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Writing Prompt Fiction in the #BlueBarBook Universe: Moonlight Sonata #WEPFF

Do you read or write prompt-based fiction? Have you ever participated in the WEP? What do you think of Nandini, Arnav and Tara? Would you like to read their story?

This edition of WEP Writing Challenge is a prompt fiction based on the song “Moonlight Sonata.”

As usual, I’ve used characters from my upcoming literary thriller, The Blue Bar. These snippets of prompt-fiction show aspects of the story only hinted at in the novel. When you read the book, you’ll recognize the characters, and the voices will (hopefully)  blend into the tapestry of the book.

——–So here’s my WEP entry, a prompt fiction flash piece I’ll feature only here on this site.—-

WORD COUNT:  482 words, FCA


Title: Decrescendo

—-

Adagio Sostenuto

Numb with the molasses-slow hours at the police station, watching rain drip down the window glass that had not seen a cleaning rag in years, Nandini leaned back in her chair, sipping the glass of tea yet another constable had put before her. Her interviewee, an Inspector new to his post, was missing two hours after she was supposed to speak to him.

He will be here madam, the old constable had said, Arnav is never this late to a meeting. Not without good reason. Not unless someone is dying. Or at a hospital.

Nandini scribbled a note in her diary. Fascinating. An elderly constable who called Arnav Singh Rajput not by his title, as expected, nor the surname, which was not proper bur forgivable, but by his given name. Arnav. Ocean. Nandini looked up her earlier notes on the man. He used to be a constable. Rather unusual, such a rise in Mumbai police. Most constables stayed constables.

Allegretto

The scurrying made her laugh. Then smother her laughter. Nandini sat tight-lipped, as elderly constables dashed like truant schoolboys to their desks. Phones smothered, clicked off.

Footsteps, measured. Loud in the sudden silence. Raj-put. Went the murmur. Raj-put. Sa’ab. Raj-put Sa’ab. Whispers. Nods. Men and women, focused. Until he appeared.

Tall, his mustache a shadow over his bow-shaped upper lip. Eyebrows curved, but lashed in a frown. As if to say, go on, out of my way. Expecting the path to clear. And finally, in a soft, polite voice in contrast to all that fear and scattering. Sorry, forgive me. Thank you for waiting. I’m Arnav. Inspector Arnav Singh Rajput.

Presto Agitato

Nandini sighs. Three months since that first day at the station. Arnav lay next to her. Sated. Asleep. How could this much time have passed and her none the wiser?

He stirs in slumber. Flings an arm about her middle. Soft snores. Such a large man, so unguarded in repose. She’s not given to giggles or she would have burst into one right now, her heart so filled with joy, with his pleas, his urgent, harsh whispers, their staccato breath, the rising movements, the sighs, firm hands on her bare thighs, his hair mussed under her fingers, light and hard in alternates like strokes on piano keys, and then the crash and fall. The floating away. Hushed calm.

Just as Nandini’s eyelids flutter close, letting the sweet darkness of sleep take her, he jerks away, terror in his voice. Thrashing. Forearm over her throat, hands grasping the sheets. Don’t go. Ta-ra. Ta’-ra.  Ta-ra’! Those two syllables like discordant final notes in a concert, plummeting into silence. A different one this time. Crushing, like the weight of his leg on her thigh, the arm on her throat now choking her.

Trapped.

Nandini shoves him off, but snatches him back when he’s about to topple off her bed.

The ocean. True to his name, he’s drawn to the skies. Not the moon, but stars. One in particular–the name itself a star. Nandini shushes him, cuddles him, her pillow damp with tears. He continues to mumble. Tara. Tara. Tara.

Do you read or write prompt-based fiction? Have you ever participated in the WEP? What do you think of Nandini, Arnav and Tara? Would you like to read their story?


My lit crime novel, The Blue Bar will be out soon with Thomas & Mercer. It is already available for preorders. Add it to Goodreads or pre-order it to make my day.
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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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43 Comments

  • Shouldn’t she be getting away from it? 🤔

  • I love the structure you used for this short piece, and I’m intrigued by these characters. You did a great job of creating intrigue in such a short amount of time.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thank you. This isn’t quite a flash nor a vignette–more like fan-fiction one-shot of my own novel :). I love the WEPFF prompts–they always lead to interesting results.

  • I love how you positioned the musical terminology and your interpretation of each section which reflects the progression of the song.
    Dark, intense and well-structured.
    (I’d really love to read The Blue Bar but I can’t commit to a specific time frame)

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks so much, Michelle–this was a quick experiment made amid hacking coughing fits–not been too well.

      There’s no specific time frame to read The Blue Bar. I can send you an ARC, and you can read it when you want to. You’ve been a cheerleader for over a decade now 🙂

  • This is such a good prompt. I like how you use music terms, the floating away, the pressure on the keys. I feel them, too, when I play this song. It’s not all happy. There is darkness in it, too. The characters you’ve created feel real, and I’m drawn into this scene. I’m looking forward to reading this novel.

