Saturday, September 3, 2011


Okay, first of all, I'm very sorry I have not written for this blog in a long time. I've been doing far too many other things. But, for one, I am truthfully not sure weather I am going to continue this blog or not.

Before you get angry, let me explain:

I have just published my first book, so I have created an author's blog that you can find at  And if I do stop writing for this blog all together (which is what it looks like right now) I am planning to put everything I did write on this blog on my other one, so you won't loose any of it, it you'll just have to decide to follow my other blog instead. Go take a look at it. It's a whole lot of fun!

So, aye, that's all I really have to say. I'm still thinking about it.

Cheers, Hazel

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Fourth of July story

Hello everyone, and happy Fourth of July! I'm posting a short story I wrote for a contest a long time ago about a character of mine during the Seven Years War. Hope you like it!

The night was cold. Mist hung around the ground making ghostly wisps in the pale moonlight shining through the trees. Dirk Hawthorne lay on the side of the rode concealed in the undergrowth. His musket was cocked and ready, clasped in his cold hands and pressed to his shoulder. He barely dared to breathe as he listened to the eerie sounds of the forest in the middle of the night. Dew gathered on his buckskin tunic and he was uncomfortably cold but he still didn’t move.

He didn’t know why he was doing this, perhaps because he wanted to end the war. He fingered the trigger restlessly, the only part of him that moved, and blinked through the mist.

He had been waiting for almost two hours now and there had been no signs of life in the forest. He sighed inwardly. It wasn't too late to walk away.

But then he thought of the possibilities if he accomplished the job. Not only would it aide in the ending of the war, but it would also be money in his pocket for his family in these hard times. He closed his eyes and thought of his son growing up in poverty in a war-ridden country and grasped the musket tighter.

Then a crack of a branch further along the path brought Dirk back to reality. He jerked back into a tense position and turned his head slightly to see what was coming.

A small troop of men were coming down the path, most of the company on foot but the leading men on horses. They were only about a hundred yards away. Dirk looked closer and saw the man he was looking for.

Lieutenant Colonel George Washington.

This was the man he would be paid to shoot, the one who was commanding the Virginia militia. Dirk hardly dared to breathe as he came closer, slowly, his horse only at a walk. Sweat beaded on his brow despite the cold night and Dirk wanted to reach up and wipe it away but didn’t dare. He clenched his jaw and closed one eye to sight down the barrel of the gun, moving ever so slightly to aim at his target. He saw Washington’s face clearly in the pale moonlight. When he was sure his sights were true, he moved his finger to press the trigger.

But he didn’t.

Something in his mind stopped him from shooting. He didn’t know what it was but something would not let his finger pull the trigger and shoot the approaching man.

Come on, Dirk, he said to himself. You’ve killed men before. Shoot!

But he didn’t listen to himself. Lieutenant Colonel Washington was just passing him on the road now, only a few feet away. Soon it would be too late. But he still didn’t shoot.

Why? he wondered to himself as the rest of the men passed and he watched Washington march away, unaware of the danger he had been in just a few minutes before. Why couldn’t I do it?

But he didn’t have the answer. He only knew that when he had seen the man’s face in the moonlight that he had been unable to think of killing him. Why? He didn’t know. Perhaps it was the look of honesty that showed in his young eyes, or the air of command he held from the back of his horse. Dirk had heard stories about him. Everyone though he was invincible for he was never touched by bullets on the battlefield. Dirk looked down the barrel and a small smile formed on his lips.

The last of the men were passing his hiding place and he watched their backs as they marched on down the path into the night, following their brave leader. It was only when they were well out of sight that Dirk stirred from his cramped position and rose to his knees. He stood up slowly and turned in the direction of the long retreated men and raised his musket to his shoulder and fired it ceremoniously into the air. He touched a hand to his forehead in salute then turned and slipped back off through the woods.

Tell me what you thought!

