Trifextra: Fantasy

It was not until the third time that the manticore knocked that Sara noticed.  The knocks, at first polite, fell heavier and heavier until at last the thundering drew her from her books.


This weekend’s Trifextra prompt from Trifecta Writing Challenge requested a 33 word opening line to a novel. I have never been bowled over by “Call me Ishmael” (or indeed, any of Melville’s work), but after reading the prompt I spent most of the morning with the first line of Gene Wolfe’s Nightside the Long Sun stuck in my head: “Enlightenment came to Patera Silk on the ball court; nothing could ever be the same after that.”  I went with two sentences instead of one, since I think 33 words is an epically awkward length for a first sentence. 

In case you’re wondering if I know what happens next — no, I have no idea.  I’m kind of curious, though.  I’m imagining some sort of lyrical Patricia McKillip-esque fantasy.  Maybe I should write it and find out.  Thanks for reading!

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  1. Lumdog says:

    So, we are left to wonder what the manticore wants with Sara, but I would assume he’s up to no good. Sounds like the start of a great story!

  2. Manticore is a new word for me. Having read the meaning, I think this is going to be a great fiction like Narnia or something.

  3. kgwaite says:

    Manticore also a new word for me. Assuming those in the genre know the meaning, I think this is a great entry into the story. Three knocks implies a certain politeness, which does turn to impatience. But still…for a monster, unexpected. And that book Sara’s reading – Must be a really good one!

  4. Marie Nicole says:

    I don’t even know what a manticore is and yet, I’m intrigued!

  5. I also had to Google manticore and am intrigued by this new to me mythical creature and were you would take him. Thanks for joining us in this prompt. Come on back tomorrow for the new challenge.

  6. jannatwrites says:

    I had to look up ‘manticore’. I don’t think I’d want to open the door for one, but yet I wouldn’t want to irritate the creature, either 🙂

  7. I would most definitely have fled out the back door.

    Nice one..x

  8. SAM says:

    As a lover of fantasy, I do know what a manticore is, and your opening is incredibly strong. When will the book be coming out?

  9. i want to know why a manticore, of all things, is at her door!

  10. Tessa says:

    What a hook! Sounds like it could be quite and interesting piece. I would not open that door!

  11. Christine says:

    I love it – this is right up my alley! And you could certainly aspire to worse than Patricia McKillip. I love her phrasing and use of language, and her stories are always captivating. I say keep on with this – I want to read more!

  12. Poor Sara. She’s being bedeviled! A good start.

  13. Annabelle says:

    That’s good to know about the manticore! I *think* regular fantasy readers would probably know the word but I didn’t realize that would be an issue. I think there’s a manticore in the first Xanth novel (A Spell for Chameleon), and I read that when I was so little that it didn’t occur to me that people might not know.

    And Christine, I love her, she’s one of my favorites. Her language is so beautiful.

    I think Sara does something very unusual for a living. I’m pretty sure she answers the door .

  14. Michael says:

    I’m not exactly sure what a manticore is, but I do know what a whangdoodle is, and this sounds the same sort of creature. 🙂 I really want to know what books Sara is reading, and what happens when she meets the manticore. This could be a great children’s novel too: “If You Give a Manticore a Muffin”….

  15. Cameron says:

    I love that the manticore knocks at all. Such manners!

  16. kathy says:

    I’m not sure lack of prior manticore knowledge is a problem as long as its salient qualities are described at some point later on.

    Then again, I’m a reader who researches any words or concepts with which I’m insufficiently familiar.

    It’s harder than it sounds to write a fill that’s really just a prompt itself!

  17. LL says:

    I’m fascinated by the (initially) polite manticore. It suggests something like Kenneth Grahame’s “The Reluctant Dragon” – polite, scholarly and sadly misunderstood by the general population. A vegetarian, perhaps, rather than a man-eater…

  18. Jester Queen says:

    I am completely wanting to know

    1) What the manticore wants
    2) Why it knocks so politely at first
    3) What she is reading that she can’t hear. (I get caught up in books like that, and so does my husband, but very different types of books, and for very different reasons.)

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