It’s All About Your Point of View

I’m happy to say that my computer is back from repairs and working just fine! I think that now, I have a deeper appreciation of a large screen, faster processing speed, and the words showing up at the same time as I type them on the keyboard. The poor little laptop that I was using as a replacement (which is quite old at this point) didn’t seem prepared for me to copy an entire extract manually from my writing book onto the computer.

All of my docs are fine, so the next time I plan on putting something from there into one of my posts it should go a lot faster. That’s not what I am going to be doing for today, however. Instead, I’ll be writing about points of view in writing.

This won’t be new information, but as a preface, there are four different POVs: first person, second person, third person limited, and third person omniscient.

First person: The main character is the narrator. The pronoun “I” is used.

Second person: The story addresses you, the reader. Likewise, the pronoun “you” is used.

Third person (limited): The narrator has access to the thoughts and feelings of a character, or maybe that character and a couple more. It acts as an outsider view that retells their experiences. The pronouns “he” or “she” are usually used.

Third person (omniscient): The narrator has access to the thoughts and feelings of every character in the story. Same pronouns are used, though.

First and third person POVs are the most common in fiction. Second person tends to be difficult to weave into a whole story. Still, each of them have their own advantages.

First person point of view has possibly the most potential to be connected to the character. It is great for inner monologues, because that will come naturally while writing, and it is also great for humour. That, or something with more emotional depth, allowing you to get close to the narrator. While all POVs (except omniscient, which would be difficult unless you restrict it correctly) can work as unreliable narrators, I feel like first person is the best for it, since it gives a lot of room for in-universe reasons that the character might be misleading. A few examples are: the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan (along with the other series set in that universe), The Thief, Thick as Thieves, and a bit of A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner, the Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera, etc. I’ve used it a couple of times myself, such as in Thief, and of course I’m writing in first person right at this moment.

Once again, the second person point of view can be tricky. I haven’t personally seen it in a lot of places, save for maybe some music or poetry. I think, though, that this POV has a great opportunity to be haunting, or reach the reader in an interesting way. It would probably work best in a short story or, as mentioned before, in music or poetry, instead of in a novel. One example I can think of that is easy to find on the Internet are the reader-insert fanfictions that float around, but as for published stuff: Stolen by Lucy Christopher, Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney, The Night Circus by Ryan North, etc. These are all novels I found from Google, however, this short post includes a snippet of something I wrote in second person as a bit of a joke.

When it comes to limited third person points of view, it is much less difficult to think of examples than for second person. It can also be said to be closer to a first person style than the omniscient POV. The narrator isn’t a part of the story (at least most of the time, although in some cases the narrator is made into their own character), but can still recount what is going on inside the selected character’s head and “see” what they are doing. I’m not sure how many characters the narrator can have insight for before it is considered to be omniscient, however, it’s safe to say that this POV is very anchored to its protagonist. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, as far as I remember, is limited third person, since it focuses on how Meg Murry is experiencing their adventures. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling includes some chapters featuring a variety of characters’ POVs, but for the most part it, too, sticks with Harry’s own inner monologue. This is the POV I tend to use lately, and the most recent example of that is the “Archers” story, here and here. The character Aylwin is the only one you ever hear from narration wise.

Third person omniscient is like the VIP of points of view, with full access to everything. It will tell you what the protagonist is thinking, what the antagonist is thinking, what the supporting character is thinking, even what that random person on the street is thinking. No one is safe. Depending on the author’s preference, which character is being fully narrated will be divided into chapters, or switch whenever it’s convenient during the story. It definitely allows for more flexibility when it comes to how the writer wants the reader to view events. The Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy novels by Douglas Adams are great examples of this, although I’m sure they used omniscient in their other works as well. These two authors often switch who is in control, and the shift can be extremely quick. In some books it’s more present than in others. Leigh Bardugo, on the other hand, uses omniscient writing in the divided by chapters style, as seen in the Six of Crows duology. I don’t use it enough to have my own examples, though.

Four POVs, but dozens of ways they play out in stories. Each give their own subtle changes to the narrative, so often changing who the point of view is from – or even the style of it – can make it entirely different. In fact, that is said to be a great writing exercise when you’re stuck. I lean more towards third person limited, but anyone else might prefer omniscient, first person, even second person. Maybe a variety of all four.

In the end, the moral of the story is: points of view in literature are a diverse sort of thing, and writing this post with my own laptop back was like a breath of fresh air.

Shifting Into Literary Drive

There are a lot of elements that work in tandem to produce a good story. Central conflict, setting, characters, plot; I could go on. Writing style, the crafting of sentences and the like will give it its flavour. One of the well known distinctions of a novel, however, is whether it is character driven or plot driven, which is what I will be exploring in this post.

Trying to explore, anyway. It’s not like this is my very own literary course, but we’ll see how it goes.

The long and short of it is that a character driven story focuses on the development of the character(s) themself (or themselves), and how they come to make the choices they do. A plot driven story, on the other hand, focuses much more on action, so the choices themselves are generally more important in making the story happen than the characters are.

At the extreme, a plot driven story is the fast paced action novel, and a character driven story is the complicated character study. (However, there is bound to be an overlap of the two in literature.)

As writers, people will probably have some degree of preference for one over the other. From my and my mother’s observation, it would seem that I, for example, lean more towards the character driven style. I do enjoy exploring a character’s psyche, and my writing tends to not be a third person omniscient view, instead showing the story through the thoughts and feelings of one or a few characters. It may also explain why character dynamics are one of my favourite things to write.

Objectively, it doesn’t seem as though one is better than the other. While I enjoy the character driven style, the plot driven style is great at giving engaging situations in a story and keeping a reader on their toes. It doesn’t necessarily sacrifice good character development, but the plot itself is at the forefront of the story. When it is character driven, it is the inverse.

Regardless of whether your story is driven by plot or character, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put effort into whichever isn’t the most important in your story. A novel falls if the plot isn’t well developed. A novel falls if the characters aren’t well developed, too. While favouring either in itself isn’t bad, it is still important to craft each, along with the other elements of storytelling. No one probably needs to hear that from me, however: reading anything that obviously didn’t put attention into its plot or its characters stands out like a sore thumb.

Thumb sayings aside, it’s a cool axis to look at overall. It’s also interesting to exam different authors and see on which side they fall more. The overlap truly begins when it is acknowledged that both plot and characters are important for a good story, leading to an attempt to balance it out a bit more. Now that I have done a bit of research on each, it will be interesting to examine my own writing in that light, as well as the writing of others.

