans against the bar, catching the man’s attention. Fras can picture the look that Jilly is giving him. The man’s face is red, and Fras can’t remember if it was red from before he looked at Jilly, or after. Caleb lets out a groan as he watches all of this, and then he is tugging Fras towards an empty table not too far from the piano.

“Won’t it be too loud near the piano?” Fras asks, but Caleb ignores her.


Caleb stays in a dark kind of mood while they enjoy their first round of drinks. Others from the carnival make their way to the piano bar, and soon their small table is feeling a little cramped. Jilly is still talking to the man in the suit, she hasn’t bothered to look their way once. Fras feels a little like she is suffocating and extracts herself from the table with no one shouting drink orders at her.

She makes her to the bar and leans her elbows on it. She is next to Jilly and the mystery-ill-fitted-suit-man. She can just make out what he is saying to her through the din of voices. A lackluster stroke of a piano key sounds.

“And the oxidation of the wine…” 

Fras wonders how long Jilly has sat at this bar, listening to the man drone on and on about a drink he isn’t even drinking. His glass looks like it is full of some dark liquor, and she also wonders how many drinks Jilly has gotten out of him.

“Why are you wearing that mask, anyway?” The man asks, as if he suddenly just now noticed that Jilly was wearing one.

The bartender notices Fras, and she gives her order. Out of the corner of her eye, she notices Jilly shrug of her shoulders. 

“Boredom,” Jilly replies.

“Oh,” the man says, a little uncertainly. 

“I work for the carnival,” Jilly continues.

“That makes some sense,” the man says, and then hurriedly he adds, “because I haven’t seen you around here before.” 

Fras gets her drink. She thinks for a moment about placing a hand on Jilly’s shoulder, making her presence known, interrupting this odd ritual of her friend’s, but she decides not to. She takes her drink, tips the bartender, and then wanders away. She doesn’t go back to the table.


The piano player has finally begun to play. Caleb seems to be in brighter spirits. He is sitting closest to the piano, his chair turned away from the rest of the table but no one seems to mind. No one even seems to notice. Fras wonders the last time she has seen Caleb look like that, and she doesn’t think she ever has. She doesn’t think it just has to do with the music, either. 

She stops studying Caleb, and instead, turns her focus to the man seated at the piano. He is wearing clothes that have seen better days, but he doesn’t look shabby for it. Maybe it is just all in the way he carries himself. He has an effortless sort of confidence, and he plays good. Probably better than is actually needed at a place full of drunks. She sees him stealing glances at Caleb, never once missing a key, never once making the piano sound discordant. He looks damn near as happy as Caleb. 

Fras stops watching the two of them, feeling suddenly like she is intruding on something. Rigsby gets her attention by asking for another drink. She feels guilty again, and offers to put it on her tab.


“He started talking about the controversy of wine, Fras. He doesn’t even work with wine or drink it. Says he can’t stand the taste, but he’s fascinated by it all the same. He said, life has cursed him. He should have been a sommelier, but he can’t be.”

Jilly is drunk. Drunker than Fras has seen her in a while. They are walking back to the lot with a group of other people from the carnival. Caleb isn’t with them.

“He shouldn’t be as attractive as he is, Sassy.” Jilly groans.

“I think you drank too much,” Fras says.

It wasn’t like the man was unattractive but Fras doesn’t know how Jilly spent so many hours talking to him. 

“He gave me his number,” Jilly continues. “Maybe I’ll call him in the morning.”

“See if he is still fascinating in the light of the morning, and with sobriety?” Fras asks, not necessarily unkindly, but the way Jilly reacts, it makes Fras think she should have watched her tone. 

“Yes,” Jilly says, stiffly. Embarrassed, even though embarrassment isn’t something Jilly usually exhibits. 

“Sorry, tell me more about your non-wine-drinking-sommelier,” Fras says, trying to undo whatever it was she just did. 

Jilly hesitates all of a fraction of a second, before going back to talking about the man in the ill-fitting suit. Fras wonders if she ever got his name.

December 2020 Prompt: Pots

Prompt: Pots

A prompt! Huzzah! I have missed writing these so much. Writing this one was a bit of a struggle at first. I knew I wanted to write from the point of view of the pots (and I went with cooking pots and not like plant pots) and I wrote about 500 words with a bunch of different pots before this idea came to me. It’s from one pot’s point of view, so please enjoy!

