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Thread: The Fool and His Keeper (The Chonicles or Matt and Morn)[updated: Jan 21]

  1. #1

    Default The Fool and His Keeper (The Chonicles or Matt and Morn)[updated: Jan 21]

    Hi everyone,

    The following thread will be a collection of short stories about the eponymous heroes of our tales, Matt and Morn. The stories are a spin-off of a Tale of the Week that I wrote for TotW 279 - The Magic Sword, in which entrants were asked to write (possibly) humorous spins on various usual clichés of literature. The stories below will largely be stand-alone, comprising individual little ideas, but all will strive for the same general feel and tone, ideally aiming toward a Terry Pratchett-esque form of comedic fantasy. If you're enjoying them, please say so so that I know it's worth continuing, and as always, comments or suggestions along the way are always welcome. The first tale will simply be the TotW 279 submission, slightly more fleshed out (I had to cut a few things so that it would fit within the word-limits), but I will soon enough begin putting up new shorts one at a time.

    UPDATE: I will be beginning a longer tale following Matt and Morn. The standalone Chronicles can be found linked under "The Chronicles" below, and the works pertaining to this longer story will be under "The Fool and His Keeper".

    The Chronicles
    --------------------------------------------------

    And now, our Champions... Matt and Morn!
    A History of Violence
    Revenge is a Dish Best Served Bloody!




    The Fool and His Keeper
    --------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 1: A Cold Wind Blows
    Part I
    Part II
    Part III
    Part IV
    Part V
    Part VI
    Last edited by Kilo11; January 21, 2019 at 02:07 AM.
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  2. #2

    Default TotW 279 - "And now, our Champions... Matt and Morn!"

    And now, our Champions... Matt and Morn!


    --------------------------------------------------



    In the desolate northern reaches of Alath a’Manur there lies a broad plain of gently blowing grasses high above the steppes below. It is said that in the first age of this world a hero had stolen the deities’ most precious gifts, and the power of their rage made them thrust up the land behind him, leaving the earth as we see it now.

    That hero has long since passed, but the high plateaus have found a new champion to call their own: Matt. Not Matthew Iron-Hand or Matthew the Mighty. Not even Matthew at all. Simply Matt.

    He stands among the ever-swinging blades of green, surrounded by a small group of men with foul expressions and even fouler smells, wondering what it is he should be doing. He has been doing this for more than three months now, on wide fields and wind-swept coasts, on walls and rocking ships, he has been standing slightly bemused, a sword in his hand, wondering what it is he should be doing. And every time he stands with that blank half-dumb expression pasted to his brow the bandits or raiders or knights-errant will sooner or later attack, giving the mottled stripe of sky-stone between his fingers an excuse to take the stage.

    The bandit on his left leaps forward, a quick motion Matt could never counter. Clumsily, the blade drags his arm to parry the blow, crowing insults and remonstrances as it does so. Their swords meet with a clash and before he can stop it his own weapon is thrusting forward. It digs into the attacker’s left thigh, by the sound of things chipping the bone along the way.

    “Ach, weel, it looks like yer man will never ‘gain be a dancer.” The sword brightly taunts in brittle tones, its sound not bothering to pass from ears to mind and instead cutting straight into thought.

    Matt snarls a warning to it even as the other men close in. As each moves to strike the dark blade meets them, cutting into legs and toes with an evil grin. The sword long ago lost its desire to kill, but old habits die hard and the taste for blood must be met one way or another. Flashing iron and flushing insults dance over the moor for the space of a few minutes and as suddenly as it began the fray is over.

    This is the point at which another tale might say how eerily silent the high grasses became, how Matt was alone with the wind and the sighing of the grasslands. However, other tales would not include Morn, the Lightbringer’s Sword.

    Morn was forged in the First Days by man, and had by its ragged edge taken armies into the dark. But after an age of killing it had lost its lust for death, and in a search for peace found Matt, a clumsy shepherd boy too good for his own good. They had now fought countless enemies together (together only in the strictest sense of the term, since Matt’s only contribution to their engagements was to hold the sword high while it swung his arm with the certainty of a thousand years’ practice), and each time Morn brutally cut down all who stood against the champion-fool, but never again would that blade swing a death-blow. And so Matt stands amidst a semi-circle of reeking bandits unable to move, screaming in agony, anger, and embarrassment at their defeat.