Bar Fights, Festivals, and Cake (Excerpt)

Recently, my laptop stopped working. I’m not sure what happened to it exactly. When the on button was pressed, it would light up for a second, and then switch off just as quickly. It’s been sent back to the company for repairs and hopefully it can be fixed, but I have no access to my docs. I might not be able to get access to them again. Aside from the obvious that I should have uploaded my stuff somewhere else, it means that I can’t easily copy and paste any writing I had there into any posts.

Which in turn means that this new excerpt I have for that “Aylwin and Silas” story won’t come along as fast as the last one.

Luckily, I never usually type my first drafts, so I do have all of it in writing. The following section takes place a month after the last one, and it begins in a pub. Everything only continues to go downhill from there.

When it came to nights at the pub, no one knew the concept of quiet. For example, Aylwin had found himself sitting at the counter, his back to the noise of shouting, fighting, and a tad of drunken singing. He took a sip of his beer just as someone threw someone else against a table. What a nice, relaxing night out.

“Are you going to do something about this?” Aylwin asked the bartender. A tinkling of broken glass and the sound of applause.

The bartender peered over Aylwin’s shoulder, then shrugged and continued to wipe a mug. “Nah, a good brawl never hurt anyone. It builds character.”

Aylwin frowned, looking away. “Uh, right.”

He had never been from a particularly violent nature. As a kid, he would even try and intervene in any fights that came up – which he soon learned would earn him a punch in the face. Since then, he steered clear from brawls such as the one taking place behind him at the pub and tried his best to ignore them.

Chanting rose from the group of men. They pounded their fists on any tables available to them, cheering on whoever had become the center of the ring. From the pack of voices came one high and crisp that taunted its opponent. Another glass or window shattered.

The one voice sounded eerily familiar to Aylwin. He stared at the counter and spun his glass around while he tried to place it, but his memories were not giving him any aid.

Once the curiosity finally got the better of him, Aylwin turned around to see the owner of the voice, and felt his jaw drop.

“Oh, yes, that was a good one!” Silas Bowman said, and he clapped his hands. “You must have been, what, a foot away? That’s progress.”

His opponent spat on the ground and got up to charge him again. Silas moved out of the way as masterfully as a dancer. Another round of jeers went up as he slinked around the circle, always one step ahead of the other man. It was more Silas mocking him than any sort of brawl.

Aylwin had no idea how Silas was there. It must have been a month since he was locked up, and there was no way the captain would let him out that early, if at all. Perhaps he was simply a hallucination brought on by too many days of hard labour, chopping up wood and building houses. That’s all it was. Aylwin turned back to the counter.

Unless, of course, Silas had escaped. How it was possible no one could know except Silas himself. On the other hand, the smart thing to do, the easier thing to do, would have been for him to immediately leave town the second he got out of prison. There was no good reason for him to be fighting in a pub.

His musings were interrupted when Silas let out a cry of pain. Aylwin whipped his head around to see Silas being held up by the collar of his shirt, although he was making the effort to kick at his captor. The man pulled back his arm, and got his chance to punch Silas in his smug little face. Aylwin actually worried that Silas’ neck had snapped with the way his head was thrown back.

“C’mon, fellas,” the triumphant opponent said to the group of men. “Let’s go show this guy just how much progress we have made.” The people who had been fighting followed him out of the pub once united against a common enemy.

Aylwin looked doubtfully at the bartender.

“He’ll get over it. Wounds do heal, you know.” He turned his latest mug from side to side. “Well, eventually.”

The pub was peaceful for a while after that. The men did come back, but Silas wasn’t with them. Aylwin finished off his beer before they could choose another target, and walked out into the cool night air.

He didn’t have to go far before he came across Silas’ injured, and unconscious, body. He had been left sprawled out on the road, with his back planted firmly in the mud. Aylwin stopped by his side and crossed his arms, while his face was taken over by a thoughtful expression.

He supposed he should take Silas to the watch. They wouldn’t be happy to have had him escape, and besides, it was Aylwin’s duty to report to the law. Then again, it was unlikely the law would care all that much about Silas being beaten up and would have no qualms with him bleeding to death. The captain and Lady Moira would be all the more glad for it.

Aylwin let his moral compass duel it out like he had the last time he had been in Silas’ presence. It lead him to sighing, and gingerly scooping Silas into his arms.

“I must be going mad,” he muttered. With that, he carried Silas on home.

Aylwin came down the stairs that morning the way he always did: bleary eyed and ready to snap at the first thing that moved. He grabbed an orange and a piece of bread, provided by the market. He nearly dropped both when he walked into the next room.

He had left his guest on a cot when he’d brought him in, but Silas appeared to be fully functional. In fact, he had made himself right at home. Leaning back in a chair, feet up on the table, and chewing on his own piece of bread.

“Mornin’,” Silas said, and waved a bandaged hand. “Aylwin, wasn’t it? You’ve got a nice place here.”

“Good morning,” Aylwin replied cautiously. “How long have you been up?”

“Eh, an hour or so. I’ve been wandering about.”

Aylwin took a deep breath. Then he walked around so that he was standing inches away from Silas, and held out his hand. The other man cocked an eyebrow before reaching out to shake it.

“Give it back,” Aylwin said, pulling away a bit. Silas didn’t react.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Whatever you bloody stole. Give it back.”

Silas stared at him for a solid ten seconds. Without a word, he pulled a pouch of coins from his coat pocket and dropped it into Aylwin’s possession.

“Is that all?” he asked, and Silas nodded. Aylwin narrowed his eyes, but backed off, choosing a seat across from him. “You seem to be in the habit of getting yourself hurt every time I see you.”

“Yes, well, the first time was your fault.” Silas shoved the rest of the bread into his mouth as if afraid Aylwin would make him hand that over as well. Aylwin scoffed.

“My fault?”

“Yeah? Which one of us was blocking the alleyway?”

Considering Silas had been trying to get away with theft at the time, Aylwin was fairly sure his point didn’t hold up. He sighed, and massaged his face. Maybe taking him to the watch would have been a better idea.

“Whatever. I don’t know what you said to that guy to make him so angry at you.”

“I called him a pig, a failure of a human being, offenses against his mother, among other things.” Silas met Aylwin’s disapproving stare, and shrugged. “He got off easy. I have a much worse arsenal of insults reserved for the truly idiotic.”

