Session #5 Assignment – Hidden Clues Scene

This assignment has two parts:

Part One: Write a scene, 500 words or less, in which at least three clues are hidden.

Part Two: In 250 words or less, reveal the clues you hid in part one and describe their significance to the plot.

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Original submission:

Mollie watched with interest as Amber worked her chestnut Arabian Izzy in the arena.  She was riding him through a makeshift trail training course outfitted with orange traffic cones placed here and there, a maze of ground poles, and a large pine log about 12 feet long and two feet in diameter.

Mollie could see that the horse was a bit wide-eyed and jiggy – he needed settling.  Amber patiently walked the nervous horse around the cones, and then backed him through the ground poles.   Amber was putting his mind and feet to work, calming the animal while allowing him use his energy.   Mollie thought she was doing a nice job.

Until the jump.  Mollie watched as Amber nudged the horse into a trot and steered him toward the log.  He’s too slow, Mollie thought, and almost called out “More trot!”  But, given what Lucy had told her about the woman, she thought better of it and kept her mouth shut. 

A couple of strides before the jump, Amber rose out of her saddle and leaned over her horse’s neck, anticipating Izzy’s takeoff.  As Mollie expected, the horse felt his rider’s weight shift too far forward and stopped hard in response.   Already jumping ahead of her horse, Amber was easily tossed off when he put on the brakes.  She landed squarely on her ass on the other side of the log.    

Hello, Earth.  Meet Butt.   Mollie smiled inside.  Izzy had done the right thing.

She jumped off the fence rail and half-jogged across the arena toward Amber.    “You Ok?”

Amber didn’t answer, but got back on her feet and brushed arena sand off of her butt.  No apparent damage.

“You need to wear a helm …” Mollie started to scold.  Amber was quick to interrupt.

“I should have quit sooner, he was getting tired. “     

Just then, as if on cue, Izzy galloped by the two women, bucking and kicking with mischievous glee as he raced past. 

 “Yeah, he looks really tired,” Mollie observed with more than a hint of sarcasm.   “I think if he had been going a little faster and you hadn’t gotten so far over on his neck, he would have jumped it, he just needed …”

Amber interrupted again.  “Oh, he hates to jump.  He always stops — no matter how I approach it.”  

Translation:  It was Izzy’s fault. 

 “No, you should’ve …” Mollie wasn’t about to let Amber blame her horse for the fall, but her irritation drifted off, unspoken.  Her train of thought had been derailed by something she saw lying on the ground — in the spot where Izzy had just planted Amber’s butt.  She picked it up and dusted it off.  Another medicine bag, just like the one she had found in Azalia’s saddlebag.

She held it out to Amber.  “Is this yours?”

“Oh, yeah, thanks, “Amber said.  “It is supposed to protect me from harm.”  She opened the drawstring and looked inside.   “I guess I need to put some different totems in it.”   Mollie thought she was kidding and was about to offer a weak chuckle in response, but then she noticed Amber’s furrowed brow and pursed mouth.  She was serious.   “I’ll have to ask Jack about it.”

“Who’s Jack?”

Ignoring Mollie’s question, Amber went on.  “I got it from Azalia as payment for giving her horse a massage.  It really worked on him, too – he moved much better afterward.”  She started to dump the contents of the beaded pouch into her hand, then stopped and pulled the drawstring tight.  “Jack said I’m not supposed to show anyone what’s inside, or it will lose its healing powers.  Oh, and, the Old Ways say that you can never give your bag to anyone else, either, or both of you will be cursed.” 

“Oh, scary.”  Mollie acknowledged, not scared at all.   She was, however, determined to get an answer to her question. 

“So who’s Jack?” Jeez, was the woman deaf?

“Azalia’s uncle.  He’s Miwok.   I had seen Azalia’s bag, told her I would take one exactly like it as payment for Loki’s massage.  He’s a nice horse — I never rode him, but Azalia and I did a few trail rides together.   I was on Tom, since Izzy was lame.”   And no doubt his fault, Mollie thought.  

