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Recycle Bin > Creativity Corner: Iphigenia

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message 1: by The UHQ Nasanta (last edited Jan 26, 2011 10:53PM) (new)

The UHQ Nasanta (uhqs) | 829 comments After taking a peek at Sabrina's Soul Mates, I felt the impulse to try a bit of writing. Less than 1000 words in and I was ready to call it quits (definitely won't last long in NaNoWriMo). Now that I've stopped, I don't know if I'll ever pick it up again but I'll post what I've got so far. Descriptions and details are sparse but I think that that's just my writing style? I did try to put enough details to create a mental picture, but rest is for the reader's imagination to fill in. I'm wondering whether this works or whether more description or details should be added.


"Effy! Effy?"

Effy scrambled up guiltily and quickly wiped her hands against her jeans. She glanced down at herself critically and was relieved to see that the dirt did not show up very clearly against her black jeans.

"Coming, Aunt Em!"

With a fleeting glance back at the now-stirring bundle of fur, Effy ran toward the house.


The squirrel stirred and slowly managed to rise to its paws. It had been certain that it was dead. It had seen the cat's gleeful grin as the great beast pounced on him, and had felt the sharp pain of his spine cracking as the cat had shook and worried him. Perhaps it had just been a terrible dream. Perhaps it had missed the branch it had been leaping for and had gotten knocked out. Perhaps... A rustle in the bushes nearby had the squirrel freezing. After what seemed like a long time of nothing, the squirrel bolted for the safety of the nearest tree.


Effy wiped her black boots on the mat before stepping into the kitchen of her aunt's house. Her Aunt Em was standing before the stove stirring a pot of Erbsensuppe. Effy sighed. Pea soup again. She wished that Aunt Em would learn to cook something else.

At Effy's entrance, Aunt Em turned and glared.

"Tell me you haven't been playing with dead things again."

"No, Aunt Em," Effy lied, "I was just picking up some fresh catnip for Monsieur Louis." Effy showed Aunt Em the wilted catnip she had picked earlier that day. Aunt Em sniffed and turned back to the soup.

"Silly girl. You still think you can get Monsieur Louis to like you by bribing him with catnip? How many years has it been now, Iphigenia? When are you going to learn that..."

Effy silently set the catnip by Monsieur Louis's food bowl, and headed toward the bathroom to wash up, ignoring her aunt's tirade. It had always been thus, ever since Effy had come to live with her Aunt Em five years ago after her step-father had died in a plane crash. Aunt Em was actually her step-father’s aunt. They had been estranged for nearly a decade. She’d never found out why, but it was clear Aunt Em was still bitter about it. Effy vainly wished again that her mother had not been an orphan, or that her step-father had had other family with whom she could have lived with.

Effy flicked on the light switch and looked at herself in the mirror above the sink. Long black hair framed the sad brown eyes that stared back at her. As she washed her hands, Effy wondered about her father. Who was he? Where did he go? Did he ever wonder about her? Did he know that her mother had died? Why didn't he come for her? Angry at these thoughts and feeling a little guilty, Effy sent apologetic thoughts to her late step-father. I miss you, dad. I wish you hadn’t died, you and mom. I miss you two so much. Effy dried her hands and wiped away the stray tear that was making its way down her face, and headed towards the kitchen for dinner.


Dinner had been mostly a silent affair. It usually was. Aunt Em didn’t believe in conversation at the dinner table unless it was her complaining about Effy. Monsieur Louis had found the catnip by his food bowl but stiffened and arched his back when she had entered the kitchen. He hissed at her but didn’t run away as she approached the table. Effy thought that was an improvement. Monsieur Louis had always hated her. Effy didn’t know why; all the pets around the neighborhood did. Dogs would slink away, and cats suddenly decided to cross the street and stare at her from a distance. It was an enigma but Aunt Em just thought it was further proof that Effy was * . Not many girls would willingly touch dead things, but Aunt Em had caught Effy cradling the occasional dead animal she found and had been properly shocked and disgusted. Proper girls cradled stuffed animals, not dead ones, Aunt Em declared with revulsion.

Effy wasn’t a proper girl. She had never been. As long as she could remember, dead things never frightened her. She remembered bringing animal corpses to her mother as a child.

“The poor thing. Did it die, Effy?”

“Yes, mommy. Can I keep it?”

“You probably should bury it, Effy. It will start to rot and smell soon.”

“What if I made it wake up again, mommy? Would it still rot and smell?”

“No, Effy, don’t do that. Dead things should stay dead, and it’s not safe for you to make them wake up. Do you understand, Effy?”

It had taken Effy a while to understand that not everyone was able to bring the dead back to life. When her parents had been alive, they’d simply accepted that this ability was a part of Effy. They’d discouraged her from using her ability, especially in public, but they’d never feared her nor had they been repulsed by her ability. Her aunt’s reaction upon catching her nine-year-old niece cradling a dead cat simply reinforced what her parents had taught her: that she should always hide her ability from people.

message 2: by The UHQ Nasanta (last edited Jan 26, 2011 11:07PM) (new)

The UHQ Nasanta (uhqs) | 829 comments What I learned or confirmed when writing this 881-word passage:

- Good writing is hard, even creative writing.
- I have no imagination or creative spirit (the Muses hate me).
- Writing humorously in stories isn't my style.
- I don't like writing.

message 3: by Brandi (last edited Jan 27, 2011 09:31AM) (new)

Brandi (slayeresque) I thought it was a good start. Fairly inventive. I assume the title Iphigenia is the fully name of Effy, as that was never discussed. I thought it was fine, description wise, but I have a tendency to write the same way, more narrative than descriptive.

All in all, I really liked it, and would be interested in seeing more if you continued it.

EDIT: I forgot to add, that I think you're really rather brave to post something on here. I plan to post something eventually, probably after I convince myself to reread it. :D

message 4: by Lisarenee (new)

Lisarenee | 7659 comments I think we all are our worst critics.

message 5: by The UHQ Nasanta (last edited Jan 27, 2011 03:06PM) (new)

The UHQ Nasanta (uhqs) | 829 comments Brandi wrote: "I thought it was a good start. Fairly inventive. I assume the title Iphigenia is the fully name of Effy, as that was never discussed. I thought it was fine, description wise, but I have a tendency ..."

Thanks. Not at all inventive but glad you think so, lol. I was actually partially inspired by Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series. I was wishing there was one for adults or young adults, and better written. I thought about trying for the former condition, and doubting I can come close to the latter by a long shot.

Yes, the title does refer to Effy. I knew a Greek-American whose first name was Iphigenia and was called Effy.

Glad I'm not the only one to write more narrative than descriptive.

Not sure if I'll ever continue it but if I do, I'll post. Thanks. :)

@Lisarenee: Yes, we definitely are.

message 6: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (treychel) | 1484 comments A very good start. I think the balance between dialogue and description is perfect. I like books written in a simliar style to this. Keep going, keep going!

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