There was an odor wafting through the kitchen. Most people who could smell it would likely call it a bad odor. Not terrible, by any means, but not good. There was a young man standing in front of a stove, cooking… something. All kinds of things were being tossed into the concoction — a concoction that resembled food if you squinted — and nothing seemed to help the smell. It was a faintly burnt kind of smell, hadn’t quite crossed over into the stench category yet. The young man, arguably the chef of the evening, seem undeterred. He had a look of concentration on his face, and a hum leaving his lips. 

He seemed satisfied with what he was doing. 

The pot he was using, on the other hand, was an old one. It had been gifted to the young man as a graduation present, and it had sat in boxes throughout the young man’s college career. Mostly forgotten about until he found an apartment with a decent kitchen, and a woman to impress. The pot, it had missed being used for food. It had missed being in the thick of things, hanging from a rack in the kitchen, and always being around. Always knowing what the family was up to. Being used to make things that tasted good, according to the family. That smelled good, according to whoever was eating. Pots… they don’t have noses.  They don’t have mouths, either. It isn’t like they can taste what is being put in the them. Not… not in the traditional sense, at least. But, this pot, it had been around for awhile before its temporary retirement into an old box. It could remember when decent meals were cooked with it. It might not be able to taste a thing (or thankfully smell) but it knew that what it was being used for was… a monstrosity. 

The pot didn’t know whether to feel happy with finally being put to some use or not. Was it truly better to used for something like this than to waste away in a box?  The pot wasn’t sure. It liked to think that any culinary experience it provided was… was better than wasting away. 

“Are you almost done, Gavin?” A voice the pot didn’t recognize asked, entering the small kitchen space. Not like pots have ears to hear with — but they do hear all the same. 

“Almost, Cyn!” Gavin said, exuberantly.

“It… it smells interesting,” and then a head peeked over Gavin’s shoulders to peer into the mess in the pot. “Looks interesting too.”

Gavin seemed undeterred by the tone of voice. Nothing, apparently, could bring him down. The pot had always liked that about Gavin, it supposed. And it wished it could make the food taste better than it knew it would. 


Time doesn’t really mean much to a pot. All this pot knew was that it was being used, more and more often. Not always by Gavin, sometimes by Cyn and a few memorable experiences of being used by Gavin’s mother once more. The pot had really missed her cooking. The pot was happy, overall, to being used again and Gavin seemed to be turning into a better cook, each time he attempted a meal. 

“This is Cyn’s favorite,” Gavin said, and the pot knew that Gavin was speaking with the brand new puppy the couple had bought to match their brand new house and new kitchen. If anyone cared for the pot’s opinion, it really liked the new kitchen.

The puppy was sleeping on his bed that had been dragged into the kitchen. It didn’t respond to Gavin, and while the pot wished it could, it didn’t either. It also had some pointers it wanted to give to Gavin. Life would be much easier for cooking utensils if they could help their people out. Because the pot knew all about what recipe Gavin was attempting.

It was ambitious for him. The pot also knew Cyn by this point, and it knew that even if the food tasted like tar in her mouth, she would smile and say it was delicious. Gavin seemed nervous and the pot wondered if it had to do with the meal he was butchering, or something else. The pot could read and understand Gavin the best in the house. Probably since it had known Gavin from his childhood. 

“I hope she says yes,” Gavin said, and the pot felt like Gavin was telling it that instead of the puppy. 


It was a house, a couple of kids, and another dog later. The pot had long ago been joined by newer pots and pans, but Gavin always had a tendency to gravitate towards it. The pot was happy with that because none of the newer ones seemed to enjoy the creative license that he took when cooking.

No need to remind the pot that it too hadn’t really appreciated those odd little experiments and cooking shortcuts that Gavin took in the beginning. But, these days, it did. 

“We are going to make something special for Mom, okay?” Gavin was saying to the young children standing around the stove with him. The pot had no idea how old the kids were. All it knew was there was no longer a lot of crying, and spit up. The kids were mobile and sometimes the pot was used as a drum, being banged on by spoons and other silverware. It didn’t think it made good music but the kids seemed to enjoy it. 

“Okay!” said one of the small children. 

Gavin smiled at the excitement in the child’s voice, and he bent down to tweak their nose. Then, he began to explain what he was doing. The pot wanted to correct Gavin on occasion, but it wasn’t like it had a mouth to do so and besides, it seemed like the kids and Gavin were having fun with it… with whatever it was they were making. 


