“One of the most-common mistakes that beginning writers make is leaving their characters alone. Writing, you may be alone. Reading, your audience may be alone. But your character should spend very, very little time alone. Because a solitary character starts thinking or worrying or wondering.” – Chuck Palahniuk
So a couple friends and I decided to have a little challenge among ourselves and all write a story titled “Horse Drawn Library.” We all came up with completely different stories and let’s just say… I took a rather dark approach to what sounds like such a happy-go-lucky title! I had so much fun writing it!
A scattering of leaves blew down the dirty street in the cold wind as the first hints of dawn started stretching over the sky. The air was grey with fog, moist and heavy and looming over the empty Whitechapel street. Inky black horses attached to a carriage stamped their hooves, snorting out impatient breaths as they waited.
“Settle down,” the carriage driver soothed as he climbed down from the perch. He moved around to his horses and pet their long noses with gloved hands. “She’ll be along soon, don’t you worry.” People were beginning to make their ways back home to sleep through the morning after a long night of disreputable deeds.
Soon after a poor young woman came walking quickly out the park and down the street toward them, moving fast so as to get off the streets and home safely as soon as she could. As she drew nearer, he straightened his rust waistcoat under his jacket as he looked around nervously. He tipped his worn top hat when she drew level with him and said, “A ride, miss?”
“Oh no, thank you. I don’t have any money.” She pulled her threadbare wrap around her more tightly, brushing her long, tangled blonde hair behind her ear.
“Please don’t worry about that, my dear,” he said, laying a gentle hand on her shoulder, ducking his head down a little to meet her eyes. “No fee, I just want to see you home safely. There are still untrustworthy people about this early in the day. Anything could happen to you. I would hate to read about you in the papers, what with all those disappearances, and knowing that I could have done something to help you. I just couldn’t stand it.”