Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bad Girl Blogfest – Mary

Bad Girl Blogfest – Mary

wild mary 1 BIO – Wild Mary

  • Novel: Wild Mary’s Way
  • Role: Main Character, Hero
  • Created: 1998
  • Setting: Future post-apocalyptic wasteland.
  • Aliases or Nicknames: Wild Mary, Mary of Archa
  • Nationality: Citizen of Archa, Kingdom of Calph
  • Position: Warrior
  • Age: ~18
  • Synopsis: Wild Mary was brought up in a military academy by her father, and far surpassed his abilities by a young age. She holds her sword in her left hand, and refuses to fight with her right. A deep-seated anger runs through her veins, and woe be to anyone who crosses her path. But sometimes, in the heat of battle, a Weakness overcomes her, leaving her feeble and sick.


Post-apocalyptic future, former San Fernando Valley. Mary has just escaped the Archa Military Academy and now faces her first day of freedom.

The sun shone grand, warming Mary’s naked limbs with morning heat. She squatted at the side of the road, resting after her ten mile jog that started at first light. Her limbs had complained at first, not used to the weight of her pack, but they warmed to the task. She swallowed water from her skin, then chew some lamb jerky. Ahead lay Calph, the seat of the Kingdom. Behind her Archa, and the Academy that had been her only home. In the distance, farmers tended their fields, while closer, cows lowed in their pastures.

Sated, Mary stripped off her chest harness and tied it to her pack. Her only garments consisted of her waist harness and a fur to keep the pack from chafing. The fur didn’t quite cover her chest, but she thought little of it. Why should she dress differently from any male warrior? She strapped on the pack and hit the path at a practiced gait she could maintain for hours.

A few miles later, the road passed through rolling hills capped with small wooded glades. In one of these glades, Mary sensed something amiss. Years of training had prepared her to spot the bent grasses along the road’s edge, the biting scent of men and horses, and small scratchings of feet on leaves. The pack flew off her back and her sword flew from its scabbard, sinking into the chest of a man who had launched himself from a rock that hung above the road.

A half-score of ragged men, dressed in torn leather and linen, jumped from the forest. As quick as thought, the sword drank from their lives, slipping in and out of their bodies in a surgically precise attack. Six men lay dead before their fellows paused. Mary waited, blood dripping from her sword, her right hand held high to ward off the sun.

Rustling filled the forest as additional men crept into the battle, armed with rusty old swords or dull knives. Mary would be trapped against the rock. She needed open space. She feinted in one direction, then charged in another, nicked a man’s carotid, and sprinted down the road. The other men pursued.

The road descended into a river. Where was the bridge? Mary stopped at the edge of the river, facing the onrushing attackers. Yes, she could doubtless outrun or outswim them, but she needed her pack. The open riverbank was as good as any to make her stand.

“Come on, girl,” said one man, panting. “You put that little stick down and we’ll be real nice to you.”

Mary squinted. I am the attacker. Their taunts shall not alter my strategy. Twelve men faced her. She recited a litany of forms used when faced with overwhelming odds. Press the attack. Don’t wait for them. Her hand trembled, begging for action. Who is the strongest? Who poses the least danger? She chose her victims. With a scream, she launched herself at the men, her weapon forming a maze of metal as it flashed among their ranks. Their swords found her, but she deflected the bulk of their efforts. Her metal did not fail. Blood filled the air, splattered into her hair and eyes, and dripped down her breasts. This was war. This was fighting. At last.

The last two men, the weak ones, armed with puny knifes and skinny frames faced her. Not worth the effort of killing, she slaughtered them nonetheless, their heads rolling onto the ground, life pouring from their severed necked. She raised her sword and screamed to the sky. She kissed her sword and then ran it against her tongue, tasting the blood of the men she had dispatched. A dizziness seized her, and she dropped to her knees in the midst of the carnage.

Here it comes. “The Weakness,” she called it. Women wailed and keened as they stumbled down the road towards their lifeless husbands. Mary’s stomach clenched and she vomited. She hated the Weakness. The sight of blood and severed limbs—a true warrior should not be affected, but a part of her rebelled, the cursed female part. She turned from the corpses, covered her face, and breathed, spitting the bile from her tongue. The women pawed through the bodies, shuddering and clinging to one another. “Get away from me,” growled Mary, not wishing to injure further. The women stayed.

Mary jumped up and sprinted down the road until she recovered her pack. She hoisted it upon her shoulders, and then returned to the scene. She stripped naked and bathed her wounds in the river as flies spread among the corpses. She swam to the far side to continue her journey. One woman called to her.

“Who are you that you dare murder our men in cold blood,” she screamed.

Mary considered. “I am Wild Mary, Warrior of Archa, and woe to those who cross my path!” She turned and ran.