Aylwin shook his head. Silas was the scrawniest person he’d ever seen. He shouldn’t have been going around picking fights – that was, if he had a sliver of self preservation in his bones. However, Aylwin moved on to other things.

“I doubt the captain let you off your sentence,” he said.

“Perhaps I was let out for good behaviour,” Silas countered with a cheeky grin.

“How did you escape? How did you steal from the Lady Moira? How did you pull the captain’s pants down when everybody was watching you, for crying out loud?”

“Sorry, that’s top secret. But maybe someday I’ll teach you my tricks.”

He sputtered, and gathered the whole sum of his dignity to deliver his next statement. “I don’t want to learn any of your tricks! You’re a criminal, you stoop to the lowest level, and I honestly think you deserved to be locked up.”

“And yet,” Silas said, pointing a slender finger to him, “you found me out there, all bloody and bruised, and what did you do? Took me in and bandaged me up. That says something, mate.”

“It doesn’t mean I’m not taking you back to the watch straight away.” Aylwin adopted a stoic stature as he peeled the orange in silence. Silas, on his part, did not seem too concerned by this. He settled down further in the chair and watched Aylwin pick apart the fruit, piece by piece.

When he had finished his breakfast, he went upstairs to get changed. It took quite some time for him to decided what to do with Silas but he finally opted for bringing him into his bedroom where he could keep an eye on him and placing him in a corner. Silas clasped his hands behind his back and hummed a little tune while Aylwin switched into day clothes.

On the bedside table were some dirty clothes, a wood carving, and a piece of bare cloth. When it caught Aylwin’s eye he stared at it for a few seconds, feeling his temper begin to mount.

Silas must have heard Aylwin’s footsteps because he turned around just as he reached him and grabbed a hold of his collar. His hands scrambled over Aylwin’s in an attempt to release his grip, but he held firm. No way was he letting him get away with what he had done.

“Give me the necklace, Silas,” Aylwin ordered. His voice sounded calm, which was the exact opposite of his mood. Silas looked up at him and stopped trying to pry his fingers away.

“I don’t have a necklace.”

“Don’t play dumb with me. I know you took it.” Aylwin tightened his hold slightly.

“You won’t hurt me,” said Silas, and it was fact, they both knew it.

Neither of them moved. Then, finally, Silas reached into one of his coat pockets again and retrieved a long loop of twine with a single sparkling gem thread through it. Aylwin snatched it, and at the same time let Silas go.

The thief rubbed at his neck. “Why do you even have jewelry up here?”

“None of your business,” Aylwin said. “We’re leaving.”

Once the necklace was placed safely back on its cloth, or as safe as Aylwin could believe it would be after having it stolen while he slept, they went downstairs and out into town.

Brightly coloured lanterns, not yet lit so early in the day, hung from the houses while the people in the streets were converging and chatting merrily. There was a certain excitement in the air, one that was rare for their calm little town. Aylwin paused in the doorway. He had completely forgotten about the Summer Festival.

Oh, well. They would just have to weave their way through. Aylwin linked his arm tightly through Silas’ and kept moving.

They cut a line through the sectors, slowly growing closer to the town square and the watch building nearby. Unfortunately, the streets got more congested as they went, to the point where Aylwin was walking sideways to form openings with his shoulder. A few rings away from the jail, he stopped and scanned his surroundings in dismay.

“Aylwin, can we talk about this?” said Silas.

“We cannot,” Aylwin said, and after a moment added, “And that is Fletcher to you.”

He spotted an exit and took a step forward, only to be stopped again by a man waving a basket of pastries under his nose. “Young Mister Fletcher! Care for some festive treats?”

“Um, no thank you, Mister Dale.” Aylwin couldn’t help but feel his stomach sink. Dale was not an easy baker to shake off.

“Oh, come now, come now, it’ll only cost you five shrivnels!” He flourished one hand above the basket. “I have bougasta, galaktoboureko, halva…”

“Really, it’s all right,”Aylwin told him earnestly. “I don’t have any money on me, anyway.”

Dale did nothing to hide his disappointment. “Ah. Of course. Well, if you change your mind, you know where to find me.”

Aylwin had been edging his way around him, and at that, he nodded sharply and made to hasten their retreat. Silas, however, had other plans. He tapped his free hand against Aylwin’s shoulder.

“Hold up, mate. I could personally die for a piece of portokalopita right now,” he said, and Aylwin was just about ready to be swallowed by a hole in the ground. Dale, on the other hand, was absolutely delighted.

“A man of taste, I see.” He took a knife from his pocket and maneuvered the basket so that he could cut into the sweet. “Five shrivnels, please.”

Silas made a bit of a show out of trying to reach into his coat pocket while being restrained so thoroughly by Aylwin. Finally, he sighed, and gave Aylwin a look that a parent might give their child that has latched onto their leg.

“Fletcher, bud, you’re going to have to let go.”

Aylwin glared at him pointedly. “Mister Dale, he is not my friend. This man is an escaped criminal that I’m returning to the watch.”

“Oh?” Dale looked between the two, puzzled. “Is that so?”

There was a mixture of nodding and shaking heads from Aylwin and Silas respectively. Dale grew even more confused, so Silas shrugged, and began to laugh. He laughed so hard that he doubled over and brought Aylwin down with him.

“He’s the one that almost got away with stealing Lady Moira’s earrings a month back,” Aylwin told him. He hefted Silas, still grinning to himself, up.

“Ah. Well, I’ll have to let your father know you’ve taken a sudden interest in law enforcement, eh? I was under the impression you told Cadby you didn’t want to join the watch.”

A strange new panic surged up from Aylwin’s gut and into his throat. He started to tell Dale that no, he had no interest in joining the watch, that he was simply being a good citizen, and came to a quick stop. It really was true that Dale was difficult to shake off. Once his mind was set on something, little to nothing could deter him. He would go to Cadby whether Aylwin liked it or not.

What seemed like an eternity of debating passed within a moment of reality. Aylwin relented and let go of Silas, allowing him freedom to reach into his coat pocket.

“I’m sorry for troubling you, Mister Dale,” Silas said, pulling out the shrivnels. It was impossible to tell if he’d taken them from Aylwin’s home or some unsuspecting stranger. “Aylwin here is such a joker. ‘Taking him to the watch’ – heh, comedic genius.”