Slainte, Hazel

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Excerpt 3

This is the third and final part of my excerpt. Please comment! :-)

Chapter Three
When Fate Calls

William opened the door to his uncle’s house cautiously and slipped inside. He looked around to see if anyone was there and gave a sigh of relief. Maybe they weren’t worried about him after all. He went into the kitchen and almost cried out in surprise as his mother materialized out of the darkness.

“Oh, William, I was so worried something had happened to you!” she cried, grabbing him up in her arms and looking him over to make sure he was all there. “Where have ye been?”
“Mother, I’m all right,” William assured her and gently took her arms from around him. “I have to talk to you though, where’s uncle?”
“I’m right here,” said his uncle, coming into the kitchen as well with a candle to light the room a bit. “William you have a lot of explaining to do. We were worried sick about you.”
“I can take care of myself,” William muttered as he sat down at the table to his mother’s insisting.

“Would ye like something to eat, Will? You must be starving,” she said.

“I already ate, thank ye,” William told her and she sat down next to him.

“All right, William, tell us what happened,” his uncle said with a stern look.

William took a deep sigh and started his story. “Well, after school, I went to walk around the town a little bit and I met up with young Selby. He was mistreating a young lad and then he came up to me and insulted me on my finery and tried to take my dagger. I told him he couldn’t have it and he drew his sword. I was forced to fight him or die, so I drew my dagger and we dueled.” His mother gasped at this and grabbed his hand.

“William, did he hurt ye?” she asked.

“No, mother,” he said. “I...I won, I’m afraid. Ye see, he thrust a blow at me and when I went to parry it, my dagger glanced off his blade and I stabbed him.”
William’s uncle turned his eyes skyward and he sighed deeply. William’s mother looked at him in shock.

“You killed him?” she asked in disbelief.

“I never meant to,” William told her firmly. “It just happened.”
“You can’t stay here anymore,” his uncle said, standing immediately. “You must leave this instant. The English will be here first thing in the morning looking for you. You and your mother must leave.”
“What about ye?” William asked. “They willna spare ye!”

“I have friends in high places,” his uncle told him insistently. “But you, dear lad, would be hung without question.”
“Where will we go?” William asked.

“We’ll go to my brother Richard’s house in Dunipace,” William’s mother told him. He could tell her face was pale even in the candle light. “Oh, William, I wish yer father was here.”
“Even he couldn’t do anything, Margaret,” William’s uncle said sadly. “But you must leave now. I will try to send your things on later. Dress as pilgrims, no one will notice you then.”
“Come, William,” his mother urged and they went to pack some clothes and things they would need on the journey.

William rolled all the things he would need in his plaid and tied it with two cords so he could carry it over his shoulder. Then he dressed in the drab robes his uncle had given him to wear. He took up his old dirk that his father had given him before he left and hid it under his robes in case they ran into trouble. He sighed as he took up his pack. He hated the idea of fleeing like a criminal but he also knew that it would be folly to stay and fight. He was only one, and though there might be some in Dundee who would fight with him, they would still not have a chance against the English forces, being untrained and undisciplined.

He went out of his room and found his mother and uncle waiting for him. His uncle took his hand and clasped it.

“Be safe, William. I hope to see ye again some day,” he said.

“Good bye, Uncle,” William said and embraced him warmly. “I hope to see ye again too.”

“William!” John shouted as he ran out of his room and threw his arms around his older brother.

“Be good, Johnny,” William said, hugging him tightly back.
“Come, Will,” his mother said. “We need to be gone. There’s only a few hours more before sunrise.”

“I want to come too!” John cried, clutching his mother’s hand.

“No, John. I’ll be back before long. You must be good,” his mother told him, and kissed him on the head. “Now we must go.”

So they set off in the dark night, the moon not even making any light for their escape. William couldn’t help the excitement rushing through him. It was not that he was glad to be fleeing for his life, but he had to admit that he had never done anything this exciting before.