The pot had been placed back in a box. It had no idea how long it had been closed up in the box, jostled around occasionally as it moved. It wondered if now it was finally retired, a sad life of nothing but darkness and no interesting smells, no interesting food being made with it. The pot, it wasn’t ready to retire. It felt as sad as an inanimate object could feel. 

Suddenly, there was light, and a head peeking out at it.

“Hang on, Mar!” The head said, and then hands were picking the pot up, and placing it on a small stove top with only two burners. The pot was in a kitchen again, one that was small and cramped. The kitchen reminded it a lot of where Gavin had lived so long ago, but somehow, more cheerful.

“What are you going to be making, Darcy?” Asked a voice that the pot did not recognize. Darcy was a name the pot knew. Gavin’s oldest daughter and it looked as if she had grown up too. The pot, it felt happy, and a little anxious too as memories of Gavin’s first solo meal in it flashed through its mind. 

“My Dad’s favorite,” Darcy said, “only better.”

The pot wanted to laugh at that, and maybe even cry. Mostly, though, it was happy at being in a kitchen again. 

Back from the depths of NaNoWriMo

It has been way too long since a blog entry. I really had every intention of writing a little summary of my writing day during NaNoWriMo, but I think it just became too many words. And, yanno, that happens sometimes. Best laid plains and all of that rot. 

I did manage to win at NaNoWriMo with 50,3022 words. I did not finish my novel. Mostly, it seems to be 50,000 words of exploring my protagonist and tossing her into some relatively mundane and arguably boring situations. Oh, there was tension, of course. Mysteries that started and needed unraveling. At the very end of those words there was also the potential of a love interest, and I had zero intentions of introducing one to her. Side characters were finding love matches left, right, and center but Wren wasn’t supposed to. But now I have this character by the name of Tobias (because of course he is named Tobias. How many of y’all read Animorphs in your youth?  I read a fair few but never finished the series. But, Tobias. I believe Tobias was my first literary crush and since then I tend to toss a character named Tobias anything with more than like 10k words). I enjoyed getting to know Wren and her friends and family. Most everyone seemed to line up with how I initially imagined them, but of course, there were some surprises. 

I took a few days off that story and I have slowly been climbing back into it. A fresh new scrivener doc labeled 1.5 has been created. I am going to pull scenes and writing from the first, but mostly, start afresh with these new insights I have. This isn’t a second draft. It’s an odd version of the first one, still in process. I am going to try to finagle a more coherent plot, figure out what the main problem actually is, but also just write. Continue to write and not worry about it being any good. Figure out what the actual story is. See where the heck Wren wants me to take her and her world, because I am still a little bit at a loss. 

Going into NaNo, I had not figured out an ending. Spoiler alert: I still have no clue what the ending is. I am stumbling along in the dark, and it is thrilling if not a little frustrating. Hopefully, with this new version of vague plotting and planning, I’ll figure out something.

Anyway, I am proud of myself. I wrote a lot of words last month. I fell in love with streaming the writing process on twitch (and also streaming in general). I am keeping that up. I am going to get back into blogging, though. My goal is at least two entries a week. Some rambling about my writing and mostly, prompts. I have missed prompts. 

Speaking of prompts… I found a list of winter prompts (https://www.writerswrite.co.za/31-writing-prompts-for-december-2020/) and I have selected four at random and they are:

  1. In between
  2. Underpressure
  3. Weak
  4. Pots

Let’s see how many of these I can actually write this month! Angling on working on the first prompt on Friday during a writing stream, we’ll see how it goes. You can follow me at twitch.tv/agingerwrites if you care to. 

Did you end up doing NaNoWriMo?  If so, how did it go? If not, have you ever done it before and do you think you could?

NaNoWriMo Day 3

Good morning!

It is 6:14 and I am just now getting ready to write. My personal word count goal for the day is 1,000 words. I am giving myself a little bit of a break today, but I plan on going harder tomorrow with my goal. But, no spoilers on what that will be. Insert a winky face here.


<.< >.>

I vanished. I managed only to get about 20 or so words before my son woke up. He’s pretending to nap right now, so I’m going to try to squeeze some words out. This is a game we play. His sister goes down for her nap and then he says he wants one, only to pop up a few minutes later with a “HAHA TRICKED YA.” So, I really shouldn’t be writing here. Going to go hop over to the other monitor and write. HUZZAH! 