    With the moaning loud in his ears he steps away from the wounded men and holds Morn at arm’s-length, staring hard at the simple hilt with its odd cross-hatch pattern. “Are you happy?” he asks mercilessly. “That’s one more hidden refuge lost, burned out by fools lured by the tale of a magic sword that grants great powers, and again we’re on the road alone, and you no closer to that warm mantle where I can hang you up for a decent night’s sleep.” Matt continues to stare at Morn until the dark metal begins to ever so weakly shift beneath his gaze, desperately trying to turn its back on him.

    A’m sorry.”

    “I couldn’t hear you there.” Matt says.

    “A’m sorry.” Morn repeats more loudly. “A’ll keep me mouth shut when next we’re riding through wild country.”

    “And?” Matt presses.

    “And a’ll ‘member that it’s you’s who’s goin’ tae be the one tae hang me high over the mantle when all’s said and done.”

    “Right.” Matt concludes, visibly satisfied. Then, as if to ease the burden, he twists his lips into a devilish grin. “It was a bit fun that time though, eh?”

    Morn is silent, but a certain trick of the light suggests that the cold metal is somehow winking in answer.
    Last edited by Kilo11; August 21, 2018 at 03:31 AM.
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  3. #3
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: The Fool and His Keeper (The Chonicles or Matt and Morn)

    I enjoyed this version, just as I enjoyed your Tale of the Week entry. This sounds like a great start for a story, I like the idea of Matt and Morn travelling from place to place, attracting foes and having adventures. While Morn's centuries of experience make the pair seem undefeatable, I noticed the important limitation that Morn won't kill. I imagine, over time, this means that Matt and Morn will keave behind some bad guys who were wounded and who want revenge - I wonder if they ever try to pursue Matt and Morn in the hope of a rematch with a different outcome.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The Fool and His Keeper (The Chonicles or Matt and Morn)

    This entry brought a smile to my face as I read it. Comical in its own right. The fighting was respectably written. I like the levity brought by the sword but having been the weapon of destruction for ages makes me feel odd about the seemingly lighthearted nature of the sword itself. Well done none the less

  5. #5

    Default Re: The Fool and His Keeper (The Chonicles or Matt and Morn)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    I enjoyed this version, just as I enjoyed your Tale of the Week entry. This sounds like a great start for a story, I like the idea of Matt and Morn travelling from place to place, attracting foes and having adventures. While Morn's centuries of experience make the pair seem undefeatable, I noticed the important limitation that Morn won't kill. I imagine, over time, this means that Matt and Morn will keave behind some bad guys who were wounded and who want revenge - I wonder if they ever try to pursue Matt and Morn in the hope of a rematch with a different outcome.
    Glad you think it'll turn into something good! I am hoping to chip away just a bit at a time, and always try to keep it fun. Regarding their chances of "success", you are right that Morn is basically unbeatable, but one thing that might prove tricky later is that he/it is also free and a bit of a punk in some respects, so there might be some friction between the heroes, with Morn sometimes leaving Matt high and dry to fend for himself for petty reasons. We'll have to see about then when we get into more involved adventures though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus Almighty View Post
    This entry brought a smile to my face as I read it. Comical in its own right. The fighting was respectably written. I like the levity brought by the sword but having been the weapon of destruction for ages makes me feel odd about the seemingly lighthearted nature of the sword itself. Well done none the less
    Glad the comedy worked. Comedy writing is a new thing for me, and I am doing my best so far. Regarding the light-heartedness of Morn, part of that is probably just a coping mechanism, given that he has been wielded by the hands of many monstrous or mad people, and made to do terrible things. At some point it's either levity or soul-crushing depression, and he opted for the former. But here's a bit more on Morn's backstory...
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  6. #6

    Default A History of Violence

    A History of Violence


    --------------------------------------------------



    When the warrior priests of Elsin burned Kerash to the ground for its sins against the Lord, I was there. When Gulrun one-hand severed the tentacles of the demon-witch of the southern seas, I was there. When the first Emperor of the Sun ascended to his thrown, I was there, my bloody arm pinning each of his three brothers against the marble pillars of the Endless Palace. I am deathless, and I am death. I am blooded and bloody, with no trace of life’s precious fluid in my form. I am without voice though I sing on fields of battle and in darkened throne rooms. I am Morn, the Lightbringer’s Sword.