They came to a river and they drank their fill and filled their canteens to the brim. It was only a couple more hours until dawn now and they were now a good few miles from Dundee. When the sun finally came up, they laid down among some bushes and took a bit of rest. They were soon off again within a couple hours, eating a hurried breakfast as they went.

Later that day, they took a ferry over the Tay and made their way to Dunfermline Abbey. They spent the night there then the next morning, they continued on their way to Dunipace.

So that's that! I am entering the contest this coming Monday so I am going to be really busy these next few days getting things ready.

Cheer, Hazel

Friday, January 14, 2011

Excerpt 2

This is the second part of my excerpt, if you didn't read the first one, go back and read it before you read this one! ;-) I'll post the last one in the next few days. Enjoy!

Chapter Two
An Unfortunate Incident

William gave a sigh of relief as he shoved out of the school with his classmates and headed out to walk in the town a bit before he started for home. He smelled someone selling meat pies and his stomach growled so he bought one from the vendor. It was piping hot and tasted wonderful. William sat on the corner of the street to eat it as he watched the people walk through the town. There were the gentry of Dundee and the sea folk who came into the port with things to sell and trade, or to stay in the inns and get the latest news from the taverns. William himself often visited the taverns to listen to the talk going around. See if he could hear anything about his father. He was considering doing that very thing that afternoon, when he happened to see a group of lads about his age coming down the street a little farther away but heading in his direction. He knew who the leader of the group was immediately, for he had seen him many times before. It was young Selby, son of the man Selby who was the English governor of Dundee.

“What’s he doing out today?” William wondered out loud to himself watching him with narrowed eyes.

Selby was walking up to a young lad who looked to be about twelve years old and shoved him slightly in the arm. He said something to him that William couldn’t hear and then he and his fellows laughed raucously as the young lad tried to walk away from them. Selby grabbed his arm and shook him hard until the lad lost his footing and sat down hard on the cobbled street. William’s blood began to boil as he witnessed the treatment of the poor young lad. Once Selby had tired of bothering the lad, he moved on down the street with his cronies. As the group passed William, Selby caused himself to brush against the young Scotsman with his shoulder. He walked a few paces then turned back and raised his nose at him.

“Oh, forgive me, did I run into you?” he asked disdainfully. “I’m surprised I didn’t see you. In that fine green outfit of yours.” He sneered at William and his friends sniggered.

William looked him in the eyes. “It’s nothing to me. People run into others all the time in the market. I saw ye mistreating that lad over there just now. Why do ye feel ye need to exercise rudeness? Is it just because ye’re really a coward and afraid to fight real battles?”
Young Selby twisted his lip disdainfully at William and crossed his arms in front of him. “So you’re a bold one, are you?” He looked William over and spotted the dagger at his belt. “That’s a fine dagger you carry. It’s far too fine, like that tunic. Yes, far too fine for a lowly Scot like you. It would look better in my belt.” He reached out for it, but William took a step back.

“I willna let ye have it,” William said. “It is my best one. I use it for my work and to cut my meat at supper.”
“How quaint,” Selby said with a sneer. “But I will teach you to deny me something that I ask for.” He drew his sword from his belt. “How about you fight me and we’ll see who wins?”

“Fair enough,” William said and drew his long dagger, falling into a crouch.

Selby’s friends laughed, thinking that their companion would soon have the Scotsman begging for mercy. But they hadn’t yet met with William Wallace.

As soon as Selby struck out with his sword, William leapt to the side and caught the blade on his far shorter dagger. Selby struck out at him again and had the same effect. He started to get angry then and swung around harder at the Scotsman. William blocked and dodged expertly, not letting Selby’s sword touch him.

“You are far better then I thought,” Selby growled as he tried to get past William’s defenses. “But no Scot can win against an Englishman. I’ll have you soon enough and then I’ll take you to my father and he’ll decide what to do with you.”
“I’d love to see you try,” William told him with a careless laugh and struck out, cutting Selby across the arm. The young Englishman gasped in annoyance and turned his flashing eyes to William.

