The Pathless Wood

I’d like you all to have a read of this and tell me what you think. Is it properly creepy, or does it need a bit more chill?

Let me explain. This is an inset story in Aiella, and replaces the original version, which was a) not very good b) somewhat derivative and c) irrelevant to the setting.

To set the scene, Aiella and Dartea have been commissioned to escort young Lady Talia D’Inverno on a secret trip across the mountains, and they take the first part of the journey by boat up the river. Our heroines soon discover that Talia is what Dartea describes as a ‘flouncy little whatsit’, spoiled and arrogant, and a sore trial of their patience. One night they camp in a forest glade by the river. As a form of mild revenge for all the trouble Talia has caused them Dartea decides to wind her up by telling a creepy story.

It is an evening in late summer, it’s getting toward dark, the trees stand tall around them, seeming to move slightly in the haze from their campfire, and this is the story Dartea tells:

Continue reading


Writing Update

Well, all the edits are in, and the storyline changed. I think it’s better this way round. It took some editing around to get Aiella’s backstory cemented in its new place, to make sure everything that needs to be mentioned is mentioned at the correct juncture, and also to make sure that, now that the Big Reveal is near the end, I don’t give away the goods too soon. And, to improve the narrative flow, I expanded the trigger story (in-joke) somewhat, so it can stand on its own a little better.

So, now what? Well … so far two beta readers have complained about the seven-year gap in the storyline, and suggested I fill it with a new story. This is an attractive idea, but … the book as it stands is 300 pages and 145,000 words long. Add much more and it will have to be split into two books … and the way the stories are set up now, there isn’t an obvious split point. So I’d probably have to write another story, to provide that split point … and is this ever going to end? At some point I’m going to have to cry FINISHED!, and then decide what the hell to do with it.

Not to mention there is the sequel to work on, and what about my other project, the comic fantasy, stuck in plot hell for nearly two years now? Eep.

Anyway, I have also been reciprocally beta reading, and much to my relief all four books (by three different authors) have been well-written and entertaining, even if historical romance and grimdark SF are a bit out of my usual field. I hope I have been able to contribute something to the development of the books in question. I will publicise them all when they are published!

How’s your writing going?

Mostly Sally

Sally stopped and drew a deep breath. Ginger Kemp did not reply for a moment. He seemed greatly impressed. “When you talk quick,” he said at length, in a serious meditative voice, “your nose sort of goes all squiggly. Ripping, it looks!” Sally uttered an indignant cry. “Do you mean to say you haven’t been […]

via Mostly Sally — Plumtopia

I’m only making plans for Aiella

The best thing for the blues is to do something constructive, so I’m going to have a look at the major surgery needed for my novel Aiella. Briefly, it has been suggested that the first part of the first chapter, dealing with her childhood and the Lamentable Tragedie that drove her into exile, be moved to stand instead as the next-to-last story in the sequence. This means that the book starts with our heroine staggering half-dead down from the mountains, starved and snowblind, and the reader has no more idea of who she is than the farm folk who take her in have. So that part of the story needs re-jigging, so there are no references back to the previous story, only mysterious hints, and also it needs more description of her to be added, by way of introducing her to the reader. (I’m thinking out loud here).

Then, as the stories progress, her Mysterious Past and just what it was that led her to a life of wandering and exile is almost as much of a mystery to the reader as it is to the other characters … there are a couple of crucial scenes involving a wanted poster I need to look at, to determine how much to give away there. I think this is a better effect than having all the backstory explicated at the beginning, and the readers (if any such there be) can let their lurid imaginations speculate on what might have happened.

So far so good. Now, the really hard part is transplanting that backstory, currently sitting proudly at the head of Chapter One,  to the less elevated position of Chapter Thirteen. There is going to have to be some kind of framing for it, to account for its anachronous position, and as it stands it isn’t very suitable for framing. I haven’t worked out how to do this yet. Obviously the trigger for its appearance is Aiella finally confessing all her past misdeeds to Dartea, which is a thing that already happens, but the story is too long and too objectively written (3rd person) to be passed off as Aiella’s recollections. If it were a film I could do a slow dissolve and then a caption, RHEGED: 35 YEARS EARLIER, but writing it in to a novel is a little trickier.

More thought required!

The Adventures of Sally, a Wodehouse romance (2)

Today’s post continues this February’s Wodehouse Romance series, exploring The Adventures of Sally, courtesy of guest author Jon Brierley. If you missed the first instalment, you can catch up here. The Adventures of Sally A Romance (continued…) All caught up? Spiffing. Let us consider our principals. Here comes Sally now – if we take up […]

via When Ginger met Sally — Plumtopia

The Great Wodehouse Romances: The Adventures of Sally (by Jon Brierley)

I have been serialised by my good friend Honoria 🙂


adventures-of-sallyEvery February Plumtopia celebrates the romances, great and small, in the work of P.G. Wodehouse, to mark the anniversary of his death on St Valentine’s Day, 1975. Guest contributions are warmly welcomed, and this year I’m thrilled to share a series by guest author Jon Brierley on the 1921 Wodehouse novel, The Adventures of Sally.

Jon is sound on Wodehouse and has written wonderfully in the Wodehouse style at his blog, Sloopjonb: Writing Wibble(try his Jeeves’ Christmas Carol). Jon is currently putting the finishing touches on his first novel and would love feedback from beta readers. Please do visit his blog to find out more.

The Adventures of Sally

A Romance

 “Chumps always make the best husbands. If you marry, Sally, grab a chump. Tap his forehead first and, if it rings solid, don’t hesitate. All the unhappy marriages come from the husbands having brains. What…

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