A Year on Saturn

...is approximately 29.7 Earth years.

"A Year on Saturn" is the website of Shannon Fay,
freelance and fiction writer.

Clarion West Write-a-Thon 2017: Week 1

Posted on: June 22nd, 2017 by Shannon Fay No Comments

What the heck is the Clarion West Write-a-Thon? It’s anything you want it to be. For six weeks you write, working towards a goal that YOU set, hopefully raising money at the same time for Clarion West, a fantastic writers’ program. As I have mentioned multiple times on this blog, I am a Clarion West graduate and I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without it. I was also lucky enough to receive some financial assistance from the program to help me attend, so I try to help out with fundraising, even if it’s just throwing a link out to my Write-A-Thon page in the hope that some generous blog readers might go sponsor me and kick some dollars CW’s way.

The Write-A-Thon has officially started (first day was Sunday) but the registration date has been extended to June 25th, so register! You can even double dip and do it alongside the Clarion San Diego Write-a-Thon, or Camp NaNoin July (yet another ‘set-your-own-goal’ summer writing initiative). If you are a writer, I highly encourage you to take part. It’s kind of like a personal NaNoWriMo, in that you have a set time (six weeks) to achieve your goal. The big difference is that this is a bit more personalized than NaNo, in that it’s your own goal that you’re chasing rather than 50k. It’s all very low-key and casual. You can make your goal as specific or as vague as you like. Heck, you can even go onto your personal page and change your goal if it is not working out for you. For example, I wanted to hulk-out writing wise this summer, so I challenged myself to write 1000 words a day (I also wanted to update this blog more, so writing a blog post each week was also one of my goals. Hence, this post). But I am at Day 5 of this Write-A-Thon and I am just not going to survive if I try to keep up 1k a day, so I am lowering that goal to 750 words a day, a number that will help me write tons but still keep everything else under control.

I am working on both my novel ‘Innate Magic’ and also a short story that is growing in length. The not-so short story doesn’t have a name yet, though it does have a pretty silly pun title that I will only reveal if I reach $20 worth of donations on my Write-a-Thon page. I’m not usually one to post excerpts from works in progress, but I thought it might be fun to show a little bit of what I am working on, even if it’s still a first draft (plus I am really liking this short story so far so I’m willing to go against my better instincts and share it with the world). If you like it, please consider going to my page and clicking the donate button. Knowing that there are people out there who have donated money on me behalf is a great motivator for me to keep writing. I’d be grateful for any donation.



When you knock over a saltshaker, do you pinch a little bit of salt and toss it over your left shoulder? When you sneeze and no one else is around, do you feel slightly bereft that no one is there to say ‘God bless you’? When you raise the specter of troublesome things, do you knock on wood so that your words stay absit omen and you do not inadvertently summon the very thing you fear?

Do you ever curse yourself when, after a moment’s inattention, you open an umbrella indoors, or bump into someone on the stairwell rather than waiting for them to pass, or walk under a ladder, and know that you’ve earned yourself at least a day’s worth of bad luck?

Do you ever wonder who enforces these rules?

We kept going left until we came to yet another gazebo. This one, however, overlooked Portmeirion itself. It was an astounding sight: bright pink, yellow, green, blue buildings with differing facades and architecture, a large fountain in the middle, a giant clock tower overlooking it all. Beyond the town (which, for all it’s splendor wasn’t actually that big) was the water itself, a slate blue estuary. For all it’s painted gaiety the town was unnervingly silent. No people strolled around the fountain, no doors opened and closed, no words were spoken.

As we were taking in the village I became aware of the Secretary of the Exterior standing next to me.

“You like it?” he asked me, like a child seeking approval. We had worked together on the logistics of the meeting, him finding the location and me signing the cheques. Exterior was the only Sinister I would consider a friend as well as an ally.

“Yes. Well done, Exterior.” I turned to Agatha. “Agatha, I’d like you to meet–”

Ahhh!” Agatha, who had kept her cool while staring down Interior, was now backing away, mouth covered. I turned to see what she was looking at, but saw only Exterior, looking as confused as I was.

‘His mask,’ I realized. Exterior had the build of a board shouldered athletic human (probably a man, though Sinisters pride themselves on not being too fussy about gender. We Are Our Jobs). His ‘mask’ was a flayed bit of skin in the shape of a domino mask, stretching across his eyes and over the bridge of his nose. He didn’t have eyelids. To my demonself all of this gave him a vulnerable, exposed and wide-eyed look at odds with his hulking frame. But to a human it would look terrifying.

“Exterior,” I said. “While we’re here you should wear something different on your face. It might frighten the staff otherwise.”

“Oh?” Exterior shrugged. “If you say so.” Skin rippled, filling the domino mask outline. This new skin was of a lighter tone that the rest of his body, and if you looked closely you could see that there was a stiffness around the eyes, that the lids never moved. If you watched long enough you might notice that he never blinked at all. To be the Secretary of the Exterior is to only ever be able to look outward.

Leave a Reply