Characters, On Writing, The Many Trials of a Blacksmith, Unlikely

Headaches, Insults and Meaningful Nods – Writing Snippets

I thought that perhaps it would be fun to post a couple of snippets from my writing in January (‘Snippets of Story’ is a monthly event held at Katie’s blog – Whisperings of the Pen). The latter half of Febuary is going to be quite busy and my writing will probably suffer a wee bit for it – but still, c’est la vie. It doesn’t matter how much I write as long as I’m still writing …

Timothy’s head ached. Nay – this was false; Timothy’s head was being pulverised by a battering ram, clobbered with a hundred cudgels and thrashed by a thousand knaves.

He sat with his head in his hands, leaning on his knees. He felt ill – sick. He never felt sick. He glared at the beam where his blood stained the wood. It looked horrific and he was somewhat oddly cheered by the gruesome sight – it befitted the injury it had bestowed upon him.

– The Many Trials of a Blacksmith

“That senseless man!” Leon gripped Robert’s right shoulder. “We’d best leave.”

“Why?” he asked, bewildered.

“Because she’s coming now; perhaps to beach where we stand. Bah! Fool of a man – son of loon and ostrich, head of mud and mind of spittle; to come now in such mists. Curse him!”

– The Many Trials of a Blacksmith

The chatter in the room ceased as her father entered. He gave a brief nod to his children – to which one it was hard to tell as it was rather an all compassing nod: Good morning, it said. I hope you haven’t shamed me overnight. Oh, by the way, I wish to tell you that I hold some affection towards you all. Not much – forgive me for having a whole kingdom to protect and love and not having enough to pat and kiss your heads. But in my own way, deep down (very, very deep down) I love you. Each one. Even you, Nell.

She was a fanciful creature, she decided as she returned his nod (though he was seating himself at the time and thus was quite unaware of it).

– Unlikely

On Writing, The Many Trials of a Blacksmith, Unlikely

Inspiration Can Only Take You So Far

I recently wrote a post about Ideas. Yeah, well … one knocked me on the head. And now I’m on the third chapter with a board of sixty-nine pins on Pinterest.

Never underestimate the power of inspiration.

Inspiration – would you believe it – comes from …







… the Republic, a Daydreamer, and the Mongols.

I can’t believe it either – yet it makes so much sense.


I read a post yesterday on what writing all boils down to – Perseverance.

Because in the end inspiration can only take you so far.

Writing can be fun, but sometimes it can be murder. It can feel like bashing one’s head against a solid brick wall that just won’t. give. way. It can be frustrating – like holding a thousand different threads that are all tangled up and you have to untangle them all. It can be like a crocheted blanket – with a million plot holes. It can be a ginormous, pounding headache. It can bring about the bright red cheeks of embarrassment.

It’s … hard.

But then … sometimes it isn’t. It can be a truly wonderful thing – when the plot comes together, intertwining with perfection. When a scene brings a tear to the eye or a line of dialogue brings a chuckle. Or when a character feels. Or when a bit of description is just right.

But if I give up when everything is tangled; when it seems like I can’t write well, when everything resembles that blanket … then I will miss out on the good things – the glorious moments; when the words flow and the story unfolds before my very eyes, when I can write ‘the End’ with a flourish, a job well done (until the edits …!).

So I guess the thing I need to remember – above all else – is to persevere, and never give up.

[crickets chirp]

Ness: does this mean that I have to finish that chapter – that really, really difficult-and-devoid-of-inspiration chapter – in The Many Trials?


Ness: *whimper*
I think I just rambled, On Writing, The Many Trials of a Blacksmith

Projects, projects everywhere – and not a single one complete.

For two years or so, I have had one ‘big’ project which I’ve been steadily working on. But then, every so often, just as I’m knuckling down to write it … an idea pops up in my head.

Listen to this, it says with glee, this will be amazing – write me.

You horrible idea you.

If I could write a letter to the ‘idea’ lightbulb which sputters on and off periodically it would go something like this …

– – –

Dear Ideas,

Thanks for switching on just when I was getting to grips with my precious The Many Trials. Thanks to your bright light blinding me I am now dazzled with a new tale to spin.

But my dear Ideas, I know you.

I. Know. You.

For the minute I laugh excitedly, rub my hands and declare how cool this new idea is … you’ll turn the light off. And I’ll be left staring at a word document, wondering what on earth I’m doing. Wandering in the Pitch Black of Why Am I Doing This? and This Idea is Stupid and Childish.

I’ll probably be a couple thousand words in when you plunge me into darkness – and the realization that I’ve just wasted time and words when I could have been writing The Many Trials.

Would you mind – awfully – stopping it? Please?

Keep the light on with The Many Trials – don’t die on me there. I’m so close to victory. So close to writing ‘The End’.

Maybe you could save energy and show me the light on new ideas and new projects … once I’m done with this one.

