Games People Play #mfrwbookhooks

I can’t believe it’s been a month since I hooked up with Book Hooks. Tempus, she does fugit.

I currently have not one but two WIPs, which is terribly unwise — but while I usually hold sway over my Muse, sometimes she throws me curve balls and strikes out my commonsense.

Here’s the very opening of one of them. Working title: Secrets of Love and War.

Cynthia O’Connor lowered her wading boot almost to the water. She paused theatrically on one foot, ready to grab a blue-stemmed tilm sapling in the unlikely event that she lost her balance. She’d get scolded if she came home with her best tunic soaked, and she hated being scolded.

Still posing, she tilted her head as though listening for Twisted Lizard Lagoon’s namesake monster to awaken. But the monster wasn’t real — or so she was told — and she heard only the gentle drone of insects and the whisper of follow-fish breaking the surface as they watched her, curious.

Any creature smarter than a follow-fish might realize Cynthia was playing another of her games. In this case,  she wanted to make as few ripples as possible when stepping into the lagoon’s diamond-clear water. She loved turning everyday actions into games. Most Riksids, and certainly all humans, would take one look at her womanly curves and assume she was too old for silly games.

She played them anyway.

In a couple of paragraphs, the hero makes his appearance and all hell breaks loose, so this is the calm before the storm. Don’t worry about terms like ‘follow-fish,’ and ’tilm.’ It’s a sci fi adventure, and I made these throw-away terms up to create a sense of otherworldliness.

‘Riksids’ are the aliens who inhabit this planet, so readers will hear a lot more about them. I’m not wedded to that name. Any of you have opinions about the name?

What do you think? Do you get a sense of Cynthia’s personality? Be sure to check out the book hooks by other great writers in the Book Hooks blog hop.



  1. Didn’t mind the odd terms. Actually thought they were cute. This is a calm scene.

    1. Calm and playful, sort of bucolic — that’s what I was aiming for.

  2. I like that the unusual names were simple and not too hard to pronounce. I’m debating whether I would tend to see Riksids as Riskids.

    1. Easy pronunciation is a major aim of mine. According to one survey I read the #1 thing holding readers back from reading fantasy (which, admittedly, tends to be noticeably worse than sci-fi for weird names) is distaste for unpronounceable names.

      For years now I’ve kept a file of made up names as they occur to me. When I need a new name I consult my file, but I’ll only use one if it still seems easy to pronounce well after the day I thought of it.

  3. I thought it was slightly odd that an alien had such a earth-like name.

    But I did get a sense of Cynthia as playful and a bit contrary.

    1. The name is supposed to be a clue that she’s a human living on an alien world.

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