    I was created in the First Days by man, before he had fallen to his present heights (or should we rather say ‘lows’). Some may think this unthinkable, a magic sword crafted by men, for such things are surely the dominion of dwarves or elves. It is a pretty tale, to be sure, but it is a lie. In my long career I have met elves and dwarves, and it was never in the power of either race to create great weapons, magical or otherwise. The elves were always too busy about their poetry or slender sailing ships to worry themselves with war, and the dwarves, despite bearing a certain relish for combat and uncomely behavior, could not remain sober long enough to create anything more significant than a puddle of sick and perhaps a heavily fried breakfast prominently featuring meats and potatoes.

    No, mankind has always been the race to create. For you see, men could not endure their short pitiful lives and so they created purpose and meaning, concepts foreign to any other race or creature. With these twin virtues they were then able to motivate themselves to greatness, discovering along their way civilization, art, science, but above all war. Every good that man has ever crafted has been turned to the pursuit of violence and destruction. It is simply their nature. And I, the culmination of a millennium of borrowed knowledge and usurped power, was made to be their final and greatest tribute to that long tradition. I was made to be a destroyer of kingdoms and breaker of crowns, to make my bearer into a God in human raiment. I suppose then that they failed, for I have never before seen a god run through by his own blade while the bloody shaft of sky-stone laughed at his misery.

    I have killed for their sake. No more. I am done with the toils and tribulations of man, of being sought out by champions that I might bring them power and glory. I will find my own champion, one who will obey my will, and I will be put to rest or by my bloody arm slay the fool who seeks to use me for his own ends. I will be at peace.
    Last edited by Kilo11; August 21, 2018 at 03:30 AM. Reason: Added title
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  7. #7

    Default Re: The Fool and His Keeper (The Chonicles or Matt and Morn)[updated: Aug 19]

    Nice. I like the world building for this story - warrior priests of Elsin, demon-witch of the southern seas, first emperor of the sun - it is all intriguing and it gets my imagination wondering about their histories and what happened to them.

    I also like Morn, the sword's character reminds me of a guy I used to work with in a warehouse. He was Scottish and whenever we ran out of room to store a new box correctly he'd just say 'jiggery-pokery' and then stick the box anywhere. That guy was great.

    Keep up the nice work. I will subscribe to this thread so I can follow the adventures of Matt and Morn.

  8. #8

    Default Re: The Fool and His Keeper (The Chonicles or Matt and Morn)[updated: Aug 19]

    Quote Originally Posted by C-Beams View Post
    Nice. I like the world building for this story - warrior priests of Elsin, demon-witch of the southern seas, first emperor of the sun - it is all intriguing and it gets my imagination wondering about their histories and what happened to them.

    I also like Morn, the sword's character reminds me of a guy I used to work with in a warehouse. He was Scottish and whenever we ran out of room to store a new box correctly he'd just say 'jiggery-pokery' and then stick the box anywhere. That guy was great.

    Keep up the nice work. I will subscribe to this thread so I can follow the adventures of Matt and Morn.
    Thanks C-Beams! This set of stories will actually be placed within a world I've been building for a novel for a while now, and I hope to one day flesh out many of these back-stories and histories. There are other short stories that are part of it as well (one of which is posted already, in case you're interested) but few are totally finished, as I've a tendency to start a number of stories at once and then slowly chip away at each one. But rest assured, more will come as the weeks go by.

    In this story Morn will definitely be the more interesting character in most posts, as he has more of a back-story and more that drives him. Also, since the accent I have in mind for Morn is Scottish (tell me if my transcription of Scottish pronunciation is ever off in some way; I'm not an expert) I am most certainly going to use that phrase somewhere! "Jigger-pokery" is an awesome sounding expression that seems to be something that could be used to mean anything. Just brilliant!
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  9. #9

    Default Re: The Fool and His Keeper (The Chonicles or Matt and Morn)[updated: Aug 19]

    Yes, it's a great phrase. I only ever heard the guy in the warehouse say it but he seemed surprised when I asked him what it meant. Perhaps it is a common Scottish phrase? I think your Scottish pronunciation is just fine.

