Friday, April 2, 2010

Weekend Writer's Retreat - 1

Welcome to my first post for the Weekend Writer's Retreat.

I noticed that my wonderful blog friend Susan mentioned this meme on her blog, and when I popped over to check it out, I discovered a few more blog friends hanging out over there, as well.

I can't resist the lure of a writer's retreat. And I've been enjoying some serialized flash fiction on several blogs, so I've decided to throw my own hat in the ring.

I'm not sure if my posts will qualify as flash fiction. Hopefully as I do more of them, they will. Flash fiction follows the requirements of a longer piece of fiction, containing conflict and resolution for the characters, however brief.

My pieces are going to be much more like vignettes, scenes that focus on an idea or an impression.

I've decided to begin this feature with my Scorpius character. He came to me during a real life writers' retreat a few years ago. I've got about a quarter of his story written so far.

Scorpius is the Chamberlain of the Keep for Lady Elysande in a world that combines a medieval-type slave-owning society with sophisticated technology and political intrigue. For my Weekend Writer's Retreat scene, I'm going back to Scorpius' boyhood. The stories I share here will be backstory, taking place well before the events of the novel I'm working on. Or will be working on - I'm currently working on my vampire story, and after that I'll be finishing my gardener story. And then I can get back to my Scorpius story.

Scene 1

The falconer strode silently ahead of him. Hurrying to keep pace, Scorpius kept sneaking looks back at the home he’d shared with the other fostered boys and girls until the road turned and there was nothing more to see.

His new master didn’t bother to check to see if he was being followed. For one long moment, Scorpus stood in the road, unwilling to leave his hopes behind.

The distance stretched between himself and the falconer. All the moments when he’d shrugged away from Nurse’s embrace, wished for quiet when the babies shrieked, or when he’d sighed with boredom during chores came rushing back. He’d take it all again gladly if only he didn’t have to go with this man.

He gazed with longing at the turn that concealed the high stone wall and the manor where he’d grown to boyhood. Glancing ahead of him, the empty road cautioned speed, speed.

He could run.

He could run off into the wilds. The scraggly brush could conceal him. The rough boulders could cradle him.

Scorpius listened, but he couldn’t even hear the footsteps of the falconer against the gravelly road. Gaze roaming over the landscape, Scorpius felt the patient breath of unseen predators upon his neck. Just daring to glance up, he saw clouds and sky but no shadow marring the blue.

He knew what it felt like to see that dwarfing wingspan, to scramble for cover only to see his dear friend disappear in a screech of flame. His chest seized horribly with dread.

Scorpius ran, sickly sweat congealing along his spine. He ran till the sight of the scarred man ahead of him made his heart swell with relief. He caught up, his breath loud and ragged in the late morning air. Still the falconer walked, not turning to see who panted and puffed behind him.

Falling into step with his new master, Scorpius fought the urge to look back. What was there to see? Nurse no longer needed him, and the falconer had need of a boy. He’d best get it through his head that no one had come to claim him, and now no one ever would.

© Julia Smith, 2010

Travis says You've packed quite a bit of insight into the character here.

Alice Audrey says That last line is very strong. Well done. Welcome to the Retreat!

Nessa says I like the third paragraph from the end. It is riddled with the tug and anxiety of a frightening yet appealing relationship.


Travis said...

You've packed quite a bit of insight into the character here. Nice job.

Alice Audrey said...

That last line is very strong. Well done.

Welcome to the Retreat!

Janet said...

So glad you're doing Weekend Writer's Retreat, Julia :)

Great scene, you've given us a glimpse into the character and we can feel his angst about this new chapter in his life. Moving from the known to the unknown - wanting things to stay the same, but knowing they can not! And I love the little hint about a 'demon' - wondering how that will play out later on.

Favorite line: The rough boulders could cradle him. Love the image!

Nessa said...

I like the third paragraph from the end. It is riddled with the tug and anxiety of a frightening yet appealing relationship.

Thomma Lyn said...

Excellent writing, Julia. I get a strong feel for the tug-of-war going on in young Scorpius's mind -- a strong sense of a coming of age journey looming ahead of him. I'm glad you're participating in Writer's Retreat!

Lilly Cain said...

Hey, when am I going to get to read this whole book??? :) I must find out more about Weekend Writer's Retreat. Sounds like a good way to share our WIP's!

I really do like this book and would like to read the whole thing (and yup, the is the practical me talking!).


Calico Crazy said...

Lovely imagery you've created here, I want to know so much more about his story. Thanks for joining the Weekend Writer's Retreat

Grandma said...

I'm already drawn into his story and would love to know more.

Thanks so much for joining the Weekend Writer's Retreat. This is a wonderful addition.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Nice character vignette, and good writing. I'm looking forward to reading more of your work!

sanjeet said...

That last line is very strong. Well done.
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Julie said...

You most certainly have packed in so much background about your character. And yet, managed to involve the reader in the tug of war of his emotions at the same time.

I am new to all this genre writing and appreciated your description of flash. I have no idea what I write - but it is MUCH shorter than even yours. I may have to branch out in a while.