“Err, right,” Dale muttered as he handed him the piece of portokalopita, obviously still in a state of confusion. Aylwin was watching Silas like a hawk. “Enjoy the festival, boys!”

The baker finally moved away, but a group of dancers cut a path between Aylwin and Silas before he could grab a hold of him again. He cursed, tried to get across, and failed. Silas took a deep bite of his orange cake as if to taunt him. Then he saluted to Aylwin, and disappeared into the crowd.

Aylwin made his attempts to recapture the thief, searching the route he thought he took and then searching each sector. Nothing. By the time the sun was going down, Aylwin found himself sitting just on the outskirts of town, staring out to the forest where he was sure Silas had fled.

I was considering putting this one into two parts due to not being sure whether it was too lengthy, but I’ve opted not to. It would have technically been the same length either way, right? Plus some extra bits of my own commentary in the second part.

Here you can more clearly see what I was talking about in the character dynamics post, where I discussed the type of conflict I usually like to write between my characters. Aylwin and Silas have a bit of tension going on between them which makes the relationship more interesting.

The desserts that Dale so insistingly wants Aylwin to buy all look very delicious, if that’s something you would like to check out. And as for why Silas thought it was a good idea to insert himself in a bar fight after only just escaping jail: Aylwin is right in that he doesn’t possess the best sense of self preservation.

Time to Judge a Book by its Cover

The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” can be an important one when it comes to humans, and the same when it literally comes to books, but this is a bit difficult. The cover of a book is probably going to give you a vibe of some sort of what the story is going to be like – and then again those impressions can turn out to be completely wrong. I’ve seen a novel and thought of an entirely different premise from what it is truly about, and then had the description surprise me. Judging a book by its cover is certainly something I do, even if it’s just for the first second or two, and I doubt I’m the only one.

It’s the illustrators job to create art that they think fits the story. Oftentimes this can turn out as gorgeous work, and other times there are things included that don’t necessarily add up to the content of the book (in that case it is even more likely that one’s initial impression might be different from the story itself, but that’s not my main point). Either way, a cover is designed to give you an idea of what the book is about. However, just as everyone has a different picture in their head when they read a story itself, everyone is likely going to get a slightly different “vibe” from a book cover.

Take The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands as an example. It’s a good book, historical fiction, and follows the apprentice of an apothecary after said apothecary is found dead. Here is the original cover that I saw:

The floating runes, the glowing door, Eoin Colfer mentioning the magic of the story, it all led me to be convinced that this was a fantasy novel. Even the summary on the back didn’t completely reveal to me what it was actually about. It took me a while to purchase the novel, so I had a lot of time to picture in my head what the story was for myself. I don’t quite remember what I thought it would be like, and I know I wasn’t disappointed when I ended up reading it, but it was interesting that I still made up what I assumed the story would be.

That’s what brains appear to do when it comes to books. A few pieces of writing advice mention that it isn’t necessary to have huge descriptions unless it is important to the plot or if it is something the reader would definitely be unfamiliar with. Which isn’t to say that you can’t write long descriptions; I’ve heard J.R.R. Tolkien was notorious for this. However, the point is that the reader will fill in the blanks themselves. The imagination can be quite powerful when it comes to writing. Why shouldn’t it be the same when it comes to pictures, or art?

Colours, art style, the font of the title, an expansive background or a minimalist take, and every little detail that goes into these illustrations, does cause quite a bit of assumptions about the novel itself. Even the expressions of a certain character will give a reader hints of what their personality will be. That’s simply what people’s minds seem to do instinctively.

Of course, reading the description is important in making a final decision, and it is possible you won’t know whether you like the story or not until you actually sit down to read it. I have, several times, picked up a book at first simply because I thought it looked cool, or I liked the sound of the title. The illustrators do have an important job in the publishing process, because it is their art that will first draw the reader in.

It is quite interesting how we interpret things, and what it is that makes different people invested in different books from the get-go. Perhaps judging the book by the cover won’t be the most correct judgment, but it’s the one readers may go off of due to their own minds nonetheless.

It’s a Love-Hate Relationship

They’re the stars of the show. The cogs in the machine. The beloved hero, the hated villain (the hated hero, the beloved villain). Everybody give it up for the many, the several, the protagonists!

A little too over the top? Perfect.

Whether a story is plot driven or character driven, the characters tend to be pretty important. They usually act as the eyes through which the readers see the world, and they continue to push the story forward until the very end. There’s a lot to get into about characters (arcs, personality development, etc.), but for the moment I’m going to be focusing on one thing: character dynamics.

The interaction between characters is actually one of my favourite parts of writing, if I were to try and categorize it into a list like that. Even if it’s a couple of side characters having a discussion off to the side of the chaos, it tends to be quite an interesting part of storytelling. The whole ordeal is a lot like mixing a group of chemicals together to achieve a certain result. Maybe you know what that result will be, and maybe you don’t.

There are a lot of different “archetypes” for character dynamics that can be seen across many forms of media. The hero and the mentor, found family, protagonist and rival, and so on. The whole nothing-is-actually-original definitely applies here as well, and when looking close enough it’s easy to pick up on the patterns. Those patterns might even apply to one author. People are naturally going to have character dynamics they prefer, and ones that they reuse throughout their works – just look at all the character relationship drawings on the Internet.

I’m not criticizing any of this, either. I have my own favourite character dynamics, ones that probably reappear in my writing more than I notice. I like to write and read about characters that clash in some way. This isn’t a rare thing, of course. It creates drama and that draws people in. Conflict, and not necessarily the aggressive kind, is interesting.

I can use an example of my own writing to show the type of character dynamic I enjoy. A few posts back (here if you haven’t seen it), I introduced Aylwin and Silas. Those couple of excerpts offer only a small taste of their relationship, but you probably get the idea. Silas is fairly charming, cheeky, and, of course, a thief. Aylwin, on the other hand, has a solid moral core and doesn’t deal with much nonsense on the surface. Even within that small section they engage in a few arguments, and as the story goes on the bickering doesn’t end, although it does change once their friendship begins to develop. It comes out as a lot of teasing on Silas’ end, a lot of exasperation on Aylwin’s end, and overall a bunch of fun for me.

So, it’s mostly humorous, unlikely friendships, that are a little on the rocky side. Outside examples of this might be Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Eugenides and Costis (or Eugenides and just about anyone, really) from The Queen’s Thief series, a few duos from TV shows and movies I’ve seen over the years, and quite a few more that I can’t put my finger on all at once. It may be reflected in one of my older stories, Thief, as well, but then again I don’t think I ever posted more than one chapter on here.