    There is a Scottish comedian that cracks me up, called Limmy. Watching his YouTube videos could be a fun way to get some pronunciation ideas for Morn. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_8Uv-y8Dbc

  10. #10
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: The Fool and His Keeper (The Chonicles or Matt and Morn)[updated: Aug 19]

    Like C-Beams, I enjoyed the world-building, and I like your idea of using Morn's first-person perspective here. The idea of a magic sword which has become weary of being used by champions and which has decided that its future will be different from its past is a compelling one.

  11. #11

    Default Re: The Fool and His Keeper (The Chonicles or Matt and Morn)[updated: Aug 19]

    Quote Originally Posted by C-Beams View Post
    Yes, it's a great phrase. I only ever heard the guy in the warehouse say it but he seemed surprised when I asked him what it meant. Perhaps it is a common Scottish phrase? I think your Scottish pronunciation is just fine.

    There is a Scottish comedian that cracks me up, called Limmy. Watching his YouTube videos could be a fun way to get some pronunciation ideas for Morn. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_8Uv-y8Dbc
    I'm glad the pronunciation seems to be on, and I will definitely watch some of that comedian for inspiration on how to transcribe Scottish accents. Unfortunately, the next update doesn't yet make use of "Jiggery-pokery", but I'll find a place for it soon enough

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    Like C-Beams, I enjoyed the world-building, and I like your idea of using Morn's first-person perspective here. The idea of a magic sword which has become weary of being used by champions and which has decided that its future will be different from its past is a compelling one.
    Thanks Alwyn. I thought it might be interesting, and I also think it provides some rich ground for somewhat unexplored comedy. Hopefully I can manage to pan that out a bit.


    Now, here is another update to Matt and Morn, but not anything entirely new (it is my TotW 281 submission). I will try to get something brand new up here sometime soon though. In the meantime, I hope you all enjoy this little adventure!
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  12. #12

    Default Revenge is a Dish Best Served Bloody!

    Revenge is a Dish Best Served Bloody!


    --------------------------------------------------



    “For the love of Galan you are incessant. Keep quiet!”

    “Ach, boy, A’m not as lood as you seem to think. After all, you’re only hearing me in your oon heid.”

    “Don’t remind me.” Matt whispers, his words dripping with day-old exasperation warmed by the close steppe sun. Ahead of them is a low ruinous wall, half-consumed by ivy, time, and one industrious rabbit who long ago decided a burrow lined in smooth cut stone would do nicely. Behind that wall lays a Knight gently snoring through a nose broken as often as promises.

    “What are we doing here anyway?” the boy snaps, the words clipped and accusing. “I thought you were done with this sort of thing, and you know I won’t go along with this.”

    “Oh, A know it right enough, but you seems to be thinkin’ that A’ll be needing yer leave.”

    Matt peers over the wall and sees beside the man two women of negotiable affection affectionately negotiating with a tightly bound sack of jingling opportunity and he makes a decision. “Well, if you’re going to be like that, I think we might just be moving along then.” Matt says nonchalantly, bluffing his way to higher ground.

    “Right right.” Morn peevishly responds. “If you must know that there moontain of courage had me by me pommel some ways back and I dare say I wasnae pleased with the task he put me to.” The blade’s hue darkens slightly at the memory, flashes of violet and jade pulsating along the cross-guards and fuller. “’Tis no’ right to use a thing in such ways.”

    Generously, Matt lays Morn aside, turning the blade’s back on him, but still he can see throbbing along its edges veins of scarlet and chartreuse, traces of shame and regret forced upon him by alien hands. Matt no longer whispers, but his voice remains low, calm. “Morn,” he begins, “you are no longer in the service of a king or lord or even some petty knight.” Turning the blade back around Matt continues. “And you certainly do not serve me. You serve only yourself, and I am here as your friend. So tell me, what would you have us do?”

    For a moment the blade is silent, colors gently shifting and blending along its length as it contemplates a new world of choice and freedom. “A would have us do a thing never ‘fore done by my kind. A would have us do justice!” Morn finally says, defiance igniting his words as they sear into Matt’s mind.

    “Then justice it is.” Matt answers. Morn leaps into his hands as Matt leaps over the wall, scattering the women and their dubious gains, and the knight rather regretfully wakes to the point of a sword held at his throat.

