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XXII - The King of Kerry

XXII - The King of Kerry

A Chapter by BL

Chapter XXII - The King of Kerry

The king of Kerry was a funny man, he wasn't like other kings who were proud, noble and serious, he was humorous, unassuming, but most of all he listened to people. When Bezon, Enda and Xo came to his court he was among his people, talking to his friends in the shadows and made no attempt to sit on the empty throne that was sat high at the back and centre of the long hall. A small group of official looking courtiers carrying ledgers pointed the three British castaways into position which was a cross scratched on a large stone slab in front of the throne chair.

Bezon looked about, over the shoulders of the two burly guards that had escorted them and through half open doorways, but didn't see anyone who looked remotely like they were in charge. As they stood in a line waiting their fate two large wolfhounds came up to them and started sniffing their crotches. Xo flinched and wriggled not knowing what to do, Enda batted them away, which made them snarl and jumpy, but Bezon held out the back of his hand to their teeth for them to smell. They were pacified with that and after circling around, sauntered off back to the huge fire that burned brightly in the hearth. A pair of wild fiery eyes watched.

The hall was drafty causing the highly decorated fabric wall hangings to flap about on their wide wooden poles, which in turn bashed against the stained wooden panels behind. The large hall was full of smoke too, from the main hearth and from long tapered candles that stood in a line on high wooden stands along the walkway from the throne to the two doors. There was a stone wall on one side that had arrow slits for windows, through which a constant howl of westerly wind kept up. In the roof which was made of long strands of wicker, birds rested on eaves and flew about when disturbed. By the side of the main throne there was a single cushioned stool, which was engraved with intricate animal designs along the front of its x-crossed dark wooden legs and seat.

There was a stir in the room as a hanging curtain flapped open then shut and a slender figure appeared in a flash of gold. The figure walked quickly behind the throne and then neatly sat on the cushioned stool. As everyone else Bezon turned to see the new arrival and was faced with a beaming smile and bright green eyes. The queen of Kerry had come to court and she was who everyone had been waiting for. She was flanked by two pretty handmaidens who stood patiently behind her, they smiled too as they took in the view of three bedraggled strangers. With their arrival commoners turned to face the throne and started to stand in more orderly lines. The guards stood to attention and courtiers stood poised with their scribes, but still the throne was empty, everyone waited until a voice was heard.

'Amanofmine saidesawaship' a thick accent declared. Bezon and the other two turned to find the speaker among the people gathered, but everyone they looked at was ordinary and similar, there was no one who stood out and one nobly dressed. 'Afineshiptoo.' Bezon spun on his heels in a closer area of the voice, examining faces, checking expressions, looking for details and abnormalities. The voice had moved. There was a line of people behind them two rows deep and a line to their right of ten men. 'Hadathickmast and hullbutfor speed 'e' said.' Bezon faced front to the smiling face of the queen and the scuff of a boot was heard, then a footstep behind him.

'Yes, that was our ship the Sea Serpent.' he said not looking around this time. The footstep came up closely.

'Nowitssunk' a ripple of laughter went around the hall.

'Yes'

'Who are ya?' the voice asked seriously as it got right up behind the three men. Xo looked around to try and see and then looked back again.

'I am Bezon of Arun and these are the remainder of my men.'

'And what in godalmightie’sname would ya be a doin’ in these waters hereabouts?’

'We were caught in a storm and came aground here,’

From behind Bezon felt the breath of a man whisper in his ear 'And a spy would say tuh same' he turned to try and see the man, but he moved away, turning his back to them and pushed back into the wall of the crowd.

'We are not spies. This is my ship's captain, Enda and crewman, Xo,’

'I have heard of Arun, a man named Duerra keeps sending me letters asking me for men, the voice said loudly and angrily as an ordinarily dressed man swept in front of them and casually sat on the throne. He took out a small wooden flute from his pocket and played a tune of eight notes that ascended and descended, offering hope and then sadness.

'He is my father,’ Bezon said flatly.

'So you are a prince then? as he says he is a King,' there was a ripple of laughter in the gathering crowd of onlookers that filtered through the doors.

