A Peaceable Person

DaggerMarna was a peaceable person; at least, she had always considered herself so. But at the moment, a bone-wracking anger possessed her entirely. She struggled to keep her voice mild.

“Put the knife down unless you intend to use it.”

Seonid’s hand shook on the haft of the knife. Her fierce glare withered. She dropped her eyes, suddenly bright with tears, then the knife. The color that flooded her cheeks only made her more lovely. Hers was a beauty that devastated men’s hearts, Marna was sure of it.

But Marna had been a mother once. She understood manipulation, and slyness.

This post was made in response to this week’s Write On Edge prompt:

Below are three fairly generic passive phrases. Your goal is to make them active in a short scene, either fiction or non-fiction. You can choose one, two, or all three to play with, but you only have 100 words.

[he/she/I] was devastated by […]
[feeling] was experienced by […]
[person/thing] was possessed by […]

Read more in the Sable Mark series

21 responses to “A Peaceable Person

  1. Oh Christine. Now I am hooked and shall have to read more in the series. And just when I was getting on top of my blog reading. 🙂


  2. I really enjoyed this snippet. It’s packed with a clear setting, and emotion.


  3. I love when you come to play! And tell me your active version isn’t stronger than would be the passive. Love that.


    • I have to admit, I haven’t checked my past pieces for passive voice, but I *think* I tend to avoid it instinctively. On the other hand, I could be totally wrong, which would be eye-opening, if not downright embarrassing. 🙂

      I love to do the WOE prompts; I just have a hard time sometimes working them in to what I like to write. They tend to be pretty modern/colloquial, which is a little hard for me. One of these days I’ll stretch and write something totally contemporary. Maybe. 🙂


  4. Well played! I love the last line best.


  5. Nice. And the active version is definitely more powerful and present. I’d like to meet Marna, I think.


  6. Very nice. It is very strong and creates a very defined image.


  7. awriterweavesatale

    intense. and well done.


  8. Love! What a fantastic little piece – action and heart. I can only imagine the storyline for Seonid and Marna: Good for Marna!

    I loved his line “a bone-wracking anger possessed her entirely” and your last line too!

    Quick copy edit: is “haft” meant to be “shaft”?


    • Thank you! Seonid and Marna have some issues to work through, I think.

      No, I meant “haft,” as in “handle.” But thanks for checking – I can see where shaft would work too.


  9. She understood manipulation, and slyness. She sure did. Intense.


  10. The active voice paints this as one intense scene! I haven’t read the rest of the storyline but I may have to get back her very soon to do so!


    • Thank you! “Storyline” may be a little ambitious; it’s really just a series of vignettes that may, eventually, tell a full story. I have aspirations… (As do many of us, I’m sure.)


  11. I agree that this was excellent and action packed and it certainly made me want to know more about these two. I had one hitch: But Marna had been a mother once. I think it was the once. It made me wonder if she was no longer a mother.

    I really loved that Marna took the time to notice Seonid’s beauty even while facing the ugliness of being threatened.


    • Hmm, I can see where that would be jarring, though it was indeed intended to hint at the fact that she had been, and was no longer, a mother. Technically this vignette is part of a series, and while I was hoping it would stand on its own, I suppose it would make more sense if I linked back to one of the other pieces, “Salt.”


  12. Oh, that last line is just delicious. A stunning piece, full of sparse, perfect details.


  13. That last line is just delicious. A wonderful piece, full of spare, perfect details.


  14. Beautifully crafted and tense. The last line carries so much weight and makes me so curious about the “was a mother once.” There’s so much potential there.


  15. Keith Hoerner

    There’s a palpable tension in this “active” scene that is to be lauded. Micro fiction with a macro punch…


  16. Christine, this was a taut, telling tale. I’ll have to catch up on the rest of the tale, but the line about having been a mother struck home. Being a mom does expose you to all sorts of manipulations… with luck, you see through them. Sometimes, too late. Great! Amy


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