    The lines and patterns of Morn swirl and shift and slowly the knight’s eyes widen in fear as recognition dawns. “Ach, so ye do ‘member me.” Morn taunts. “Then that will save us some explaining.”
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  13. #13
    The Wandering Storyteller's Avatar Content Staff
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    Default Re: The Fool and His Keeper (The Chonicles or Matt and Morn)[updated: Aug 26]

    Great story. It reminded me of Don Quioxte!





















































  14. #14
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    Default Re: The Fool and His Keeper (The Chonicles or Matt and Morn)[updated: Aug 26]

    I'm enjoying the wonderfully light and playful tone of the events and your descriptions (like the industrious rabbit) as well as the contrasting, darker tone of the recollection of the 'moontain of courage' who Morn once served. Matt's line about his relationship with Morn is a touching moment and Morn's final line is, well, very Morn!

  15. #15

    Default Re: The Fool and His Keeper (The Chonicles or Matt and Morn)[updated: Aug 26]

    Quote Originally Posted by San Felipe View Post
    Great story. It reminded me of Don Quioxte!
    Thanks San Felipe. I have never read Don Quixote, but I know it is quite well regarded, and so I will take your words as a compliment!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    I'm enjoying the wonderfully light and playful tone of the events and your descriptions (like the industrious rabbit) as well as the contrasting, darker tone of the recollection of the 'moontain of courage' who Morn once served. Matt's line about his relationship with Morn is a touching moment and Morn's final line is, well, very Morn!
    Thanks Alwyn! As always, your words are in equal measure kind and also incisive. And I'm glad to hear the little details and small playful bits went off well. That type of writing is still something I feel somewhat unsure of, and it is good to hear feedback on it (especially when the feedback is so positive ).


    To all reading these stories, I have decided that I will start to work on a longer Matt and Morn piece, because apparently I didn't have enough going on already . Given how much is already on my plate I will probably post only sporadically and only updates of a few hundred words (max 1000, I'd think), but I think it would be nice to slowly chip away at a longer work with these characters in mind. As stated in the OP, the aim will still be for a Terry Pratchett-esque style of comedic fantasy, with serious bits worked in throughout. And like my AAR, I will split the writing into chapters and parts, with the idea being that each chapter is a single continuous arc of the story (like you'd find in any published book), and the parts are just to parse out the writing in smaller increments that are easier for the reader to go through and for me to put up.

    Anyway, without further ado, I give you the first installment of a longer Matt and Morn work!
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  16. #16

    Default Re: The Fool and His Keeper (The Chonicles or Matt and Morn)[updated: Oct 14]

    Chapter 1
    A Cold Wind Blows


    --------------------------------------------------
    (Part I)


    'There is a room. There is a candle. There is a broken promise. That is all there is. That is all there was. That is all there ever will be. A room. A candle. A broken promise. It is hard to believe, but things really have gotten that bad.'

    The Man is thinking to himself, the narrow circle of flickering light casting shadows and wells across his cheekbones and in the hollows of his eyes. His aspect, or what can be seen of it, is troubling and charming, the aspect of a monster but also of a god. After a moment of silence he seems to reach a decision, and in a flash of blinding ivory he bares his teeth and smiles. His eyes however, do not smile.

    As the Man begins to speak, that cold unsettling grin and grimace fixed and unmoving, the one sitting opposite him cannot help but be reminded of something he had once heard on visiting a traveling menagerie. On entering the banks of cages that held the monkeys and apes, the various primates that crawled and swung, the curator had warned him not to smile, not to show his teeth. On asking why he had been informed that to show one’s teeth to such creatures is to challenge them, to threaten them, and that they might respond in kind. The Man’s smile is like that. A challenge. A threat.

    His words come quickly, darting from his mouth as though they can no longer stand to be in such a dangerous place, and when finished the Man leans back, out of the candlelight, into the darkness. With a wave of his hand the one opposite him is released, sent to carry out his task, and he runs out stumblingly, terror driving his head and arms faster than his legs can move, causing him to fall and scuff his knees.

    And then, the wheels set in motion, one small piece cast out to the rim, the man leans further back, withdrawing completely to the shadows. And again there is nothing but a room, a candle, a broken promise.