'Yes,’

'Your father asks for gold he asks for help, an alliance. He asks for a lot, I grow tired of his letters, of telling him no' the king of Kerry said as he carefully put on his crown. He got up from his throne and span around in front of them doing a merry dance. He wore soft leather shoes and light green tights.

'I knew he'd been writing to our allies,' Bezon said, smiling apprehensively.

'They are nothing more than begging letters' the king said with a sneer. The crowd nodded and murmured their agreement. ‘I ought to slit yer throats,’ he whispered as he span close. He played a few random notes on his flute and stood on one leg with his free leg cocked.

'The Kingdom of Arun can pay its way, my father would not have begged, you would have got a fair return, you'd have been paid properly' As Bezon spoke his words trailed off as he saw two men carry in the chest from the ship. They strained under its weight and it jangled with coins as they put it down, it shook the floor.

'Explain this,’ the king said, standing up and pointing. He wanted an immediate answer. At this point Bezon was at a crossroads and paused before he spoke contemplating what he should say. He looked at Xo, who looked gormless and shrugged his scrawny shoulders. He looked at Enda who smiled briefly then stared up at the roof. There were two routes to take here he thought, either an easy lie or the unlikely truth. Everyone's eyes buried into him as the seconds elapsed. 'Well?'

'It was an offering to Rome, one that was hoped to buy Arun’s freedom. But it didn't work, there was no deal. They turned us away and shipwrecked us as punishment,’

'And they didn't want your gold either?' the king said with surprise.

'No' Bezon said, offering no explanation.

'High unlikely, but why?' the king said laughing, getting up and walking around, light footedly, almost dancing again. He span around behind the high backed throne chair, looking through the small diamond shaped holes in its back. Then he circled around in front, kissing the hand of the woman who sat on the cushioned stool.

'I don't know,’ Bezon said giving nothing more away, not really sure why they had been allowed to keep the gold anyway, but added 'Pride.' The king looked confused and furrowed his eyebrows and rubbed his bearded chin. He was a tall gangly man and had greasy, straggly long black hair. A servant passed the king a golden goblet, that was decorated with images of horses heads and he drunk from it, taking large greedy gulps.

'You don't know,' he said theatrically once out loud to the crowd, inviting more laughter and he said it once to himself as he sat back on the throne. 'What am I to do with you? In normal circumstances you would have been killed here, you should've died anyway, you were lucky to survive, but that wasn't to be somehow.' his voice was angry, in a shout and impatient. 'I suppose then I should set you free, send you back to Arun on a pony, but that wouldn't seem right either.' his tone had dropped and he was more thoughtful. 'Or perhaps keep you prisoner here as slaves as I and everyone else here are not interested in your stories,'

'There is one other thing. As I said the gold was to try and buy our freedom from Rome and if it had worked it would've bought yours too,'

'Oh, why?'

'Because if Rome invades Briton they will move on to Hibernia afterwards,'

'We don't call it Hibernia, it's Ireland now and has been for a long time,'

'Ireland,' Bezon repeated, the word sounding strange to say.

'That gold is rightfully mine and you are three washed up dead men, I can do what I like with you,' he let his words hang in the air and looked around at faces in the room for reaction. He drummed his fingers on the the wooden arm rest, staring at the three of them. 'Take them to the dungeons while I make up my mind.' he said quietly.

'What should I do with them?' he said quietly to the woman with green eyes, kissing her hand. She was a fair-skinned woman with blonde to red hair; she was almost an albino.

'Set them free and let them take their Roman gold, which should not be touched, it is cursed,'

‘Whyd’ya say that?’

‘Women’s intuition,’ she said. He looked at her hard and straight, making her reveal her hidden reasoning. ‘I suppose I like him,’

‘Ahh,’ the king of Kerry smiled wryly.

‘He’s handsome,’

‘He’s raggedy,’ he countered.

‘He’s been through a lot,’

‘Perhaps we should feed him up then,’ he said loudly.

‘Why not?’