Beyond that there are of course other dynamics I enjoy, but these types seem to be up there in terms of favourites. The personalities of characters give way to all sorts of outcomes, and sometimes they’re totally unexpected. I can’t say for sure, I suppose, how it works for the professional authors, but I don’t think I’m always a hundred percent sure what the relationship of a group of characters is going to be until I start writing it out.

It’s fun because of the way personalities can bounce off of each other, and navigating how humans form bonds and their complicated relationships with one another. Again, bickering is also great to write. It seems to be a very compelling part of storytelling in that way.

A Bit of Prompting

In Christmas of 2018, I received a book called A Year of Creative Writing Prompts, under the author name of ‘Love in Ink’. There are over 900 prompts in the book, spread out among several genres, and it will give you a prompt a day or let you scour through the lists and choose your own. I believe something along these lines had been a request of mine that year, because I was having difficulty really getting myself to write.

This post will be comprised of a response I have written to one of those prompts, as well as one that I did with a writing group in my town. It’s not some of my best work, since these are things that are written quickly and that I do more just to write, and many of them are left unfinished. Just as a warning for anyone who doesn’t like things to be left so open ended.

(Like my mom. Who goes through that anyway. Heh, sorry.)

I’ll start off with the one from the book. It follows this prompt: A young man is in a minor accident. When he wakes up in the hospital following the incident, he sees a strange being sitting by his bed. Who/what is it? What happened? To be fair, this wasn’t much of a minor accident.

And before you continue reading, think about what that prompt makes you think of. Where would you take a story from that single point? What does the strange being look like in your head, and why are they there? You’ll probably find that your initial impression is quite different from what you’re about to read, or what another person might think of when reading the prompt featured above.

Everything hurt. His chest hurt, his legs hurt, his arms hurt. There was a pounding in his skull that continued with a reliability like clockwork, and his body felt heavy as if it was wrapped in bandages.

It felt like bandages because they were, indeed, bandages. There was pain because he had nearly died.

Stephan groaned, and only just managed to maneuver himself into a seated position. Thoughts were nothing more than a bowl of badly made soup at that point, but he could see that he was in a small white room. It was all white floor, walls , ceiling, and equipment. The bed he was in was probably white, too.

All right, so I must be in a hospital, Stephan’s functioning brain cells determined.

Okay, yes, but why am I in a hospital? asked the rest of the cells.

Because I was knocked over.

Knocked over?

While in the car. Driving down the street. Rammed into, knocked over, sent flipping, and then – black.

Again, Stephan groaned. He looked to his left, where a strange man was staring at him intently. He looked to his right, where a door was situated and a curtain hung near the side of his bed. There was a pause before Stephan whipped his head back to the man.

“I’m glad to see you awake,” he offered. “You’ve been out for two weeks. Took quite a lot of damage there.”

“I’m sorry, but do I know you?” Stephan asked. He was feeling confused, and that didn’t couple with a headache well.

“My name is Titus.” And that was all the information Stephan got.”

Titus stood from his seat, and began to wander about Stephan’s room. He opened cupboards and inspected their contents, looking mystified. At the collection of syringes, he chuckled.

He turned back to Stephan, a couple of minutes later. Titus didn’t look particularly old, yet he was well above Stephan’s age. Stephan wracked his brain. He thought back to parties, old teachers, and those awkward moments when meeting friends of his parents, but he couldn’t place the mystery man.

Then Titus leaned over the foot of his bed and Stephan’s brain kick started enough to recognize that this might have been a stalker. He curled his legs to his chest the best he could, and shrank under Titus’ gaze.

“All right, look,” said Stephan, keeping his voice as calm and steady as possible. “Tell me what you’re doing here right now, or else I’ll scream at the top of my lungs. Someone’s bound to come running.”

Titus smiled. “I’ve evaded being spot by your doctors and nurses thus far. It will make no difference.”

“What do you mean? What-how long have you been here?”

“The same as you. Roughly fourteen days.”

A chill ran down Stephan’s spine just as a doctor walked through the door. She looked surprised. Stephan was thinking that that was rightly so when she beamed at him.

“Mister Lake! You’re conscious, excellent.” She set down a tablet and went to fiddle with the machinery beside him. “I’m Doctor Fern. How are you feeling?”

“Groggy. Sore,” Stephan said. His eyes darted between Doctor Fern and Titus, who hadn’t moved an inch since the newcomer entered the room. Fern went on to say that his reactions were understandable and they would make sure his injuries got better soon, which Stephan interrupted with, “Don’t you see him?”

The doctor straightened. She looked at him with a frown. “Who?”

“Him.” Stephan waved at Titus for emphasis. Fern searched the room, but her eyes seemed to completely overlook the man.

“Stephan,” she said slowly. “Do you think you’re…experiencing any hallucinations?”

Was he? Stephan had no way of telling. Titus looked real, however, Fern couldn’t see him. Stephan thought long and hard, then bit his lip.

“Maybe. I don’t know. Maybe.”

“Well, we’ll definitely have to check on that.”

Stephan stared at Titus. Titus returned the stare serenely. Fern left the machinery, walked around to where Titus stood, and-

And walked right through him.

Nothing changed about Titus. He didn’t flicker like a hologram. He stood there looking as solid as ever, but Fern still passed through him like he was air. Stephan continued to stare, and Titus smiled.

“You really need some sunlight,” Fern told him as she opened the window blinds. She turned around and paused. “Are you all right? You look like you saw a ghost.”

Stephan swallowed. “Yeah, I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. Absolutely.”

To her credit, Fern did not look like she believed him. Even so, she said nothing more on the subject. She filled him a cup of water from the tap to put on the table near where Titus had sat.

“Try and get some rest, okay? I’ll be back in with a group to check on you soon,” Fern said. Stephan nodded once, and then she was gone.

He should have been alone. He should have been able to sleep with the knowledge that no one was in there watching him. Instead, he scrambled further away from Titus and tried to find some sort of weapon. His efforts nearly led him to falling out of bed, but Titus was by his side in a second and pushing him back by the shoulders. Stephan slapped his hands away.

“What the heck are you? What do you want?” he shrieked.

“I would suggest you lower your voice.”

“Lower my voice? Lower my voice! Oh sure, I’ll lower my-!”

