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Friday, May 4, 2012

Writing Experiment #16 - Ryann Manuscript Part 13

This is number sixteen 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.

Ryann is the story of a thirteen year-old girl who works as a servant for a tyrant of a master, and longs for the day when she can buy her freedom. The novella will serve as the introduction to a new fantasy series that I will start writing in 2013.

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: May 4th
Progress: Day 13 complete. Following is the day's writing...


Bramwel lay on his bed and stared up at the ceiling. It had been a bad day. He had been humiliated by his father in front of the sclava, Kieran, and now he was going to have to study extra hard as well. He took his toy wooden horse from under the covers next to him and pulled it close to his chest. “What secrets have you got to tell me, Stampede?” he asked. “What battles have you fought?”
“Still playing with that horse then?” Lord Cala said, entering Bramwel’s room.
Bramwel sat up on his bed and hurriedly put the horse down. “I was just thinking, father.”
Lord Cala made a noise like he was clearing his throat and crossed over to Bramwel. “I have come to a decision, Bram. I have decided to do some of your teaching myself. I should have realized how difficult it would be to concentrate on your own. I had forgotten just how many things your mother used to do around here.” He sighed. “I do miss her and I know you do too.”
Bramwel nodded. “I do miss her, father. It’s very lonely sometimes.”
Lord Cala ruffled Bramwel’s hair. “So, up you get and bring yourself and your books to my study. I will be waiting for you there in a few minutes.”
“Really father? Today?”
“Yes, today,” Lord Cala laughed. “I have important business to attend to very soon and so we should get started on this straight away.” He turned to leave Bramwel’s room. “Five minutes.”
Bramwel forced himself to his feet and walked over to his side table. He slid the toy horse underneath and picked up the books that were sitting on top. “Oh well, at least this will spare Kieran for another day. And where is that girl, Ryann? She’s never here when she’s needed.”

“Sit down,” Lord Cala said as Bramwel entered the study. “Over there by the big table. And open that big history book. Yes the one with the drawings inside.”
Bramwel took a seat at the table and opened up the largest of his books. “Where do you want me to look?”
“It doesn’t matter right now. First I want to tell you a little story.” Lord Cala waled over to the table a took a seat opposite Bramwel. “Tell me what you know about our history; the Walthern history.”
Bramwel sat back in his chair and thought for a few moments before replying. “Walthern Castle was built over a hundred years ago after a big battle was fought against the heathens. Your great-great-grandfather was given the land in return for his services to the king, and also the money to build the castle. Your great-great-grandfather settled into the castle and soon a small town sprang up. The town was named Walthern, in honor of the king’s brother, and life pretty much went on as usual after that. The number of battles fought slowly went down and peace ensued in the country.”
Lord Cala smiled. “At least you know some of our history, Bram. And did you learn any of this from our history books?”
“Not really, father. There is only the smallest mention of Walthern in my books. What I know I have learned from mother and from others in your army.”
“Well, you’re fourteen years of age now and soon to become a man. It is time I told you a little more of our real history.” Lord Cala made himself more comfortable in his chair and leaned in toward Bramwel. “When my great-great-grandfather moved into this castle he had an army of nearly three thousand men. That is why the town grew up so quickly. All those men needed lodging and supplies. Men and women came from all over the country to help build the town. At one time I believe there were nearly ten thousand people living in Walthern.”
“So why is the town so small today, father?”
“It is like you said, Bram. Most of the battles went away. The old king died, and so too did his son. Then we entered into several treaties after my father, and others like him, lost key battles. After your grandfather was killed in battle, I took his place. But times were not kind to me. By that time our army had dwindled to just over a thousand men and many townsfolk had become disenchanted with life here and moved elsewhere. I lost a couple more battles, fighting alongside the remaining loyalists, and then I returned home. This all happened before you were born. Then once the final treaty was signed, there was no more need for war. Today I have less than five hundred men remaining, and the town numbers at most four thousand people.”

“So will we never fight another battle, father?”
Lord Cala smiled and wiped his eye. “I don’t believe so, Bram. The heart is no longer there to fight for our country.”
“So why do we keep the army?”
“For the sake of the people. If I were to let the army go then maybe the whole town would be abandoned.”
“But what about the sclavas and the other people? What would they do without the castle?”
“Bram, I haven’t told you everything yet. There were once several hundred sclavas who lived in the castle, preparing everything and keeping it the way it should be. Today we have about sixty. Haven’t you noticed that some rooms have been abandoned and that corridors are free of people? Even at dinner we are only attended to by a handful of sclavas.”
“I didn’t know that was unusual, father.”
“Even my father would throw lavish feasts at least once a week, and music-makers would come in from town to play. Today we can only afford to do this one time a year.” Lord Cala leaned forward again and lowered his voice. “In truth, I am worried that very soon we may have to abandon the castle altogether. At the very least we will have to let many more of our sclavas go, or cut their wages.”
“We cannot let them go, father. What will they do and what example will it set to the others? No, it is better we just pay them less and tax the people more.”
“At least you have a good head on your shoulders, Bram,” Lord Cala said, getting up from the table. “And we will discuss more of this over the coming weeks. But now we need to get down to some real studying. If you are to inherit this castle from me one day, you should at least know who and what you are going to be dealing with.” He walked around to stand behind Bramwel. “So let’s start with the story of King Brokk, the one true enemy of my father and his father before him.”

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