There you have it. Wild Mary in a nutshell. Her struggle is coming to grips with her two sides to become a whole person. I literally dreamed the entire novel and wrote it in a couple days (it’s only 35K words).


  1. How could anyone not come to this story that begins with "The sun shone grand, warming Mary’s naked limbs."

    Wild Mary, huh? Why did she leave the Academy? Too tame for her? I like the way she studied her opponents, calmly, stoically -- just like a Spartan would have. Good job, Andrew.

  2. Sweet. You could beef it up, though, the action was sparse. Quick, but sparse. I suppose if it was writting in NaNo fashion, though -- in two or three days -- that explains the rush to get to the next scene.

    "I know something you do not know."

    "And what is that."

    Switches his sword from left hand to right.

    "I am not left-handed."

    Princess Bride. You didn't watch that movie before you wrote the book, did you?

    - Eric

  3. @Roland: She left the Academy because her Dad runs it. And there's some warrior competition she wants to go to and he refused to let her go.

    @Eric: I guess I could add a few more. But her Weakness is more than just her will, it's manifested in her body as well...she literally can't fight with her right hand. It's like she's had a callosotomy (that's NOT the colon thing) and she has a split brain. Of course the book is about her finding a way to unite these warring sides.

  4. I thought of The Princess Bride at that, too.

    She's not just a bad girl; she's a serious bad ass. Since she's the MC I hope she has some redeeming qualities. Why were these men attacking her if their wives were with them? Seems to me, with husbands like that, these wives would be thanking Wild Mary ;)

  5. Warrior training doesn't make a person bad Andrew. She's very sympathetic; a girl on a mission with a moral/physical weakness that makes her identify with her victims.

    Not bad girl.

    Kick ass though. And appealing. I could like this girl, I think, more than the rest. More than Sophia.

    Well, it is only one scene; but the synopsis does as much to sell me on this one as the action. I'm with Eric on this, its a little rushed, but a bit of author attention could fix that in no time.

    Srsly; a couple days? Genious.


  6. @Tara: She's been trained to see everyone as an enemy, so this account may be a bit biased. I like to think of it like she kind of provoked the whole thing even if it's not evident in the writing.

    @Donna: She starts making really bad choices and becomes involved with the bad guys, until she's little more than a monster, so she gets much darker. BTW this isn't the first draft...maybe fourth or so.
    And Sophia? You mean Viola?

  7. I also greatly enjoyed the last line poor Wild Mary says:

    “I am Wild Mary, Warrior of Archa, and woe to those who cross my path!

    Yeah, I'm slowly working my way'll take some time. Thanks for your patience!

  8. @JAS: She's a fun character. Thanks for reading these!

  9. Definitely a fun character, and my nitpick, apart from what others have mentioned, is that The Weakness is described as a female trait. It's the kind of thing that might actually make me put down a story, to be honest. For all that I love awesome female characters, the idea of her femininity being a problem bugs me. Even if it's explained away later somehow, as a reader I might not make it to that point.

  10. @Val: I can understand why you'd feel that. But the story is about her embracing that whatever it is and turning it into a real source of power. She was raises in a male-dominated society and has rejected that side of herself up til now.

  11. Maybe indicate that others have told her it's a female thing, instead of just laying it out that way? I may be in the minority here so I don't want to make suggestions tailored just to my needs, but I'd hate to see you lose people over something like that.

    It's like when you start reading a story and it's not great in the beginning but the author tells you to keep going because it's going to get really good at page 25. I can understand that eventually things will come together and she won't be a woman rejecting her sex, but meanwhile you've got her bitching about female weakness, and a bunch of unnamed women being weepy useless lumps. Not a very good characterization of the gender there.

    Keep in mind that this is (I assume?) not the first we see of the world, so you may even have addressed this prior to this scene. I guess consider this food for thought if nothing else. But having one awesome fighter chick who is only awesome (even just initially) because she was raised by men and acts like a man and considers women weak is, in a way, saying women can't be strong and also be women. It's off-putting initially even if it's eventually remedied.

  12. Dang, I wrote that reply on the way out the door and I meant to delete it, it's not quite what I wanted to say.

    Okay. When I create heroines, I usually place them in worlds with a high male bias to increase the difficulty of their journeys. So Mary comes from a world dominated by male energy, and yes, she's I guess a bit misogynistic about women. Since it's her POV, it's going to come out that way. She hates women and everything about them. But I don't think you can hate women and write an effective heroine, so what happens is this hatred just leads her into darkness and she can't emerge until she changes.
    So yes there might be a small issue up front connecting with her, and it is probably directed towards a male audience.
    I think this may be why people liked my Carrie and Viola characters much better...they use much more traditionally feminine energy to do their badness.

    I don't know if I sold that better or completely turned you off...but thanks for's not a piece I really look at much.


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