Who Is Riddling With Words? - NaNoWriMo Snippets of Story

"Write the things which you have seen, the things which are, and the things which will take place after this."
Revelation 1:19

via Pinterest
As you may have guessed already, this round of snip-whippets of my writing does not belong to February and does not tag along March either. In fact, it is so ancient in its date (the eleventh month of the year of our Lord two-thousand and twelve to be precise) so as to make me wonder at the credence of my putting it up to share with you all now. Besides, I am working on 'A Love that Never Fails' so why should I be bothering about my old story, correct? True, but when one is in that dubious stage which writer's call 'research' (an immensely gratifying title for those long periods when we writers are too lazy to write), I find that I have very little by way of writing to share with you from my current work-in-progress save for a few photos of an armload of WW2 History books I borrowed recently from the library, and bits and pieces of odd information I have stashed away in my brain about the year 1940, in London England and how life was like during the Blitz, and the German Luftwaffe, etc, etc. Fun stuff! Hopefully all this research will come to fruition in the next round of snippets that I write up (but more importantly, in the novel itself of, A Love that Never Fails!)

Meanwhile, here are some bits and pieces from what I wrote during NaNoWriMo last year in The Crown of Life. Because I have not worked on 'The Crown of Life' for a while, I have been able to revisit it with a different lens than before--a far more objective and vivid one. I now realize that many of scenes that I had been struggling with before I put aside the novel are only really histories of the tale, the back-stories of many of the characters and are nonessential in the sense of actual scenes to the main story. But I am glad I got to write those pieces of history, for though there is a likelihood that those back-stories and flash-backs will not make it to the final draft of the book their history will be mentioned by the characters in the novel itself and give it better depth and meaning. Those 'pieces' have also made me discover many things about the people of 'The Crown of Life', folks like Julius, Flavius, Valerius and Anthea - and the elusive but guilty scapegoat, Consul Apicius; they have heartened me, angered me and surprised me in turns. Flavius and Anthea get special attention in this round of snippets as during the month of November they kept popping up everywhere (hardly fair for poor Claudia and Valerius); but they were a great deal of fun to work with. I have to warn you that a lot of what I wrote that month was melodramatic and side-tracked, a good reminder for me now as I write 'A Love that Never Fails' that usually the first draft is made up of large chunks of rubbish. Still, I hope you enjoy these snippets from 'The Crown of Life': I know, if nothing else, they were at least fun to write!

These November Snippets

'I find it a pitiable thing to see cowardice among high ranking soldiery, especially among my own,' the Consul said. 'I will not abide it.'
- The Crown of Life 

'The hand of death is oft' disguised, Valerius. But like scales that fall from our eyes when truth is revealed as truth, so is the enemy when he is unmasked: a cold skulking caricature of human life he appears—deathless and unpunishable. But you know there is always a weak spot in a dragon’s hide, so the tales say. It can be disguised in diamonds and gold and precious jewels but when pierced and the mask is brought down it will end the dragon-fire forever.' Flavius paused for the measure of a moment. His eyes flickered with a strange gleam. 'He is not deathless,' he mused to himself.
The Crown of Life

Julius remained painfully silent, but he scrunched the scroll within his hand, like one would scrunch a night moth. 
A bitter laugh escaped Flavius’ lips. 'So. We be some plaything, a hare to be caught in a trap. Well am I glad now that Valerius isn't here!'
- The Crown of Life

It was a piece of poetry - a few scrawled letters of ink-black on the papyrus roll that blurred before his eyes. The words seemed to come out at Valerius as obscure images: a silver sea of light, a whisper of something beyond him that seemed to tear down at his former antipathy for the little shop, and the little man and his queer faith.
- The Crown of Life

 'Well, they say a woman in wrath is a dangerous thing—as dangerous a thing as a maddened bull they say...' Anthea said with a laugh that held the force of a hidden dagger. Flavius clenched his fists and could not help agreeing.
The Crown of Life

 Flavius clung to his pewter mug. He seemed distracted, lost in thought and a bitter memory, as a man wandering in a tangled forest with no hope of escape.
- The Crown of Life

The Consul looked at Flavius with a sudden piercing glare of thunder, hail and storm. He seemed in no mood for interruptions or advice, least of all from his young nephew who was the bane of his past and the uneasy threat to his future. 'Do you think I do not know the rumours that fly like feathers among the chickens about my borders, Flavius son of Gaius? Or that I know not the lateness of the hour? I heed everything, but I am not as impatient as you young men... or afraid either,' he added this with a stinging glance at Julius. 'We shall soon see who is riddling with words, as you say, and who is in earnest.'
- The Crown of Life

Anthea stared down critically at her fingertips. The flicker of the candlelight threw a soft white halo about her. Flavius thought she looked terrible and fair all at once. 'Perhaps,' she said slowly, as the though pulling the words from her soul. 'But it matters little to me anymore—what you think of us... of me. You men have become distasteful to me. All of you.'
The Crown of Life

'I'm in no mood for dragon-riddles and hints and clues,' Valerius barked savagely.
- The Crown of Life

'You are cruel,' Flavius laughed at her and the caustic tone dripped from his voice as undisguised as a rag flung over scarlet and purple raiment '...beautiful and cruel as a flaming goddess of old, daughter of Gallus. But are you not my wife and mine that I may cherish and command?'

