The "Unexpected Inspiration" Characters

Nov 30, 2016

Welcome to Musings of a Messenger!

Here you'll find the writing and writing ramblings of Meri Greenleaf. For easy access, here are the stories I've so far shared to this blog.

Short stories from "Unexpected Inspiration"
These are a collection of short stories, each about 2k words, each starring different characters. They're set in my lighthearted/comedic lgbt+ fantasy series about artists, inventors, and circus performers. I'm currently writing the first trilogy in this series, so these short stories go along with those characters. You can learn more about the series here.

These are longer stories set in the world I was writing previous to "Unexpected Inspiration". These are more traditional fantasy and are set in the "Dungeons and Dragons" world my husband and I created. I've since moved on from elves and traditional fantasy, but these stories hold a special place in my heart as the ones that gave me my love of writing.
  • The Acolyte's Map
  • A powerful magical artifact has been unleashed! Unfortunately it has fallen into the unlikely hands of a hapless young priest who is now bound by its bizarre curse. This is the tongue-in-cheek tale of a half-elven cleric who is trying to locate and free the unwitting victim from said item's grasp with the help of his mischievous (and not always competent) brethren. Along the way there will be magic, intrigue, mischief, and a talking dog.
  • Hidden Magic
  • Meren, an unusual elf girl (and her more unusual centaur brother) take up the task of hunting down a band of orc trespassers. When she stumbles into a pitfall, Meren finds an object: an amulet that gives strange new powers. Little does she know that an increasingly desperate young wizard is looking for the very same amulet and that their paths are destined to crisscross in a weave of chaotic magic...

Writing update for 11/21-11/27 (and my favorite line)

This week a prompt for the NaNoWriMo photo challenge was "favorite line you wrote." I did a lot of editing, character development/background, and world building this month, so I didn't have as many new lines from the new rewritten stuff to choose from as I normally would. Of those words, this is probably my favorite, though!

I just realized I never did an update/goal post for last week, so I'll do that now. I'm gradually moving forward in my rewrite of book 1. I'm going to continue on with this for this week, assuming I don't decide to jump back over to the rewrite of book 2. I never know what book I'm going to be working on or if I'm going to do a random short story instead. That's okay! I've accepted that that's the way I write. At least I'm moving forward even if it wasn't with the original project. :)


Nov 26, 2016

First Lines Challenge

Rules: list the first lines of your last 20 stories. See if there are any patterns.

I was tagged for this over on my tumblr writing blog and figured I'd share this here, too! I didn’t think I had 20 stories, but I do! The first 15 are stories about my current batch of characters. The last five were about the D&D world I was writing prior to my current series. Most of these (minus the books) are shared here on my writing blog, so I’ll link to those.

1. Colorweaver (Unexpected Inspiration book 1) 
“Blythe! There's something wrong with Solei!”
(The response to this line is “Is there ever anything right with Solei?” which makes it way funnier.)

2. Sentinel (Unexpected Inspiration book 2)
"No, I do not need a squeaking monkey-shaped toy. Or a hat with a feather in it. Or a... what is this?"
(I really like this scene from the previous draft where Sol is sneaking weird things into his brother's bags, so I'm likely going to see if I can keep it as the opening chapter in the next draft.)

3. Iconoclasm (Unexpected Inspiration book 3)
Blythe winced as her heavy boots echoed footsteps across the expansive hallway.
(Clearly I need to open book 3 on a silly line of dialogue, too.)

4. (As yet unnamed Halloween short story that I'll share soon)
Firedrake nudged the door of their wagon shut with their hip and placed the small brown sack on the table.

5. A Sparkler's Glow (short story/novellette)
Talan scrambled to lose his pursuer, his thin shoes flapping against the cobblestones as he raced alongside the busy street.

6. Roommates (short story)
"Were you hit on the head or something? Why would you want to move in with Sol of all people?"

7. Lost and Found (short story)
“I’m going to need you to put on some pants before you say anything else.”
(This one was actually a dialogue prompt, used to refer to Sol.)

8. Soul-Marks (AU short story)
Etri loved nightfall because in the dark he didn't need his magic to make himself invisible.

9. Mile Long Cow (short story)
Adair groaned a sound that was closer to a whimper, not that he would admit it, as a flash of light made its way to his eyes.
(This has such a boring opening line, but the story is incredibly silly.)

10. Rising to a Challenge (short story)
“Owning your own restaurant is a great opportunity,” her master said when the position was offered to her by a retiring chef.

11. A New Beginning (short story)
The young would-be-thief leaned further inside as he perched half in and half out of the open window.

12. Who Picked Whom (short story)
"I'll never really be sure who picked who because it wasn't supposed to happen."

13. Three Keys (short story) 
Blythe blinked up at the indiscernible ceiling of her bunk as her sleepy mind tried to figure out what could have awoken her in the middle of the night.

14. (Unnamed future/alternate reality story that I haven't finished)
Etri pulled the ring of keys out of his jacket pocket and exhaled a sigh of relief.

15. (Unnamed alternate reality story that I'm unlikely to finish. Why are these things always Etri's POV?)
Etri wondered if this had been the right choice.

16. In the Cards (my abandoned '12 NaNo)
She dreams of her divination cards, spread across the ground in a circle at her furry feet.
(LOL! I'd forgotten my one POV character was a halfling.)

17. The Acolyte's Map (novella) 
It is a much overlooked but well-established fact that in order to excel at world domination, overlording, or even to just be particularly irksome in a fantastical setting, you need to get your hands on a magical item- if you can create said item, this is even more effective.

