Cliche Fiction

“So, here’s the deal,” Fred said, “I’m gonna be a’betting, so I need  you to aid me.”

“Huh?” Greg responded, returning his attention to Fred.

He had been looking around the aged casino. What a grand old dame she must have been, he thought, looking past the faded chairs lining  the slot machines. The drapes were a fine fabric, the rugs had once been plush and the chandeliers were fine glass. Dusty, but glittering underneath.

“Just like that old saying,” Fred repeated. “I’m gonna be abetting over at that table, and I need you to aid me. Aid and abet, you know.”

“That’s not…”Greg started to say before shaking his head.  What had Pete got him into? “What do you need me to do?”

“I got my thing,” Fred said smugly.  “I just need your handsome face to keep that dealer girl over there from paying attention to me while I do it.”

Greg looked over at the tall dealer with the glossy dark hair. Men must be hitting on her all the time, he thought. Still,  Greg knew that girls liked him and he figured he could keep her busy, at least long enough for Fred to do his “thing.”

Well, damn, Greg thought with a dawning smile, that is aiding and abetting!!

 

aid and abet: to encourage and help, particularly in the case of nefarious or illegal activities.  Anyone that has watched any cop show in the last twenty years (or more) knows this phrase. Cops are always threatening people with being charged with “aiding and abetting” if people don’t give up the suspects, or even sometimes, actually charging people with it.  The phrase dates from the second half of the 18th century. The original meaning of abet was “to cause to bite,” but by then the word had lost that particular meaning and was more similar to the current meaning of encourage. The previous meaning had come from the practice of bear abetting, or bear baiting. Bear baiting was a popular sixteenth century entertainment where bears were tethered in “bear gardens” and trained dogs set loose to tear them apart. (I know, I know, don’t even get me started. I am sure the German “beer gardens” are far more entertaining. And I don’t like beer.)
The history of “abet” came from several countries, but does make sense of the “bear abetting” meaning:

1275-1325; Middle English abette (whence Old French abeter, unless perhaps the latter, of Germanic orig., be the source for the ME),
 OldEnglish *ābǣtan to hound on, equivalent to ā- a-3bǣtan to bait, akin to bite*

*dictionary.com

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Cliches

I missed National Cliche Day last week as a) I had no power or internet, and, b) I was recovering from getting anaplasmosis from a tick bite (anaplasmosis is a lot more fun to say than live through!).

But it did make me think about my Cliche Sundays, and how I miss learning about the various phrases sprinkled through our language. I don’t think I want to go back to Cliche Sundays, but I did think of a new idea.

Since I have been reading so endlessly, I haven’t been writing as much. I could write, but I would rather figure out who-dun-it in that mystery I am reading. Definite laziness on my part, as giving in my obsession to read someone else’s fiction is certainly easier than coming up with my own.

My new series will involve clichés, fiction and arrive weekly. They will also be alphabetical, so that means there will be twenty-seven weeks. I haven’t picked a day of the week yet, nor exactly when I will start–probably as soon as I have the first story written. Guess I better put that book down and go find an A cliché!

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Word of the day: Opposite

“C’mon Gemma, let’s go out!”

Gemma stretched her legs, before shaking her head and fluffing her blanket along the couch.

“Why not?” Jen demanded. “It’s beautiful out.”

“It’s cold!”

“The air is so fresh.”

“Spring air is fresh, summer delightful, even winter air is bracing. Fall air is dank, with decaying leaves thrown in for good measure,” Gemma sniffed disdainfully. “Where’s the remote?”

Jen flopped on a chair. “What, so you’re just going to sit here and watch tv?”

“Yup, that’s the plan. I don’t get why everyone gets so excited about fall. Sure, the trees are pretty, spring flowers are better. And they’re dying, soon they’ll just be skeletons to hold up the snow. I don’t need to go out and scuff around in dead moldy leaves. Fall is made for snuggling under covers.”

Jen handed Gemma the remote she had found under a pile on the coffee table. “I guess we need some coffee? What we going to watch?”

“Hot cocoa,” Gemma said as she tossed aside her blanket. “And doughnuts! I think there are some pastries left in the fridge. I found the old Dynasty series on Hulu.”

“Oooh, binge worthy!” Jen giggled. “We can make fun of those style choices during the cat fights!”

 

So this word prompt was my own. I was thinking about how an author shouldn’t let his/her feelings influence their characters on the way home from work the other day. I was traveling through canopies of glorious fall color, and I started to wonder about people who didn’t like fall. What was that like?!  Autumn is my favorite season: I love the colors, the scents, the air,the carpet of leaves on the ground, the food (holiday parties, you know), just everything about it. I thought it might be fun to write a character that hated it!

 

 

 

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WordPress Prompts: Coincidence

“You know I don’t believe in coincidence”, she insisted, staring at the glint of gold on the table.

