Flake-out Friday–Break the Rules Blogfest!!!!!

My blogger peep Elizabeth Mueller is hosting a “break the rules blogfest” today and I’m happy to participate by posting an early, “pre-educated” draft of a previous WIP. This was before I really learned about killing redundancy, showing versus telling, eliminating back story, and creating tension.

So, where’s the flake out? It’s really anxiety provoking to post a rough, unpolished version of a novel I trunked over a year ago! Anyway, here goes…

Completed in 1384, the Castle Kirkwood stood as a symbol of the wealth and power of the local Lord.  Construction had started seven years earlier, but the time had finally come for his Lady Ruth Kirkwood and their infant daughter Arianna to move in. The wait was worth it.  Lord William Kirkwood basked in its magnificence.  Most of the other local Lords had built manors in which to live.  That, of course, was not good enough for Kirkwood.  His castle was a true reflection of his greatness and grandeur.

Lord Kirkwood, tall and solidly built, watched with pleasure as his beautiful wife, elegant and erect with her long dark locks braided into a tight bun atop her head, entered the threshold and took in the interior.  Her bright green eyes took in the expansiveness of their new home.  A great hall opened out to the right of the entrance, while a steep stair surrounded by thick walls ascended to the second level.  To the left of the centrally located stair, the space was broken up into smaller rooms.  A study for the Lord, where he would plan his conquests, took up most of the space.  Smaller rooms to the back were parceled out to the servants.  There was a door leading out to the back where a semi-detached kitchen stood.  Despite being built with stone, having a separate kitchen respected the tradition of having a safety measure against fire.

Of course, the great hall had a long, rectangular dining table at its center and a large fireplace along its outer wall.  The fireplace was flanked by tall windows, which were made of many smaller glass panes.  The lady especially liked this feature as it made the large echo-prone hall seem “comfortable.”

Upstairs, the space was divided into several bedchambers, the largest of which was dedicated to the Lord and Lady.  It was off to the right of the stair.  To the left and front of the castle was their daughter’s bedroom.  She was as of yet too young to sleep in the room on her own.  Children grow fast, the Lady would say, and soon enough Arianna would be able to sleep in her own bed.

Since the castle faced the east, the room would be filled with the warm rising sun of dawn.  An ideal place for a child, the Lady thought.

Lord Kirkwood was pleased that his wife was happy.  Together, they watched their daughter grow through infancy and toddlerhood.  She was happy and inquisitive and her lively chatter brought warmth to the cold stones.  It was well known that Arianna shared many of her mother’s features.  Most obvious of which were their dark hair and striking emerald green eyes.

In the five years that they had lived in the castle, Lord Kirkwood prospered as the nearby city of Dartford developed into a commercial center.  Dartford had the premiere location of acting as a hub between London, Canterbury, and the Kent Coast.  Trade flowed down Dartford’s mainstreet and the people of the city benefited from the constant stream of commerce.  It seemed only natural that the Lord’s success would match that of his city.  He was also pleased to see that his “neighbor” Lord Beckwith was sharing the same prosperity.  And the neighboring Lord had plenty of sons.  Lord Kirkwood did not waste time in setting up a betrothal between his daughter, now five years old, and Lord Jeffrey Beckwith’s eldest son, Hugh, who was nearing manhood at fifteen.  When the Lord learned that his Lady was again with child, he dared to start planning for the birth of a son.  His heir.  Things were going so well, how could he not expect to be blessed with a son?

The higher you are, the harder you fall.  He was blessed with a son, but his wife, his beautiful wife, hemorrhaged and died only moments after the newborn was placed in her arms.  Her anguished cries were seared into Kirkwood’s memory as she mourned her stillborn infant before her own body gave out.  Anger flared in him as he looked into her eyes, those clear green eyes that he so loved, as they glazed over.  Fate, how cruel!!  He thought.

Coldness descended on the castle then, setting in like a dense fog in late fall when the leaves have fallen but not yet the snows.  The Lord’s heart turned brittle with bitterness.  His clear, ice blue eyes became hard and cruel.  He busied himself with leading armies and warmongering.  Battles were easy to find and he had his share.  It was in his blood.  So much he thirsted for war.  It was the only thing that sated his rage. Mentioning his name struck fear in the hearts of the people of Dartford.  Since his Lady’s demise, he no longer had a check on his cunning and ruthlessness.  People became pawns.  They were objects.  A means to an end.  To see a human beneath risked hesitation in battle, a risk he could not afford.  Nor would he abide by it.

Alrighty, gang. So how many faux pas do you see? (I think I hit most of the heavy hitters on Elizabeth’s list. Don’t believe me? Check out her post here. You won’t be disappointed. Plus, you can find links to all the other brave bloggers taking part in the fun. Thanks, Elizabeth for such a fun idea!)

On a side note, I came across this post via Karen Gowen–it’s hilarious!!! (Thank you, Evonne, you took the words right out of my mouth!!)

20 comments on “Flake-out Friday–Break the Rules Blogfest!!!!!