I did some writing! My son actually did fall asleep, and I streamed again. I apparently really like streaming myself while writing this novel. Bizarre. This isn’t me. I blame the year 2020. Anyway, I passed my personal goal of 1,00 words today and I wrote 1,690! My current count for the novel is: 8,955. I am done writing the novel for the day. 

Chapters one and two are complete… ish. I wanna add some to a couple scenes but for the most part they are done and I’m sailing into chapter three. I am currently working on a scene that I’ve been itching to write. The closest thing I’ll have to a flashback. I get to throw all of my memories of feelings of first friendships into this scene, and I’m pumped for it.

I am starting to get a feel for Wren. Her voice is starting to come more and more easily to me, and to feel more real. Less stilted and fake. This is good, and we’ll see if I can keep it up. 

Y’all. NaNoWriMo is going great for me right now and I am going to bask in that feeling because I know… I know a wall is going to come and hit me. Or I’ll smack into it. But I kind of like the mental image of the wall being the active individual and hitting me.

Okay, my daughter sounds like she is awake so I’ll end this writing blog right now. 

Catch y’all later!

NaNoWriMo Day 2!

Good morning! It is 5:33am and I am going to be trying an early morning stream to get some words in! My goal for today lines right up with NaNoWriMo at 1,667. I’ll likely try to finish that before the kiddos wake up this morning, but we will see. Time changes are stupid. Anyway, let’s get to writing!


I have stopped streaming and I managed to get 1,363 words done in that time. I had music playing in the background, but apparently it broke twitch’s terms on accident, and now there’s no music with the video of my stream. I’m embarrassed but I know it happens a lot. I’ll need to do better research on what to play. If anyone has any resources on playlists that meet Twitch’s terms, let me know! Okay, it is 6:54 and I am going to try to write a little more. I stopped streaming because I heard my kids stirring but, they haven’t actually gotten up, so more words is a go! Catch you later.


No words written. It is 6:59. The mystery of my idiocy with the music has been solved, and I have found a solution. And my son woke up, so! I’ll try to get the rest of my words later. Buh-bye!


It is 12:54pm and I am sitting down for a surprise afternoon writing session! I have to write little over 300 words still to make it to 1,667 for the daily word count. I am starting the final scene for chapter 2. Seems fitting too because the scene is taking place at lunch time. Wren will be meeting up with her best friend, Edie. She has an unanswered text taunting her. We’ll see what happens!


It is 1:34 and I have written 2,151 words! Surpassed my own word count goal for the day. Edie and Wren’s lunch has begun, and they are discussing their own little dramas in their lives. I ended mid conversation. I think I am going to call it for the day. 

Woo! NaNoWriMo!

How is your writing going if you are writing?

NaNoWriMo Day 1

Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo, and my personal goal is to write 5,000 words. My husband intends to take the kids out of the house for a decent chunk of the day, and I plan to get as much writing done as I can. No one is up yet, but I imagine my kid’s will begin to stir soon. Setting up my bujo for the month of November, and this week, took a bit longer than normal, but after this rather boring ramble, I’ll get to focusing!

So, follow along on this blog. Each day I plan on writing about how my writing went. What??? More words you say??? What idiocy! But, I figure, it might amuse me and sometimes when you get stuck, writing anything else, can unstuck you. I’ll try to jot down the time I wrote each section of the blog entry. And we’ll see how long I keep this up! These first two paragraphs are brought to you by 6:30am. The new 6:30 am because time changes are stupid. Buh-bye! … for now.


I finished setting up my writing space and my son woke up. Zero words written thus far. <.< IT IS FIIINEEE. sincerly, 6:45am me.


I decided to stream myself writing today. I hate when people WATCHING me write. When teachers would look over my shoulders when I wrote as a kid or in school, it just… cringe. When my husband walks into the room and I’m writing my immediate response is to minimize what I’m writing. Which is stupid. I don’t mind people READING my roughest of drafts once I’m done writing them. Just the process bothers me. So, streaming made me feel itchy and awkward… but, I also kind of liked it and I think I’m going to try it again. So far I am at 575 words, and it is nearly 12:30. This is not where I wanted to be today. But! TIME TO PRESS ON. Going to switch writing spots and test out how smoothly scrivener works with me jumping around. Catch y’all later. 