‘Why not, why - not? Because I don’t like it that’s why not. He shouldn’t be here and it doesn’t add up. It’s too suspicious,’

‘He is a visitor and probably royal we should treat him with respect,’ she said. He looked at her angrily. ‘What exactly has he done wrong?’

‘It’s a trap,’

‘Duerra corresponds with you,’ she said as a statement.

‘He’sacrafty old fox,’

‘He makes the effort,’

‘He talks to all his neighbringkingdoms, so he says,’

‘That’s good, isn’t it?’

‘Yes,’

‘He doesn’t have long reports say,’

‘Do you think I don’t know?’

‘No, I know you know,’

The king was glassy-eyed and stared into the fire and looked lovingly at his sleeping dogs. His servant offered to refill his goblet. ‘No,’ he said, waving him away with a forced smile. ‘With all he’s going through over there in Arun, this is no way for him to go out. What should I do?’ he leant towards her more closely.

She paused, considering her response. ‘Be generous,’ There was a long stony silence while he mused over what it was she thought he should give away. ‘There are many clever kings and kings who are good with people, but there are not many kings who are genuinely liked or loved. A king who is liked has a different type of power.’

He sat for a while, slumping further into his wooden chair. He held up his goblet to his servant who came to him after a few seconds. ‘Transfer the prisoners to comfortable living quarters and send them drink, a meal and fresh clothes of their own styling,’ he said as his goblet was filled.

‘Yes, Sire,’ the servant said hurrying away.

The garden of the house where they stayed overlooked the western sea and was the perfect place to recover and recuperate. The garden had low walls that let the sea wind run across it. The wind that wasn’t much short of a gale blew the pretty flowers and grass over and made the windows and doors of the thick stone house rattle. ‘I must do something to this place,’ the king said as he pushed through the small garden gate into the garden. Bezon, Enda and Xo stood up from the chairs they were sat on and each gave a token bow by nodding their heads.

‘Good day, Sir,’ Bezon said.

‘Your highness,’ Enda said matter of factly. Xo stood watching and saying nothing.

‘Please sit, don’t get up on my account,’ he said. They all sat again, back as they were.

‘Although I have never met him, I know your father. He sends me gifts from your kingdom, much of which we already have, but I wouldn’t want to offend him. He is very kind. He mainly sends farm produce, fruit and vegetables. We are in regular contact and send each other communications of ideas, strategies, news, rumours and gossip. You name it. And because of him and others like him I know what is going on in the outside world, in Briton and in the Land of Ice as well as Italia and Gaul. Your father and I are what you might call long distance...um, well friends,’

Bezon looked at the man who had made himself humble before him. He was timid and unassuming and his strong accent from a couple of days ago had diminished to a mild one. Where’s your little flute?’ he asked.

‘Aaahhh, it’s in the great hall. I don’t play it all the time, it annoys people,’

‘Oh, ha ha ha,’ Bezon laughed. He looked at the man as a puzzle. He was a king of a large kingdom, which was a large swathe of land that was a huge part of Hibernia, which they now called Ireland and yet he humbled himself before his people. He wore ordinary clothes, he was very unassuming and did not interfere with people’s every day lives, he only helped them out when they asked by ruling over a court of justice. He did not impose unnecessary laws or act cruelly as a lot of kings. He was a kind king and people liked him.

‘I respect your father. Those words I said were for the crowds and courtiers. How is he at the moment?’

‘Ever more frail, but he fights on against life’s obstacles. He holds the high council most weeks and puts on his war dress to let people see his power.’ Bezon said realising he hadn’t seen his dad for weeks.

‘And your brothers?’

‘Alfos is as well as ever. He prepares for war against the coming invasion. I fear for him. He will be at the front of it all,’

‘A good general doesn’t have to be,’ the King of Kerry offered meekly. ‘He can stay at the back and organise and then when the battle is nearly won go in on the death stroke in a flash of glory.’ The wind blew through him, under his clothes and dragged his straggly hair across his face. He didn’t move it away, he stood enjoying the breeze in and all around him. ‘I love it here,’

‘I need to return home, my lord,’ Bezon implored.