Amber continued.  “Tom’s that big black quarter horse in the paddock outside Loki’s stall. They’re pretty inseparable.  He sure is a numbskull, super barn sour.  It was a fight to get him away from here and down the trail.   Once I was on him alone, a few miles away from here — he spooked hard and dumped me.  Ran straight back here and stood next to his paddock, just waiting for someone to let him in.  I had to hike it all the way home. ” 

Mollie couldn’t conjure up any sympathy.  She was staring at the diamond-patterned beadwork on the medicine bag in Amber’s hand.   It was the same design that she had found in Azalia’s trail gear.    The only difference was the color scheme – Azalia’s had been adorned with green and red beads, Amber’s with purple and black. 

Amber had asked for something exactly like the one Azalia had.  The medicine bag that Mollie had discovered in the tack room was not Azalia’s.

 

Part Two: In 250 words or less, reveal the clues you hid in part one and describe their significance to the plot. 

 

Clue #1:  The horses Tom and Loki are inseparable.   The plot significance is that after Azalia was murdered sometime during a wilderness ride on Loki, Loki followed Tom home.  

Clue #2:  The medicine bag’s significance to its owner – its contents are sacred to the owner and should be kept secret, and it should not be given to someone else.    Azalia’s own bag was missing, and someone else’s was in her saddlebag.  The plot significance is that Azalia had given or traded her own bag for one that belonged to someone, or something, else.  The only reason she would have risked a curse for doing this is that she thought one curse should cancel out another.

Clue #3:  Tom is barn sour.  If Tom was on the trail and Loki followed him home (after Azalia’s murder), Tom’s rider would have to a strong and experienced rider to get the horse that far away from the ranch.  The plot significance is that this rider is Azalia’s killer.   Remember the camels.  😀

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Instructor’s comments:

Carol,

The scene is good—and well written. Molly makes a good character and has an appropriate internal voice for a protagonist–honest, mostly nice, but not overly so that she’s not a pushover. She stands in well for the reader, who will also be somewhat sophisticated and observant–yet still basically a decent human being. The plot work is good, but you also reveal a good amount about each character, which is the best way to approach this. The writing has a very readable tone. In short you’re hitting all your markets with setting, character, and forward motion. miki

Mollie watched with interest as Amber worked her chestnut Arabian Izzy in the arena. She was riding him through a makeshift trail training course outfitted with orange traffic cones placed here and there, a maze of ground poles, and a large pine log about 12 feet long and two feet in diameter.

Mollie could see that the horse was a bit wide-eyed WE ONLY USE THE HYPHEN WHEN THE COMPOUND ADJECTIVE GOES IN FRONT OF A NOUN and jiggy – NO SPACE ON EITHER SIDE OF A DASH he needed settling. Amber patiently walked the nervous horse around the cones, and then backed him through the ground poles.   Amber was putting his mind and feet to work, calming the animal while allowing him use his energy.   Mollie thought she was doing a nice job.

Until the jump. Mollie watched as Amber nudged the horse into a trot and steered him toward the log. He’s too slow, YOU CAN PUT HER DIRECTLY QUOTED THOUGHTS IN ITALIC Mollie thought, and almost called out “More trot!” But, given what Lucy had told her about the woman, she thought THE better of it and kept her mouth shut.

A couple of strides before the jump, Amber rose out of her saddle and leaned over her horse’s neck, anticipating Izzy’s takeoff. As Mollie expected, the horse felt his rider’s weight shift too far forward and stopped hard in response.   Already jumping ahead of her horse, Amber was easily tossed off when he put on the brakes. She landed squarely on her ass on the other side of the log.

Hello, Earth. Meet Butt. ITALIC Mollie smiled inside. Izzy had done the right thing.

She jumped off the fence rail and half-jogged across the arena toward Amber.   “You Ok NO CAP `O’ ?”

Amber didn’t answer, but got back on her feet and brushed arena sand off of her butt. No apparent damage.

“You need to wear a helm …” Mollie started to scold. Amber was quick to interrupt.

“I should have quit sooner[,] DASH he was getting tired. “

Just then, as if on cue, Izzy galloped by the two women, bucking and kicking with mischievous glee as he raced past.