It is nearly two pm, and I have switched to my kitchen table. I am trying some ambient noises for writing. I first did forest sounds from the forest app, and then switched to wintry sounds. It is kind of blustery and windy here today, so that seems fitting. I keep seeing bursts of what looks like intense snow but nothing is actually sticking to the ground. It looks damp and fall-y today. Anyway, I have reached 2k and then some. I am going to take a yoga break and then get back to writing. There’s no way I’ll make the 10k, but I still feel confidant about the 5k!


It is 4 and I am at 3,889 words. I still feel pretty confident I an reach the 5k mark and I’m still confident there’s no way I’ll reach the 10k mark. Which is fine! 5k is still really impressive, if and when, I get there. I have finished chapter 1 and am moving onto the chapter two! The tenses for the novel are already all over the place, and hopefully, I stop switching them. 

Okay! Knuckles have been cracked and it is time to get back to work.


It is about 6:30 and I am going to be ending my day with 5,114 words written! I am proud of how much I actually wrote today. It would have been nice to write even more, but I think I have hit my limit. And, I had fun writing in a bunch of random places all over my house. I actually had fun streaming my writing, and rambling as I wrote. I will possibly stream some mornings when I am writing, but I want to figure out a better layout for the stream. 

Anyway, today was a success! HUZZAH!

Preptober 26

The struggle is real. 

I have hit that wall that I hit when I’m pantsing my stories, but at least I am working on an outline. Surpassing that wall — of what my brain and heart and soul and other dramatic language regarding  body parts is blocking — is difficult. I have a … feeling. Nothing concrete. Glimpses of what Wren is feeling in these later chapters. Questions that need to be asked and answered. Things that need to be inserted into the story but I’m not quite certain WHERE. As I write this though, the solution is clearly obvious. Toss up scene cards in Scrivener and don’t worry about where in the book they will ultimately reside in. Just get these ideas out. Onto paper and all of that rot. 

Okay. Okay. I’ve talked myself off the ledge. Ish.

I am a pantser. I do not know why I am so upset that I might not have a full outline to go before the start of NaNoWriMo. What I currently have done is a lot better than NOTHING. There is a path for me to take at the beginning and towards the middle. Maybe just setting out on this path will help me unlock more things to come once I allow myself to sit down and write it all out. 

I can. And I will do this. I haven’t any choice because this is what I want.

Wren, your story will be told. Possibly a bit more meandering and with an absolute lot of garbage in this first draft. There will be so much I forget to put into your story, and so much I will likely have to take out of that first draft. But I want to tell your story. I want to take the time that is needed. I think other people might like your story too. 

And if not… that’s fine. No one else really matters here except for me and you. Me, because I’m the one typing away furiously (or I will be) to tell your story. And you, because it is YOUR story. Even if you aren’t a real person. I want to and will do justice by you. It just might take awhile. And lots of revisions, edits, and rewrites. And that’s okay. I just have to allow myself to GET to those points. 

Wren, let’s tell your damn story.

Okay, I took a break from writing this blog entry to write down ideas for those scenes where I feel as if we need them but I’m not sure, precisely, which chapter or part of the book to fit them in.

I feel better!

How is your NaNo prep going? What bits do you struggle with? How excited are you for NaNoWriMo to start? I am super excited. The adventure will truly begin in less than a week!

October Prompt: Rat Doctor

October Prompt: Rat Doctor

This prompt took me a bit to write, and I hope y’all enjoy it! It was a lot of fun to write once I got to writing it. So, enjoy!

His nose twitched as he took in the scent of illness all around him. His scrambled up the back of the human, perching on the human’s shoulder. The human tensed, but did not run. The rat nestled his nose against the human’s ear, breathing in for a moment. Trying to get a smell that was not illness. He was tired of that stink. Then he spoke—human language was difficult for him because his body wasn’t quite built for it—his words quiet, and his voice rough from lack of use.

“You are caring for these humans wrong. The sickness, it isn’t what you think it is. I can help you.” 

The human was tense. He could feel the tension in the their shoulders. Muscles that needed relaxing, but the rest of the human, smelled healthy. 

“You’re a talking rat,” the human said, voice high pitched with fear. The rat couldn’t really hear the fear in the voice, because the rat didn’t really understand the different cadences that human voices could have. But he could smell the fear, he could sense it, he could tell in a rat way, that fear was evident in the human’s voice and body.

“Sure, and I can help you. You need my help,” the rat said, trying to remember what it was that last human he had worked with had told him. A saying, or something. “You have nothing to lose,” the rat said, memories washing over him. Too many of them, and it made him sad, sad in a way he felt was more human than ratlike. 