‘And your other brother. I cant remember...’

‘Caratacus,’

‘Yes, Caratacus, How is he?’

‘The same as ever, I’m afraid. Running around like a headless chicken and causing confusion,’ Bezon said laughing. The king laughed loudly, putting his hands on his hips, the others laughed too, as much at him laughing as Bezon’s humour. The king hid his mouth with his hand as though to disguise his laughter, he then rubbed away his smile away with his fingers. ‘He is organising Arun’s retreat and doing a good job I’m happy to say,’

‘Yes, I know, he’s been here and to Cork to secure a passage,’

‘He has?’ Bezon asked in surprise.

‘Yes, he has,’ the king said pursing his lips.

‘Was he successful?’

‘He secured a safe house in Cork and a small estate here in Kerry. Your father’s exit road will be clear and the royal house of Arun will be unchallenged in the south of Ireland,’ Bezon nodded his approval, not believing his brother’s good work. Of all the three brothers Caratacus had done the best, seemingly fulfilling the role given him. He had certainly failed and Alfos was unlikely to succeed however hard he tried. Caratacus’s good work filled him full of confidence as he knew now that win or lose there was a chance for him to carry on with life he had. His little brother had done it. ‘But what am I to do with you, you and all the gold. My wife has told me to be kind to you, and I will be. As for the gold, it is such a tempting prospect. It was you say to bribe Rome to stay away?’

‘Yes and I have nearly lost it twice already. Once to Rome and once to the sea. Now it seems it’s in your hands,’

‘Third time unlucky,’ the king of Kerry said. ‘I will keep it safely here in exchange for something that will be of far more use to you,’ Bezon looked at him, not knowing what to say, not knowing what to make of him. ‘All I can say is ‘Watch yer heels’ the king of Kerry turned away, walking with his head down, looking at the long grass around his legs and plucking at stalks as he went. He turned sharply to face Bezon ‘Yer heels lad, yer heels,’ the king smiled at them and did a little bow and then disappeared down the path. It didn’t sound like a threat, it had to be good news, but they weren’t sure.

[][][][]

The next day Bezon was heading east on a slow moving, lame horse. It lumbered along at it’s own pace, stopping once in a while to munch on grass. Xo and Enda were followed behind on donkeys that were able to keep up with the laconic pace being set.

Where was the lone horseman taking them Bezon wondered as the sun began to low in the sky. He kept looking behind him as the King of Kerry’s words ‘Watch yer heels’ rang in his head, they could only mean one thing an attack from behind. He waved Xo on and the big came alongside him.

‘Tell me about yourself. Where are you from?’

‘Abona, Sir,’

‘Abona, where is that? I don’t know it,’

‘It’s on the river Severn where it meets the Avon, Sir. It’s a boat building town,’ Xo said. He fell silent not knowing what more to say, but Bezon rotated his hand and nodded and so he continued. ‘I learnt to bend wood and seal it to make a boat’s hull, I fished and sailed and got to know the waters and tides all around.’

‘Why did you join the Sea Serpent’s crew then?’ Bezon asked.

‘Because, I ran away from home, Sir,’ Xo said.

‘My parents were driving me mad. Arguing all the time and giving me no space, I needed to get away. I ended up on the southern coast. I’d never seen so many boats and ships; I was entranced by them. Up until then I thought Abona was everything in terms of boats. The sea seemed so vast and endless down there, it was hot too. I needed to get out on it.’

‘You’re not making much of a story of this,’ Enda barked as he drew up along side them.

‘Trying to cut it short is he?’ Bezon said. He dug his heels into the horse and it spurred on a little.

‘I headed towards the White Island and the river it protects. There was a boatyard there, I got a job sweeping up and slept rough. It’s not much of a story,’

The guide circled back. ‘We will camp outside Limerick tonight. There’s a place I know up ahead,’ he said.

‘Thank you. Where exactly are we heading for?’ Enda asked him.

‘Dublin,’ the guard said. ‘And from there I am to put you on a ship to Briton. The first available ship; those are my orders from the king himself,’ he went to move ahead again.