“Yeah, he looks really tired,” Mollie observed with more than a hint of sarcasm.   “I think if he had been going a little faster and you hadn’t gotten so far over on his neck, he would have jumped it, PERIOD CAP he just needed …”

Amber interrupted again. “Oh, he hates to jump. He always stops — NO SPACE ON EITHER SIDE OF A DASH no matter how I approach it.”

Translation: It was Izzy’s fault.

“No, you should’ve …” Mollie wasn’t about to let Amber blame her horse for the fall, but her irritation drifted off, unspoken. Her train of thought had been derailed by something she saw lying on the ground [– ] in the spot where Izzy had just planted Amber’s butt. She picked it up and dusted it off. Another medicine bag, just like the one she had found in Azalia’s saddlebag.

She held it out to Amber. “Is this yours?”

“Oh, yeah, thanks, “Amber said. “It is supposed to protect me from harm.” She opened the drawstring and looked inside.   “I guess I need to put some different totems in it.”   Mollie thought she was kidding and was about to offer a weak chuckle in response, but then she noticed Amber’s furrowed brow and pursed mouth. She THE WOMAN was serious.   “I’ll have to ask Jack about it.”

“Who’s Jack?”

Ignoring Mollie’s question, Amber went on. “I got it from Azalia as payment for giving her horse a massage. It really worked on him, too – he moved much better afterward.” She started to dump the contents of the beaded pouch into her hand, then stopped and pulled the drawstring tight. “Jack said I’m not supposed to show anyone what’s inside, or it will IT’LL –THE WAY WE SPEAK lose its healing powers. Oh, and, the Old Ways say that you can never give your bag to anyone else, either, or both of you will be cursed.”

“Oh, scary.” Mollie acknowledged, not scared at all.   She was, however, determined to get an answer to her question.

“So who’s Jack?” Jeez, was the woman deaf?

“Azalia’s uncle. He’s Miwok.   I had seen Azalia’s bag, told her I would take one exactly like it as payment for Loki’s massage. He’s a nice horse — I never rode him, but Azalia and I did a few trail rides together.   I was on Tom, since Izzy was lame.”   And no doubt his fault, Mollie thought.

Amber continued. “Tom’s that big COMMA black quarter horse in the paddock outside Loki’s stall. They’re pretty inseparable. He sure is a numbskull, super barn sour. It was a fight to get him away from here and down the trail.   Once I was on him alone, a few miles away from here — he spooked hard and dumped me. Ran straight back here and stood next to his paddock, just waiting for someone to let him in. I had to hike it all the way home. ” SO WHAT’S HER EXPRESSION –HOW DOES SHE SOUND–WHAT EMOTION IS SHE CONVEYING?

Mollie couldn’t conjure up any sympathy. She was staring at the diamond-patterned beadwork on the medicine bag in Amber’s hand[.   It was] COMMA the same design that she had SHE’D found in Azalia’s trail gear.   The only difference was the color scheme – Azalia’s had been adorned with green and red beads, Amber’s with purple and black.

Amber had asked for something exactly like the one Azalia had. The medicine bag that Mollie had discovered in the tack room was not WASN’T Azalia’s. GOOD

Part Two: In 250 words or less, reveal the clues you hid in part one and describe their significance to the plot.

Clue #1: The horses Tom and Loki are inseparable.   The plot significance is that after Azalia was murdered sometime during a wilderness ride on Loki, Loki followed Tom home.   GOOD

Clue #2: The medicine bag’s significance to its owner – its contents are sacred to the owner and should be kept secret, and it should not be given to someone else.   Azalia’s own bag was missing, and someone else’s was in her saddlebag. The plot significance is that Azalia had given or traded her own bag for one that belonged to someone, or something, else. The only reason she would have risked a curse for doing this is that she thought one curse should cancel out another. GOOD

Clue #3: Tom is barn sour. If Tom was on the trail and Loki followed him home (after Azalia’s murder), Tom’s rider would have to BE a strong and experienced rider to get the horse that far away from the ranch. The plot significance is that this rider is Azalia’s killer.   Remember the camels. 😀 OH, GOOD

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