June 5, 2015

What the king put his foot down on and other snippets of my novel....

I am SO excited (and nervous) to be sharing with you all (my lovely blogging friends!!) some unedited snippets of my current work-in-progress novel. It's a very loose retelling of The Princess and the Pea, set in a make-believe land in medieval/Tudor times.

*wrings hands in anticipation*

I don't usually like to share my writing until it's done, but....guys, I'm about half way through!!! HALF WAY THROUGH. I've never stuck with one of my stories for so long!!!

The first snippet I'm going to share is part of the very first scene in the book. :) When I was interviewed on Naomi's blog she asked us interviewees to share the first line of our current WIP. I did, and promised her I would eventually share "what Harold put his foot down on". haha So, Naomi dear, this is for you!

"I put my foot down on this!" King Harold pounded the table for emphasis. "You're nearing twenty-one years. If you don't choose for yourself we will choose for you."
Henry watched the dark oak table slowly cease trembling. If only things could stop as easily as that table. 
"Henry, look at me when I'm speaking to you. " Henry clenched his jaw and looked into the stormy face opposite his. His father's eyes softened and he seemed to deflate. "Oh, son. You know I don't want to be unjust towards you. I just wish...it's just..." he sighed, rubbing his temples with a care-worn hand. "I'm getting on in years-"
"Father, you're not-"
"I'm sitxty-two, Henry. Men younger than I die every day. The point is, I want....I need...to see you happily married and...providing an heir...before I die."

(I know the whole "you-must-marry" thing is cliche, but it really worked for my story, so....yeah)

Lying in her bed, Alethea watched the yellow curtains at her windows flutter in the breeze. She imagined they were a banner waving in the wind. She saw the crest of Linden embroidered on it, a red tree atop a hill. She then saw it torn and stained, fluttering alone in the middle of a still and lifeless battlefield. She cringed and bit her lip. She'd never experienced war in her lifetime, but she knew of the devastating effects it had-especially on families. She suddenly bit back a sob as the thought struck her that her brothers would fight.  The thought that one of them may not return was even worse.


The sun was still low in the sky and dewy cobwebs glittered in the tall grass. Gray morning mist limited her view, casting the sun into a hazy glow amid the pink clouds. To the west the sky was dim blue and she spotted a few lone stars still twinkling. At last she felt free and a bit more peaceful. She was completely alone and yet felt less lonely than she did in the crowded ball room last night. Out here she could pretend her family was back at the castle. In the castle, she could only feel like an outsider. 
The wet grass brushed her skirt and dampened her shoes. She breathed the cool air in deeply, but the sun was quickly warming her shiny gold head and turquoise covered shoulders. It is going to be a warm day. 
Alethea found herself heading for the beech tree she and Henry had raced for the other day. As she approached, she noticed a shape sitting beneath its branches. A few more steps and she realized it was a man. She paused, unsure if she should continue. The thought hit her that it could be Neven and she quickly turned around. She had no desire to be alone with him in an empty field. She didn't want to admit it to herself, but something about him frightened her.

so perfect!!!

"So you're telling me-" the clash of swords interrupted Arthur's sentence, "That your parents-" clang! "are holding a week long party-good thrust!- just to find you a wife? Oof!"  Arthur held up his hand for a pause as he fell to the ground. 
Henry snorted and grinned down at his friend. Beads of perspiration trickled down his forehead. "Well, they didn't describe it quite like that. More as..." he leaned against a rain barrel. " 'A chance for you to meet more people your age and to have fun.' " 
"You mean more women your age!" said Arthur with a grin. 
These two look NOTHING like my characters, but the picture is perfect for the above scene.

Arthur sat silently for a moment after Letha had gone, his mind brooding over how to tell his mother of his dilemma. He jumped, startled, when he felt a touch on his shoulder. Mary looked down at him quietly. "What's troubling you, son? I knew the moment I saw you something was on your mind." Arthur exhaled and leaned forward, elbows on the worn wood table. 
"Oh, mother. I asked Letha to give me a few moments to tell you but now that it's just us I can't find the words." 
"Just tell me."
Arthur shook his head ruefully. "Mother, I'm in love."
"Well! What's so terrible about that?" 
"I'm in love with the woman Henry has chosen to be his future wife."

I hope you all liked it! I really hope I can finish the first draft this year. It's just so incredibly exhilarating to be this far with a book....it's definitely the best I've ever written so far, even though I know I have SO MUCH room for improvement.

 I'd like to share more about some of my characters sometime....pick someone from the snippets and I'll do a post on them! :) 


  1. I may now finally go on living - because I finally know what he set his foot down to!!! Haha. :-) Thank you VERY much. :-D

    Wow, Natalie, this is SO good! :-D I just love it. I dove into the story - the character seemed like good friends immediately. Your writing style is very welcoming and sweet --- I loved it! Well done, dear! :-D And I hope you finish it - keep going and don't give up! :-D

    I'll be a beta-reader if you want, when you're finished. Um, you have my email. Just saying - it wasn't a hint or anything. :-P

    ~ Naomi

    1. Awww, no, thank YOU, Naomi! I'm SO glad you liked it!

      I hoped from posting these snippets I'd get even more encouragement to keep going and work hard on this novel-and you certainly encouraged me!! Thank you so much. :)

      Ahahaha, you totally read my mind. I already have a mental list of beta-readers and you were on the list. ;) So glad you want to be one!!!! Now if I can just finish it...:P

  2. Ohhhhhhhhhh how delightfully LOVELY. YAY! ;D Oh, I'm so super happy you did this, Natalie!!! The pictures are all scrumptious and now I positively c-a-n-n-o-t wait to hear more. ;) Wow, that whole opening and top picture.... :)

    And more about a certain character..... Yes, PLEASE. Hmmmm. Maybe about Henry? The prince? I'd love to hear more about his personal conflict, etc. ;)

    1. Heidi!! Thank you so much!! I'm SO happy you enjoyed it!

      Ah, yes, I love the pictures too. :) It's so fun finding pictures that perfectly fit for your story, isn't it?