“If the others hear you,” Titus said, the poster child for patience. “They will, as you said, come running. Then you will have to explain why you’re yelling at an empty room.”

He was right, of course, the jerk. “The doctor. She couldn’t see you, she walked right through you!” Stephan switched his voice to a whisper. “But I can see you just fine. And you were able to touch me.”

“Yes, that isn’t very complicated,” Titus replied.

“It’s complicated to me!”

“Say, do you know what these things are for? I’ve seen them all over the building, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what they do.” Titus held out a bottle of pills to Stephan. He frowned at it, and shook his head.

“You’re scaring me. Like, really scaring me. Is this some sort of supernatural encounter?”

Titus set the pills back on the table. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to alarm you. I simply wanted to stay with you long enough to make sure you would be all right.” He offered Stephan the glass of water and added, “I’m responsible for your accident in the vehicle. I truly am sorry. You were not the target.”

Great place to end, I know. If I had to stop writing it, then it had to be on a dramatic note. Anyway, this one was pretty fun, especially with Stephan’s mounting confusion throughout the entire thing. I for one wouldn’t want a magical stranger to be at my bedside after a car crash either.

The next prompt was done during the writer’s group. You could write anything you wanted, but it had to include a specific list of words. Sage, match, corner, light, and border. This one is considerably less long.

Sage’s wrists were raw and itchy, preventing her from catching any sleep. Even as she sat tucked in a corner, the lights out and nothing else to do, the rope binding her irritated her to the point of insanity.

There were other reasons she wouldn’t doze, of course. Her wooden chair wasn’t exactly comfortable, and the fear gnawed at her stomach persistently. Sage thought that if she had to be there even five more minutes, she would keel over right then and there and someone would come to collect her body in the morning.

The door creaked open. Sage stiffened and squinted, but couldn’t make out the figure drawing near. Footsteps came closer. Closer. Closer. She pressed against the back of the chair, holding her breath.

A single match was struck, and suddenly Sage was peering at a face. He smiled at her. It wasn’t unkind.

“Hello,” he said. Sage didn’t respond. “My name is Michael. You’re Sage, correct? Now, I don’t want to hurt you, I just want to know where your father is.”

Again, Sage didn’t reply, choosing instead to stare at the match. The little flame was crawling down to Michael’s fingertips, but he didn’t seem to care.

“Quiet one, aren’t we?”

“I won’t tell you anything. Leave me alone.” Sage spat in his face, causing him to reel back; at least she got that satisfaction.

“Classy,” Michael muttered, and then he laughed. His fingers were on fire. “All right, child of Callum. Let’s see how you respond to the flames.”

As you can see, I tried to get the required words out of the way as early as possible, although it looks like a missed ‘border’. I’ll be honest when I say that I don’t know what is going on in this scene, and I’m not sure whether I thought on it hard back when I wrote it, so it’s up to the reader’s interpretation. I quite liked the idea of Michael here letting the flame keep going until he caught on fire (you can guess that he’s unlikely human).

Those are just a couple of examples of the writing prompts I’ve used. They can be helpful exercises, and fun to play around with. It’s also interesting to see the variety of things people come up with, so think on what you would have done differently if you were responding to these prompts.

Fiction vs Nonfiction

Very simply put, the difference between fiction and nonfiction is that the former is created through imagination and the latter draws from real-life facts and events. However, it goes deeper than that when it comes to how each of them is written, and how they can sometimes overlap. Although I don’t lean towards nonfiction writing myself (as about five minutes on this blog will inform you), I can give a fairly good overview of my experiences with my own creative writing versus nonfiction assignments, and I’ll discuss some of the common elements found among other authors.

To get personal biases out of the way: I love fiction. Whether reading it or writing it, it is much more interesting for me, and I don’t get the same excitement out of nonfiction writing. Perhaps this is because it has always been with school assignments that I ever do anything remotely nonfiction, and I assume it would be more enjoyable if it were about a subject that I am genuinely invested in. Still, I can’t get away with ridiculous fantasy and sci-fi themes in nonfiction, so I have never really considered writing it.*

On the flip side, nonfiction writing has always been a very academic pursual. History, Geography, French, even Math occasionally; each required you to lay out facts in your writing at some point, and English, while often focused on literary works, asks for formal and impersonal language. This has made it feel like nonfiction comes off as very stiff, and certain textbooks or articles don’t help, but this isn’t necessarily always the case. David Foster Wallace, while an author of literary fiction, was also known for his humorous essays: “Consider the Lobster” and “A Supposedly Funny Thing I’ll Never Do Again” being a couple. Celebrities such as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have written their own books (Bossypants and Yes Please respectively) based on their own life experiences, which are complimented on their comedic value. ‘Stiff’ doesn’t exactly come to mind.

Which brings me to the fact that both fiction and nonfiction actually cast a very wide net. Fiction presents itself in short stories, novels of all genres, poetry, film, and TV. Nonfiction presents itself in articles, essays, biographies and autobiographies, books, and poetry, film, and TV as well. Here there is already a bit of intersection.

Writing nonfiction is more like sculpture, a matter of shaping the research into the finished thing.

Joan Didion

Writing fiction is the act of weaving a series of lies to arrive at a greater truth.

Khaled Hosseini

Basically, it is facts versus made up information. Yet most fiction applies facts from real life, and nonfiction isn’t always as truthful as it seems-particularly among autobiographies where the author twists events to fit their narrative, as seen occasionally by those trying to ensure they are seen a certain way in history. As for writing each type, the above quotations show the idea that nonfiction funnels its research, or experienced facts, into a narrative, and that fiction funnels mainly imagination into a narrative.

The writing process is going to be different depending on the author and the subject, and again, I mostly only have experience with fiction writing. The writing process in fiction usually requires development of plot, setting, characters, and the like. It also tends to be important to craft a likeable and relatable protagonist, although some authors make the choice not to for one reason or another (I’m sure there are protagonists that are unlikeable by accident, though).

Then there is a matter of the outline. It acts as the structure to the story. Admittedly, this is something that is extremely lacking in my own writing process, but it is assumedly just as crucial to the nonfiction process. You can gather all your plot points, or information, and place them in the order you roughly want them to go in. However, there is a good chance the initial outline will change by the finished product in either case.

Fiction tends to be more fantastical, or revolves around events that didn’t happen, and its writing is going to reflect that. Nonfiction revolves around facts, and real world events, and likewise its writing reflects that.

