Name three characters that may appear in the mini-short story you will write for this lesson. List four traits or characteristics for each of them.
Wet Shoes – A baby born to a young couple. She is unable to speak except to the reflection that she sees in The River. Loyal to the one who protects her from the cruelty of the outside world. A person who can keep a secret.
The River – The one thing or person that can bring Wet Shoes to talk. WhetherThe River is human or a sprit living within the water, he protects her until he is no longer needed. We don’t know who or what The River is, only Wet Shoes knows his secret.
The Warlock – The person who summons Wet Shoes to tell him the secrets of the river. He lives in a dark, musty castle and sits on a throne of rotting wood. Among his long locks of hair, he has one black eye and one blue glass eye.
Identify and explain the major conflict in your story. Mention any other less significant conflicts which may appear. The major conflict in this story, is Wet Shoes’s inability to talk. However, this conflict becomes her strength as she ultimately makes the decision not to talk to The Warlock and preserve The River’s secrets.
A less significant conflict is Wet Shoes’s first day in public, where The River comes to rescue her after a woman accuses Wet Shoes of stealing.
Create a plot or story line, identifying the major events from beginning to end. A baby is born in a small cottage by a stream. The child is unable to speak, until her seventh birthday. On this birthday, The River comes to her aid. The child is then only able to speak to the reflection in the river. However, this is not her reflection. Who does she see? Only she knows.
As she grows, The River saves her in many complicated situations. Giving her the chance to tell her story to a woman who accuses her of stealing. Since she has this connection to The River comes, people begin to call the child Wet Shoes.
Hearing of her supposed power, a warlock summons her to his castle demanding that she reveal The River’s secrets. Even though she is able to speak because she sees a reflection in The Warlock’s glass eye, she stays silent to keep the secrets of The River.
Write out ten opening lines for your short story. Remember that this is the all-important first encounter that a reader will have with your story. A tale has been often told of a young child who was born under the small thatched cottage at the edge of the stream. The young couple who had built the cottage, were anxious that their anticipated young one would experience the quiet of the forest, rather than the harsh life of the city. The river had beckoned them, and they created a nice solitary life to wait for their child. However when their daughter was born, they were utterly disappointed. The child did not utter a single sound as she was thrust into the world. She only blinked her eyes and wondered quiet thoughts. She wondered why she was unable to open her mouth and why she was unable to express her love to the two people who watched her curiously.
Briefly identify how you intend to handle the following elements of your short story:
(mood) The mood in this story will be muted, like an old tale that has been told too many times. (theme)
Theme in this story is going to be clear and defined throughout the plot. (tone) The tone of this story will be very passive and fairytale like, without too much information about the characters.
A tale has been often told of a young child who was born under the small thatched cottage at the edge of the stream. The young couple who had built the cottage, were anxious that their anticipated young one would experience the quiet of the forest, rather than the harsh life of the city. The river had beckoned them, and they created a nice solitary life to wait for their child. However when their daughter was born, they were utterly disappointed. The child did not utter a single sound as she was thrust into the world. She only blinked her eyes and wondered quiet thoughts. She wondered why she was unable to open her mouth and why she was unable to express her love to the two people who watched her curiously.
The River knew why, but it remained still, waiting for the right moment.
This is how the child lived for the first six years of her life. In utter silence. Her parents continually tried to coax the words outside of the child’s mouth, however, they remained stuck inside the tiny creature. The child’s wide eyes expressed her needs, and her motions directed her feelings on the outside. The poor young couple did not remember the old tales that could have maybe cured their child born without words. The old tales which describe the children who live in-between worlds. Worlds which we have forgotten.
It was on the child’s seventh birthday that The River, understanding the child’s frustration, came to her rescue. In the night, The River swept through the small cottage. The rain pounded down furiously, reaching through the windows and cracks of the cottage. The River’s fingers crept around the child’s bed, creating a perfect pool surrounding her sleeping form. When she awoke, the morning sun streamed through the cottage and illuminated the still pool around her. Stepping down joyously into the water, she looked at the person in the water who smiled back. She called to her parents, who ran tearfully through the water to wrap their arms around their daughter who had finally found her voice. And herself.
It was during these years that The River realized that the child needed him. So whenever the child was in distress, The River would come crashing through the cottage, so that she could look upon the reflection and say what she desired. The River became the only source of comfort to the child. The only place where she could express her true feelings.
