The Princess and the Pig ~ A Synopsis

The princess of the Eastern Shore is soon to be heir to one of the wealthiest kingdom in all the land. With the fastest merchant fleet, they have access to the most profitable trade routes but their armies are weak. The king implores the princess to marry one of the princes of Iron Hall, a kingdom with a fierce army and defenses.

The head cook, who has worked for the many nobles and kings, sends his apprentice to find a pig, knowing that the princes of Iron Hall have an appetite for porcine flesh. But the only pig in the kingdom of the Eastern Shore seems to be a frail little shoat, in a failing farm, on a dying stretch of land at the edge of the kingdom.

A Silent Snippet Thursday Bit

It’s Silent Snippet Thursday over at the Soapbox and this is what I came up with. I was toying with it overnight and I may not go anywhere else with it. Alas, it’s more or less just a filler piece for this post.

I’ve seen one shark in my lifetime — on the telly above the bar where it belonged. I trusted the French explorer when he assured me that such animals “are all over zee deep blue zea.”

But if I thought my host was strange on the day I met him, in 1967, in my nice, normal tavern with my nice normal fry-up, then this was the sales pitch that sold me the car. The fact that an animal twice the size of a jumbo jet, casually swam by the futuristic sea lab in the prehistoric ocean wasn’t what bothered me. It was the fact that it was so commonplace in his life that he had gone and named the bloody thing!

Fairy Tale Logic

It’s not to say that fairy tales are easier to write because they aren’t. But they follow so many of the basic rules that writers tend to forget. Like, the rule of three.

The main thing about a fairy tale is that depending on your intended audience, you don’t really have to go overboard explaining everything. You just set up your story, your characters, and make it a memorable experience and your readers will accept that some things aren’t going to come up too often in a life skills lesson.

Alas, the mystery novel I wrote is going on a back burner because a great start wasn’t enough to fuel it through to the next chapter. I think I just want to return to where I began, when fantasy and science fiction were my true loves and mystery was woven in to the general flow of the story as opposed to being the primary genre.

Progress Report: Chapter One

My book opens with a bedbug scare in a thrift shop. Some people might not understand why that should be especially jarring. Others are sweating and checking their pulse by now.

The scare comes in the form of an anonymous caller who says that his wife may have donated some things that came from their house while it was infested. The caller quickly hangs up the phone but Olivia, the owner and manager of Keeler’s Mission is understandably nervous.

You see, the shop runs entirely on donations and most of those donations are clothes, as well as other household items that the 21st century pest likes to call home.

Originally I planned for a much longer chapter but after introducing the reader to the store level of the shop, I decided to end it at the point where Olivia alerts the head of her furniture department to a pending meeting. As she leaves, she takes note of an unusual bronze statue that was donated to the shop a couple of days earlier and also notices that it appears to have sold rather quickly.

The statue provides a brief respite from her worries but when she hears that it was the backroom supervisor that accepted the donation, she remembers that the backroom itself is full of places for a bedbug to hide. That’s where the first draft of chapter one ends for now.


I Should Just Start my Own Writing Group

The group I had doubts about previously was postponed again. That shouldn’t be a deal breaker and it probably won’t be. But after talking with Scrimgeour, the main idea behind his group is to give people the impetus to hook up and form groups of their own.

Granted, for me, the idea of organizing a thing and getting everyone else on the same page is akin to preparing the first nasal appendectomy ever performed in a barn. In the dark. And the farm has been abandoned for sometime.


Character Assassination

Gilly McTavish entered the office. The lavish décor, expensive furniture, and the breathtaking view of the city were testaments to his agent’s success. The photos on the wall told the story of two decades in the film industry, which Gilly owed to the hard work and dedication of the man who sat behind the desk, Soren Haley.

Soren waved Gilly to a seat as he traded figures with someone over the phone. When he finally ended the call, he saw the somber expression on Gilly’s face.

“Gilly, babe, what’s wrong? It makes me sad to see you sad.”

Gilly responded with his own pet name.

“Well, Sorey, I’ve been giving this a lot of thought and I think I want to change agents.”

Soren’s face sank.

“We’ve been like meat and cheese, you and me. I helped you bust your Hollywood cherry and you’re going to shack up with someone else after all these years? Whatever for.”

With a weary sigh, Gilly pointed to a glass case in one corner. It contained the prop gun from the set of his first movie along with the squib. He winced and rubbed the part of his chest where it struck him all those years ago.

“My first movie, On the Line, about the assassination of President McKinley? That was a great movie and I’ve never forgotten it. So far I’ve played the Archduke Bishop Ferdinand, President Lincoln in three different films, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald. And then there was that guest spot where I was Queen Victoria from a parallel world where the first assassination attempt was successful. Do you notice a pattern, Sorey?”

Sorey waved his hand dismissively.

“I think you’re just being too picky. You have a great career and I’m getting offers left and right for you. Why can’t you just be grateful?”

“I am grateful. I just hoped that by now someone would see my potential to branch out into other genres. Hell, I’d take low budget porn over another movie where I’m getting my head blown off. You know they’re calling me the American Sean Bean?”

“Cause you’re charismatic, funny, talented! Come on, you are Gilly McTavish, you are the brand and I discovered you. So I’m not giving you up without a fight. Let’s just do one more film and if you’re still not satisfied, I’ll let you go. Deal?”

Before he could answer, Sorey pulled fresh new script from his desk drawer and plopped it on the table.

“Okay,” Gilly sighed. “What is it?”

“Get this, you’re the principal of a high school in the late 80’s.”

“Sounds good. What’s the movie called?”

“The Brenda Spencer story.”

Gilly sighed. This was going to be a long day.

Doubt Creeps In

I have a piece of flash fiction to read before the group on Tuesday next but I’m hesitant. If this group gives preference to poetry and prose, and one of them was quite vocal about that preference then I’m not sure what to do.

There aren’t a lot of writing groups in easy reach. There might be something in Cambridge and another one all the way in Middleton. To someone who walks everywhere, both of these destinations is an awful lot of effort for very little reward.

And it doesn’t help that my story is one of my “cynical” stories. That is it’s a story that doesn’t involve rainbows and unicorns but people will call it out for being cynical because they forgot about “To Serve Man”.

With time, doubt creeps in. There’s not a lot of people I can use as a sounding board, so it’s hard to dismiss the doubt and decide to just go on in and give it a shot.