Where there is overlap are in genres like historical fiction (taking real life events put usually making up characters or some other element), reality TV shows (which may add some sort of scripted drama), fictional media that presents situations closer to our own reality and ones that interpret real information (anything plausible in science fiction), and possibly when nonfiction uses any metaphors or stories to explain a concept, although that could easily be argued against. The line between fiction and nonfiction, however clear it may be, begins to blur here.

I don’t know that in either case one can be called superior over the other. Nonfiction has its importance in helping us learn factually and creating historiography, and fiction acts as a part of culture and can be crucial on an individual scale. In the end that preference comes down to you, but this was still an interesting post to write.

*Maybe I should try to write nonfiction some time while I’m making all these blog posts. It could be a good learning experience. Be warned, then, that I might post a mini-essay on the behaviour of owls.

Story Excerpt in These Trying Times

Length is something that can be a little hard to estimate while writing. Something you expected to be short and sweet will come out longer, or something that you had originally thought would be extremely large ends up only taking up a couple of pages. Between my own experience and other writers that I’ve spoken with, short stories or responses to writing prompts are some of the most notorious for this, because if you get too engaged it can become much more than a short story or a response to a writing prompt.

The best example I have for this is the excerpt I will be sharing in this post. Originally it was more of a writing exercise than anything, and my goal was to write a short story based around a song. The specific song that inspired this was Archers by The Ballroom Thieves, and given that it is a little over two minutes and I expected the story to be divided into ten short sections, it was easy to believe this was a project that would be over fairly soon.

I started this in April, and I am still writing for it. That is probably enough incentive for you to know that something went awry during the process.

It turned out that what I had in mind was actually much longer than I had originally thought, and around the point I’m at now, the story is starting to move away from the original path I had set out for it (which also means in later parts it doesn’t fit the song as well). Which is fine, stories are bound to evolve into something different than what you set out to do.

This “short story” is structured a little strangely, since it is divided by song lyrics instead of chapters. I will be including two sections from it, because section two ends on slightly less of a cliff hanger than section one.

As for the story itself: it is about a thief, an exhausted protagonist, traveling through forests and earrings, but I’ll let the writing explain for itself.

The first time Aylwin met Silas was more of a fluke than anything.

Town square was quiet that day, as it had been every day for the past ninety-three years, and as it would be for years to come. A few merchants were still packing up everything that had not been sold. Children chased each other around the execution block, giggling and jumping merrily.

Aylwin bypassed the small crowd to get to the nearest well. He was dying to bathe, even just a little bit. It was common knowledge that if you slipped between the Turner and Baker houses, you would have a shortcut to the west well that suited Aylwin more than taking the main route through the sectors.

It was not, apparently, common knowledge that running full speed through the shortcut while another person was going the opposite way would get you both knocked over.

The stranger and Aylwin went tumbling along the path, and ended up sprawled in a tangle no where near the well. Aylwin scowled and reached for his pail while the other man struggled to push himself upright.

“What were you thinking, blazing along like that?” he demanded. The man focused wild eyes on Aylwin, and he paused. “Hey, are … are you okay?”

The man blinked. It seemed to take him a moment to register what had happened and what Aylwin was asking. When he did, he relaxed his expression into a grin. “Oh yeah, I’m fine, mate.”

“Really?” Aylwin took in the messy hair, ragged clothes, and dirty skin. “You look like you recently rolled out of a pig pen.”

“A pig pen would be an improvement to my current situation.” The man threw a glance over his shoulder, stood up, and made to maneuver himself around Aylwin. He didn’t get one step before he let out a hiss and collapsed back to the ground.

Aylwin let the pail dangle from his elbow as he slipped the opposite arm around the man. He protested at first, but eventually allowed Aylwin to lead him to a bench in the square. The straggling merchants eyed them curiously.

“I truly am fine,” he said impatiently.

“And I am truly sure you sprained something,” Aylwin replied. He rolled up the man’s pant leg, pressing his thumb along the skin until he saw him wince. “It’s in the calf, then?”

“I’m fine.”

Aylwin rolled his eyes and pulled the pant leg down again. “Well, take it easy for a couple of hours. Seriously, why were you running through Turner-Baker?”

The man didn’t respond. Aylwin looked up and caught his gaze darting to all the square’s entrances, his muscles tense. Soon enough he noticed Aylwin watching him and shrugged. “I find it’s a faster mode of traveling. You should try it sometime.”

He took that comment as his cue to leave. Aylwin stood and turned to do just that, but something was still nagging at him.

“I’ve never seen you around here before,” he said, to which the man flashed a brilliant smile. It was a smile that shook your hand and said “you can trust me” while stealing all your money and possibly your first born child.

“Of course not. I’m from out of town.”

“Beggar?”

“Ouch. A farmer.”

“Longhill or Stag clan?”

“Neither. I didn’t say I was a well known farmer.”

Aylwin leaned in with narrowed eyes. “What’s your name?”

“James Curlston,” the man said without missing a beat. He leaned in as well, and raised an eyebrow. “Is the interrogation done yet, mister?”

He wanted to say no. Something about “James” was really setting him off. But, in the end, he wasn’t Aylwin’s problem. He told the man to stay off that leg and continued his journey to fetch some water.

Then their simple, quiet town square was filled with yelling. Men dressed in leather armour poured in with weapons raised, causing the children to scream and flee from the area. Aylwin held up his arms and backed away. He spotted James, who’s face was streaked with horror.

“That’s him, there’s the man!” shouted a woman’s voice.

James struggled to get away with his hindering calf. All at once, the men came upon him and dragged him to the center of the square. He was pushed down to his knees.

From above, the shadow of the execution block loomed over him.

Lady Moira swept across the cobblestones that weren’t fit for feet as fine as hers. The watch parted for her all except for the two men holding James down and the captain. He knelt beside James and cupped his jaw, then jerked it up so Lady Moira could inspect him.

“There’s no mistaking it,” she said, confirming her previous statement. “It’s him. I caught him climbing out the window.”

The captain let go and moved back with a nod. The two guards began to pat James down, to his apparent outrage. “Where’s your proof, huh? Do you have any other eye witnesses? You can’t just arrest me like this!”

“My proof is somewhere on your person. A pair of diamond earrings,” Lady Moira replied. She watched him with a look of disgust.

“What’s your name?” the captain asked, and when James didn’t respond, “What’s your name!”