‘I’m feeling unwell, I’m not used to being so far from the sea. I don’t like heading inland,’ Enda said frantically, he looked around at the lines of trees and the rolling fields. His eyes were shifty, he had gone white.

‘You’re making yourself sick thinking about it,’ Xo laughed. ‘Don’t do it to yourself, we’ll soon be on the open waves again, End,’

‘On what?’ Enda said as they trotted on.

‘We’ll be given a new ship won’t we?’ Xo said. He and Enda both looked at Bezon who looked like he was ten thousand miles away. His eyes were distant and dreamy, he looked relaxed, as though he didn’t have a care in the world.

‘Leave him, he’s thinking about that girl,’ Enda said shaking his head as smatterings of rain came down. They both kept watching him and saw that he clutched the blue amulet around his neck to check it was still there. It carried no light and was dull and cold. ‘He’s taking down lovers lane,’

‘Wherever that is,’ Xo said realising he was being naive, but still not understanding what had been said. Later they sat around the fire hoping the rain would keep off as they had no tent. The guard, whose name was Nick had said they would stay mostly dry as they were in a large circular hollow. Roots from trees had come up out of the ground and meshed together with tendrils and leaves to form natural shelters. They made Xo finish the story of himself, making sure it was filled in with many more details. They found out the real reason why he had run away and why he hated his father. ‘I’m only seventeen,’ he protested. ‘There’s not much to tell,’

‘Tell us all the same,’ Bezon said in a friendly a way as possible.

‘My father was smuggling goods from some of the boats coming into the port at Abona and he was creaming off profits and hoarding ‘is ill-gotten gains down a tributary of the Severn, the river Avon beneath some high cliffs. He’d become so successful with it, he’d set up a trading depot there. You could get most things; wine and cheeses from Gaul, fine salted meats from the North Lands or bear skin furs from Germania. Anything really. Of course I was all right with all of this as the money was rolling in and some of it was coming my way.

‘What was the problem then? Nick asked taking a swig of wine from his leather flagon, he offered it around, but there were no takers. Xo hesitated. ‘I mean if he got found out, you wouldn’t be to blame.’

‘It wasn’t that. He...well, he needed help at the depot, he couldn’t run it himself and he couldn’t leave it abandoned,’ Xo’s head was down.

‘So?’ Enda said sharply. ‘So what,’

‘He got people in,’

‘And?’

‘One of them was a woman,’

‘Oh,’ Enda said.

‘He and her were together,’ Xo said.

‘Oh I see,’ Enda said.

‘My mother found out and it split our family up,

‘That’s a tough one, son,’

‘You must not burn bridges,’ Bezon said in a voice suitable for profound words of wisdom.

‘No,’ he said looking at the three others desperately. ‘As there aren’t many bridges,’ they all laughed. ‘In the world I mean,’

‘Do you understand a word we are talking about?’ Enda asked trying to hold his laughter in.

‘Go back and make your peace with your family,’

‘That will be hard,’ Xo said mournfully.

‘Not as hard as you think. You can show him what a success you are and pay your own way. Stand on your own to feet. But more importantly give your mother support if she needs it, if she is suffering,’ Bezon said. His words were slow and soft and carefully chosen.

‘I’m no success, I’m just a cabin boy on a ship that is no more. Bezon stood up and as he did he thought he heard thunder. He looked at the rolling grey clouds on the horizon.

‘I am here by promoting you to the level of Ordinary Sailor,’ Bezon said. ‘We’ll arrange it when we get back,’

‘Thank you Sir, thank you so much,’ Xo exclaimed.

‘On the condition that you return to Abona and sort out your family affairs,’ Bezon continued.

That night as they slept there was distant thunder, it rolled heavily in long bursts like the smart sound of drums of a marching band. Bezon looked up for a downpour, but only saw stars and high wispy white clouds caught by the moonlight. Bezon entered a long corridor of darkness that became heavier and darker as his mind’s eye moved along it. Spectres of blurry light flashed up and faces loomed with unstaring eyes and then things came into sharp focus, Yulla was standing in a field smiling and laughing, her blue amulet shone. The remains of his conscious mind grappled to get meaning from what he saw, but there was none and he knew he would forget everything anyway. His father was waving at him, was he waving good-bye? He hoped not.