“Why, you little...!” he said dangerously and drove his sword at William in hopes of stabbing him through the middle.

William leapt to one side and blocked the blow with his dagger. Because of the smaller size of his blade, though, it glanced off with the force of Selby’s blow and William’s dagger plunged into Selby’s chest.

The Englishman dropped his sword and staggered to the ground. William just stood there with his mouth hanging open, not believing what he had just done. Selby’s friends looked at him in amazement then one of them finally got his voice back and shouted at the top of his lungs for the English solders who were milling around the street.

Time to go! William shouted to himself and forced his feet to move. He left his dagger sticking into Selby and took to his heels, running off through the town with the shouting Englishmen right on his heels.

William had the advantage of them though, because he knew these streets like the back of his hand and he barreled down an alley to get away from them. He knew his green tunic would attract too much attention out in the open and he wished he had not worn it.

He took another street and raced down the familiar cobbles when he saw a lady sweeping her stoop. She caught site of him and hailed him with her hand.

“Young William! Where are ye off to so fast?”

“I’m in trouble!” he told her breathlessly, looking around for Englishmen.

“Come in, I will hide you,” she told him and grabbed his arm, drawing him inside. “What happened?”

“I got into a fight with young Selby and I fear I killed him,” William said. “It all happened so fast, I didna know what happened.”

“Dinna fret, I will help ye, young William.” The old lady looked around. “I have no where to hide you where they will not find you, but perhaps I can disguise ye so that they will never expect anything.”
“What exactly did ye have in mind?” William asked as she bustled around.

She grabbed several things from a closet and came back over to William. “Get this on,” she told him, shoving a dress over his head.

“Ye’re going to make a lass out of me?” William asked indignantly as she tied a lacy scarf around his neck and clapped a bonnet over his head to conceal his messy mop of hair.

“Yes I am,” the lady told him firmly. “Now sit at the spinning wheel and spin the wool.”
“But I...”

“Sit!” She pushed William over to the spinning wheel and shoved him into the chair. “Do your best.”
As soon as William sat down and took up the wool to spin, there was a knock on the door and it was shoved rudely in as several Englishmen marched into the house. William looked up quickly, then turned back to his spinning.

“What mean ye by bursting in here?” the lady asked indignantly. “What is it ye want?”
“We’re sorry to bother you ma’am,” one of the men said stepping forward. “But we are looking for a young Scotsman. He has killed the governor’s son. Perhaps you have seen him. He was wearing a green jerkin, about sixteen years of age?”
“I have been working around the house all day,” the lady said.

“We have to check your house to make sure you are not hiding him,” said another Englishman.

“Go ahead,” the lady said cooly. “You’ll find no one here but me and the the girl spinning and my kitchen maid.”
“We’ll see about that for ourselves,” said the leader of the group and they went around the house, all the while William sat spinning as well as he could, trying not to attract any attention to himself.

The Englishmen came back before too long and one nodded to the lady. “Sorry for your inconvenience, ma’am. If you see him, please make sure you tell us.”
“I will,” the lady said and closed the door behind them.

When they were sure it was safe, William stood up and took the bonnet off his head and laughed. He couldn’t stop laughing and soon the lady started laughing along with him. William struggled out of the dress and handed the things back to the lady.

“Thank ye Lady Eliza,” he said. “I dinna ken how I can thank ye for this.”
“Dinna think anything of it, William,” she told him. “But I’m going to have to ask you to stay a little bit longer. It’s not going to be safe for you out in the town. There are sadly a few here who would give ye up for a few pieces of gold from Governor Selby. They are not all true like me. Stay until after dark and then you can leave when no one will be able to see you.”
“But my mother and my uncle will be worried,” William said. “I know how to move around town without being seen.”
“I willna allow it,” Lady Eliza said firmly. “Come join me for dinner. You are a young lad who can eat a lot, I trust.”
William had to smile. “All right,” he said, giving in. “I just dinna want to be a burden.”