The human sighed, and then nodded their head. 

“Okay, help me. What am I doing wrong. What is this sickness?”

The rat felt surprise. He had anticipated it taking more time to convince this human to accept his help. But, he supposed, as he looked around at the sick all around him that this human was desperate. He scrambled down from their back, his body not as spry as it had once been, and he jumped. He landed clumsily on a table, some tools clattering to the ground, and he heard the human gasp.

“Those were sterile! I’ll need to—…”

“You won’t be needing those,” the rat said, without looking back at the human.

“Come,” he said, and he led away from those useless human tools. Humans always used more things than they truly needed. They made things more complicated than they needed to be. The rat’s own life, his body even, had been overcomplicated by humans in that lab oh so long ago. He had rat friends, he supposed. But none that wanted or could make a family with him. He was lonely, and had been, for such a long time. He wondered if that loneliness was what had prompted him to finally come out of hiding.

He didn’t know. Didn’t really care to know the true answer. He hated that he thought abstractly like this. He had had so much time to think, and he was tired of it. He was grateful for this puzzle of human sickness. Grateful he had a reason to think outside of himself and of something else. 

“I’ve seen this illness before,” the rat explained. Still surprised, really, that he had this human’s attention. “You need old medicine.”

“We’ve tried all the medicine we can think of. Nothing we have works, and the new st—…”

“You aren’t thinking old enough,” the rat said.

“How old?” The human said after a beat and the rat gave a shrug of his shoulders. As much as a rat is capable of shrugging.

“Human time doesn’t make much sense to me. But, here is what you need.”

The rat sat down on his haunches, and began to explain. He pointed to items that looked familiar. That smelled familiar. He asked questions too because he knew that humans liked to change things. But he thought they had enough to help all these sick people around him. It took hours, and he was tired, but in a good way. In a way he hadn’t been tired like in so long. 

“Thank you,” the human said as the rat walked away, going back to his hideyhole.

“Do not thank me yet,” he said, before he disappeared. 


He didn’t know how much time had passed as he kept hidden in his little house in the walls of the hospital. This hospital wasn’t where he had been born or anything. No, he had been born of two rats in a lab some miles away. His own parents had had brains more advanced than other rats, but they were not quite like him. His brain had been more human-like, and some minor tweaks to the rest of his body. It had made it impossible for him to mate with other rats, and the humans hadn’t thought to make another like him. Or maybe they couldn’t. He didn’t know, and he stopped asking questions a long time ago. His parents had died, and once the humans realized just how special he was, he had been moved away from the rest of the rats in the lab. 

He thought of his past a lot. Especially in the quiet hours — not that hospitals really had too many quiet hours — and he both loved and hated that he thought of his past like this. His life… had been special. He had a lot of fond memories with the humans who had helped make him the way he was. He missed the lab sometimes, but he hadn’t missed the continual experiments. He was grateful that Emmy and Ellie had gotten him out of the lab. 

They were the ones who had brought him to this hospital. All because he had a theory on how to stop the illness that was spreading through humans like wildfire. That was a strange expression to come to him, and he knew he had gotten it from Emmy or Ellie. He had never seen a wildfire before. Hell, he hadn’t ever seen any kind of fire before. 

He thought more and more about Emmy and Ellie in the quiet moments. He knew humans cried when they felt like this. Sad, but he didn’t. Or maybe he just couldn’t. 

He didn’t know how long he sat in his hole, in what he called his little house, before he snuck out again.


“You are back,” a voice startled him. He knew it belonged to the human he had helped the last time he had shown himself.

“Yes,” he said, sitting on his haunches and watching them. 

“I wanted to thank you,” the human said, and they reached behind to pull out a block of cheese. The rat hadn’t had cheese in so long. He tried not to look too excited by the prospect. “I didn’t know what you would like, but…”

“You don’t need to thank me,” the rat said, finding that the more he spoke out loud, the easier it was to remember how to do it. The easier it was to get his voice working. 

“Yes, I do. What you suggested… no one would have thought… how did you know?” The human asked as they handed him the piece of cheese. He took the cheese and bit into it. He wanted to cry even though he couldn’t. He remembered Emmy and Ellie talking about how beautiful things sometimes made humans want to cry — and he felt like he finally understood that sentiment. 