'I am your wife,' she said and her face seemed to break away from the frozen mask that had cloaked her moments before in a world of ice. She seemed to gaze at him sadly, and he wondered if it was the look of deep regret—for marrying him most likely, he mused—or the look of fathomless pity that he saw wavering flame-like and cold in her copper grey eyes. He could not tell.
- The Crown of Life

'I do not believe in family curses,' Valerius said, dubiously.
            Mirthlessly Flavius laughed back at him. 'Well, I do, for my life is a proof of their existence. And I at least am not superstitious!'
- The Crown of Life

Flavius stretched all of a sudden, and with a deprecating little huff, he shook off his lethargic brooding. 'But now! Tell me, how has it been with you while I wasted away in Gaul? Surely you have not spent all your youth buried in those fat horrid books I’ve seen in the family atrium...'
                    Valerius laughed. 'They are not horrid books, Flavius, and if you call them fat—well, wait till you see the strongbox in my bedroom chamber filled with thick scrolls of such ancient wealth and size you would laugh away the notion that the ones you saw are fat.'
            'Perhaps, perhaps,' retorted Flavius with some heat, 'but I cannot see how they have aided you much in your growing up years save to make you intolerably conceited of your learning and positively stuffy to listen to!'
- The Crown of Life

The Consul slammed his hands on the table, making the eagle-sticks on the board clatter. 'I would have fearlessness in the Twelfth Cohort of the Augusta Legion! Fearlessness and unquestioned obedience. You understand me well enough, Tribune Gallus, do you not?'
- The Crown of Life

Valerius looked into the eyes of his friend, and found that with the passing of those few fleeting seconds, his life had changed. He felt as though he stood on the edge of a precipice. One false step, one wrong move and he would fall - he would traverse beyond recall. Quietly now, almost pleadingly he said, 'Tell me everything, I beg you. He was my brother, Flavius.'
The Crown of Life

Comments

  1. Keep writing this, Joy! It's beautiful! Honestly, these excerpts have left me wanting to read more. The depth and tenor of these paragraphs is gripping and interesting. Love Flavius and Valerius.
    I do not read much fiction - at all - but this one is certainly on my reading list.

    The Lord Jesus bless you,
    April

    ReplyDelete
  2. Snippets from "The Crown of Life"!!! *happy skip*
    I'm still quite interested in this tale of yours even though you aren't writing it anymore right now.
    I very much enjoyed these little tantalizing glimpses and flashes of your writing, dear! :) The 2nd snippet reminded me of "The Hobbit" when Bilbo discovers Smaug's weak spot and I loved your beautiful writing in that part, Joy! The snippet about the poetry was wonderful, it created such pictures in my mind... And Anthea's "woman in wrath"? So good!! It said so much in so few words. :) And I thought the snippet where Anthea says all men are distasteful to her was excellent. Actually all the snippets featuring Flavius really piqued my interest. He is a thoroughly intriguing villain, and I don't even know that much about him! :) Although I look forward to learning more someday ;) I loved Valerius and Flavius's discussion about the books! So amusing, it made me laugh. :) The last snippet was terrible, in that I so desperately want to know what is happening and what Flavius says!!! You certainly know how to pick the suspenseful parts, girly. The trials you put me through... ;)
    I think my favourites were... oh, I liked them all so much I can't decide which I like best! :)

    All and all I loved this Snippets post. Very good and intriguing writing, dear. I can hardly wait until you have some "Jane" snippets to post about now too!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Snippets from "The Crown of Life"!!! *happy skip*
    I'm still quite interested in this tale of yours even though you aren't writing it anymore right now.
    I very much enjoyed these little tantalizing glimpses and flashes of your writing, dear! :) The 2nd snippet reminded me of "The Hobbit" when Bilbo discovers Smaug's weak spot and I loved your beautiful writing in that part, Joy! The snippet about the poetry was wonderful, it created such pictures in my mind... And Anthea's "woman in wrath"? So good!! It said so much in so few words. :) And I thought the snippet where Anthea says all men are distasteful to her was excellent. Actually all the snippets featuring Flavius really piqued my interest. He is a thoroughly intriguing villain, and I don't even know that much about him! :) Although I look forward to learning more someday ;) I loved Valerius and Flavius's discussion about the books! So amusing, it made me laugh. :) The last snippet was terrible, in that I so desperately want to know what is happening and what Flavius says!!! You certainly know how to pick the suspenseful parts, girly. The trials you put me through... ;)
    I think my favourites were... oh, I liked them all so much I can't decide which I like best! :)

    All and all I loved this Snippets post. Very good and intriguing writing, dear. I can hardly wait until you have some "Jane" snippets to post about now too!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you so much, April, for your encouragement and for stopping by to comment on this post. I am tickled that you enjoyed reading these snippets! Despite my current focus on my other book, 'A Love that Never Fails' I have not forgotten the 'Crown of Life' and to know that you enjoyed this post eventually want to read the book one day makes me happy :).