  1. Donna Hole says:

    Because of this specific blogfest; where we’re posting our worst not our best; I start with the worst.
    I See your characters, but I have no emotional attachement to them.
    No consistent POV – is it first or omniscient
    No identifiable POV character – who is in focus
    Info dump: all telling no showing
    Grammer:lot of fragmented sentences that begin as descriptive narrative and end as info dump.
    Character: No attachment to a single character or group; this is pure description of a scene, with no attachment to the characters.
    PLOT: I get no hint of hw all this ties into a single concept
    Beautiful description of setting. You start with the year, and move on to the physical setting of the castle and it’s inhabitants. You give enough personal info to allow the reader to “see” your characters.
    World building: you are doing a good job of setting up the city.

    Overall; this is a good write. A marketable concept. Tighten it up so we know who is who, what the hierarchy is, and who the POV dhcaracter is, and I think you’ll have a good start on a story. Good Luc; hope you know where youu are going with this.


    • lbdiamond says:

      Thanks for taking the time to read! I agree 100% with the “worst” list–POV shifting, info dumping, etc–I have since learned all these things and try to eliminate them. 😉

      Thanks for the compliments regarding setting and description. I think I’ve lost some of that skill in efforts to “clean” up my writing.

      This is an excerp from my first novel–the one I had originally penned in a spiral bound notebook…I’m on my fifth now (a YA paranormal). I’m glad you see some merit to it because I’ve always wanted to go back and make this one work.

  2. Love this! ;o) I really enjoyed this Blogfest. I was in my basement yesterday digging up old works…I decided to go the REALLY before learning anything route. Like back to my 11 year old, romance loving self! ;o)

    So glad to have found your blog through this.

    Visit My Kingdom Anytime

  3. Sangu says:

    A lovely post full of excessive descriptions, adjectives and generally a slow pace. That said, there was a lot here that I really liked and it’s lovely, isn’t it, to look back and see how much better we all are now?!

  4. Wow, lots of telling here (like in mine), and five years passing in a snap. That was probably the most jarring for me. I would love to see the scene of his wife and baby dying. That would be absolutely heart-wrenching. Isn’t nice to look back and be able to see our own mistakes and know we can move beyond them? Thanks for posting!

  5. Very descriptive and has a nice hook. It would be interesting to read what it would look like if you rewrote it now. Post -education…great post.

  6. amie borst says:

    you’re so brave and for that you should be applauded! the fact that you’ve seen (and admitted) your mistakes is the first step to becoming a great writer!

  7. LydiaK says:

    Mostly I saw lots of telling, but in between that I thought it was an interesting set up!
    Your writing now is so totally different!

  8. RaShelle says:

    I mean sure it was a lot of telling, but also a lot of cool “stuff” in there too.

  9. Tessa says:

    Ooh…first off, thanks for the visit to my blog!

    I quite like your ‘scene’, but I agree with Donna’s list… the beginning is a little…well, long, I guess… I think it’s the “telling”.

    Kudos for joining this ‘fest!

  10. Laura! Awww, you had to kill the mommy and baby at the end hu??? I know you can take this story here and stretch it out to an entire novel and still go into the romantic angle of the five year old to her betrothed! 😉

    Thank you for participating, you are so awesome in your great awesomeness for being brave!

  11. Kelsey Leigh says:

    I agree, that there was a lot of “telling,” but I generally liked it, and I am really interested to see where this story could go. Have you ever thought of reworking it?

    ❤ Kelsey Leigh

  12. Tyffani says:

    This story has sooo much potential! Aside from all the “telling” (I think we can all agree, lol), the underlying story sounds like a REALLY good one! One I’d love to hear the rest of! Hope you do decide to rework this one day!

  13. Angelica says:

    I have some trunked works like this, and I too cringe if I go back and read them. But even the worst ones have a gem of a line (or 2) within them, which I’ve probably already recycled into another, better work.

    But I’m not too ashamed of the old stuff, it’s kind of like getting wrinkles—they’re not so bad if you feel you’ve really earned them.

  14. Drea Moore says:

    I did a lot the telling over showing, info dumping and POV shifts in early drafts, too. 😀 It reads like an outline to me with *stuff writer should know* info sprinkled in that looks like description but could be used way differently…which is probably what you’ve done in the rewrites 😀 Thanks though, it’s kinda refreshing to see other peoples’ roughs…everything in my critique group looks like the individual authors have picked through things twenty times before submitting for criitique…

  15. Suzie says:

    I really can’t say much of anything that hasn’t already been said (show vs. tell, etc)… but it does have a lot of promise. And you’re talent is clearly there. 🙂

  16. Dawn Embers says:

    I read but gotta admit, I’m too lazy to tell you all the ones I see. Think it was covered well by the very first post. Did like certain points of it. The data there has some consistency, as if research was done beforehand. I liked seeing the fact about the house kitchen being separate and why. Talk about back story… but I am a bit interested in the developed version if it’s a WIP that has progressed.

  17. Amy Saunders says:

    This reminds me of a lot of my earlier writing. I had similar issues with telling, lack of tension, and too much backstory. I loved the setting though. 🙂 Anything at that time and place makes me happy.

  18. AlexJ says:

    Looking forward to your Movie Dirty Dozen on Monday!

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