As an author I’ve always taken the Pirates of the Caribbean attitude to deadlines “more of a set of guidelines than rules”. That was until this morning when I crawled to my desk, swigged some coffee and realised with horror that I had a fantasy story due in tomorrow.
The worst part of writing fantasy is thinking up names. They can’t be “normal” like Jane, Lisa and Paul, they have to be like some race-horse “by Pratchett out of Tolkein” or they don’t sound right.
In desperation I started writing. This would be a very short story, not much more than a flash fiction and I would just have to take whatever inspiration shot into my head for names. I didn’t even bother to turn off the TV which is normally a pre-requisite for me working. Between staring out at the garden and drinking a couple of litres of coffee, I finished and sent it off.
Never underestimate the power of daytime advertising and TV shows because THIS is the load of hooey that I jotted down.
Princess Nivea decided that it was time she married. It was becoming hard work ruling the Forest of Loriel on her own. Her brother, Nokia was of no use at all and she wanted a husband. So in the way of all good fairy tales she would throw a ball and invite all the eligible bachelors near-by. She would not invite Duke Duracell and his ghastly wife Danone because of that regrettable incident last New Year.
Calling her scribe, Vistaprint, to her she started to dictate the list. Her cousins Porphyria and Dementia would have to be invited with Dementia’s brother Psoriasis.
Eligible males were a problem. Earl Rowan, of the Ash Mountain, he was good, she’d invite him and certainly the mysterious magic user Sumak. Douglas Fir and his brother Leylandi were good sports but even though “Horsey” Chestnut had been at school with Nokia, he ate like a pig and knocked over the candles all the time, usually when drunk.
She had a brilliant idea. She would go in disguise, a reverse-Cinderella move and see if any of them paid her any attention just as a woman. A dress! She would need a dress that was much less fine than her usual ball-gowns but not the rags of a serving maid. Her seamstress Amazon Dot would be able to run her up something in 24 hours.
Being part-elf she was ninety eight even though she appeared in her early twenties so, throwing her Over-50s Life Cover around her shoulders she dashed down the Stannah stairs, calling her dogs, Trust and F’Life to accompany her, she twinkled her way along the castle corridors, ready to put her plan into action.
She hoped the party would go with a Cillit Bang!
I had a note back from my editor.
“I don’t know what you are on, Ailsa but can I have a couple of drags?”
She has kindly put my deadline back a week.