Thursday, 10 May 2012

In a Medieval Mindset

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This post is inspired by two things.  First, Montbrun castle, (thanks Leanne!).  Second, Patty's post today, where she shared a glimpse into one of the characters she is writing.

Both inspired me to look at some of my own writing which has been lying fallow for far too long.  I've always been intrigued or possibly infatuated with the middle ages.  It started with the stories of knights and princesses and pretty dresses, but very soon I was voraciously reading about the reality of living in that time period...the plagues, hardships, feudal systems, etc.  I've even contemplated joining the a medieval reinactment group at times.  Sigmund Brouwer's Winds of Light series that I read when I was thirteen (and many times since) is what inspired me to try to write medieval novels.  So about seven years ago I started one.  I thought today I'd share a little bit of it with you.

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First paragraphs (I apologise for some of the language, which I know some of my friends won't approve of):


     Simon curled his bruised right hand around his mug and cursed himself for allowing John to provoke him.  His satisfaction with himself for breaking free of his father’s control did not quite smother his guilt at beating his older brother unconscious and stealing his father’s favoured horse.  The Pye’s Inn was a day’s hard ride from his father’s house, and the barkeeper refilled his cup without asking questions.
     “Barman.”  Simon’s voice was hoarse. “Do you have a room for tonight?”  The barkeeper turned back toward Simon.
     “Two pence, milord, for one night.”
     Simon tossed three coins on the table, and the barkeeper snatched them up.
*

     The two men stood just inside the stable doorway and surveyed the street.  The village they had stopped in was small and what little they could see through the pouring rain looked dismal at best.
     “Barty, we’re in luck,” The taller of the two men pulled the hood of his cloak closer around his face.  “This godforsaken place has an inn.”
     “It’s only luck if they’ve room for us.”  Bart muttered his reply.  “I don’t fancy sleeping in the stable with the horses on a night like this.”
     “Even if there is no room, they surely have a warm fire and ale.”
     “Well, let’s go then Owen.”
     Owen ducked under the doorway and started across the street, dodging muddy puddles, even leaping gracefully over a few of the narrower ones.  His companion slogged through the mud in a straight line toward their destination.  A sign above the door swinging in the wind proclaimed the place to be “Pye’s Inn”, with a grisly picture of a dead magpie painted under the words.

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Later in the story, I introduce a child character.  I had so much fun writing Cassandra.

            Cassandra awoke just as the pink-tinted sunrise began to slide its rosy glow into her chilly bedchamber.  She snuggled into the warm bedclothes and smiled as she remembered that today was her tenth birthday.  Her brother Simon had promised her that he would take her riding today, just the two of them, without the usual crowd of attendants that shadowed their every move.  Their plan involved some secrecy as Cassandra would never be allowed to leave the manor without an armed escort at least four men strong, but Simon was seven years older than she, and quite accomplished in avoiding the servants and attendants.  Between her two brothers, Cassandra felt closer to Simon.  Even though he had been a man for three years now, he still knew how to have fun with his small sister.  Whenever he could manage it, he invented new games for her and listened to her complaints about her lessons.  Their older brother John was twenty-one, and was serious and studious—the perfect heir for their father’s land and titles.  Cassandra spent much of her time in the company of John’s young wife, practicing embroidery, painting, and other pretty arts that Cassandra considered useless, but were essential for a lady of her position to know if she was make a worthy marriage.  Today, marriage seemed like it was a long way off.  The light shining in the tall, narrow window had turned from pink to golden and  now lay at a slightly different angle on the floor.  




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I hope you've enjoyed this little foray into the middle ages with me!  Actually, as I was preparing this post, I finished a short story that I've been writing for seven years.  The short story was the inspiration for Simon's character.  Now that the story is finished, what do I do with it?

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4 comments:

  1. Fantastic! Your first entry makes me want to read on, Joanna, and I don`t generally succumb to non-fiction :) Use your talent and keep on writing!

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  2. You have a great way of setting a scene. You should write this book! I'd buy it. :)

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  3. Cool! I love medieval stories too (and Sigmund Brouwer). You send that short story to an editor, that's what you do! Try duotrope.com. Someone else recommended it to me and I've looked at it briefly (but haven't really searched and submitted anything yet). Good luck!

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  4. Hi there! I am here from SITS girls spring fling and really glad I dropped by! I love your blog, it's unique, beautiful and I can tell, speaks from your soul. Thank you for sharing! Come stop by http://www.richlymiddleclass.com anytime, we can chat!

    Xo for now,
    Kate

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