    I also noticed Carra mentioning it on her blog, April, but I am sort of curious as to why you avoid reading fiction considering you write fiction yourself?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you, Annie! I am so glad you liked this post and for your sweet, sweet encouragement and thoughts :). You don't know how I love hearing your thoughts.

    I was wondering if anyone would catch 'The Hobbit' reference in that 2nd snippet as in fact that scene with Bilbo and Smaug was in my head as I wrote that scene: so glad you noticed!! Thank you, darling :). You know how to make one girl happy.

    Anthea has grown in some of these snippets into more of a mature and pained young woman than previously seen in other bits and pieces of snippets I had shared on this blog, hasn't she? That comes largely from her complicated love-hate relationship with Flavius I think. Speaking of Flavius, I am really happy he has piqued your interest so! I find him to be one of my most fascinating characters and I really enjoy working with him and finding the depth and guile of his character. Fun stuff! I have to say that any scene between Anthea and Flavius always excites me (they keep me on the edge of my seat with their caustic wit and quarrels). I look forward, one day to letting you be able to discover all there is to be found about him and the rest of 'The Crown of Life' too, Lord willing.

    About the last snippet? I feel highly gratified by the pains I'm bringing you through with it - does that sound sadistic or cruel? Okay, I guess I'd feel the same way if I were in your boots. But Mary helped me select the most 'suspenseful' and interesting of snippets to put into this post, so she's partly to blame for it ;).

    Thank you again, Annie, for taking the time to comment. Hmm, I have done little writing with Jane so I think you'll have to wait a bit before there is another snippet featuring her. But, Lord willing, once I have stuff to share, I will. Love you, dear friend! <3 <3

    ReplyDelete
  6. You are so descriptive, Joy! I often wonder how you manage to light the pages with such fire that they curl, blackened, before your very eyes. :) It is all in your style, I see, and yours is one that is all your own. 'Tisn't fire, like Jenny, nor does it much resemble Abigail. It could not at all be Rachel, nor Katie, for sure. You carry your pen lightly, and let it scrawl across the pages with such a dancing, light foot that it creates lilting, airy description that can be summed up with one word: elegance. But the colour! the colour is of a red with a hue of orange and hint of dark blue mixed in so that it radiates fiercely, occasionally darkly, and draws the reader in, breathless.

    ReplyDelete
  7. And that, Emily, is such a radiant flair of beautiful description on my poor scribbles, that I feel a trifle embarrassed, so humbled and I have the idea that perhaps you've underestimated your own skills in description right here :).

    But you don't know just how much this comment means to me! It inspired me so much that, Lord willing, I am going to copy this comment onto my personal journal for safekeeping as a sweet note to read and cherish whenever I am feeling down with my writing!

    I never quite thought of my writing as 'elegant' but I am so thankful you think of it like that :). You know it can be hard to find one's personal 'voice' and 'style' amid such bounty of genius as we see in our dear friends, but it is always important to remember how no matter we try and 'imitate' and 'learn' from them (which can be a good thing!) we eventually are our own writers with our own God-given styles which we need to embrace.

    But it was so exciting to have been told by you what you saw my style to be! So you see moods and words in colours too sometimes? Oh, I am glad, because I know I do! yes, I think I see my words like a riot of red, orange, shades of dark blue and occasional little wisps of purple as well :). Somehow, I think your colours are more into the light blues and earthy brown-red colours with tints of gold and sunlight in them, if that makes any sense!

    I never quite thought how style works in with description, but I see you are right. Really just as you said that my writing 'radiates fiercely, occasionally darkly, and draws the reader in, breathless' is how I allow myself to throw myself into the world I write so that I feel the same experience that I long my readers to experience too which ends up appearing as description when one puts it into form and place. But, Lord willing, I hope to address this topic in my e-mail to you next time, or maybe even in a blog-post on the subject!

    But thank you again, so so so much, Emily! I am so thankful =). *hugs*

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

"Gracious words are like a honeycomb; sweetness to the soul and health to the body..." ~Proverbs 16:24

It is a great delight to hear from viewers of this blog! Comments always make blogging a lot more fun, rewarding, engaging as well as being a blessing. So please type away! I try, busy schedule not hindering, to respond to each comment. And while you're at it, it will be lovely if you could sign the Guestbook page. Just please remember to keep your comments gracious and God-honouring at all times. Thank you!