“Ye’re no’ a burden, Will,” Eliza said and took his arm, drawing him into the kitchen.

They sat down at the table and the maid turned to smile at William.

“How are ye, Will?” she asked. “I havena seen ye for a while.”

“I’m fine, I suppose, except for the fact that I am now a criminal,” he said ruefully.

“I heard ye tell Lady Eliza,” she said. “Be careful, Will. Ye know the English give no quarter to those they are after weather they’re guilty or not.”
“I’ll be fine, Ishbel,” he said. “But I dinna ken what I’ll do now. I canna go back to town if I’m a wanted man.”

“You have family in other places,” Eliza told him softly. “You’ll have no other choice then to leave this part of the country.”
“I suppose ye’re right,” William said, suddenly hit by the enormity of it. “I guess I dinna have any other choice.”
Eliza put her hand on his shoulder and gave him a smile. “Dinna worry, William. You are a strong young lad. And ye’ll take anything they can throw at ye.”
Ishbel set out the food and they fell to. William found that despite his misadventure, he was very hungry and he ate heartily to Lady Eliza’s coaxing.

He stayed late into the night and spent most of his time pacing back and fourth anxiously. Finally, around midnight, Eliza gave in and told him he could probably go.

“Thank ye very much,” William told her, taking her hand in his. “I dinna ken how I can thank ye for all this. If ye hadna helped me, I would have been thrown into the tolbooth or worse.”
“It was nothing, William, as I told ye,” Eliza said and led him to her back door. “Go out this way just to be safe. I hope to see ye again, William, though I dinna think there’s much hope of it.”
William turned to her as she opened the door for him. “One day, ma’am, I will be back and hopefully, I will bring the news that Scotland is free.”
“Ah, freedom,” Eliza said with a sad look in her eyes. “I will be waiting that day right readily, William Wallace,” she told him.

William nodded and slipped out the door into the dark town. He had only been out in Dundee at night a few times on his personal adventures but he knew his way around just as well in the dark as he did in the light. He slipped silently through the deserted streets, hearing the loud talking and singing from the taverns where the sailors were enjoying their nights on shore. He was always on the lookout for English soldiers. He had always been wary of them for they were oppressing his country, but now he was avoiding them for his life. He was really overwhelmed with feelings right now. He had no idea what to think. He had never wanted to cause trouble like that. But now that he had, he began to feel as if he had taken the next step and it almost made him feel like he had accomplished something. He took a deep breath. Since he was already an outlaw, what could it hurt to go the whole way and start a campaign against the English? William smiled with that thought. His misfortune earlier that day might have turned to a bit of an advantage. He was soon out of the town and made his way to his uncle’s house on the Dee river. He stopped and took a deep breath. He was not looking forward to telling his family about what had happened.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I thought you all might like to read the excerpt of my book that I am entering into the ABNA contest. My book is called Freedom Come All Ye and it is about William Wallace as a teenager. It was a really fun book to write because there is really not much known about Wallace's early life and there was a lot of room for speculation. I did not, however, forget historical accuracy all together. I used what I could from history, though most of what was known about Wallace's early life is given to us by Blind Harry in his epic The Wallace. Since Blind Harry, who wrote in the 1400s, is not known for his accuracy, we mainly just guess on what is true and what is not. It makes a good story anyway! My excerpt is the first three chapters, I'll be posting them all within the next few days. This is the first one today. Please tell me what you think! I want some feed back. Also, this is my rough copy since I haven't gone back through to fix it yet. I just read over my hard copy, but I have not fixed it on the computer yet, so please ignore the typos!

Chapter One
There Was a Lad

William rolled over in his sleep and clutched the blankets tighter around his shoulders. He could tell that the fire had burned down because the air was cold, and a chilly draft was seeping under his covers. He was too comfortable to get up and tend to the dying flames though so he just scrunched himself into the blankets more and drifted back off to sleep.

“William, it’s time to get up.”
William opened his eyes a crack to see his mother standing by his bed. “Already?” he mumbled.