“Who are you?” The human asked.

The rat shrugged his shoulders.

“I’m just a rat.” 


“You are old, Just A Rat.” 

“I am.” 

“I can’t find any records on you. That lab that you say you came from closed down about thirty years ago.” 

“Your human time means nothing to me, you know that.”

“I also know rats don’t live thirty years, and you are older than that.” 

“We should check on those patients of yours.”


“Why are you sad?”

“I hate that you won’t let me tell anyone about you, Rat. Or that you won’t give me a name. I know you must have had a name before.” 

“That name means nothing now, and you know how humans are, if you tell people about me…” 

“But I don’t deserve all this praise that I am getting.”

“Yes, you do. You helped all those people.”

“Only because you told me what to do.”

“You used the tools presented to you. You deserve credit for it.”

“So do you.”

“I don’t want human credit.”


The rat sighed. His human was getting old. He had refused to ask for a name from this new human. Refused to to allow himself to get to know this human outside of the hospital. But he knew that the human would be retiring soon, and that he would have years again, of being alone. He had tried to steel himself and protect himself. He had tried not to grow attached, but… of course he had. 

“This is your last day, isn’t it?” The rat said, nodding his head towards the balloon the human had attached to their wrist for some reason. The balloon said ‘Happy Retirement’ on it, but the rat hoped if he didn’t read those words too often, they wouldn’t turn out to be true. 

“It is,” the human said, and the rat could feel some nervous energy exuding off of them.

“What is it?” He asked.

The human sighed, “I want you to come with me, but I have a feeling you won’t.” 

“Leave the hospital?” The rat asked. 

The human nodded and in that moment they reminded him of that younger and uncertain human he had met so long ago. He had only known this hospital and before that the lab. He had never been to a human’s house before. Not even Emmy or Ellie had ever extended that invitation to him.

“You don’t have to. I’ll be around visiting still, the hospital can’t get rid of me that easily.”

He let the human ramble on for a little while as he thought. As he allowed himself to imagine a life outside of these walls. His heart ached in a way it had never ached before. 

“Okay,” he said.

“What?” The human asked, shocked.

“I’ll leave here with you.” 

He had lived a long life and would probably continue to live a longer life. Perhaps it was time he experienced it elsewhere. And, he liked this human. He could care for them as they grew older and older still. 

The human smiled.

“Hop into my bag then. Let’s get out of here.” 

Preptober 15th

Howdy y’all.

This week my Preptober has been going… okay, I guess you could say. I didn’t really finish all the goals I had set for last week. I outlined a chapter, and worked on outlining another before I got distracted by other things. Like making a gosh darn playlist for my novel. I have never done that before, and that is a work in progress still. I am not too sure how often I will listen to it when writing since I have a difficult time writing when there is singing going. Instrumental music I can write to, but vocals throw me off. Still, I had fun with it. 

I did not flesh out Lorenz much more, my bad Lo. 

Didn’t work on the mechanics of magic either, which was a goal. BUT I did come up with an area of new tension for two characters and that involves magic, so in a way, I worked on the magic of the novel. 

Slowly figuring out the beef that Dot and Wren have. These two characters grew up together as I mentioned in my previous entry. Their initial beef is still on the tip of my fingers. I am slowly teasing it out. I am getting even bigger hints of what it could be! So, that is good. In fact, I might even write a scene involving the two of them as kids and that will take place waaaaaaaaaaay before the novel, won’t be inserted into the novel because I am not planning on having traditional flashbacks. But, it could help me write a scene I do have planned, so. Yes. 

Excitement. 

This week I simply have a question I am asking myself, but I can’t really share it with y’all because it could be considered a spoiler. But, thinking about this question, has been helping me a lot get further into my character’s heads. And… speaking of characters, I thought it might be fun to introduce a few of them to y’all today!  So, let’s go say hi to them.

Wren Lowe: The protagonist of the story. Spoiler alert: she’s a ginger because I make every single protagonist of mine, gingers. You insert what you know. She’s in her late thirties. She has two kids, Bramwell and Briar. She has healing magic, and a garden that takes up practically her entire backyard. She grows a lot of her own plants and herbs to be used in potions and such for healing. Her current best friend is named Edie.

