Andromeda EX 79.3.45

sky-space-dark-galaxy.jpg

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a space ship. All the planets in the Milky Way were claimed in the year 2473 and expansion began to nearby galaxies, starting with Andromeda. There are only two planets left in that system that haven’t been rented, and only one of them is hospitable.

Mr. Jacobs is one such individual, with an annual income of three million credits. Mr. Talbot only has an annual income of one-point-seven million, but his blood is bluer than the sky here on earth. Of course, both Jacobs and Talbot know the truth—that their fortunes, and all of their hope of reaching the nearest life-giving planet, known as Andromeda EX 79.3.45—rests with their fiancées. Men haven’t been able to earn money in the last three hundred years, after disastrous leadership on their part left women in power on earth.

But they retained the ability to purchase goods and property, so long as it was funded by a female family member, and that female’s name was on the deed or bill of sale along with his.

Talbot was engaged to a woman named Ms. Clarence. A merchant’s daughter, Clarence is known for her sharp negotiation skills. Jacobs’ fiancée, Ms. Gertrude, is a delicate creature. Clarence and Gertrude have been friends since childhood, but their simultaneous engagements caused a cold-shouldered rift.

At least until today. I gathered around the ring with everyone else, shoulders pressed together despite the year-round heat, humidity, and overcrowding. Earth is full to the brim of people who can’t afford to travel to another galaxy. It wasn’t like going to the moon, though why anyone would want to go there when it sat so large in the sky anyway, I’ll never know. I suppose it is a little cooler there, if not less crowded.

In the center of the ring, I can just see them—Clarence, with a bat that looks as old as baseball itself, and Gertrude, likely wondering if Clarence is just going to knock her out or go for the kill. They’re dusty. Gertrude huddles into herself. Clarence charges, and then stops short.

The blistering sun glints off something small. The sparkle arcs from Gertrude to Clarence, who catches it and holds it up. The crowd cheers. Gertrude’s ring finger is now bare. She chose life on earth instead of death, and those of us who didn’t bet on the match walk away plotting on how to get into her good graces now that she’s forsaken Jacobs.

This flash fiction is in response to Sunday’s prompt. With a limit of 500 words, I was torn between world-building and story-building. This sort of evolved as I wrote; had I planned it more I would have chosen something else for a story this short. But I thought I’d share it anyway, because I think that’s an important realization to share with it. I had a few more words I could have written, but I’m not sure that they would have done much for it when I’m thirsting to write thousands more.

Writing Prompt: Austen First Line

pexels-photo-46274.jpeg

This week, I’d like to challenge you to begin a story as Jane Austen began Pride & Prejudice. That is, you must start your story with:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of…

Continue the story from there. You can write any genre, any time period. You must keep your story to 500 words or less.

3 Plots that Boosted Character Development

Character development is all the rage. The reason is that characters are a reader’s pathway to connect to a story. A plot can be exciting but if the characters are boring and static, it can be a huge turnoff. On the contrary, when plots aid character development, something magical can happen. Check out these 3 books that have that je ne sais quoi.

young-woman-635249_1920

#1: Fever by Mary Beth Keane

I just read and analyzed this book for my MFA coursework this semester. It has been, by far, among my favorite reads this year. Even though I analyzed it for the characters’ addictions, the plot also works to drive character development and change. The book is about Typhoid Mary and takes place around the turn of the twentieth century in New York City. It’s vibrant, human, and masterfully written.

#2: Shogun by James Clavell

This is an old favorite of mine that I read several times over in my high school and college days. If you like underdog stories and fish-out-of-water stories, this is a great book to read. It’s long, so carve out enough time to really dive into its 1,000+ pages. The story takes place in the early 17th century and is told from the point of view of an English pilot stuck in Japan, who meets Toranaga, the fictional version of Tokugawa, the last Shogun.

#3: Emma by Jane Austen

This was once my least favorite book by Austen, though I still loved it because she wrote it. Oddly enough, when I was in middle school, I loved the movie Clueless, which is based on this novel. This novel is about how Emma changes–as well as how Mr. Knightley changes–driven by the plot. The interesting thing about this plot though is that much of it is triggered by Emma herself, even though it doesn’t conform to her intentions.

Literary Video of the Week: Jane Austen

If you’ve ever wanted to know more about Jane Austen, or the meaning and impact of her work, this brief video will entertain and inform. Austen is probably my all-time favorite author so I couldn’t resist sharing this with you.