Leaving Paris

Paris had never looked more beautiful than on that last run through the city. I had forgotten the squalor and smells of the narrow streets now and saw only the grandeur of the rooftops against the sky. Gerard guided me out of Le Marais and along the broad boulevards near the Louvre Palace. We ran through arcades and before churches, past statues and under stone carvings. We passed the scaffolds and skeletons of the new Paris that was being built. We saw sudden vistas of the Seine and the hills above the city. I had no idea why I thought this city frightening when the carriage had first rolled through the city gates. Paris was my city now and I knew all its lanes and colonnades and bridges.

– Elise flees across 19th century Paris in ‘The Alchemist of Paris’

Having left her idyllic country home, Elise has found herself in a web of greed, betrayal and deceit – and magic. Can she escape in time?

Leaving home

At twilight I slipped out of the convent and into the herb garden. Unlocking the gate, I strolled under the old stone arch to the fields beyond. The sky was blue violet, and a golden moon was rising over the hills. The air was sweet with the scent of the rustling grasses. Wildflowers, some blooming only for a day, shivered in the evening breeze. I walked through the fields, until the monastery and convent were only a dim silhouette behind me. I breathed in over and over, wanting to savour the scent and the taste of the countryside. The forest on the hillside was dim and silent and the tree branches were like lace against the setting sun. The meadows rolled out to the horizon, where the river glittered through banks of poplar trees. I tried to capture each part of the landscape in my mind, so that I could imagine it, wherever I might go.

– Story Excerpt “The Alchemist of Paris”

 

Like the character Elise, I grew up in the country before moving to the city. (Strange fact – I grew up next door to a convent!)

Are there places that you have left behind in your life? Do you think of them often? If you are a writer, do you incorporate those memories into your writing?

Flash Fiction – Social Media Anxiety

A sweet tale for this Valentine Day’s Month.

*  *   *   *   *

Tim wants to be your friend.

Natasha sat before her computer. Sunlight peeked through the morning clouds outside her window. She sipped her coffee and stared at the screen.

Tim was the cute boy she had met at the party the night before, whose smile made her heart soar and whose shy eyes made her swoon.

Did Tim really want to be her friend?

HER friend?

Her FRIEND?

Did he WANT to be her friend?

Did he want to be MORE than friends?

Natasha tucked her hair behind her ears nervously. It was only a Facebook friend request, for crying out loud. How could such simple words cause such social anxiety?

Okay. Tim wants to be my friend. So what should I do?

I don’t want to accept straightaway or he’ll know I like him.

But I don’t want to wait because he’ll think I thought about him.

I’ve got to be cool, Natasha decided.

She hit accept, pulling her finger away as if the laptop was on fire.

She rested her head in her hands. It probably meant nothing. He just wanted to be Facebook friends. It wasn’t like it was the start of something.

*  *   *   *   *

Tim sat in a cafe across town. Should he have sent Natasha the friend request so soon? He only met her the night before. Maybe he shouldn’t have sent it at all.

What would he do if she ignored him?

He shouldn’t have done it. He was an idiot. He was always an idiot.

A message appeared.

Natasha wants to be your friend.

Tim broke into a wide grin.

The day suddenly seemed brighter.

© 2016 M. C. Dulac

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Your Novel Stinks! Including all the Senses in your Writing

The quickest way to immerse a reader in your character’s world is for the reader to experience that world through your character’s senses.

Most writers are familiar with the “show don’t tell” rule. The closer we are to the character’s actions and reactions, the more gripping the story becomes.

Sight and sound are easy to write. But what about including the other senses in your work – what does your character touch, taste and smell?

Scentsandsmells2

Here are three writing tips I have developed on how to include all the senses in my writing:

  • Use smells to build atmosphere. There’s positive smells (scents, perfume, aromas) and negative smells (stinks, odours and fumes). Layer the smells with what your characters see and hear to create a mood. A dark swamp becomes more sinister with the stench of rotting foliage. An apartment becomes more alluring with the sweet scent of fresh cut flowers.
  • Use smells to tell us something about the character. What is the character used to and what might they notice if they go somewhere different? Your character might be living in a medieval village next to a pigsty. Surrounded by these smells since birth, they probably never notice. But how would they feel if they went to a castle and breathed in the perfume of beeswax candles for the first time?
  • Think about scents and smells that you remember personally and the feelings they evoke. Do you remember the overpowering scent of fields in summer? Or the strong smell of seaweed on a beach in a heatwave? Work your memories and feelings into your character’s experiences.

© 2016 M. C. Dulac

Character Sketches

I am surrounded by creative projects in various stages of completion. Here are some character sketches from an ambitious plan I had to write an illustrated novel.

Our beautiful heroine has been captured…

 

The Heroine

The Heroine

By a mean and pompous vampire-hunter…

The Villain

The Villain

And held captive in a terrifying prison, where the guards keep watch…

Imprisoned!

Imprisoned!

Due to her association with the vampire with the smoldering eyes…

The Hero

The Hero

There was an airship and other plot twists too…

Proposed drawings

Proposed drawings

I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Flash Fiction – The Old Man Under the Bridge

A new flash fiction for the New Year.

*  *  *  *

She ran fast through the city streets. The first fireworks were lighting up the sky.

She found him under a floodlit bridge. He stood, hands in his pockets, gazing at the lights reflected on the flowing river. A ball of red and golden fireworks rose over the city.

“It can’t be the end of the year already,” she said, “I need more time.”

“The old year is coming to an end.”

“But it was New Years Eve only yesterday. I haven’t done half the things I wanted to do.”

The old man shook his head, “Haven’t I told you to use time wisely?”

“But there’s never enough,” she bit her lip, “Could you stop time – just for a moment.”

“That I can never do. All I can give you is this,” he reached into the pockets of his shabby coat and drew out a glowing ball, so perfect and magical, she could not draw her eyes away.

“I cannot give you back 2015,” the old man said, “But I can give you 2016.”

She took the New Year in her hand.

“Make the most of it,” Father Time said as he walked into the darkness, “I don’t want you running down here next year.”

*  *  *  *

May you all have a happy, safe and creative 2016!

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© M. C. Dulac 2016

Midnight in Dublin

Did I mention “Midnight in Dublin” is free until December 12th?

Midnight in Dublin - cover design by adipixdesign.com

Midnight in Dublin – cover design by adipixdesign.com

Today you can find ‘Midnight in Dublin’ featured on the fantastic site A Girl and her eBooks, alongside many other fabulous book bargains! I really recommend you check out this site for free and bargain ebooks.

Happy reading!