This 8 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

This is a snippet from my yet-to-be-completed NaNoWriMo story, Black Ink Plague, a fantasy about inkbloods, people who were left at the roots of a magic tree as babies, and can use charcoal from those trees to write and cast spells.

The main character, an inkblood called Liar, cast a spell to kill the gang leader called Cin, accepted payment from the gang’s second in command, then offers her mother some of the money to repay part of her school debts, which her mother accepts in a dismissive fashion then leaves.


Even though her parents valued her very little, a maid who’d been frightened by Liar’s appearance when she’d come home for holiday, descending into hysterics, had been dismissed immediately. At the time, Liar had embraced dressing as dark as the night, with drapes of funeral lace, and smudges of charcoal around her eyes to emphasize their contrast to her skin.

Looking back on it, she was aware she’d been both ridiculous, and undoubtedly alarming, looming out of a shadowed hallway into the lamp light. No wonder the poor woman had been so frightened, but all her arguments hadn’t earned the maid even a reference letter. Every time Liar entered her parent’s world, she fit in as poorly as a crow among sparrows, clumsy and dangerous without even meaning to be.

She was glad to leave the streets of her childhood behind, crossing into the part of town where she lived and worked most often. Yes, it was dotted with a few cesspools of vice, but mostly made up of poor working families trying to make ends meet, people who sometimes worked in the nice houses, but didn’t fit in there any more than Liar did.

*    *    *

Black Ink Plague is set in a world similar to ours, with the addition of the Rakau tree, which has magical properties–charcoal or ink from the tree can be used to cast spells. However, only inkbloods, babies who were left overnight at a Rakau tree’s roots on their first full moon, can harvest and use the tree. The price they pay for their magic is that the ink infects them, staining their skin and eventually forming words from the spells they cast on their skin. These words change their lives in unexpected ways.


About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

19 responses »

  1. Kim Magennis says:

    Your phrase “clumsy and dangerous without even meaning to be” was a very elegant way of describing what Liar has become. Excellent! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Back to the streets. How poignant. Good eight.

  3. Beautiful! You say so much with just a few sentences. Wonderful 8!

  4. Gemma Parkes says:

    Excellent writing, very visual and emotive, well done!

  5. Sound like Liar’s goth phase was a bit scary. Poor maid! Very poignant snippet.

  6. Sarah W says:

    I wonder if she’ll find her own kind of family, someday. None of this is her fault . . .

    Still loving it, caitlin. 🙂

  7. Really enjoying the story, liked the unexpected insight today about her goth phase and the poor maid. Seems as if Liar understands herself pretty well by this point in her life. Can’t wait for more, excellent excerpt!

  8. Carrie-Anne says:

    I love this reflective scene and the look inside her mind. It really helps to give more understanding and meaning to this character.

  9. Ed Hoornaert says:

    Kim called out ““clumsy and dangerous without even meaning to be” as great. and I’d like to give my kudos to the rest of the sentence: “she fit in as poorly as a crow among sparrows.” Gorgeous writing!

  10. Oh Liar… 😦 I feel bad for her. This snippet is perfect, it allows me to relate to her. “Her parents valued her very little.” Phenomenal eight!!! 🙂

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