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 2016, currently called River, Tree, Mountain. It’s science fiction, set on a colony planet, six generations in–with about 10% of the population born “marvels,” who have special abilities like dowsing, healing, or creating fire. The protagonist, Rekka, is a spark (fire), signed a contract with Brenton to provide him a child, moves in with him, and several weeks later, she overhears part of an angry phone conversation before he shuts the door–after trying to watch tv, she goes out to a nearby park to paint.




Rekka hunted for a possible subject, and spotting a water fountain down the path, carried her work table to the fountain, and made a circle, trying to pick her angle.

“Excuse me, are you alright?” a voice asked from behind her.

Rekka turned to see a man with tousled cotton-candy pink hair, wearing a sun-faded shirt stretched over well-defined muscles, who was watching her in bemusement.

“Yes–I’m going to paint the fountain, and I’m trying to decide if I want the view with the trees, or the view where the light is hitting the carvings on the fountain just so.” Rekka glanced at the trees, decided she liked the simpler arrangement better, and chose a spot on the ground.

The man shifted to stand behind her, and then without her asking, moved again so his shadow didn’t fall on her paper.

When she’d first started painting, she hated people watching her. If felt as if the pressure of their eyes amplified every mistake. And then she realized how forgiving watercolors could be–and more importantly, how forgiving people could be. Mostly, if people liked it, if it looked ‘right’ to them, they wouldn’t see the tiny flaws, the mistakes covered imperfectly.

*    *    *

Life on the colony planet of Kaibou was going uneventfully until the second generation of colonists was born on the planet, at some, at a young age, began showing various psychic abilities. When those people, called marvels, grew up, many of them formed companies, building compounds to live in and raise their children.  Due to population diversity issues, many colonists have children using genetic bank material, or choose a succession of partners. Now on the seventh generation, marvels are born both within and without company walls, and all must work together to use their gifts and make a living on a still wild land. Some of these outsider marvels sign contracts with company marvels, agreeing to give them a child raised within the company, in return for a permanent home in the company compound, a stipend, and other concessions.

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.

33 responses »

  1. Carrie-Anne says:

    I love a story with art and at least one artist! A lot of people do say they only wish they could do the less than perfect artwork non-professional artists do, even if the artist is sensitive about mistakes.

  2. Ed Hoornaert says:

    This stranger seems to favor her work. The bigger question is, will he be important to the story.

  3. A very big question is where does he fit in the story and might he present a problem between her and her man.

  4. Author Jessica E. Subject says:

    I too am wondering the significance of this man in the story. I don’t think I could stand anyone watching me while I worked.

  5. nancygideon says:

    Nice scene, Caitlin. I hate people standing over my shoulder! Buuuut, if it’s a man with well-defined muscles . . .

  6. Jacob Rosemeier says:

    Love the level of detail in this scene. Really peaceful and relaxing. But if I were painting (though I wouldn’t- I’m no artist at all) I don’t think I could deal with someone standing over my shoulder the whole time!

  7. Alexis Duran says:

    Cotton-Candy pink hair? Well-defined muscles? Please tell me this isn’t a random passer-by.

  8. Fun snippet indeed and I’m with Alexis in hoping this guy isn’t just a minor passer-by. (I still haven’t warmed up much to Brenton for some reason LOL.)

  9. Andrea R Huelsenbeck says:

    I am so glad to see the painterly side of Rekka. I love how she noticed pink-hair-man (my first thought was Effie in Hunger Games) move so he wouldn’t cast a shadow on her paper. I love that even though she might have been self-conscious with an audience in the past, she doesn’t seem to mind him watching her.

    • If he hadn’t moved, she was about to say something! (His hair is a more saturated color than that, but you’re not far off.)
      Since Rekka has a very people-y job, she’s way better at people-ing than I am. 🙂

  10. Diane Burton says:

    I don’t like someone looking over my shoulder when I read or write. Even if I could paint, not sure I’d like it either. Thanks for reminding me that our characters should have hobbies.

  11. I’d have to think twice about a stranger with pink hair, although his muscles do sound nice.

  12. Hywela Lyn says:

    As someone who used to paint a little (before writing took over) I really enjoyed this excerpt, but I hate to have someone looking over my shoulder when I’m working. He’s very considerate though and I can see why she’s unfazed by his presence.

    • She used to work as one of those quick-portrait artists you see at fairs/ parks, so she’s used to it. But it’d drive me crazy, too!
      I dabble in painting myself. I don’t do it often, so I’m not very good, but it’s relaxing. 🙂

  13. julieevelynjoyce says:

    Ooh, an intriguing new character! Who could possibly resist a man with pink hair! 😉 Awesome excerpt!

  14. Karen Michelle Nutt says:

    Your explanation about art and how others see perfection where the artist may see flaws. That’s spot on!.

  15. The plot just thickened. I liked the image I got of him–all those muscles and his cotton candy pink hair. Nice! Also, dandy biit of character building, too, having him be considerate enough to not create a shadow on her work-space. 🙂

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