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ningloreth [userpic]

One of the things I like about writing...

June 8th, 2012 (12:32 pm)

...or maybe I should say story telling...



Two or three years ago (OMG, I'm not even sure!), I came to an abrupt halt with the story I was writing, Winter Magic. I just couldn't see a way forward -- worse than that, I couldn't see how I could possibly write another word about ANYTHING.

In the last but one chapter, I'd written this scene, which I desperately hoped would come to something -- though, to be honest, although I liked it, I was pretty sure it was just a bit of colourful filling:


The inn was busy, crammed with locals who, having come to town for the Yuletide market, were making merry with mulled ale and other festive fare, but the elf managed to find himself a place beside the fire. He ordered some supper and, whilst waiting for his food, tried to strike up a conversation with the man across the table, who had pushed his empty plate aside and was shuffling a deck of playing cards.

Legolas began by remarking on the coldness of the weather, but that drew no response. Then he talked about the Yuletide celebrations, and the market, and the fireworks, and when, at last, the man replied, gruffly, that, yes, people came from all over the valley to join in the tomfoolery, he seized the opportunity, and asked, “Do many elves come? I have heard that there is a settlement nearby.”

“A settlement?” The man placed his cards upon the table and looked at Legolas thoughtfully. Then he pushed the pack towards him. “Cut,” he said.

Legolas was surprised but, nevertheless, lifted about a third of pack off the top, and set it down beside the rest.

His strange companion took the first five cards from the larger pile and laid them on the table, face-down. Then—without so much as glancing at the elf—he asked, “You looking for family?”

Legolas thought of Melannen. “Yes,” he said, “in a manner of speaking.”

The man turned over the first card. It was crudely printed, in thick black lines and overlapping patches of bright colour, but—to Legolas’ surprise—its compelling design depicted a small child, wandering through a thicket of wooden staves. “Family,” the man said, thoughtfully. “In danger.”

He turned the second card. It showed a divine being, standing in a blaze of yellow light, and the man seemed impressed. “Your task is blessed!” he said, and quickly turned the third card.

Legolas gasped, softly, for it depicted a man hanging from a tree, and the fact that the rope was tied around his ankle, and that his body, therefore, was hanging upside-down with one leg bent at the knee, only served to make the image seem more menacing. The man rubbed his chin. “Change,” he said, and turned the fourth card.

This one showed a swordsman on horseback—tall and lightly built, with long blond hair—and, beneath him, a line of roughly-printed characters read, The Prince. “You,” said the man.

He reached for the final card, declaring, “Your destiny,” and turned it over.

“Valar,” whispered Legolas.

At first sight, the picture seemed to show a young lad, bravely brandishing a sword in each hand. But, on closer inspection, it was obvious—to Legolas, at least—that the boy was, in fact, a woman in disguise.

“Strange,” said the man.

“Dernhelm,” said Legolas.

“Hmm...” The man thought for a moment. Then he took a sixth card from the pack and, glancing at it briefly, laid it face up beside the others. “Your destiny,” he repeated.

The card showed a skeleton, beheading a warrior with a sweep of its scythe, and beneath the grotesque image was written a single word.

Death.


Over the long weekend, I decided it was time to get this damned story finished. Before I'd abandoned it, I'd sketchily-sketched out a long and complicated plot, involving Legolas' being taken prisoner and Eowyn's rescuing him, with huge amounts of angst -- the writing of which seemed set to kill me. But, reading through the story so far, I thought, 'Maybe, if Legolas wasn't captured...?' and, suddenly, a new, shorter story popped into my head, in which 'Death' had a starring role! It was as though my subconscious had been working on the plot for three years, just waiting for a chance to tell me about it.

Isn't that neat?

So far, I've written half a chapter -- not as much as I'd hoped, but much better than the nothing-at-all I've been writing since January, when my hp_kinkfest story, Time after Time went down like a lead balloon -- and I'm feeling much happier about the rest.

Of course, I'm way behind with writing up my writerconuk talk...

But that's another problem!

Comments

Posted by: curiouswombat (curiouswombat)
Posted at: June 8th, 2012 12:16 pm (UTC)
curious Legolas

Hurrah! It is so good when the way forward suddenly appears.

And an even louder hurrah that it is Winter Magic that the thinky thought has come for.

Posted by: ningloreth (ningloreth)
Posted at: June 9th, 2012 12:01 am (UTC)

It's like I've conquered a phobia!

Posted by: layla_aaron (luscious_words)
Posted at: June 8th, 2012 12:32 pm (UTC)
Dual Penelope (me)_bau20in20 #29

I do love it when the muses/inspiration strikes. It makes the storytelling so much easier. :)

Posted by: ningloreth (ningloreth)
Posted at: June 9th, 2012 12:11 am (UTC)

Yes, it makes it invigorating instead of exhausting!

Posted by: layla_aaron (luscious_words)
Posted at: June 9th, 2012 12:16 am (UTC)

*nods* Yes, yes, yes. So many times when I've tried to push myself to write something, I end up feeling like it's a tedious chore that I despise. But if I find something I really enjoy, then I'm good to go.

Posted by: Just an Under-Gamekeeper (girlingoldboots)
Posted at: June 8th, 2012 12:56 pm (UTC)

Yay! Sometimes all it takes is sitting on it for a while.

Posted by: ningloreth (ningloreth)
Posted at: June 9th, 2012 12:12 am (UTC)

A long while, LOL. But I never really give up on anything :-)

Posted by: Missus Howard (syien_island)
Posted at: June 8th, 2012 06:18 pm (UTC)
Head Slappin Freddie

Wow, has it been that long?!

Posted by: ningloreth (ningloreth)
Posted at: June 9th, 2012 12:17 am (UTC)

The last chapter was posted on 6 October 2009!

Posted by: bunn (bunn)
Posted at: June 8th, 2012 07:41 pm (UTC)

I think you are right that's storytelling, not writing! Storytelling is such fun when it all suddenly starts to flow : writing is much duller, I think even if you need to do both to get to the end.

Glad to hear it's all coming together: that snippet sounds very intriguing.

Posted by: ningloreth (ningloreth)
Posted at: June 9th, 2012 12:20 am (UTC)

Thank you :-)

I actually enjoy writing -- and, especially, revising -- when it's going well, but the storytelling is the bit that feels like a gift from the gods.

Posted by: bunn (bunn)
Posted at: June 9th, 2012 08:36 am (UTC)

You strange (and lucky) person!

I think I prefer, really, telling a story visually, but it's hard to tell a long or complex story that way, so I have to break out into words. :-D

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