18. Calling in a Favor (short story)
"Cyn, there's someone looking for you. I brought him to your office, but I think he might be crazy."

19. It's Not Easy Being Green (short story)
Cyneric sat in a soft, overstuffed old chair in the common room of the Messenger's Mosque in Woodland city, his attention fixed on the worn leather-bound book that rested on his knees.

20. Hidden Magic (novella)
The frantic pounding at the upstairs door startled the young wizard; he dropped the vial he'd been preparing and it shattered on the workroom's dirt floor.

I’m not too keen on some of these, but I love opening stories with a line of dialogue. It works so well for comedic fantasy, which is usually what I write. That’s a pattern, I guess. I also tend to make fun of Sol in most of my opening lines- 4 of them directly refer to Sol, and another few have him coming up in the next few lines that follow. Gotta love my comic relief.


Nov 22, 2016

A plot twist!

One of the NaNo photo challenge themes this month was "a plot twist" - the twist I picked was that the enemy isn’t always who the characters think it is. This actually works for each book in my trilogy! This picture makes the series sound so serious, but I’m writing comedic fantasy. Definitely not all that serious, lol.

I'm really proud of how this turned out! The picture is one I took last year of lights on a lake and I added a filter to make it look like fire. Let’s just say fire is tied into this from both friend and enemy.


Nov 21, 2016

Writing update for 11/14-11/20 (a drawing this time!)

This is sort of my “writing goal update” post for the week because this is really all that I’ve worked on over the past few days. Mostly it’s an idea I got from a post a tumblr friend made about about characters’ rooms. That post made me think because my characters don’t really have permanent homes for most of the trilogy. Adair and Firedrake have been living out of inns before the story starts- Adair as a cartographer and Dray as a solo traveling performer. Blythe, Etri, and Sol have wagons since they’re part of a carnival troupe, but even then they’re not always staying in them. In book 2 Adair and Etri stay at the Artisans’ guild while Blythe and the twins stay at the caravanserai (sort of an apartment complex for the carnies who live in the capital city) because the wagons are too big to take into cities. In book 3 they’re all sent to a different country via a magical doorway so they’re going to be staying wherever they can crash. So I decided to draw where they spend the most amount of time in book one: their wagons.

I decided on Blythe’s wagon (rather than Etri and Sol's) since that’s where Adair and Firedrake also stay in book 1, and those three are my POV characters. I call these things “wagons”, but they’re more like a cross between a motorhome and a cabin that floats about a foot off the ground. Blythe’s wagon is cozy and inviting. She’s kept most of the wood its natural color and tends to decorate in earth tones. Book 1 takes place in late winter, so there are only a few plants growing. Later in the year there’d be racks of flower pots near the windows and plants growing in window boxes outside, too. Blythe’s a healer who loves plants, so there are always herbs and flowers in her wagon regardless of the time of year. On the walls are some of her weapons, although there should be more than this. Blythe started out life as a Protectorate (the group that guards art and trade) and currently works as a blade performer with her carnival troupe. She does fiber arts as a hobby, so she’s the one who embroidered her curtain and she crocheted the rug that the cat’s sleeping on. (This isn’t tie dye, although it came out looking that way, lol.) The counter at the back is the sink and her kitchen/work space where she prepares her healing stuff. To the right is the stove. Her bed is behind the green curtain on the left. (The rectangles below this are steps recessed into the wood and drawers below these, cabinets next to this). Behind the door is a small bathroom the size of the nook where the stove is. The curtains and the chair cushions are made from the same olive green fabric. The hatch on the ceiling leads to storage space under the roof.

Most of this wagon is Blythe’s because it’s her home, but Adair and Firedrake have things here, too. Neither of them possess much since they travel all the time. (Adair’s a cartographer, Dray’s a solo performer.) Adair’s possessions all fit into that backpack and the trunk against the back wall. Otherwise he just has his blankets and pillow. His sketchbook and pencil are sitting on the bed because he always has these out! Firedrake lost most of their possessions in a fire, so Dray has even less than they normally would. The stuffed dragon was a gift from their mother when they were really young- Dray has always been obsessed with dragons. The things on the chair are Dray’s coat, a hairbrush, and their ribbon. (Each troupe has a specific ribbon that everyone who’s a member wears. Dray hasn’t lived with this troupe in a few years, but they’re still a member, so they still have this ribbon. It’s a minor plot point, along with the dragon.) The curtain hanging in front of the other bed has bells sewn to it and it’s the only thing Blythe kept of Firedrake’s after Dray moved out about two years before book 1. (Dray and Blythe are siblings-by-choice and lived together for a while. Blythe didn’t like the way they decorated, but never got around to changing this curtain.) The cat is technically Adair’s and her bowls are over to the right.

I’m super proud of this drawing because I don’t think I’ve ever drawn anything like this before! It’s pretty darn close to how I picture Blythe’s wagon to look. It took me days to finish this, but I think it was worth the time because now I can see where they live. :) I’m a little disappointed that coloring it in took away some of the detail, so I uploaded a picture of what it looked like before I colored it, too. I started drawing Etri and Sol’s wagon, but it wasn’t coming out right- I might finish that later. For now I’m done with drawing for a while.

This week I'm hoping to get back into working on books 1 or 2, whichever calls to me more.  Besides the drawing, I did a little writing for book 1 last week, but only about a scene and a half. I have a few days off this week (although that's including Thanksgiving and I'm not expecting to get much done that day) so maybe I'll be able to actually write. Fingers crossed!