The shapes of Three mares chewing grass met their eyes as the grey light of dawn brought everything into being the next morning. They made good time the seventy or so miles to Portlaoise the next day and slept soon after their arrival. Only Bezon lay awake, not able to sleep as he wondered what would await them in Briton. Would they be too late? Would their be devastation? Or would they be in time to enter a series of battles they would end up losing; the strategic retreat. As he entered his dream state he heard the rumbling of thunder again, there was a crash from afar and a booming echo low in the sky. As he fell asleep, losing all memory there was the neighing of horses. By late afternoon the following day they stood on the last hill before Dublin and Enda laughed and rejoiced at seeing the sea.

‘Don’t look behind you now, Sir,’ Xo said. He patted the flank of the chestnut mare he’d been given and slowly Bezon turned his head in the direction they had come from. There on the road that headed ever west were a group of a hundred or more mounted horsemen.

‘Are they hear to make sure we go?’ Bezon asked. He looked along their line, they all carried swords and had shields on their backs.

‘No, they’re coming with you,’ Nick said proudly. ‘A gift from the king.










© 2018 BL


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Hey Leigh
There are hints of an interesting story in these words, but unfortunately, they just stay as hints. While in some places you give a decent idea of the scenery and the setting, the transition from one place to next is abrupt and too rushed at times. The dialogue also could be better, for dialogue is the best way to show the qualities of a character, show their emotions, and give information, I feel.

It's obvious that you have a huge story in mind, for you've taken a lot of time to write and share it here. While revisiting the story and reflecting on it is important, even more important is re-reading the words. I was once told by a friend that you should either give your work to someone else to read shortly after you write it, or keep it aside for some time and then edit it properly so that you can see the flaws and drawbacks better. :)

Posted 2 Years Ago


• The king of Kerry was a funny man, he wasn't like other kings who were proud, noble and serious, he was humorous, unassuming, but most of all he listened to people.

Clearly, this is the voice of a storyteller, talking to the reader, and giving them generic information. But what does it tell the reader that’s useful to understanding the scene? Wouldn’t I learn this based on how he treats our protagonist, and others? If I won’t learn it, why tell me something that I don’t need to know? If I do learn it, why tell me here? Story is shown, and experienced not talked about by someone not in the story or on the scene.

Look at this as a reader must: The narrator’s voice can’t be heard. And only you know you intend it to be read, so far as the storyteller’s performance. That places the reader at a disadvantage. They have only the words, the punctuation, and what the words suggest, based on THEIR background.

So the emotion you hear in the narrator’s voice as you read? Gone. Have your computer read it aloud to hear how different what you hear as you read is from what the reader gets. Those meaningful pauses for breath? The changes in cadence and intensity? The emotion and tone? All gone. Also gone are the frowns and the shrugs, the expressive eye movement, and every trace of your performance.

What’s left? Listen to the computer read it and you’ll hear why we can’t use the tricks of the vocal storyteller in a medium that reproduces neither sound nor picture.

Like most hopeful writers, you’re focused on the visual, and providing an essay on the sequence of events that happen in the film version running in your mind, with authorial interruptions to explain the meaning of what’s going on. But that’s a nonfiction approach—the kind of writing we perfect in school by writing essays and reports. And you’re WAY over-explaining, which slows the pace of the story. For example:

• A small group of official looking courtiers carrying ledgers pointed the three British castaways into position which was a cross scratched on a large stone slab in front of the throne chair.

Why would a reader give a damn that an unknown group of people, who aren’t important enough to have names, were carrying ledgers. Would the story change were they carrying nothing? If they carrying pillows? Would it matter if it was one person, or a large group? Hell no. They guide the group into place and vanish forever. And based on what you say, they all do their thing in sync, like a dance. Not what you meant, but it is what you said.

You’re telling the reader what they would see were they there. But it’s useless information to the reader who has not a clue of what the room looks like. That the travelers were directed there matters.