      Haha, funny you say that about Henry....."his personal conflict". Ha. He certainly is a conflict all in himself. He's turned out to be one of my most interesting characters--which I love! But it's been funny seeing him change from what I originally intended. :)
      So, yes, hopefully I can do a post on him soon! Thank you!!! :D

  3. These were WONDERFUL, Natalie!!!!!!! :D *stars and confetti*

    Oh my goodness. My favorite was the snippet of Arthur and Henry sword fighting. And the pictures you chose!

    Pleasepleaseplease do a post on Arthur. I beg you;)

    (And, um, as Naomi was saying…I can get you my email if there's ever *cough* a need to do that…;D )

    1. Squee! I'm so glad you liked it! Honestly, I've been waiting on pins and needles for everyone's opinion. The fact that 3 of you love it makes me sooooo happy. :D

      I'll probably do a post on Henry first, as Heidi requested, but I will certainly do Arthur sometime. I adore the sword fighting scene too! :D It's so much fun writing their banter.

      And, haha, thanks! You are now officially on the list. ;)

  4. Hello Natalie!
    So. I tried to comment three times yesterday, but for some reason blogger gobbled them up. :-P Naughty thing. I'll try again.
    I just wanted to say, your writing style is wonderful! Mine is sort of similar, but I really should work on my descriptions more. ;-) I like writing stories, too, (also poetry!) and I had stopped for a few years, but after reading your blog (and some others) it really did inspire me to start writing again! Coincidentally, one of my stories is with a heroine called Natalie (I told you a liked that name :-D). While I was still detailing her character, I must admit, I came across your blog and automatically made my heroine how I imagined you to be. The thing that set me off was when you wrote in your "About Me" page, how you wished you had background music in real life - I was like, "Wow, that is so true!" I never thought about it before. But anyhow, keep up with your writing, you really DO have talent and you DO inspire people! :-)
    ~Miss Meg March

    1. Oh yes, I understand! Blogger can be persnickety at times. :(
      But--oh! I'm SO glad you commented again because your comment is SO sweet! Awwww...thank you SO SO much!
      I can't tell you how encouraging it is read comments like yours....it give me energy to keep writing, knowing that someone other than just myself likes it!! :)
      Really? That's so cool! I'd love to hear some of your story sometime with "me" in it. hahaha I'm so flattered that you imagine her how you imagine me! Yes, wouldn't background music be lovely? Sometimes I think it would probably get old or annoying after awhile, but it would be absolutely marvelous at first!!
      Anyways, thank you for your SUPER sweet comment, and best wishes for your own writing!! :D

  5. Hi Natalie,

    I thought I should let you know that I tagged you over at my blog. If you feel like doing it that would be delightful, but no pressure!

    About your story snippets... I liked the conversation in the first paragraph between Henry and his father. It made me want to read more and find out what measures the father would take to choose a wife for his son...and how the son would feel about his father's interference. I don't know if that's the direction you're taking the story, but just wanted to let you know that you sparked my imagination. :)

    Oh, and the scene where Arthur says, "I'm in love with the woman Henry has chosen to be his future wife," definitely left me wanting to know more about the story. Whose Arthur? What's he like? Who gets the girl in the end? You should do a character post sometime where you describe all your main characters personalities! That would be fun! :)

    Thanks for sharing your story. If you're anything like me that was a very brave thing to do! (I don't like people reading my writing before I'm finished with it, either.) Good luck on completing your novel!

    ~Miss March

    1. Miss March,
      Thank you so much for your comment! And thanks for tagging me! Emma has already tagged me for that, but your questions are fun so I thought I'd include them as well when I do my post. :)

      And THANK YOU so much for your thoughts on my writing! I'm so glad you liked the first paragraph too! Hmm...no, that's not exactly the direction I'm taking with my story, but I liked your idea a lot.....there are a lot of aspects I have to rework in my book, so I'll keep your idea in mind when I do so!

      Squee!! Yes! Arthur. I love him so much-I will DEFINITELY be doing character posts soon-Henry first, and then I'll do Arthur. :) And yes...heehee...I'm trying to keep the answer to "who gets the girl" under wraps...I don't want anyone to know the outcome till they read the story.

      Yes, I'd say we're VERY much a like-I was so nervous to share my writing! Thank you so much!

  6. Now, I'm really curious to know what your story is about. :) I'm glad you're going to do character posts. Those are so much fun to read!

    What?!! You have to keep "who gets the girl" a secret! Whatever for? (Just kidding! Of course you have to!) I guess I'll just have to be patient and wait till you're finished. :(

    ~Miss March

    1. Yes! I can't wait to do the character posts! I really love my characters. :)

      Heehee, yes, OF COURSE I have to keep it a secret.....suspense and all that. ;) I do hope I can finish it soon...within this year would be wonderful. But then, of course, there is all the editing....
      Thank you so much for your encouragement, though! It's so wonderful to know that you all WANT to read my book! :D


I love comments as much as I love hot tea and a good book.....well, nearly, anyway!
Please keep your words kind and edifying.