Sorry if I’ve posted these before (and maybe they’re not so funny out of the context of the novel). I was re-reading some of my novel today (man there’s always something more to fix, isn’t there) and wanted to share a couple spots that still make me laugh.
From Chapter 19 – Appeal to the Prince (My discovery of condonation was for this chapter.)
“So it was as we hoped!” The prince’s voice was eager. “The tales have come true and the right woman has all that power, has she?” He flushed then, darting a glance at his bride, but the princess never looked up from her horse’s mane.
“Sire,” said Tykone uncomfortably, “it is closer to the stories then you may perhaps like. “I informed the Frej Kennett that he is your twin, and possibly the elder son of your house.” Tykone ducked only just in time. Rickard’s gauntleted fist swished above his head, knocking off his leather cap.
Tykone rolled easily under the prince’s horse and popped to his feet before leaning around the front of the horse to look at Rickard’s enraged expression. “That was very nearly the answer I got from him, but he was quicker. I wouldn’t want to be stuck between you.”
The existence and psychology of abuse is morbidly fascinating to me. I’ve read articles trying to better figure this out, and– like most writers, I’d wager– I find myself writing what I don’t know, trying to understand it better.
For the first time in her life Linnea understood why her stepmother slapped her. And for the first time in her life she wondered if it hurt Irene to hit.
Seeing the white shape of her hand on her husband’s cheek Linnea braced herself for a return blow, but nothing happened. When she finally opened her eyes he was looking at her, curiously.
“Is that how humans respond when they are angry?”
Linnea felt the blood leave her face and lowered her arms from over her head.
“No,” she whispered, hands still in front of her mouth. “Please-never-no.” She dropped her hands together in her lap and gripped them together to keep from shaking.
“Forgive me. It is not something the…the wise do.”
“But you had a mark on your own face, when we met.”
“Forgive me,” she whispered again. “I acted as one I do not wish to emulate. In this, Tykone and his family are a better model than I.” He continued to stare at her, till she asked, finally, “Could we speak of something else, please?”
Stilted, yeah, but I like the slowness to take offense and how that wakes her up a bit.
The opening of Chapter 24– Blending Family (One of my favorites.)
“Surely, Linnea, you didn’t expect it to be easy?”
Runa stood halfway between the canopied bed and the door, her forehead resting theatrically against her palm. Dropping her arm she gave Kennett a very superior look.
“Consider this the reward of getting exactly what you want.”
“Woman,” shouted Kennett over the escalating screams of two frantic little boys. “I am not new to that curse. Either make yourself useful or leave the room. … [She does neither.]
Walking directly to Runa, he clamped his hands on her arms and lifted her, kicking and squawking, through the open door behind her.
“Brother!” Linnea heard him roar in the hallway. “Keep your wife’s woman away from my wife or teach her to be more useful.”
“Consider it the reward of getting exactly what you want,” came the response down the hall. … [After shutting the door, Kennett and Linnea finally see the two young boys asleep.]
There was a squeak of hinges and the booming, cheerful voice of Torbjorn made the boys jerk in their sleep.
Linnea saw the Princess Cecillia tug at his elbow and whisper in his ear. He laughed quietly and began again, whispering. “Runa told my wife that help was wanted in here but she was not. She seemed rather put-out about it.”
“She was put out,” said Kennett, keeping his voice low. “I did it myself.”
It’s in rereading my own work that I realize I have no place in speaking about how under-developed the writing is in any given (usually famous) work. Like criticizing the performance of Charlotte Church, or George W. Bush, it’s easy to see what’s wrong in something continually held up for scrutiny.
The humbling part is that, in theory I am preparing to throw myself on the same merciless throng.
It was Edna St. Vincent Millay who said something along these lines:
Anyone who publishes a book appears before the world with his pants down. If it is a good book, nothing can hurt him. If it is a bad book, nothing can save him.
This is one of many meditations that keeps me moving slowly and carefully.
I amuse myself with my storytelling. I am pleased when I learn others are similarly amused; but I don’t want to forget there is a difference between entertaining my small circle and exposing my mind to the world.