“Yes, ye need to be going or you’ll be late for school,” she told him. “Breakfast is ready and hot.”
She left the room and William sighed and rolled out of bed. He went to his dresser and splashed his face from the bowl of water sitting there. Once it settled again, he stared at his reflection in the bowl. Dark brown hair that fell down to his shoulders and was always a bit messy, well shaped face and strong jaw and bright blue eyes. Aye, he had his father’s looks but his mothers eyes.

He quickly dressed in a new green tunic his uncle had bought him and sighed as he pulled on the leggings to go with it. He cast a longing look at his plaid, but knew it was asking for trouble wearing it in the city with the English garrisoning there now. His blood boiled at the very thought that they had come to Scotland thinking they could take it without a fight. But they had. No one had put up a fight. At least not here. He tightened his broad belt and hung his long dagger from it.

William laced on his boots and left his room to go eat breakfast. He found his mother and uncle and younger brother, John, sitting at the table already, with steaming bowls of porridge in front of them. William took his seat and poured milk from a nearby pitcher onto his porridge.

“Good morning, William,” his uncle said to him with a smile. “You look very fine in that new outfit.”
“Thank ye,” William said and shot John a glance which he returned with a giggle. “Good morning to ye too.” He was silent through the rest of breakfast even though his mother and uncle talked between each other and his brother was forming his porridge into two armies. His mind was elsewhere. As soon as he had finished, he stood up to leave.

“I guess I’ll be going now,” he said. “I’ll see ye later.”

“Here’s your lunch, Will,” his mother told him, handing him a package wrapped in a cloth. William took it and put it into his belt pouch. “Be safe.”

“I will, Ma,” he said and left the house.

He had lived with his uncle in Dundee for about six years now. His father, Alan Wallace and older brother, Malcolm, had gone off to fight the English when he was only ten and his mother had taken him to live with her brother in the seaside town. His uncle had insisted he go to school and learn his writing and languages and things. William knew that everyone hoped he would take up the priesthood like most second sons, but he never saw himself as a priest. He wanted to be the one out fighting alongside his father. Alan Wallace had taught his son to love Scotland, and William remembered all the tales his father had told him as he was a bairn sitting on his knee, of the wrongs done to their country by Edward Longshanks, the English king. They had had a king of their own, but he had fallen over a cliff in a storm and had his neck broken. Without an heir to carry his name on, Edward took the opportunity and claimed Scotland for himself. He put a man named John Baliol on the throne, but Baliol soon became tired of being under English rule and laws and defied Longshanks. He paid for it dearly, for Edward stripped him of his kingship and had him shipped to the Tower of London to rot. William clenched his fists with the thought of it. He hoped that some day he would get the chance to fight Longshanks’ army and maybe even meet the Tyrant King who liked to call himself the “Hammer of the Scots”. William snorted. “Hammer of the Scots,” he muttered to himself. “He’ll find we’re an anvil.”

He had gotten to his school then and he stopped outside and sighed. He looked at the other lads walking around and took a step forward, going into the building.

He had never thought he learned much in school. Of course now he could speak Latin and French and write in the languages as well, but his penmanship would never be what the teachers hoped and his Latin grammar left something to be desired. He rested his chin on his fist as he sat at his table and looked up at the bookshelves in the room. He fingered his quill and flicked flakes of dried ink off it by scraping it against the desktop. They were copying passages from a huge Latin tome at the moment, and William looked at it in distaste as he inked his quill and started to copy it on his parchment. He turned to the lad, Thomas, who sat next to him and shared the book.

“This is bloody boing,” he whispered to him.

“Aye,” Thomas replied. His penmanship was far better then William’s but he had the same views as his friend.

“Why not Beowulf?” William wondered as he scraped his quill too hard and left a splotch on the paper he knew his teacher--tormenter, he added silently--would deem unsightly. “It’s far more interesting then this.”

“Aye, but it’s not a Latin tome,” Thomas said.