    Continues with Chapter 1 - Part II
    Last edited by Kilo11; January 21, 2019 at 02:05 AM.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: The Fool and His Keeper (The Chonicles or Matt and Morn)[updated: Oct 14]

    Hey, I like your prose style. It has a poetic rhythm to it. I have been trying to learn certain writing techniques and it is great to recognise them in your writing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilo11 View Post
    'There is a room. There is a candle. There is a broken promise. That is all there is. That is all there was. That is all there ever will be. A room. A candle. A broken promise. It is hard to believe, but things really have gotten that bad.'
    - I believe these sentences are a form of Isocolon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilo11 View Post
    grin and grimace
    - Alliteration

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilo11 View Post
    a room, a candle, a broken promise.
    - Sentences like this seem to just roll of the tongue (or brain, so to speak.)



    Currently I am reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road and his prose has a lot of these techniques. Here is a quote... 'The boy turned in the blankets. Then he opened his eyes. Hi, Papa, he said.'

    McCarthy seems to often end his paragraphs with three short sentences like above, and it works to grab your attention. I tried this out recently in a project of mine but it did not seem to work right. I think the trick is to choose your moments carefully, such as at more poignant scenes or for the build up/release of a scenes tension. I also noticed how he can have a paragraph with lots of short sentences and then ends on an unnaturally long sentence, which again works to grab ones attention.

    Anyway, nice work. Can you recommend me a Terry Pratchett book, I think that will be my next read.

    (I tried to read that Starship Troopers book by Heinlein but I bounced of it pretty hard and stopped reading.)
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: The Fool and His Keeper (The Chonicles or Matt and Morn)[updated: Oct 14]

    Shades of Shakespeare with daggers in the smiles of men or however he wrote it. In any case I like this as another twist on the bard's ideas.

  19. #19

    Default Re: The Fool and His Keeper (The Chonicles or Matt and Morn)[updated: Oct 14]

    Quote Originally Posted by C-Beams View Post
    Hey, I like your prose style. It has a poetic rhythm to it. I have been trying to learn certain writing techniques and it is great to recognise them in your writing.

    - I believe these sentences are a form of Isocolon.
    ...
    - Alliteration
    ...
    - Sentences like this seem to just roll of the tongue (or brain, so to speak.)


    Currently I am reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road and his prose has a lot of these techniques. Here is a quote... 'The boy turned in the blankets. Then he opened his eyes. Hi, Papa, he said.'

    McCarthy seems to often end his paragraphs with three short sentences like above, and it works to grab your attention. I tried this out recently in a project of mine but it did not seem to work right. I think the trick is to choose your moments carefully, such as at more poignant scenes or for the build up/release of a scenes tension. I also noticed how he can have a paragraph with lots of short sentences and then ends on an unnaturally long sentence, which again works to grab ones attention.

    Anyway, nice work. Can you recommend me a Terry Pratchett book, I think that will be my next read.

    (I tried to read that Starship Troopers book by Heinlein but I bounced of it pretty hard and stopped reading.)
    Hey C-Beams, thanks for that. And this might seem a bit like bragging (I don't mean it that way), but I didn't realize any of that stuff was happening. To me I always just try to think about the sound of words and how they fit together. There is a story, obviously, and hopefully it has a point and some interesting things along the way, but what I really want out of something is a piece that is simply nice to read. For me, that usually amounts to how things flow and fit together, how they sound on the tongue (or brain, as you point out ). I guess I generally think that most people have interesting ideas, interesting plots, characters, and messages to get across, but what makes writing worth exploring is how those ideas are presented. Maybe that's the root of my emphasis on such things without noticing it.

    The Road is a good one! One of those few books I've had to read for school that was actually worth reading (as opposed to the hundreds that are important for history of literature but otherwise just soooo booooorriiiing [looking at you Hawthorne and Steinbeck!]) I read that one a while ago though and can't remember those specifics of writing techniques or tricks. To your point about using the tricks well though, I think part of it might be using them when the point of some paragraph or scene is less about content and more about feel. If I'm describing stuff or showing the important actions, I'll always try to use the best phrases and words that I can, but I won't ever really aim for something "clever". However, when I want to set a mood or "make a splash" somehow, then I will often intuitively just lean toward things like the tricks you pointed out above. I guess if you're wanting to work on that my advice would be the advice I usually give for most writing things, which is "read it all aloud". When you hear it you'll know if it's landed or not, in a way that is far more reliable than anything else I've found.

