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Eamon’s Way – Kurylian Saga Serial #1

  • Posted on January 26, 2017 at 4:32 pm

At the suggestion of my writing mentor, the lovely Chris Votey, I’ve been doing some practice writing short stories. So I’ll be doing a short serial of flash fiction set in the same world as my Kurylian Saga, a book I intend to publish very soon. This practice is meant to get me used to the world again, to get me used to writing short fiction, and to improve my writing in general. Please, let me know if you notice any grueling inconsistancies, or any sort of growth whatsoever. Thank you!


 

When Eamon asked him to hit her hard, she hadn’t quite anticipated a gauntlet to the back of her head. It sent her reeling, certainly, but it was a credit to her balance that she didn’t end up on her ass. Years of training told her to not waste a moment in combat, and she quickly turned towards her opponent, swinging her practice sword at his shin.

Herod hissed, bouncing on his good foot, shaking the armoured leg she’d managed to strike. The impact caused a noticeable ringing noise. She was pleased, a ring of the armour, for the ringing of her head, she had thought to herself.

She pressed her sudden advantage, and kicked his bouncing leg out from under him. From there it was easy to press her practice sword to his throat.

His eyes confirmed what she already knew. She had finally won against Herod the Giant. The smashing headache caused by his gauntlet disappeared as she tore off her helmet, and only out of respect for where the armor had come from, didn’t toss it to the side. Instead, she set it down next to her, then removed the sword from his throat, and offered her hand to help Herod to his feet. Herod refused, getting himself up. They both went to a bucket filled with water, and dipped their hands in. The pain of their bruises hurt worse in the cold water, but was necessary to their recovery.

“Good show, Lady Eamon,” he stated.

Eamon was surprised. A new title from him. Herod usually called her “Lil Miss”. She gave him a rueful smile. “Near knocked me on my ass, Sir Herod. But I finally did it. I finally had you on your back.”

“Aye, you did,” he acknowledged.

He patted her shoulder the same way her father might have, and her smile grew brighter. She didn’t feel like the fourteen year old squire anymore. She felt twenty feet tall.

“Same time next week then?” she asked.

She had been sparring with Herod for several months now. Before that was Jurin, though Jurin didn’t have the size Herod had. He was wirey and thin. And before him was Minna, stout and quick with a mace. Each one she fought, and each one she bested. She was determined to be a real fighter, like her father.

“I think not, milady. I think I’ll be informin’ your father that you’re ready.”

Her thoughts ground to a halt, and her breath did too. “You mean…”

“Yeah,”Herod interjected. “I think you’re ready for the Trials.”

She swallowed, and kept at bay the tears that threatened to spill. She felt she was ready for the title of Knighthood, but to hear Heroid caused her to choke up a bit. If Herod thought she was ready, surely her father would agree with him. All she had to do was pass the trial, and she would be a Knight of Kuryle, a true defender of the realm. If she could prove her bravery, her mettle in combat, and her valor, then surely they would allow her to be named a Knight.

She couldn’t wait to tell Saras the good news.

 

Ab Ovo – A review of a Literary Term

  • Posted on January 15, 2016 at 2:57 pm

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that my writing mentor, Chris Votey, is someone who inspires and encourages me to go beyond what I already know in the world of literary writing. This month, he’s assigned me to read one of his articles on a literary term and respond to it. He chose for me Ab Ovo, a term I had never heard before, much less considered writing on. To be honest, most of the literary theory I know comes from Tumblr’s various teardowns and theory discussions on various manga, anime and shows.

I found this particular literary term to be quite rudimentary. In other words, it’s a word I should have already known, but didn’t KNOW it was tied to something. What Ab Ovo is, is simply this: A story that starts at the beginning. It’s a latin term that means ‘In Egg’, or at the beginning.

Now, you’re most likely considering the fact that all stories start at the beginning. But no, not all do. In the article, he explains stories like Star Wars: A New Hope and Shaun of the Dead are both In Media Res (or Starting in the Middle). So I had to go out of my way to find stories that start Ab Ovo. I started off by thinking of as many stories as I knew, anime, manga, books I’d read, various other things as well, and I found a lot of them are In Media Res. In fact, it got me to thinking about how all of these stories start.

It began to get a bit frustrating after a while, and when I finally found one that actually ISN’T In Media Res, I almost laughed. One of the few Ab Ovo stories I found was actually a story we all know and love. Thumbelina. The story starts with the BIRTH of our main character, the most important character, and goes from there. There is no previous conflict, other than the old woman wanting a child, and that’s solved with Thumbelina’s arrival.

Most fairy tales start this way too. Sleeping Beauty starts with the birth of the princess. Snow white, the original tales anyway, start with the Queen wishing for a baby, and spilling two drops of blood on her sewing. Pinocchio starts with Gepetto wishing for a child on the blue star, and getting a moving puppet instead.

The moral of the story here is, I suppose, if you want to give your story a fairy-tale like quality, have it start Ab Ovo.

Now, the original article that Chris wrote mentioned that it was also possible for the story to be Ab Ovo if it began with the Beginning Conflict. Not the conflict the character themselves face, as most of the time that would be In Media Res, but rather with a larger conflict, such as War or Famine, something that CAUSES the conflicts the character later faces.

For examples of that, I could only really find a technical example. In “A Journey To the West”, it is generally accepted that The Monkey King is the most important character (or at least, he’s the fan favorite), where as the MAIN character is in fact the Priest that he accompanies on the eponymous Journey. However, the story BEGINS with the Monkey King getting himself thrown in Monkey Jail for arguing with God. (There are numerous versions of this story, including but not limited to Saiyuki, two TV series’ in both 1986 and 1996, and my personal favorite: Patalliro Saiyuki. More examples can be found here. )

Now, if the Monkey King had minded his own damned business and stayed in his lane, he might have been able to stop the Ox King’s rampage, which is what caused the Priest to have to set out in the first place. So, by that definition, this story would start Ab Ovo.

This doesn’t seem to discredit the theory that you should perhaps only use Ab Ovo in your story if you wish it to be fairy-tale like in quality. In fact, it gives it more credence. Really, it’s very difficult to hold an audience’s attention with a story that begins before the main character is even born. That’s why it’s generally considered rude to have a prologue, and many writers tell you not to bother with it, and to just turn it into later exposition. However, if the story is compelling enough (or culturally known well enough), you can most likely get away with it.

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