“Quiet in the back,” the teacher said and looked at the two lads dolefully.

William gave a quiet sigh and rolled his eyes comically at Thomas. “I forgot that you couldn’t talk. Heaven forbid!” Thomas smothered a laugh before the teacher turned his stern eyes on the lads again.

“Master Wallace, come up here,” he said and William stood with a sigh and went up to the table his teacher sat at.

“Aye, sir?” he asked.

“Where were you yesterday, Master Wallace?” the teacher asked.

“Not here,” William said truthfully and several of the students laughed quietly.

“Obviously,” the teacher said, not amused. “Since you were not here, where were you?”

“At the burn.”

“I was fishing.”
“Did your mother and uncle know you were at the burn?” The teacher raised his eyebrow.

“No,” William said defiantly, not feeling the least bit uncomfortable from the questioning. He had been in this position far too many times to care anymore. “But I dinna think they’d really care either.”
“I’ll see about that,” the teacher said and quickly scribbled a letter out on a parchment and folded it up. “Give this to your uncle and make sure it gets to him this time and does not accidentally get into your mother’s washing basket. This is a warning, but I tell you this now. One more absence, Master Wallace, and I won’t ask questions. You will get a beating and I will personally call on your uncle and tell him that you are doing nothing more here then wasting his money, is that understood?”

“Aye, sir,” William told him and snatched the letter from him, marching back to his table with his head held high.

Thomas shook his head at him. “Ye have to stop getting on his bad side, Will. He’s beaten ye before.”
“It didna hurt,” William said indifferently. “If I still lived in Elderslie where I grew up as a bairn, I’d be done with school and would be off fighting with my Da now. I’m done with it here.”
“Dinna do anything daft, Will,” Thomas said, keeping his head bent over his work so that the teacher would not suspect them of anything.

“I willna,” William said, going back to his work. “The last daft thing I did was leave that wee poem on my desk last week for the teacher to find.”
Thomas clapped a hand to his mouth to smother a laugh. “That wasnae daft, I think he deserved it. But he was unco mad at ye to be sure!”
“Aye, he was,” William said and smiled in rememberance at the thought.

Before long, it was thankfully time to break for lunch and William and Thomas went out to sit on the side of the street to eat their food in the light. Two other lads came to join them. One jostled William on the shoulder and grinned at him.

“Ha, Will, that was braw the way ye acted. Always cool in a situation, our Will Wallace is!”

“Oh, I’ve had him after me too many times to bother me any more, Duncan,” William told his friend but couldn’t help a bit of a grin.

“Aye,” said the other lad, Richard. “But if ye keep championing us here, I can only imagine what ye’ll be able to do for the whole of Scotland someday against the English.”
“Aye, he’d make a good champion,” Thomas agreed. “I would follow ye, Will.”
“I’ll be sure to remember yer loyalty when the time comes,” William said half in jest.

Duncan knelt in front of William and bowed his head. “You have my fealty, brave knight,” he said, and William shoved him onto his backside amid their laughter.

“Are ye going to show yer uncle that letter, William?” Richard asked.

William shrugged. “I’ll do my best to loose it like all the others,” he said with a small smile and the other lads grinned.

“Ye do ken that the teacher will find out after a while though Will,” Duncan said. “He always does.”
“I’m no’ afraid of him,” William told them nonchalantly. “What can he really do to me? He willna beat me enough to do any damage and if he decides to kick me out, then that’s no’ to bad is it?”

“I suppose no’,” Thomas said. “But I dinna think ye’re uncle would be very happy.”

William shrugged. “Nae, probably not.”
They finished their lunch and by that time, the teacher had come out to tell them it was time to resume their lessons.

William stood and turned to his friends with a rueful face. “Time to go back to our dungeon.”