Because putting another document in the Abandoned folder is downright depressing. And seeing a file I haven’t touched for weeks (or months!) is equally distracting.

I’m glad I have you – truly I am. But you’re malfunctioning and I’ll never finish anything if you keep this up.

Thanks for listening to me.



– – –

For a few, beautiful moments I’m free. Free to tap happily away at The Many Trials.

But then …

*head desk*

Characters, On Writing, The Many Trials of a Blacksmith

“It has taste.”

Over at Rachel Heffington’s blog there is a monthly Chatterbox event. Basically you take a subject (this month’s is Food) and write a dialogue with your characters – it’s a fun exercise which I very much enjoyed. I present you with three characters from The Many Trials of a Blacksmith and a bowl of … food?

– – – –

“Is it … ?”

“It can’t be.”

“I think,” said Timothy with dawning horror, “that it is.”

They both peered at the bowl’s contents. Custer poked a suspicious floating morsel with his spoon, “This can’t be food.”

“Must have mixed up the cattle feed with yours.”

Custer took a small sniff and clamped a hand to his nose. “Scratch that, they mixed the manure up with mine.”

“It can’t be that bad,” Timothy decided. But then he took a sniff and realized that aye, it was that bad. “It smells worse than a tanner’s.”

“Can I … ?”

Timothy shared an understanding look with Custer. “We could …”

The slam of the door announced the arrival of their hostess. Mistress Rowedge looked down upon them from her lofty height. “Have you finished?”

Timothy slid the bowl over to Custer. “Nay, he hasn’t. Not yet.”

“Eat up then lad – that’s good food. New herb. Recently imported. Cost a pretty penny.”

Both Timothy and Custer doubted the sanity of paying any coin for such a herb.

“Eat.” The voice was firm. No one argued with Mistress Rowedge.

Custer hastily took a mouthful.

“What does it taste like?” Mistress Rowedge inquired.

There was a silence. Custer nodded his head.

“What does that mean?” she asked suspiciously.

“It means that he thinks that it has-“ Timothy searched for an appropriate word “-taste.”

There was a vigorous nodding from Custer.

“Plenty of taste,” elaborated Timothy, warming to his subject. “Buckets of taste.”

Custer’s head was now nodding at an alarming rate.

Mistress Rowedge looked pleased. “Here, let me taste some then – I haven’t tasted it …” she took a spoonful, choked and finished her sentence with a croak, “yet.”

There was an awful silence.

“It has taste.” Mistress Rowedge agreed.

On Writing, The Many Trials of a Blacksmith

In Which I Use ‘Said’

I’ve found that there seems to be two lines of advice: one which says: whatever you do don’t use ‘said’. The other which states: use ‘said‘.

I’m also pretty certain that there is a third line: the one which I take – where the word ‘said’ is used whenever it can have a greater impact on the sentence.

For instance, this is a snippet of a first draft which I’ve recently typed up:

“If you don’t come back with me,” he said, affably, “I’ll knock you over the head and carry you back.”

“I have to do this.” Was that a hint of pleading in the boy’s gaze?

“Nay, you don’t. I won’t allow it.”

“I’d like to see you stop me.” The boy was spitting mad.

Timothy looked pointedly at the ropes in his hands, “I’ll bind you again.”

“I’ll hit you again.”

In this I’ve managed to make each line more diverse without adding the boring ‘he said, he replied, he stated, he warned etc etc’ (however – sometimes I lean to the side of making it too diverse and thus obscure, which makes me scratch my head and think ‘huh? Who is speaking?’).

Yes, there is a dreaded adverb in there – but, to be perfectly honest, I do use them. Not all the time; only when it suits my purpose.

Now, take a look at that first line of dialogue:

“If you don’t come back with me,” he said, affably, “I’ll knock you over the head and carry you back.”

The idea is that he [Timothy] is stating a threat in a friendly manner (a bit of an oxymoron that!). If I took out the ‘said’ and attempted to substitute it:

“If you don’t come back with me,” he threatened, affably, “I’ll knock you over the head and carry you back.”

I find it a little too chunky; the tongue trips over the words and the sentence is marred. And, on a side note, if I take out the adverb and add in this:

“If you don’t come back with me,” he threatened, in a friendly manner, “I’ll knock you over the head and carry you back.”

No – I don’t like it; it’s too long and looks ridiculous. So ‘said’ stays and the adverb too.

dialogue is like … a staircase! Each step is a line which leads to another till eventually one reaches the bottom of the staircase – the end of the conversation.

I’m learning, with every word typed; every sentence finished. Oh! I’ve only just learned that I can’t spell ‘dialogue’ – apparently there is an ‘a’ in there. Lesson duly noted, Spell Check.

Next post: the subject will be ‘the wunderful spelin’ of Nesss Kingysly’ …