This 8-10 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 WIP, NaNoWriMo 2015, Forest Wed. A small town in the rain forest is protected by two gods, represented by married avatars, each chosen by their god. The groom has died, and now the young people are performing a ceremony to choose a new bride and groom, passing down the gods’ totems in two lines.


Less than halfway through the women’s line, the totem rested in the hands of Adann, nineteen summers old, with long, straight black hair, nut-brown skin, and eyes always alight with curiosity. She turned to hand the totem to the next woman, and it bloomed, a tendril of green emerging from inside that twisting curve of wood.

She gasped, staring down at the symbol of her god shifting and tugging as if alive, coming to rest against her wrist, more and more verdant shoots emerging to wrap the totem snug against the top of her arm, just above her hand. And then, little buds emerged from the vines, and opened into large, bright blue flowers, with complicated frills of petals, and soft yellow tendrils, dusted with pollen, curling from their center.

The other women stepped back from the line, and soon, she stood in a small open space, facing the line of men. The totem still traveled down that line, from hand to hand. As the remaining men dwindled, the watching crowd began to grow alarmed. The last in the line, Kaie, a handsome man of eighteen springs, with dark brown eyes, and hair a shade lighter than his eyes, flinched as he took the totem.

If he wasn’t chosen, then all the men, old and married alike, would have to stand in line—and there might have to be a sundering.

*    *    *

(This story is giving me fits, so any feedback would be appreciated!)

Beikife is a small town in something like the Amazon rain forest, protected by a pair of married gods. The gods are represented by human avatars, two young people chosen and married by divine power. The strength of the marriage represents the bond between the gods’ blessing, so the new forest wed must find a way to connect to each other, or the crops will fail, the rivers will flood, and the cursed monsters that live in the forest will claim many lives.

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.

38 responses »

  1. Ed Hoornaert says:

    I have no meaningful suggestions to reduce your fits, except to say that I love the description of how the totem chooses Adann to be the bride. Poetic and beautifully visual.

  2. I don’t know what’s causing you problems, but what you have here so far is really lovely. It’s unclear to me what a sundering is, but it sounds ominous and I’m sure we’ll find out soon!

    • The beginning went okay, but I’m still struggling through the middle. You just have to keep writing, right?

      I don’t think the explanation will fall into my snippets, so:
      *minor spoiler*
      A sundering is a divorce, but with religious elements and rules like an annulment.

      • I find middles the most difficult. It feels like so much effort to get up to and through the halfway point.

        Ah, so if a single guy isn’t chosen, then someone is forced into a separation from someone they’re already married to? I could see that being pretty undesirable!

  3. Whatever you do, don’t give up on this one! I would read the heck out of this! Excellent work! 🙂

    I find that sometimes when I’m having trouble with a piece it’s best to just sit back and let it percolate for a bit. Maybe the story’s just not ready yet. It’s almost ALWAYS better when you come back to it later.

  4. At first I wasn’t sure this would be my type of story but you definitely managed to change my mind. Beautiful description and I can’t wait to read more.

  5. Caitlin, get over yourself and let the story flow. It’s incredibly lovely and captures the reader. What more can you ask for?

  6. Alexis Duran says:

    I don’t know what a sundering is but it doesn’t sound good. Very lovely description. I actually have the opposite advice from Amalie. (All writers have different methods, of course!) If you abandon a story when the going gets tough, you might miss out on the important stuff that struggling brings out. Keep going, NaNo style and let the plot chips fall where they may.

  7. Oh wow, this was just beautiful! What a great ceremony, allowing the totem to choose in such a way. And man, what is a sundering…dividing man from wife? I hope it doesn’t come to that. Relax and let this one flow…it’s amazing and worth it. 🙂

    • This is a very growth-based religion. Their gods are all about having enough food, balanced weather, and protection from the monsters.
      On the sundering–you’ve got it!
      Will do. Or at least, try. 😉

  8. Fascinating world building and I LOVED how the gods signified she was to be the bride. Nifty snippet, keep going, says this reader!

  9. Daryl Devore says:

    Sorry the story is giving you fits – all I can say is press on – that scene captivated me.

  10. Cara Bristol says:

    You leave us with a cliffhanger to find out if he’s the one. Really nice imagery.

  11. I was spellbound, Caitlin. I have nothing to offer except to tell you to persevere. You’re doing a marvelous job!

  12. Sundering sounds bad. This is a great cliffhanger.

  13. Author Jessica E. Subject says:

    I love the description in this snippet. I feel as if I am there. Very beautiful and intriguing! 🙂

  14. No no – no ending it there. That was a captivating read – but way too short – I want more.

  15. The only advice I can give is to keep writing! Even if you have to trudge through it, just work to the finish line. If I’ve learned anything in the last couple years of professional writing, it’s that drafts are meant to be messy and somewhat incoherent. The story I’m working on right now has had its ending change and a chapter re-written twice before I ended up deleting it. This snippet is visual and beautiful, and I would love to know more! Keep going! 🙂

  16. Karen Michelle Nutt says:

    I was immediately pulled into the story. I think this flows just fine. I’m curious about this world you created.

  17. Kim Magennis says:

    Don’t like the sound of a sundering!

    Lovely visuals, and really cool idea!

  18. jessicahanna says:

    Caitlin, this is such an enjoyable read! I love the description of her being chosen, and you definitely hooked me with the mention of the sundering. Nice work!

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