Briar Acacia Lowe: Wren’s oldest child. She’s fifteen in this novel. She has her Mom’s red hair, but she keeps it short. Briar is messy. She likes to live in a cluttered space, she claims. Clutter, she claims, makes her feel calm. She was recently introduced to riot grrrl music, and is a convert. She’s working on a zine with her best friend (to be named). Briar has dream magic. She’s protective of her younger brother, and of her mom, though she’s much gentler with Bramwell than she is with Wren.

Bramwell Cassius Lowe: He is ten years old. He is neat and thrives on things being put in their proper place. Briar’s cluttered existence makes him stressed. Nothing is out of place in his room. He tries to sneak into Briar’s room on occasion to clean it for her, and that usually results in a fight. He has empathy magic, and he knows how much that worries his Mom and sister. Even without the empathy he would know it. He feels a bit like a burden, and he wants to prove to his Mom and sister, that he will be okay. 

As you can see, there are different types of magic in this world. I am still working on… the rules and such for it. Because I had an idea, but the more I think about it, the less I am certain it will work. So, back to the drawing board with that. Fingers crossed I figure it out enough to write come November, but November is all about that rough draft baby, so even if I need to completely change it… well, I’ll worry about it later. I’ll just make certain to have something down for now.

I hope you enjoyed the very brief introduction to my characters. I finally finished a prompt too! I am simply sitting on it for a little while before I reread and do minor edits, and then I’ll share it with y’all. How is your Preptober going?

Preptober 7th

Howdy.

Today is the seventh day of Preptober. And I am in the midsts of still outlining and worldbuilding. The itch to write is a strong one, and I might dabble in writing down a scene or two from another character’s perspective, or perhaps, just write a scene that takes place before the main story will. I don’t know. I worry if I don’t try to write something down then I will…. I don’t know. Not necessarily lose steam but.. I think I’m just looking for an excuse to write something in this world, and I may as well give into it.

Struggling real hard with the final two prompts I received for September. My goal is to finish them before November. And again, as mentioned before, no prompts during November. I’m excited for the two prompts I have sitting around. I just can’t quite get the feel that I want for either of them. But, y’all probably don’t care about that as this is supposed to be about PREPTOBER, eh? And I should be blathering on a bit more about my novel.

Ooookaaay.

My Preptober Goals for the week are:

  • Outline Two More Chapters
  • Flesh out Lorenz a tad more
  • Work on mechanics of magic
  • Figure out the Wren & Dot Beef

Let’s breakdown how I am doing with each little goal, shall we?

Outline Two More Chapters:  I have outlined one so far (Chapter 6) and now I’m moving onto chapter 7. I am glad I am doing this because I’m struggling with these more middling chapters than I have with the others. Hopefully, getting them outlined and then the rest, will help when I’m writing them. Help me get past that middling area, eh? 

Flesh Out Lorenz a tad more: I haven’t written down too much about him, but he’s been percolating in my head all week. I’m getting a vibe for him, and I should write that down. But he’s been a character who hadn’t been named, is somewhat important, and I’m thrilled he has a name and is starting to turn into someone a bit more… real, yanno?

Work on the mechanics of magic: I love fantasy novels. But I hate when magic systems don’t really have any… like repercussions isn’t the exact word I’m looking for, but… there needs to be something. Something more than just saying words and wand waving. What happens when magic is used? What happens to the magic user or the world around them?  What are the pros and cons of the magic?  Because if there isn’t a downside then people can just use magic all willy-nilly and I just. I need more. So, I am working on that. I have a few ideas. I know the types of magic I want in this world, and now it is is simply time to just work on… the deeper stuff.

Figure out the Wren & Dot Beef: Wren is my protagonist. Dot was her childhood best friend. This is a minor spoiler that… something happened between the two of them when they got to college age. Something that caused them to drift apart. I just need to figure out exactly WHAT. That feel when you know something happened. You might even have a taste of what it is, but you just can’t really figure it out. Or like it is on the tip of the tongue (tip of the fingers? tip of the brain?) I WILL FIGURE IT OUT IF IT IS THE LAST THING I DO!  Ahem.

And so those are my goals for the week. Making some headway with them. And then I am also just working on everything else that needs doing and really thinking about my plan of attack. How and when I plan on writing. Obviously, the morning hours, before the family is up is when I plan on getting the bulk of my writing done. But I also hope to write some in the evenings, so fingers crossed! 

I hope y’all enjoyed a small glimpse into my thought process. And into what I’ve been doing so far to prepare my novel for November. Are you doing NaNo this year?  If so, tell me about it!  How is your Preptober coming along?