“Then how do you explain this?” he asked, easily falling back into their familiar argument. “How do you explain our meeting when you ran out of the library, and I was going in?”

“You weren’t looking where you going, that’s how! It was pure luck that you saw my copy of Treasure Island and started talking about treasure.”

“You believe in luck, but not coincidence?” he retorted. “And everyone needs a treasure.”

She looked at him, catching the tenseness around his eyes despite his flip tone. That made her feel better, knowing he wasn’t sure about the  ending. The setup, their friends, the restaurant, it had made her feel that he was assuming the answer.

“I think you might be my lucky charm,” she said archly, as she extended her hand.

The room erupted in cheers as he put the ring on her finger before pulling her to him.

 

 

 

 

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Old friends

I looked up an old friend this week. His name is Garion. He comes with a slew of companions, from his vagabond sorcerer grandfather, to an intensely self involved Imperial Princess,  a rather prim aunt (although you really don’t want to her mad), and his friend Silk–who knows how to get every place; and has been chased out of most of them.

When we moved to Maine in 1982, I was already addicted to reading. I blame my parents; I failed reading in second grade and they decided that was simply unacceptable. It blew up on them, however, as every time they wanted me to do something for the next 13 years, it was always “just one more page!”

My mother got a position working for some lawyers in a quaint town named Bath when we first arrived; and they generously allowed her to bring me to work for the day during my summer vacation in ’83. I wandered around town, but mostly hung out at the library. When the librarians got tired of me, I would gather my books and go back to the law firm to read quietly in the front waiting room til it was time to go home. That is the library where I found Garion. He was a young boy, just about my age, in fact, and I followed him and his companions on their six volume journey.

Being a responsible library patron, I gave the books to my mother to return to the library. Unfortunately, returning them was not high up on her priority list and after they bounced around her car for a couple of weeks (getting rather ratty in the process), I decided I might as well keep them.

And I did. I kept those specific books well into my 20s. Eventually my sister-in-law (whom I introduced to Garion) gifted me with a two-volume trade paperback set, which is what I am currently reading. She told me last year that my nephew is reading her copies of Garion’s adventures–he was right around Garion’s age too. I  introduced a few of my other friends to Garion over the years. A recent friend said he liked it, but it was a bit formulaic.

I suppose in a way it is, as there is the group of people, each with their particular talents,who are trying to find a stolen magical object. The search takes them across the entire world, with all the prerequisite  roadblocks  thrown at them by the bad guys. Of course, I was terribly offended by my friend’s review. But I realized that, yes, it has a pace to it that is reflected in a lot of the fantasy genre. The difference is that the series was written in the early days of the genre, so that every series I read after seemed repetitive. My friend had spent 20 years reading fantasy books written after my series, so when he read the Belgariad, it was the one that seemed cliché.

I have been reading (and rereading) David Eddings’ Belgariad series for thirty-three years.  The characters are extremely convoluted and their interactions are incredibly real. From the blacksmith who was horrified the first time he had to kill someone in battle (he later decided that chasing them  into a quicksand pit was preferable to running them through with a blade) to the bantering about breakfast:

“The griddle is too hot,” Garion said. “You’re going to burn the bacon.”
“Belgarath,” Silk appealed.
“Garion, come away. Silk can burn breakfast all by himself.”

 

They all have their quirks and don’t always make the right decisions, but each character is a decent person who cares about the world they are in and what they can do to fix it. It is nice to dive into a world where evil roams, but is taken down through concerted teamwork and hard choices.

One friend says that when she finished the books she feels likes she is leaving friends behind. Which is probably why I keep re-reading the series 🙂

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Sparkle bright

I am joining in the fun led by Miss Sonya: three line tales. She gives the pic and we decide exactly what our three lines consist of. Read the other tales by searching the tag “three line tales.” If you want to join in, check out the directions HERE.

three line tales week 85: sparkler and sunglasses

The light flared, cascading gold and silver sparkles over his hands. He thrust his hand up, waving the wand wildly, attempting to write his name in light before the end.

Then, movement below caught his eye.  Hard shiny carapaces glinted back at him in the glittering light. The final spark fell.

His eyes, blind from the bright sparks,  strained to pierce the utter blackness as he heard the clicking of hundreds of feet on the cement.

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Walking Miss Daisy, II

Daisy and I went for a leisurely walk last Saturday.  The sky was such a clear, pure blue, with just a few fluffy clouds floating. Fall is coming early to our area, and it is quite beautiful. I put the pictures from our last walk on my other blog, Runnerwithablog, but I thought I would share these here.

 Shadow selfie–the best kind of picture of me! Daisy, of course, is always photogenic….if not happy to be still.

 

 Architectural Antiques are scattered through my neighborhood. And, indeed, the state.

Fall colors are coming slowly to our local bogs, lemony grasses and seed pods abound

  I have always loved these trees high up on cliff cut away in our local gravel pit. They stand so stark and proud.

