Category Archives: Concepts

Snowy Regret

I don’t know why this was the story that was conjured, but no other took its place. So this story it would be.

***

I could hear the panic well before it reached me. I pushed into the starving flame as did all the men. None eager to leave it for any news.
“Dead!” I heard yelled.
There was thrashing now. It was headed towards me.
“Take him to the¬†Lieutenant!”
“The Lieutenant? No we deal with this now!”
“You break rank on me and I’ll put my blade in your chest!” The final growl let out just as someone crashed over the snow.
A messenger pulled himself off the ground in a hurry with panic in his eyes.
“What is it?” I did my best to growl with my hoarse voice.
“T-the boys d-dead,” his whole body shook with fear or the cold, likely both.
I didn’t have to ask, I knew there was only one boy here. The one we picked up weeks back from a razed village. The only survivor, just to die in the cold.
“The cold is an indifferent killer. Least he went softly,” I turned back to the fire’s weak tendrils, pushing the boy’s fate from mind.
“No sir, m-murdered,” his voiced broke.
I am a man first, and a soldier second. I couldn’t help but try and ignore the ping against my chest.
I couldn’t ask another question before the mob reached the small peaked snow hill. I stood only to see struggling against their grasp was Borin, my only son covered in blood.
They threw him down the slope where he hunched shaking at my feet. I knew the moment he was sent into my company I would regret it forever. Soldiers could only share sentimentality for war.
“Someone explain,” I ordered.
The mob bristled with people yelling insults and gripping their weapons ready to draw. Faithful stepped forward, it was always him though wasn’t it.
With a rueful frown he spoke, “Borin was found with the boy’s blood covering him. He was hunched over the corpse with a hold of his arm… eating it.”
I have seen cannibals. I have killed them without an ounce of regret. But, never have I seen a soldier of a company turn on another for food. Few times have I seen a soldier turn on another for any reason, outside a little dueling or wrestling.
I knelt down to Borin. I stroked his long matted hair  as he turned to face me, not looking me in the eyes.
“The hunger, it, it didn’t just stay in my stomach. It took hold of my mind,” He stuttered and began to sob.
The crowd felt none of the sympathy I did. Rightfully so, this was objective. The law must be, otherwise it ceases to be.
Faithful stood in front of me now. I stood looking into his sorrowful eyes with my sorrowful own.
“I suggest he be hung,” he said quietly.
We both knew what his suggestion revealed. A merciful death. Some would send him out in the wilds to die, others would see him tortured for his crimes against humanity. Perhaps his death must be objective, but not the method.
I simply nodded my head. I ordered him to be taken and held until dawn. That night I visited him. He knew what he had done, madness left him at least temporarily. My son’s choices didn’t break my heart, it was my own inability to not raise him to be a stronger man.
I consoled him of his fate, at least there was hope of a quick punishment.
“I, I know I cannot return home. If my mind could leave me in such a way here it could leave me anywhere,” he began to cry again. “But, I simply hope my family is taken care of.”
I gripped his hand, “Of that you can be sure.”
Then I was gone. Leaving us both alone to grapple with his decision.
Borin was hung the next morning. With emotions tempered the men who attended did so somberly. He was still a brother to them, despite his weakness.
***
“Tell us again how father died, please Grand-father!”
“Well,” I said with a twinkle of a tear in my eye, “It was the most ferocious battle I’ve ever seen.”
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World Building

Hey readers, sorry for the hiatus. I have been doing some world building and doing a lot of thinking on the themes and overall feel of the series.

What does this mean for what is already out there?

As far as plot everything will pretty much stay intact. Just some minor tweaking further down the road when I’m editing. I’m going to put a sort of timeline up a little later when I have ironed out the kinks. I would love to have questions and input on that. I want to fill any gaping holes I have so when I’m writing the stories they have a natural and purposeful progression.

 

Thanks for hanging in there!


Writing Roadblock #536

It sure feels like there are hundreds of reasons not to write. If it’s not the business of the day, trying to coax your muse into getting out of bed; then it’s the small voice of failure always keeping you one keystroke (or pen stroke) away.

But, today I want to share with you my little demon on my back lately. That is working harder on the story than your characters are.

Here comes the infomercial:

  • Are you up all night fighting with your plot and trying to get your characters to fit?
  • How about pushing them down dark alleys or into awkward conversations?

Billy Mays here and I have a solution for you!

Just kidding, it’s not that easy XD.

I tend to work way too hard worrying about my plot that my characters get all gummed up and all of the sudden I don’t know where to go next. The only solution I’ve found for this (though I’m sure there’s several) is change the scenery:

  • change characters
  • change the setting
  • change the conflict

Th really neat thing about this is that int he end you will have discovered your character even more so, and you have let them lead the way rather than forcing them into submission; and often times you will get actually usable content for your project. Don’t do what I do and get so hung up on the little, or big picture that you forget who your characters are.


Hindsight

Today I was thinking about my own scenes in my writing and I recalled this little gem that I need to put in to action more often.

When writing a scene, ask yourself how is this relevant?

If you can’t answer this then you probably shouldn’t have that scene to begin with. The scene should provide some level of relevant insight into character, plot, or setting. Here’s an example:

Cale kicked dirt into the fire snuffing it, and gazed out into the distance. With arms crossed he thought back to his childhood.

So let’s address a few things here, Cale kicked dirt into the fire; why? Was he leaving the camp sight, was someone watching for a campfire, was he frustrated?

Then, gazed out into the distance; is he fond of day dreaming, is he looking for something, or just enjoying the view?

And finally, With arms crossed he thought back to his childhood; so we have a little more to work with. Here he’s crossing his arms, still unsure if its frustration or the cold. How does he feel about his childhood. Obviously he’s not in a hurry so we can count out being hunted as a motive for snuffing the fire.
Closing Thoughts, does this whole scene provide us any useful information? Do we know anything more about Cale or his situation. Well we know he had a childhood and he has general fire safety understanding. This is an easy example to work with, it needs a lot of work and structure build around it to make it relevant. Then we get into a whole other question, do we care? We’ll leave that up for another time.

Thanks for reading!