This is number eleven in a series of posts where I document the complete process of writing a novella - Day By Day!
I am documenting (via my blog) the complete start to finish experience of writing a novella that I will be releasing for FREE once it is written.
I will be writing approximately 900 words per day and I will post each day's writing the following morning, unedited, on my blog. This means you get to see my draft with all its original spelling mistakes, bad grammar, and clumsy sentences
The timeline for the experiment is as follows:
- Plotting, Characters and Scene Outlines - April 1to April 20 - COMPLETE
- First Draft Manuscript - April 21 to May 18 - IN PROGRESS
- First Manuscript Edits - July 1to July 5
- Reader Proofs - July 6 to July 25
- Final Manuscript Edits - July 26to July 31
Today's Date: April 29th
Progress: Day 8 complete. Following is the day's writing (Chapter Four continued)...
“So how long have you been here?” asked Ryann.
“Nearly two years,” replied Kieran.
“And you still don’t have enough money to buy your freedom?”
Kieran shook his head and stared at his plate. “No. Every time I get close, something happens. A couple of weeks ago I had to give the steward nearly forty copper coins for a whole new set of clothes. He said I had grown too much.”
“Wow. I hope I don’t have to pay that much. I already need some new clothes.”
“You’ll be fine. I think it was just to stop me saving more money. The Lord doesn’t like any of his sclavas leaving.”
“But we’re all allowed to buy our freedom.”
Kieran looked around the room before whispering to Ryann. “That’s what they tell you. In secret I don’t really believe that. I don’t know of a single person myself that has bought their freedom. All there is, is stories.”
Ryann put a piece of potato in her mouth and chewed on it. “I don’t want to stay here forever. I want to get back to town.”
“Do you have any brothers or sisters there?” asked Kieran.
“No, I’m an orphan,” replied Ryann. “Both my parents are dead. What about you?”
“Me too. I never knew my father and my mom died after getting kicked by a horse. I don’t know what I would do if I ever got out of here. I guess I’d have to find a real job and look after myself. I think that’s why most people end up staying here. It’s just easier.”
“Well I’m going to get out of here,” said Ryann. “As soon as I can.” She lifted the plate to her mouth and licked up the remainder of the gravy. “And at least Megan left me her money so I ought to be a little closer already.” She put the clean plate back down on the table.
Kieran looked into Ryann’s face. “How much money did she have?”
“I don’t know,” said Ryann, shrugging her shoulders. “But I hope it is enough for at least a silver coin or two.”
Kieran finished his dinner and took his and Ryann’s plates over to the far side of the kitchen and stacked them on top of a table. “Come on, we’ve got a little while before we have to do our chores, let’s go and explore a little.”
“I can’t,” replied Ryann. “That’s how I got Megan into trouble before. Bramwel caught her and whipped her. I wouldn’t want us to get caught.”
Kieran smiled. “It’s okay, Ree. I know a few secret places. No one will find us where we’re going. After all I’ve been in the castle nearly two years. You’ve got to believe I know a few things.”
“If you’re sure.”
“Of course I am. Come on.”
Ryann followed Kieran as he led her along several corridors and then down some steps, through a small half-hidden door. After a while they came out into a large room, laden with stacks of tapestries and books. “Where are we?” she asked.
“In an unused part of the castle. Like I said, no one ever comes here.” He wandered over to the pile of tapestries and pulled one from the pile, laying it on the ground. “Here, take a look at this.”
Ryann walked over to the tapestry and knelt down beside it. “What is it?”
“I think it must be a famous battle. You see that man there? On the horse. Well I think he looks a lot like Lord Cala, doesn’t he?”
Ryann stared at the man on the white horse and tried to remember exactly what Lord Cala looked like. She had only seen him a few times and she couldn’t be sure it looked like him at all. “I guess so,” she said, trying not to upset Kieran.
“And these other people must be his army.” Kieran pointed at some men lying on the ground.
“They look like they’re dead to me.”
Kieran nodded. “That’s what I think too. I think this may be a battle that the Lord, or maybe his father, lost. I think that’s why it’s hidden away in here.”
Ryann got back up to her feet and wandered over to the piles of books. She picked a book up. “Can you read, Kieran?”
“Only a few words. I’m trying to learn but none of the people I know can read either. Cook says the steward can read, but he’s not going to teach me.” Kieran took the book from Ryann and put it back down. “Come on. We’d better get back before they miss us. Next time I’ll show you one of the books that I’ve been learning from. It has some really good drawings in it too.”
A few minutes later and Ryann and Kieran were back on the other side of the half-hidden door. “I’d better hurry to Bramwel’s room,” said Ryann. “I’ll see you later, okay?”
“Bye, Ree. Thanks for coming with me.” Kieran watched as Ryann ran off down the corridor.
“And what are you doing here? This isn’t a part of the castle you are allowed to be in.”
Kieran’s heart jumped in his chest and he turned to face Bramwel. “Hello, master. I was just taking a walk. That was all.”
Bramwel reached out and grabbed Kieran’s arm. “A walk? As I said, this is not somewhere you are allowed to be.”
Kieran swallowed hard and tried to pull his arm free. “I didn’t know. I’m sorry.”
“And was there anybody with you? I thought I heard the voice of that girl, Ryann.” Bramwel squeezed Kieran’s arm, making him cry out a little in pain.
“No master, I was all alone. I’m sorry. I won’t come here again.”
Bramwel pushed Kieran roughly against the wall and slapped him hard across his face. “No. I had better not find you in this part of the castle again. Next time I won’t be so lenient with you.”