Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Better than I was...
I've been ill for a good part of this last week. When I started feeling better, I slept and slept, and I think I would still be sleeping now if there wasn't so much that I need to get done. The one thing that has really fallen by the wayside is the one thing I really wanted to do -- take part in the FM short story dare. I did start one (and I'll put a bit of it below) but I haven't even finished it, let alone move on to the next one.
I did finish Vita's Vengeance, and it came out well. I'm working on Badlands. I still don't like the opening and I've redone it again ... but it's just not quite getting where I want it. I am rethinking the start, and getting a little closer, I think. Now that I've moved away from the start, I see more of the character coming through for my POV person. That's what I need back at the start. I know it. I just can't seem to put my finger on how to get it, though.
So, even though I've been ill, I've kept working on stuff. It's going pretty well, but I do hope that something clicks with the short stories and I can really move on them again!
Opening to first short story:
He had spent four years on the border, fighting skirmishes with ogres on a weekly basis and even helping to beat back an invasion of demon dogs. He'd taken three serious wounds and even survived an assassination attempt. However, it wasn't until Prince Taj came home that he found himself immersed in the real war.
He rode up to the lower gate with three other soldiers who had insisted on seeing him safely home. They'd been together as a team for over two years now, and he felt both grateful for their company, and embarrassed when the man at the gate didn't recognize the third son of the king.
"Oh, for the love of the Gods," he finally said, swinging off the horse and taking a step closer to the guard. The man brought down his spear.
Taj's friends were off their horses, too, and hands on their swords.
"Hold it! All of you hold it right there!" Taj shouted and waved his hands toward his friends. Then he looked back at the guard. "And if you nudge me with that spear again, you're going to be eating it for dinner. Where is Captain Massin?"
"He's at his meal," the man said, eyes narrow.
"He's at his meal, sir," Kylis said, stepping forward. "This is Prince Taj, you fool."
"Prince Taj is on the border --" The man began. Then he seemed to notice the uniform of the border guard. His face paled a little. The spear did snap back up into place. He looked frantically to the right. "Tenos! Go get Captain Massin right now!"
Someone took off at a run. Taj put a hand on Kyl's shoulder, wishing his friend calm. This was not a good way to go into the royal grounds, and he needed to get his companions calm or send them off. He didn't, though. He wanted that bit of normality that he had in their company for a little while longer. And he owed them at least a few days of luxury. These three had stood at his back for a long time, and he would have been dead without them.
He could see Massin coming and he looked annoyed, but then Massin had always looked annoyed. The older man was all the way to the gate before he saw the four of them standing on the other side. Taj had the pleasure of seeing the man look surprised, which he didn't think had happened before in his lifetime.
"Well hell. You came back home, did you?" Massin said. It was not the way a person normally greeted a returning prince, but it was Massin's way with him. He was, after all, the third son and fifth child -- so the royalty part got a bit diluted along the way. "Well, let him and his companions in. And good luck to the lot of them."
That didn't sound good at all....
By the time they reached the stables, word had somehow got ahead of them. The stable boys raced out and took their horses, looking nervously from one face to another, doubtlessly wondering which one of them was the prince, and forced to be extra polite to all of them for that reason. It amused Taj.
By the time they started toward the huge double doors of the castle, Kyl, Dru and Bosin had begun looking worried. He supposed both the size of the building and the frantic rush of everyone around them did look intimidating to someone who hadn't been born and raised here. Even he felt a little trepidation -- the walls seemed too high, the windows too small. His years out in the wilds were not going to help make him better settled here, and the Gods knew he hadn't been well settled before he left, barely 17 years old and pretty wild already.