 The light at the end of the hill!

 

My imagination runs wild in the woods, bringing up dreams of Narnia or Tolkien.

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Word Prompts

Looking for inspiration, I ran into the WordPress Daily Press prompts in my blog reader.  They had a few words (they put one out each day), but I stopped at Grainy.  What a marvelous word. There’s the grain in various woods, the grain I feed my horses, multi grain bread, against the grain; the possibilities are endless. I have to admit the first thing I thought of was whole grain mustard, like a spicy Grey Poupon.

The Fair

“I want to break up,” Chris said.

Amanda paused, the warm flavor of her hotdog, mixed with fresh bread and the artisan mustard, which she could only get here at the Tomgate fair, fading on her tongue. The sounds of the fair, the giggles and shouts as the rides dipped and swayed, the barkers at the game stands, the chatter at the bingo tables, dimmed around her. Who brings someone to a fair to break up with them, she thought wildly. it was their anniversary date!

“I mean,” he rushed on, “I think we both should date other people. You’re great Amanda, I just want…”

“To date other people, ” she finished, carefully putting her hotdog on the plate in her lap.

“Have you started dating other people?” she inquired politely.

“Oh, um, no, of course not,” he answered, avoiding her eyes. “I wanted to talk to you. It’s not like I have anyone in mind,  I have been just feeling for  awhile like you might want to move on.”

“And, I’m ok with it,” he added hastily. “I think it might be better for both of us.”

“I see,” she said carefully. “It sounds like you have given this a lot of thought. Why don’t we walk around a bit while I think about it too?”

“Ok,” he replied, clearly relieved she was being so calm.

Amanda led the way through the fair, mulling  her options. Chris, feeling relaxed as they wandered peacefully, actually reached his hand out to hold hers, before remembering and dropping it.

Finally she stopped in front of the Tunnel of Love ride. Turning smiling to Chris, she took his hand.

“Why don’t we take it one last time?”

“Sure,” he agreed, remembering how they had ridden it last year, giggling and snuggling.

He paid the fare, then they sat in the little boat. Each boat traveled out of sight of the others, so that it had privacy. Amanda leaned against him, snuggling under his arm,  until they were half way through the ride.

“I think you might be right,” she whispered, withdrawing from him. “We probably should break up.”

She stood suddenly and swung her purse directly at his head. The heavy bag knocked him unconscious as it flipped him over the side of the boat. Amanda stood watching, realizing as he sank that he had the truck keys.

“Well, damn!”

 

 

 

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Anniversary!

It’s the anniversary of my blog!

Not on WordPress, as I started on another platform for six months before discovering WordPress. But I started this journey on my 45th birthday. I actually started with my fitness blog, it wasn’t until I got to WordPress that I decided to split into two. And now, two years later, how do I feel?

Well, I feel that I don’t blog enough! The writing often gets pushed to the back of my life, when I meant it to be a priority. I freely admit that sometimes at the end of a long day, it is simply easier to stare blankly at the tv until bed time than it is to make my fingers move across the keyboard. And I have been reading a LOT recently. Which is good in theory, but I will push EVERYTHING in my life to the back burner in order to read just one more page…..and one more…..then, well, can’t I just finish it??

So now, on my 47th birthday, I am reaffirming my desire to make writing a priority.

I truly doubt life will get easier, but I will try to prevent the writing to being pushed around. Not that I will stop watching tv, of course, but I can type while watching–doesn’t that drive my husband nuts, that I can hold a conversation and still be typing!  I am slightly dyslexic and slightly ADD, but there are some upsides: I can multitask like nobody’s business! Focusing on simply one thing, now, that is the hard part. IE: I am drifting off course. Back to the goal of my blog being a priority, I will work on making that goal a priority!

 

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Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

I made it!!  Once more I joined Priceless Joy’s group of aspiring writers. We are given 100-150 words and a photo prompt, our imagination does the rest. Check out the other stories inspired by the photo:    Thanks this week to TJ Paris for the cool picture. Makes one want to jump right in!

She lay on the beach, torpid, as the sun stared down at her.  Crystal water stretched far into the horizon. She dug her feet into the sand, seeking the cooler sand deep under the surface, closing her eyes against light bouncing off the gleaming sand.  Crashing crystalline waves lulled her, and she slept.

“Samantha! Samantha!” the shouting continued, the irritation in the voice indicating it had been going on for some time. “Wake up!”

She opened her eyes groggily, seeing only a shadow standing over her.

“Wake up,” the voice insisted. “Vacation is over. Time to get back to work.”

“Waaa? But, sleep!”

“No!” the voice said emphatically, ” you need to get back to work. Your blog is lonely! Get on it!”

She sighed deeply before getting up and folding her towel, knowing the voice was her subconsciousness–and it wasn’t going away.

143 words

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