“I am James Curlston from the southern district,” James snarled. “I’m a man of Agreisha. And unlike this accuser, who has never gotten her hands dirty in her life, I’m a farmer that always makes honest work and I-!”

He was cut off short as one of the guards pulled something from his inner coat pocket. Lady Moira’s earrings gleamed in his palm. Aylwin stared from his spot at the edge of the square, everything finally beginning to click into place.

“Well,” the man who was probably not named James Curlston said, and slumped from his position of righteous indignation. “You can’t blame a guy for trying.”

“Real name,” the captain demanded.

Not-James jutted out his chin. “Silas Bowman.”

“You admit that you broke into Lady Moira’s home, stole some of her most prized jewelry, and ran from the law?”

“Get your men to back off, and I’ll think about it.”

The captain struck Silas across the face. He turned to Lady Moira and asked what punishment she saw as acceptable for the criminal. Then Silas began to laugh; slow and throaty at first, until it grew high and loud and grated on everyone’s nerves. The captain went to slap him again, but Silas held up a hand.

“No, no, ignore me.” He snickered. “I simply can’t get over the fact that the local watch takes orders from a man who can’t even tie his belt right.”

Silas continued to laugh. The captain, on the other hand, looked down and went bright red. The other guards pretended not to notice while he drew his pants up and tugged his belt tight. Aylwin was sure he heard a merchant near him snort.

“It wasn’t like that before,” said the captain. He pointed at his men. “You all saw me! It wasn’t like that before.” Finally, he let his finger fall in Silas’ direction. “How did you manage it, you bugger?”

Silas smiled. “I didn’t. There’s no possible way I could, with all these people watching.”

“That was a low blow.”

“Quite literally, I might add.”

This time it was Aylwin who snorted, against his better judgment. Silas heard it and cast his smile to him momentarily.

“He shall hang,” Lady Moira said, her voice as cool as ice. “Tomorrow at noon, if you will allow it, Captain.”

“Oh, I’ll allow it, all right,” the captain muttered. Silas’ cheery mood dropped and he thrashed against the guards that held him, but there was nothing he could do. Nowhere he could run.

Aylwin fought vigorously against the sympathy that tried to develop at the sight. Silas was a liar and a petty thief, and by all means didn’t deserve his pity. Aylwin was going on his way to the well when the merchant from earlier stepped forward and cleared his throat.

“Sir? Madam? If I may weigh in a tad,” he said, and Aylwin found himself stopping in his tracks.

The captain frowned at him. “Whatever makes you think that-?”

“Now, now, Captain, I see no harm in it. Go ahead,” Lady Moira told the merchant, giving him a nod.

“I don’t think that one theft deserves a death penalty, madam.”

“No? That’s what most are treated to. It’s the way things are.”

“It is cruel and unjust.” The merchant crossed his arms. His determination was like a tidal wave. But Lady Moira, Aylwin thought, was like sheer rock. “Mister Bowman could be a poor street urchin simply trying to survive. What are a couple of diamond earrings lost to your abundant riches, my lady?”

Lady Moira pressed her lips into a thin line.

“Not one of our street urchins. Have any of you seen this man before?” The captain addressed his question to the square at large, and the watch and other merchants shook their heads. The one who seemed to have taken a liking to Silas searched them until he spotted Aylwin, who he wasted no time in pointing out.

“He knows him. I saw the two come out of Turner-Baker, speaking with one another. He was aiding him in walking.”

Within seconds, another pair of guards had grabbed Aylwin and pulled him to the group. He, too, was thrown to his knees. If only he’d left to fetch pails of water sooner. If only Silas had run through another route. He glared at the man beside him, but all of Silas’ attention was on Lady Moira, the captain, and the merchant.

“Name?”

“Aylwin Fletcher, sir.”

“And how long have you known Mister Bowman?”

He tried to sit up to look the captain in the eyes, and was rewarded a push by one of the guards. So Aylwin stared at the ground instead, his sense of honour compromised and his body really needing that bath he’d planned to take.

“Perhaps ten minutes or so, sir,” Aylwin said through gritted teeth. “He ran into me when I was on my way to collect water from the west well. He sprained a muscle and I helped him sit down.”

“It’s true, much to my annoyance. I may have gotten away if it weren’t for good old Aylwin here,” Silas added.

Aylwin bumped his shoulder against Silas’ and hissed, “You shut up.”

Silas retaliated. “I’m helping you!”

This led to Aylwin ranting on how he supposedly should be so gracious that Silas was trying to help him out of what he got him into. Silas snarked that, hey, Aylwin had been so insistent on checking Silas’ injury and he hadn’t been the one to draw attention to him. The captain massaged his temples, looking as if to be under great strain, and silenced them both with a yell.

“I haven’t done anything, sir, I swear. I didn’t help him steal the earrings,” Aylwin pressed. He hadn’t known the earrings themselves necessarily existed before that day.

“But do you believe this man deserves to die for them?” the merchant asked. All eyes focused on him completely. Aylwin glanced from the captain to Silas then back, and swallowed.

Should he help or condemn him?

Should he affiliate himself further with the criminal, or have a guilty conscience?

Yes or no. Yes or no. Yes or-

“No,” Aylwin said, lowering his head. “I don’t think so.”

He was aware, then, of Silas observing him with his head tilted. He simply refused to acknowledge him. The captain muttered something about everyone going soft these days as the merchant debated with him further, and finally he relented to making Silas serve time in jail instead. Lady Moira wasn’t happy, but she covered it up with a blank face and stalked away from the scene.

Silas was taken to the prison. The captain declared Aylwin innocent, mostly because he had better things to do than interrogate him further. The watch dispersed, and the merchants packed up, and everyone left so that Aylwin crouched in the dirt all alone.

Maybe he was going soft, he thought to himself while he tread back to the shortcut. After all, thieves never won sympathy from most in that town.

It has occurred to me that, perhaps, this is a bit too long of an excerpt, but it is going to stay like that. I spent too much time copying and pasting each individual paragraph from my Word document so that it didn’t break the format that it doesn’t matter.

“Archers”, as I’ve been calling it, is a piece I’ve enjoyed writing very much. Aylwin and Silas’ characters, along with their dynamic and how it develops over the course of the story, have been really fun to play around with. As I said before, at this point it has moved past the original plan, but it seems to be worth it.

As for whether it will be wrapped up by the time a year has passed? Only time will tell.