After the initial shock of their daughter finally speaking, a few years after her seventh birthday, her parents decided that it was time that she began to live with her deformity. They gave her a basket of mushrooms with the prices attached, and sent her through the woods to the town. In the town square, the little girl wandered the stalls, unable to call out like the other market sellers. She dragged the basket of mushrooms along with her, stopping only to stare at several beautiful dresses that had been laid out in the sun. She stood for a while, entranced with the way the colors interwove into each other and oblivious to the people around her.
It was at that moment when another young girl, passing by the dresses, slipped a bright red dress under her own and began to walk away. The child, with her basket of mushrooms, simply stood there unable to address what she had just witnessed. As if all hell had suddenly broken loose, a large woman with long black hair jumped out from behind the dress stand. She hollered at the child demanding that the child show the dress she had just stolen. As a crowd gathered, The River began to feel uneasy.
The woman’s horrible face loomed far too close, “Where is it?” she screamed.The poor child stood in utter terror, unable to explain. The River felt the child’s fear. He picked up his coat tails, and rushed to the child’s aid. In the middle of the town square, he ran from the woods. People screamed as torrents of water washed around the stalls, coming to rest at the child’s feet. Looking down at the reflection she saw in the water, she also saw the horrified faces of everyone that stood wet and silent.
The child smiled, “I did not steal anything,” she said confidently.
It was after this point where the people in town christened the child, who was not really a child anymore, Wet Shoes. No one bothered her, except to buy mushrooms. But even then, there was an air of caution in the words they uttered to the woman who was in cahoots with mother nature. Wet Shoes was fine with this new method of interaction, but she did not realize, as she never spoke herself, that people talk to spread evil, not just information. It was this underground system of evil that sparked the interest of a warlock some miles off of where she lived. He was intrigued with her power, and wondered if she might be persuaded to share her knowledge.
One quiet morning while Wet Shoes sat beside The River, looking and talking to the reflection in the water, the sounds of birds stopped in mid call. Suddenly, she heard tramping through the woods and the rocks at the edge of the riverbed began to shake. Warriors poured into the clearing and through The River, stomping out the reflection in the water. Summoned by The Warlock and without a choice, Wet Shoes was thrown over the back of a horse and transported accordingly.
The castle of a warlock has been too often described, so I won’t go into much detail. But it seemed to Wet Shoes, it was everything that could possibly considered dark and foreboding. As she and the warriors approached the gate, a dark smell of rancid water made her stomach turn. Far from her river and the only place she really knew, small tears began to fall down her cheeks.
They sent her on her way, down the dimly lit halls. As she walked to the door directly at the end of the hall, terror ran down her body like an electric shock. Passing through the doorway, Wet Shoes stepped into the flickering light that illuminated the figure who sat on a throne of rotting wood. His eyes were obscured by the lighting, however his figure was enough for Wet Shoes to tremble with fear.
The river sat up in alarm. Climbing down from his throne, The Warlock circled Wet Shoes. She saw the outline of hair, and a face. Was it a face? He stopped, facing her, and spoke in a hard thick voice. “You have been brought here for a reason.” Wet Shoes refused to meet his gaze. The River decided to wait. “You have power that I wish to own. That I will own. Tell me the secrets of The River. ” The River still waited. Desperately wishing what he believed, would be true. Wet Shoes stood straight and looked directly into The Warlock’s eyes. She was startled by what she saw. One eye was black, but the other was made of bright blue glass, and in that glass, she saw a reflection.
She smiled and but stayed silent. The River sighed in relief, and settled back into its riverbed.
Sometimes when you see the truth, it is still better to stay silent. ——————
Offer comments and observations about your writing experience for this second story. Again, be as specific in your responses as possible.
What aspects of your story came easiest for you? Explain. The characters are often the first things I figure out, then the story comes along. So even though the characters in this story are vague, they were the easiest to figure out for me.
What areas gave you the most difficulty? Why? The area that probably gave me the most difficulty, was deciding on an ending. I wanted this story to be some sort of cautionary tale, with a moral at the end, but I could not really figure out how I was going to get to that point. What about your story pleases you most?
Again, like in my last story, the plot probably pleases me the most. I had no idea where I intended to go, and it ended much better than I had anticipated!
What about your story are you least happy with? I am not really unhappy with anything in this story. Although it is probably a little vague, I meant the story to be like an old tale that no one can really remember.
Discuss what you learned in the writing of this second story. Writing this second story, I noticed that my ideas often came together when I thought they wouldn’t. I am not really good at stopping myself from placing too much information into a story but it came together at the end.