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


So, late year, I entered the Breakthrough Novel Award. I didn't win, but it was fun to put my book up anyway. If anyone here has any novels they might like to enter, look at the link above. It's all free as well, there is surprisingly no entry fee. There are two categories, general fiction and young adult fiction. You have to write a pitch to sell your book to the judges and if you get through that step, they will read your first 5,000 words, (ugh, my most un-favorite part! Do you know how hard it is to start a story in 5,000 words?) and then if you get through that section of the contest, they will read your whole novel. After both of those is when they get to send you mean reviews they think are constructive when they just perfectly missed the whole point of your book. But, seriously, it's not that bad and the experience is good, so if anyone is interested, go take a look. And tell me what you decide! I'd like to look for your names if you decide to enter. Once you get to the part of the 5,000 word excerpts, the other writers can read everyone's entries and comment on them. I will tell you one thing, that usually the other writers are a lot nicer in their reviews than the reviewers!

But take a look and I hope to see you there!

Cheers, Hazel

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Third Rule

So here's rule number three for you.

Rule 3: Go in easy!

I find it hard sometimes to leave out information in the beginning of a story. You may wonder why you would want to leave anything out? Well, if you tell too much right off the bat, you are leaving nothing for later. Really good authors will start right into their stories and leave things like introductions for later. Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong with introductions, but they sometimes leave the reader bogged down and not very interested. You need something quick to start them off with, maybe a smart quote or a descriptive seen. Here's some examples:

This is a smart quote one from Louis L'Amour's book Lonely on the Mountain:

"There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning."

That makes you want to read more, find out the reasons behind the quote.

For a descriptive start, I've chosen the first paragraph of Kenneth Oppel's book Airborn:

Sailing toward dawn, and I was perched atop the crow's nest, being the ships eyes. We were two nights out of Sydney, and there'd been no weather to speak of so far. I was keeping watch on a dark stack of nimbus clouds off to the northwest, but we were leaving it far behind, and it looked to be smooth going all the back to Lionsgate City. Like riding a cloud.

This sets the scene nicely, but it does not give too much information off the bat. This is the kind of setting up, I usually like to do. If you don't want to waste time at all, you can always start off right into the action. Here's the beginning of one of my own stories:

I had never used a sword before, but I have many times since. Being the daughter of one of the greatest swordsmen in the Scottish Highlands, it seemed natural enough to me. I quickly glanced over to my companion and saw his raised eye-brow as if to ask, 'should we?'. I winked back at him and then we turned to face the oncoming soldiers, our blades raised in such a way that I hoped they would think twice before meeting us today.

I put a bit of description in, but mainly, I was trying to get the story off to a start a soon as possible. A lot of times, when you start off a book like this, you will have a flash back perhaps as the next chapter to explain the circumstances of the first one. It might be a bit confusing at first, but once the readers realize what it is, they will appreciate it more.

You must realize when you are writing, that you're readers are not stupid. They can pick up on things just as well as you can. Even if you are writing children's books, you do not need to spell everything out for them. Your job is to leave clues that are not so vague you can't follow them, but vague enough so they are not simply screaming out what they are. I personally do not like to read books that state things for me. I think it's annoying. I like to be able to figure things out for myself. This is especially important if you write mysteries. A good mystery will have you guessing to the last page, a bad one, will give you all the answers before it's half done.

So when you start a book, think about what kind of beginning will work well for you. I mostly write action-adventure novels myself, so that is that I have mainly been referring to, but the same goes for all kinds of books, even simple romance stories or just day-to-day life novels. Whatever the conflict is, base your story around it and do not swamp it with unnecessary description.

As an exercise, take one of your most favorite books and read the first few chapters again, seeing how the authors takes you into the story. Write down at least five reasons why you like their writing and try to think how you can incorporate those things into you own writing. Every writer has their own style, but if you have just started, it takes a while to find your own, so until you do, practice fashioning it after one of your favorite authors. Eventually, as you write more and more, you will find that more and more of your style is showing itself in your writing!

If you ever have any questions about more of what I mention in the posts, or something you personally have trouble with, don't be afraid to leave me a comment or drop me an email. I am here to help!

Cheers, Hazel