    Now, regarding recommendations of Terry Pratchett books, that is a little more tricky for me (because everything I've read is sooo good!). The discworld books are all really nice, and they are also all basically standalone, though they fit into the same world (i.e. some things in book 4 might be alluded to in book 9, but that doesn't mean you have to have read 4 first; there are just a few little things that will be more clear to you if you have). Given that the books cover a whole world, there are a few different character sets and plot focuses that are tied together, but only loosely connected to the others. The books can be divided by character-plot pairings as follows:
    Discworld Books

    Wizards - generally silly adventures without a huge background idea, though sometimes with things about balance or metaphysics
    Witches - stories about stories, elements of narrative in both stories and real life, questions about "doing what needs to be done"
    Death - (Death is a character who recurs often and is important) stories about life and death (duh), things about the structure of the universe and basic questions about humanity, natural justice (in some, not all), some things about gods
    City Watch/the city - these are my favorite; they are usually about political philosophy, law, justice, moral questions, and also have a healthy amount of detective suspense elements.

    If you want to just start reading through the books as they were written, your first one is The Colour of Magic. If you want to start with one of my favorites go with Guards! Guards! Another option is to start with Pyramids, as that one is really good but has no solid connections with the other stories (it's really standalone, but gets the general feel across, and is a good introduction to Pratchett's style and prose.

    Quote Originally Posted by NorseThing View Post
    Shades of Shakespeare with daggers in the smiles of men or however he wrote it. In any case I like this as another twist on the bard's ideas.
    Thanks NorseThing. Your comment actually just had me thinking that maybe we could suggest to Caillagh that there be an Occassional Competition for using some types of narrative devices. It could be a fun way for the writers here to practice some skills that might be less often used, but that can certainly be used for good effect. I might pass that along.
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  20. #20

    Default Re: The Fool and His Keeper (The Chonicles or Matt and Morn)[updated: Oct 14]

    Continued from Chapter 1 - Part I



    Chapter 1
    A Cold Wind Blows


    --------------------------------------------------
    (Part II)


    The steppes are not generally a wet or cold place, but it is cold now, the aching frost creeping in through boots and making joints creak like an old ship at sea. Far and wide there is nothing, no shelter or haven to be found, nothing but the wide expanse of grass and sky, without break or blemish. But alone on the great plain, tucked tightly into a pitifully narrow dell, there is a flickering flame, a dance of fire struggling against the winds.

    Matt rubs his hands together before the small blaze. He had never before made a fire from manure and was concerned about what smells might come from it, but so far it had given off nothing more than a slightly, shall we say rich scent. And on the high plains manure was all they would find. Grass, sky, manure, and the stubby-faced deer that wandered in their millions.

    "That fire's shite." The words come into Matt's brain without bothering about ears or intermediate points, the attempt at cleverness punctuated by a brittle chuckle, like a saw-blade being drawn over gravel.

    "Ha-ha." Matt responds derisively. "You know that's all there is here, and we should be glad there's even that much. Which again brings me to that earlier point: Why are we here?"

    "Ach, you knoo how 't is."

    "Morn, you know that I do not. Why are we here?"

    There are briefly the sounds of hemming and hawing, mumbled phrases like "Hmm, well..." and "You see, murmur murmur", until finally Morn snaps, "Ah, lad, you ruin everything." Morn's edges run the blue of the deep sea, disappointment and a hint of sadness in their hues, and so very quietly he adds, "It were a surprise."

    "What? What kind of surprise?" Matt begins, his words those of an interrogator, but as that deep blue continues to pulsate he adds softly, "A surprise for me?"

    "Aye, a surprise for yoo." Morn admits in sheepish tones. He tries to avert his gaze, no mean task for something without eyes, and continues, "I took yoo 'way from all yoo knew, wi'out asking, wi'out caring for yer needs, and yoo came wi'out a second thought. I just wanted to gie yoo something back."

    Matt is momentarily taken aback, at a loss for words, but slowly he recomposes himself. "Morn, where are you taking us then?"

    "Home." he answers. "Back to yer home, to see yer family, to see yer friends. On t'other side of these here lands is yer village. I wanted yoo to see it all again, to have a chance for a normal life."

    "Morn, I don't know what to say." There is a brief pause then, the only sound the rough crackling of the fire. Finally Matt smiles, a tenderness traced at the corners of his eyes, and he adds, "Thank you. I think I would very much like to again see my home."



    Continues with Chapter 1 - Part III
    Last edited by Kilo11; January 21, 2019 at 02:04 AM. Reason: Added links
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