Posted by : Wendy B Sunday, 4 October 2015
The first official assignment for the writing course is on character. The most difficult part of the process thus far has been the 15 required discussion comments. That's a lot, especially when the Moderators haven't actually provided 15 topics of discussion. Contributing meaningfully to the discussion quickly becomes dithering just to get the comment count up. Bullshit powers ACTIVATE! Just kidding. Sort of. I managed to say something meaningful in response to the original topics or to comments within the discussions, but it did take up a lot of time and mental power. The evaluation process did likewise, but was less stressful. In fact, it was surprisingly enjoyable. It's even harder to provide good feedback than to provide a few bits of discussion commentary, but the feedback process has been streamlined to provide you, the evaluator, with five or six questions to work with. I have to review five submissions, and in turn am reviewed on my work.
This is an excerpt from a piece I had already written, but I've changed the perspective to that of the princess whom readers would not have realized was in the room until the next chapter when she reveals herself with the final line presented here. The assignment asked that we drop the reader into the middle of the scene and then asked the evaluators to determine who this character is and how that is defined, based on what the writer presents.
Shoulders back, head held high. He was every bit the king Alisanna had expected him to be. And now he was dead. Still, his back was stiff and straight. There was nothing he could do about the arm that hung uselessly at his side, but only a keen observer would catch the way his right leg dragged just a bit. They'd most likely be distracted by whatever wounds covered his chest. Alisanna could only see the splatters of blood on the back of his shirt as he marched toward the door, but she'd seen the way his companions reacted when they'd removed his breastplate. He was going out to meet his death, and remind his people for the last time what it meant to be their king. That's something her grandfather would have done in her own kingdom. Something he probably wished he could have done instead of withering away in his bed, listening to his grandchildren squabble over the throne of Harian. What was the point? Kings. Queens. Emperors. They all die. For what? Fools. All of them.
The heavy wooden door slammed shut behind the king, marking his passing with a hollow echo. Alisanna was alone now with the two people who had loved him most dearly. The woman was unconscious in the arms of the man in the dark armour. She'd have followed the king to her own death had he not stopped her. The man, he...
Alisanna's throat was tight again. None of these people meant anything. The screams that echoed beyond the hallway mattered nothing to her. The kingdom of Emberden was lost and she would die with it if she didn't escape now with the trinkets she'd liberated from the king's treasury. A game. That's all this was. The man and the woman would figure it out. They'd pull themselves together and obey the king's final command. She didn't need them, and they certainly didn't need her.
The sharp edges of the stone thrones bit into her palms. She pulled her hands away and stared at the blood that began to pool. This was not her fight. She needed only turn around and unlock the hidden passage behind the thrones and make her escape. The man would hear and likely follow, but she'd be long gone before he could catch up to her, especially since he was burdened by the unconscious woman. He would never even see her face.
But he wasn't moving. He stood, staring after his lost king. Holding in his arms the would-be queen that he was ordered to protect.
I should go, Alisanna told herself.
Instead, she sucked in a breath and pushed herself away from the paired thrones of Emberden. She stepped down off of the dais and let her mask fall into place.
"Well,” she began in her melodious voice, “that was all terribly dramatic! But you should probably get on with your escape now. It's a mess out there."