Does the reader have to be told that they’re British castaways? Hell no. Not only do they already know that, they’ve been told who’s there in the sentence before you give this information.

Why does this matter? Because every piece of unnecessary information you provide is BORING. And, because if it takes longer to read about people doing something in the story then to physically do it in the world the story drags.

In this case, you used 30 words to say what can better be said in 12 with: “They were directed to a mark on the floor directly before the throne.” That’s relevant to the story. All that other detail isn’t. And the faster a sentence reads the more impact is has.

The short version: You’re blocking the reader’s view. So get off stage and let the reader see what’s happening. You’re paying the actors, so instead of talking ABOUT them, let them do what they’re paid to do, act. Choose someone to be the protagonist and tell the story from their viewpoint, not yours.

Here’s the deal: Very few of the writing techniques we learn in our school years is useful when writing fiction. That training was to ready us for the kind of writing employers need, which is nonfiction. All the essays and reports you did, then, were intended to make you good at writing essays, reports, and papers. And when writing a report you, the author, will report and explain. Informative? Sure. Used here, it informs the reader as to what happened, with all the entertainment value of reading a report. Perhaps, if the reader could view your performance and hear your voice, this might work. But without that they’re reading a storyteller’s script, cold, with no performance notes or knowledge of where the scene is going.

Bear in mind that I’m not talking about issues of talent or writing skill. It’s that no one tells us that writing fiction is meant to entertain. And while nonfiction writing may interest, it hardly ever entertains. And damn few people read reports and history books for fun. They read fiction. And they read it to be made to live the adventure, not learn about it, second hand, from someone not on the scene, or living the events.

And that means you have a project to work on: Adding the specialized knowledge and skills of the fiction-writer to the nonfiction skills you already own. And if you are meant to be a writer you’ll find the learning fun. If not…well, you’ve learned something important. Win/win.

So hit the local library’s fiction writing department. It’s filled with the views of the pros in teaching, publishing, and writing. As always, my personal suggestion is to seek the names, Dwight Swain, Jack Bickham, or Debra Dixon on the cover. They’re pure gold. And for a kind of overview of the issues, you might dig into the articles on writing in my blog.

Not good news, and certainly not what you were hoping to hear, I know. But you have a LOT of company, because we all leave our school years believing that writing-is-writing, and we have that part taken care of. So all we need is a good story idea and “natural storytelling ability.”

If only.

Like any other profession one must become a writer through study and practice. A little mentoring can’t hurt, either. But we can’t lose sight of the fact that our potential reader has been raised on a diet of professionally written and prepared writing. So, hit the reader with, “this is how I decided to do it,” and it’s not going to end well. Why? Because our reader is a volunteer, not a conscript. If we don’t entertain that reader right from page one they won’t turn to page two. And that repeats on every page. Problem is, if they stop reading in a page or three we wasted the time writing what no one will ever read.

Given that, it makes sense to learn the tricks the pros take for granted, so our readers will turn pages till they see, “The end.” And while you might suggest that you learned to write fiction by reading it, we can no more learn to write by reading then we learn to cook by eating. The only shortcut I know of is not to waste time looking for shortcuts.

So start digging. And while you’re at it, hang in there, and keep on writing. It keeps us off the street at night.

Jay Greenstein
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/category/the-craft-of-writing/

Posted 2 Years Ago


a down to earth king,refreshing,great chapter

Posted 2 Years Ago


BL

2 Years Ago

Glad you are enjoying it and thanks for staying with the story
 wordman

2 Years Ago

you`re welcome

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Added on December 16, 2018
Last Updated on December 16, 2018
Tags: dust, memory, romance, Kingdom, peace, war, army, spy, battle, luck, empire, adventure, fantasy, fiction, hope, mystery, fear, power, love, lust, people, belief, story


Author

BL
BL

United Kingdom



About
Books more..

Writing
Nightwalker Nightwalker

A Story by BL


Apple Orchard Apple Orchard

A Story by BL


The Wedding Shirt The Wedding Shirt

A Poem by BL