I’ve been working on the sequel to to Wolfbaene for quite some time; much longer than I anticipated . I could say it’s because I’ve been too busy to sit still long enough to listen to my characters, but in all honesty it’s absence of being part of a writer’s group that has dulled down my ability to stick to a deadline.
When meeting up with a group of writers, who are just as crazy as yourself, to discuss characters and progress, one really gets a sense of achievement. There are critiques, positive from all angles, and opinions on things that might’ve caught your writing flow on a snag.
When I began my writing journey, I joined a local writing group. I had already jotted down the first rough draft of three books, and had no idea what to do with them – other than leave them in a box.
I was welcomed into this group with so much enthusiasm and encouragement, I felt like nothing could hold me back from my dream of publishing my work. Each fortnight I submitted a chapter for critiquing and critiqued the work of my fellow writers, pushing myself to move forward and really listen to my characters.
After a few months had passed, I was ready to publish the book I’d scribbled in a notebook. I wanted to self-publish through Amazon, to really enjoy the experience of planning my cover, working closely with my editor and be involved in the process of formatting. It was such a thrill.
If you’ve been writing and feel like you’d like to eventually publish your work, I implore you to join a local writers group. From forming friendships, learning about social media promoting and of course writing, it’ll give you a wonderful experience.
Here’s the first chapter of my current WIP – unedited. I hope you enjoy it!
Thomas surveyed the room from where he lay sprawled across his bed. He liked this room. His polished black boots were thrown against the stone wall. His clothes of silk and fine cotton hung untidily over an old wooden chair. His ruby-studded gold candelabra stood in the corner with dusty, spent candles. And his blue velvet drapes blocked out the annoying morning sun, just the way they should.
As he yawned and stretched lazily, the memory of his sixteenth birthday celebrations swam through his mind causing a wide grin across his handsome face. He still couldn’t believe that lords and ladies had come from distant lands to meet the new King of Chermside and his Gifted brother. He had danced with the prettiest girls in the land, drank cider with some of the most elite knights under his command and laughed with his lords – those of whom he may one day have to sit in court with. The year since he was whisked away from the world he thought he’d belonged in had passed so quickly.
With this thought lingering, Thomas glanced over at his sword leaning against the end of his bed and was reminded of the night his brother had sacrificed his life for him. He cringed a little at the thought of having that sword pushed through his shoulder and having to watch William battle with Wolfgang; feeling completely useless. He had kept the sword which had almost taken his life, so it would serve him now, but he had refused to take the king’s chambers. That room belonged to William and his new bride-to-be, Emma; he had nobody to share an enormous four-poster bed with anyway. In fact, he was glad he didn’t have anyone to share a room with; nobody to boss him around or make him do romantic things for. He had no cares at all – he was the king! Yes, he really liked this room.
Thomas swung his feet over the side of the bed and rubbed his bare chest. ‘Hmmm, not bad, not bad at all,’ he grinned. He now had the chest of a young warrior, not just a soccer player – bearing the scar from where Wolfgang had thrust his sword through his shoulder. The constant reminder had almost disappeared, with the help of Orrin’s toad dung and lily sap concoction, but it still felt tender. He frowned.
His stomach growled. He was hungry. ‘Well, I’ll have some breakfast and see where the day takes me. Hopefully nowhere near the wedding couple; they’re beginning to make me sick with all their ewey-gooeyness.’
He washed his face in the wash-bowl beside his bed, before putting on leather pants and a loose white cotton shirt. Turning to the old mirror hanging slightly crooked on the wall he used his damp hands to tidy his hair. It had been trimmed recently, but it still hung over his eyebrows and ears, falling across his forehead to one side in a not-so-royal manner; but he liked it.
Without further ado, he headed down the corridor to the grand staircase and could hear the castle staff scurrying around as they shouted, ‘The king is awake! The king is awake!’
Thomas sighed. Did they have to run around like that? He wasn’t Wolfgang. He couldn’t care less if they didn’t lay fresh lavender on his path. He didn’t want them to rush to him waving huge palm leaves so that the air kissed his face. And he really didn’t care if the long stone table was set with shining silver or goblets of red wine. He just wanted some bacon and eggs; and lots of it.
Thomas stood at the top of the stairs and stared down at his castle staff, nervously awaiting his orders. He shrugged with indifference and made his way down; stopping half way.
There was Gilbert, standing in the shadows of the main entry pillars. His golden scales glittered slightly with the reflection of sunlight. He and Gilbert didn’t exactly get off on the right foot, but they were good mates now – er, king and dragon.
‘Hey Gilbert!’ Thomas waved.
‘Your Highness,’ the dragon replied with a tilt of his huge scaly head.
Thomas grinned and followed the smell of bacon through an archway. He had no idea why Gilbert was being so formal with him; he was still the same Thomas. He didn’t even wear the king’s crown – that was locked away in a glass cabinet somewhere, secured by one of William’s spells.
When Thomas strolled into the dining room the first thing he noticed was Paddy sitting bent over some kind of map; he didn’t look up as Thomas pulled out his chair, scraping it on the stone floor. Their knight’s captain looked worn-out. The lines on his face almost matched the scribbly lines on the map. The second thing Thomas noticed was that William was sporting a new haircut; short back and sides and left a bit spikey on top – it looked, well, sophisticated, in William’s own dorky way.
‘Nice hair-do, bro.’ Thomas couldn’t help his snide remarks any more than he could help his good looks.
‘Hey, thanks Thom,’ William said, quite cheerfully, until he noticed his brother’s wicked smirk. ‘Oh, well you’d do well to get your mane tidied up too – if you want to impress anyone enough for them to actually consider accompanying you to the wedding.’
‘I don’t need to impress anyone, and stop using big words this early in the morning, you’re making my head hurt.’
William only raised his eyebrows, watching Thomas pile his plate high with bacon and eggs like an ape.
Paddy began to roll up the map as he said, ‘You’d also do well to take your position here at the castle seriously – we have much to discuss about securing our borders and re-assessing the taxes our good people have been paying. You’ve had plenty of time to adjust to our ways, Thomas.’ He was looking at Thomas with a stern glare, which made Thomas squirm in his seat; then Thomas remembered he was the king.
‘The only position I’ll be taking seriously is a quiet place where I can work on toning some muscle.’
‘Toning muscle?’ Paddy’s face turned a shade of tomato and William felt his heart skip a beat.
‘Mmmm… yeah,’ Thomas replied through his mouthful of bacon. ‘You know, tone up and look good when I take my shirt off?’
‘Look good?’ Paddy looked livid. ‘Thomas you have important tasks to tend to, you don’t have time to squander…’
‘Ah, ah, ah, Paddy, remember who you are speaking to – I’m the king and I can do what I like,’ Thomas said, waving his fork at his knight’s captain.
Paddy’s face now went a dark shade of purple. He threw William a look that would have startled a dragon, shot the same look at Thomas; who had gone back to devouring his breakfast, and then he stormed out of the room.
‘Thomas, you can’t speak to Paddy like that!’ William was flabbergasted.
‘Oh, he’s alright, he knows I was only kidding around with him,’ Thomas replied with his usual swagger. He swung back in his chair wiping his mouth on the table cloth. ‘I’ll go and see if he wants me to help him with that map thing when I’ve had time to wake up.’ He really couldn’t see what all the fuss was about, life was free and easy now that Wolfgang was gone and everyone needed to chill out.
‘Well, I’d be working pretty quickly at waking up if I were you,’ William said, pushing his chair out and leaving his brother to his own big-headed company.