26 July 2009

Weekly Geeks: Faking It?

Weekly Geeks

1. Go to Creativity Tools' random word generator.

2. Get yourself a random word. Write it down. Then click "new word" to get yourself two more random words, and write them down, too. You should have three words written down.

3. Now find the random sentence generator and get yourself a sentence, write it down underneath the three words. If you don't like that sentence it's okay to click "new sentence" until you get one you like.

4. Use the Random Phrase Generator to generate a phrase. Write it down. You may not need this, but keep it handy, just in case. Again, it's okay to go through a couple of phrases before settling on one that works for you.

5. Now, using the three words from Step 2 and the sentence from Step 3, write one of the following, (but don't tell us which!):

(a) A book review (if you have an obscure book that many of us won't recognize by the title, this would be a great time to do it--or you could omit or replace the title [see -d- below] just for this week)
(b) A scene from a book (you'll need to replace some of the words and a phrase with the random ones).
(c) A scene you make up completely from scratch
(d) A review of a fake book, using the Random Phrase from Step 4 as your book title

Firstly: What an awesome challenge! This is going to be so much fun ... I’m doing something different to everyone else so far and posting a scene (or rather, part of one), from a historical mystery by Kathleen Koch. Fortunately it’s obscure, because I’m afraid there’s a bit of a spoiler. Real or fake - what do you think?

It was after supper when she stepped down from the hackney outside her brother’s residence. A painstakingly correct manservant showed her into the sitting room where Fletcher was settled with a glass of brandy and the inevitable book. He rose in surprise at his sister’s unexpected appearance.

“Come to make sure I’m not too bereft?” he asked, and it took her a moment to realise that he was speaking for the servant’s benefit, referring to the story they had agreed between them the previous night.

“A sister’s duty,” she said lightly, declining a seat as the servant left the room. She waited for a count of ten then swept across the room and opened the door. A startled maid scurried away.

“You need to manage your servants better,” she announced as she banged the door shut.

“I doubt you came here to dispense household hints. Just because I’m not in the habit of taking laudanum doesn’t mean I can’t recognise its effects. The juice disables an idle independence.”

“I thought that after such a distressing event you would need your rest. Since I knew you’d never agree to the suggestion, I–”

“Decided to drug me for my own good?”

A sharp retort rose to her lips, but she suppressed it on seeing that he really did look haggard, in spite of the good night’s sleep she had procured for him. His hair was coming loose from its queue, he wore the same clothes she had seen him in the previous night, and there was a haunted look in his eyes. The last fact convinced her that the first two weren’t merely for effect.

“You really did miss her, didn’t you?” she said softly.

He knocked back the rest of the brandy and set the glass down heavily. “What did you think, Mercy? That I could kill a woman with my bare hands and not feel anything? That I could be glad to see her dead, however much of a threat she had become?”

“I don’t think even you could be so cold-bloodedly pragmatic. I just … didn’t think you could be so human.”

Without getting up, he sketched her a slight bow. “If that’s your opinion, I shudder to think what Guy thinks of me.”

Mercy took a deep breath. She had thought to find her brother as composed as ever, and now that she hadn’t she felt some small compunction about burdening him further. But surely her own life – Guy’s life – was more important that Fletcher’s conscience, such of it as he possessed.

“I need to talk to you about the steps I took today to – to ensure our security.”

A spark of life returned to his face. “I’m listening.”

The explanation that had seemed so foolproof in her own home suddenly appeared pedestrian, able to be knocked to pieces by a single counter-argument. But it was all she had.

“I deposited a package with my solicitors,” she began, noticing the look of puzzlement that flickered across his face. “That package is accompanied by two letters. The first is to be opened if I should meet a death that is in any way unnatural.” She had him now; he leaned forward in his seat, his eyes uncomfortably intent on her face.

“It instructs the firm to open the package and make whatever use of the contents they see fit. The other letter is to be opened when all three of us – you, me, Guy – are dead, and it instructs the firm to hand the package to your heir.”

Fletcher half-raised the empty glass, but didn’t stir to refill it. “What is in the package?” he asked, in a tone that suggested he could hazard a guess.

“Your old account book.”

He lurched to his feet, and there was a flash followed by the tinkling sound of shattered glass as he hurled the brandy snifter into the fireplace. “You little bitch!”

Mercy felt the heat rise in her cheeks, but she didn’t flinch. “Maybe so, but a talented one. I learned all sorts of useful things at the brothel, not least of which was picking pockets.”

“I checked it before I threw it in the fire. I checked it and it wasn’t blank.”

“Because I’d taken the liberty of reproducing it.”

“They teach you forgery as well? I suppose I should be glad you never put your skills to use on the streets and got yourself hanged. Or maybe not.”

“I never committed any crime in which you were not also involved – except the aforementioned, of which you have no notation whatsoever.”


Ali said...

Well, I can't guess because I have the answer, but I'm so glad someone took the option of using a scene! And yours is great. Even the random sentence fits in seamlessly. Nicely done!

Emily said...

Well done! I'm guessing the random sentence is "the juice disables an idle independence," and maybe the random words are "notation," "painstaking," and "queue"? I really have no idea if it's real or fake, although I'm guessing fake just because it seems odd for a man named Fletcher either to be Chinese or wear a queue.

Kristen said...

I'm having a difficult time with these this week. I'm going to say that this is a fake exerpt. The words that you had to use were queue, bereft and package and that your sentence was "the juice disables an idle independence". Good job on this!

CoversGirl said...

After seeing Emily's comment I will point out that, real or fake, it's in 1783 . . . which explains the hairdo.

farmlanebooks said...

Brilliant! I have no idea, but I'm going to guess real just to go against everyone else!

Lahni said...

I'm going to guess real. The random words are painstakingly, package and pedestrian. I think the random sentence is The juice disables an idle independence.

Suey said...

Dang this is good! I'm trying to do mine now and am looking to see what everyone else did, and I'm not sure I can figure out how to do it! :) Way to go.

And I think your scene is real.

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Header image shows detail of A Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, c. 1776