    PS: Thanks for the inspiration to participate in the WEP challenge this month. I’ve been thinking about the images that the Moonlight Sonata evokes for a while, now.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Happy to send you an advance reading copy if you like, Mary. Thanks for the kind words.

      I look forward to your take on this prompt.

  • Kalpana says:

    I can’t wait to read The Blue Bar after reading this teaser. What a fabulous way to weave the prompt into the writing with the headers with musical movements.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks, Kalpana. I hope these snippets will intrigue readers enough to make them want to pre-order The Blue Bar. At present, it is only Rs 129 on Indian kindles 🙂

  • Shannon Lawrence says:

    Great structure with the musical headers. An intriguing piece that hints at so much more and reveals some things about the characters.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks, Shannon. That’s how I wanted it to be. I have a bunch of these peices now which are helping fill out the world of The Blue Bar, and its characters.

  • Lenny Lee says:

    Cool how you prefaced each section with musical terminology. Great take on the prompt. Interesting characters. The dark undertone is perfect for a crime story. Well done.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks, Lenny. The musical terms actually describe each movement so well I wanted to use them as the structural pillars for the story.

  • Intense, passionate, and dark. Perfect for a crime novel…

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks so much, Michael. I appreciate your reading and the comment.

  • cleemckenzie says:

    A great response to this month’s WEP prompt, Damyanti. Loved reading it.

  • marianallen says:

    I love Nandini! And Arnav is just adorable. I do write prompt-based fiction, mostly during Story A Day May. I’ve never participated in WEP. I’ll have to look it up.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Since you’ve read the ARC, you know their equation even better, Marian! Thanks so much for reading.

      Arnav seems to be very popular with early readers, hopefully everyone gets to like him. Here he’s seen from Nandini’s POV, which we do not get in the novel.

  • An interesting take on the prompt. She must have been irritated in the beginning. Then, love blossomed.
    Nancy

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Yes. I didn’t want to cover the details of the arc though, just the highlights.

  • Denise Covey says:

    A great flash, Damyanti, made especially enjoyable now that I know the characters in The Blue Bar. I’m glad you’re able to share more about your characters in this format. (I’m nearly finished your novel. Brilliant.)

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks so much for reading the ARC, Denise. I decided to write fan-fiction in my own Universe, as a way to introduce characters to my audience. Glad it is working!

      (So pleased The Blue Bar resonated with you!)

  • Jemima Pett says:

    Ooh. I love your beautiful poetic way of presenting your stories.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      I go for voices. In this case the Moonlight Sonata structure helped some, though I haven’t really followed it faithfully.

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti – loved this snippet … I definitely will be reading more … I need to catch up. You write so evocatively drawing us in … and I can feel her trap, yet she controls … but Tara brings a new direction. Love the entry … cheers Hilary

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks, Hilary. You already have the ARC, so you can read further at any time :). I appreciate your support, as always.

  • patgarcia says:

    Hi,
    I visited your site yesterday and answered your questions, but when I touched the transmit button it said I had already transmitted that commit. I used the Google browser to write it. Today, I am trying the Safari browser and hope that it takes.

    I can’t repeat all of what I said but here is a gist of it.

    I read prompt based fiction and also write with two organisations.
    I write for the WEP since 2014 or 2015, and I love it.
    I see Arnav as deeply disturbed. He’s still in love with Tara and I have no idea why he is not still with him. That he tried to choke Nandini made me think that he has either killed Tara or someone else has killed her. I venture more to think that he has killed Tara because she tried to leave him.

    Yes, I would love to know more and see how this story ends.

    Shalom aleichem

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      So sorry about the trouble with commenting, Pat. You already have a dozen approved comments so I’m not sure why the site won’t let you comment further. I’m going to troubleshoot this.

      Enlightening to see how Arnav comes across to you here, vis a vis to those who have already read the novel. These three, Arnav, Nandini, and Tara, have their own journey in the novel.

  • chika2b says:

    Love dark undertones, great work

  • What Olga said. Seems happy but it’s not.

  • Olga Godim says:

    That little snippet doesn’t augur a happy ending. Something disturbing is coming, I can feel it. I want to know more.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks, Olga. The book is a literary crime novel, and this snippet speaks to the romantic elements. I like how you picked up dark undertones. The Moonlight Sonata is not a happy composition.

  • I would LOVE to read more of their stories – past, present and future. This brief snippet has definitely whetted my appetite.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks so much, Sue. That’s the experiment. Whether people would like to pick up the actual book intrigued by this snippet.

  • Jemi Fraser says:

    I love how you create such a vivid world in so few words! I’m fascinated by both their pasts and their future!
    (Hope you don’t get inundated with comments from me – I keep getting an error message!)

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Sorry about the trouble leaving comments and thanks for persisting, Jemi! I know I’d have received a lot more comments if I could fix the site somehow.

      So glad the characters intrigue you. I’m wondering whether potential readers would pick up The Blue Bar based on this vignette.

  • Debbie D. says:

    Fascinating character studies! And I love how you use the musical movements to set the tone of your writing. A brilliant piece! 👏👏👏

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