Saturday Snippet 27th of September

Saturday SnippetWelcome to the Saturday Snippet! This is a bi-monthly column, normally posted every other Saturday, where I and others post bits and pieces from whatever we’re writing at the moment, at various stages of completion. If you would like to join us, there’s a linkup at the bottom of this post, where you can add a link to your own blog post, or post in the comment section. There are only three rules: Link back here, only post your own writing, and have fun!

Today’s delayed snippet is yet another beginning. I have picked it up every now and again, with the intention of continuing it, but I’ve never found the right story for it. I’ve never found the right main characters either, for that matter. But I do love the setting, and someday I will find that little piece that makes everything fit together. This part of it is just a description, really, and all I know is that the place is deserted and extremely dangerous, but that also makes it a safe place to hide something important, and sometimes people will come to steal that important thing. Whether this trio has good or bad intentions… That remains to be seen.

This story started, as many others before it, on a dark and stormy night. But it was neither in an old, creepy mansion nor a small, derelict cottage. In fact there was a distinct lack of houses in the area. There were ruins, of course, overgrown with moss and torn down by the winds, and they provided poor shelter on a night like tonight.

Three people were huddled together by the tallest of the walls, wrapped in sodden blankets and sitting as close to each other and the wall as they could. It was a flat land with no natural shelter against the wind, and no shelter also meant no fire. Might be for the best – being discovered by the few creatures who lived on this plain meant a slow, painful, agonising end.

 

Others who wrote a Saturday Snippet this week:

Saturday Snippet 8th of August

Saturday SnippetWelcome to the Saturday Snippet! This is a bi-monthly column, normally posted every second and fourth Saturday of the month, where I and others post bits and pieces from whatever we’re writing at the moment, at various stages of completion. If you would like to join us, there’s a linkup at the bottom of this post, where you can add a link to your own blog post, or post in the comment section. There are only three rules: Link back here, only post your own writing, and have fun!

This week my snippet is another beginning – one that I started writing many years ago. I am thinking of writing a story to upload on Wattpad, and this will most likely be it. I like it. I like the combination of scepticism and sheer enthusiasm (the main characters are a young boy who loooves dragons and everything else his village considers “imaginary”, and his older brother who is everything his family wants in a son – practical, down-to-earth and, most importantly, a firm non-believer in the strange and magical creatures his younger brother is so fond of). Here’s the snippet:

Imagine a society based on logic, hard facts and common sense. A society that, in their own eyes, was an oasis of reason amongst villages and cities ruled by superstition and old beliefs. A society where a bad harvest was explained by bad weather, ill-tended soil and vermin, instead of the whims of a supposed witch, lambs born on the wrong day of the week or the miller’s daughter getting pregnant out of wedlock. A society where the magical creatures so familiar to the rest of the world were considered the sign of an over-active imagination, or possibly too much strong drink.

This was the place the dragon decided to make its home.

 

Of owls and beginnings

There is a beginning that’s been following me for years now. Quite literally, in fact: I first wrote it more than ten years ago, back when I first started this thing called noveling (as opposed to just writing random snippets, which I have done for far longer). It wasn’t the beginning of my novel – it started differently – but whenever I wrote just for fun, it would come out again.

So it did yesterday as well. I like it, but I cannot for the life of me see where I’ll be able to use it. Rogue Sorcery is out – it starts far earlier, and my MC is in a far worse place mentally. Forgotten Sorcery is also out, because it picks up the plot where Rogue Sorcery left off. Same goes for the last book in the trilogy, the one whose title keeps changing, for the same reasons as book one and two. The scene does not fit with the future I had planned for her, even if it is in the distant future. But since it keeps coming back to me I might have to change things, and give her a new story sooner than I thought…

The beginning itself isn’t much, but the image it paints in my mind is so vivid that I can almost feel it. I don’t know if I will be able to convey it to the reader, but I hope so. It is a somewhat odd beginning though – it starts with an owl, lifting off from a tree by a great plain. It is winter, and the air is crisp and cold, the first rays of the sun is coming from behind the mountains in the distance and make the snow on the trees sparkle. The owl flies down the valley, which is narrow at first but widens after a while. The trees are covered with snow, and underneath them, the ground is hard and frozen. In a little clearing there is a little cottage, and the owl stops there for a moment, as if waiting for someone.

After a little while it continues its flight, flying until the forest has cleared. There it reaches a little cottage, situated beside three pine trees and in front of a large boulder. Smoke has started to rise from the chimney, and there is a path going from the cottage to the little river beside it. The owl settles on the roof, and waits. Finally someone opens the door, and a pale-haired woman steps out, pulling her shawl tighter around her. The owl rustles its feathers, and the woman looks up and greets it as if she knows it. Then she picks up her bucket and goes down to the river to fetch water.

Obviously the piece itself is written a little differently, more vividly, but the main content is like the previous two paragraphs. If I’m being very objective, it doesn’t really do much. There’s no conflict, and nothing happens until the woman appears and is about to do a very everyday chore. The owl does not have any function beyond perhaps showing that there is something special about the woman’s relationship with birds (though owls tend to appear quite a lot in these stories of mine as some kind of unspeaking narrator), or perhaps the place. It is a calm and content scene, which suggests that it takes place quite a bit later than the Sorcery trilogy, as well as showing how far my MC has come snce the events in the trilogy. In a way I feel like it is an appropriate beginning for her new story, but then again… there is no action, no plot. (I do tend to favour these kinds of beginnings, where things look calm and serene – on the surface)

I really do not know what to do about it, but it simply will not leave me alone. I might have to simply continue writing it and see where it will take me. I did that once before, and it not only gave me Rogue Sorcery, but the entire Sorcery trilogy. Everything grew out of that simple image of a girl and a horse, following a path that winds its way just where a grassy plain and a green forest meets, and the knowledge that she would find someone lying nearly dead just out of sight around the bend. It wasn’t until I brought back that scene that I “found” the story, in many ways.

Perhaps I’m simply not made for starting my stories with action. It might make it difficult to get published, if it ever gets that far, but then again you have to find your own voice. After all, many of my favourite books start slow. They just have that something that makes you want to read on regardless.