Friday, June 01, 2012

Amusing Excerpt 6

Actual (or not) amusing (or not) excerpts from (or not from) minions' WIPs. If you have constructive criticism or unadulterated praise, feel free to comment.

Setup: Sixteen-year-old Gwinn, the key to restoring a princess, is in the middle of a month-long journey to the kingdom of Faharren. In this scene, she taunts two of her guardians about their archery skills.

“I want to see this,” Quord finally said. Gwinn turned to find him standing over her, holding out his bow and an arrow. “Hit the target,” he ordered, pointing to a tree about thirty feet away with a small red cloth nailed to the trunk. Paryu paced back and forth in front of them, muttering to himself and glaring at Gwinn.

“Paryu, get out of the way,” Quord said. Paryu continued his muttering while Gwinn rose to her feet and nervously took the bow and arrow. She’d never shot one before, but as soon as she held the instruments they felt comfortable in her hands…the same way holding the knife had felt comfortable back at her cottage.

Gwinn raised the bow and arrow and waited for the still-pacing Paryu to move out of her line of fire. As soon as he was out of the way, she drew the bowstring back and fired in one fluid motion. The arrow hit the tree in the exact center of the cloth. Quord shrieked with laughter, Paryu shrieked in surprise, and Gwinn just dropped the bow, unable to keep the hint of a smile from her lips. She sat back down on the ground, plucking at the surrounding wildflowers as if nothing had happened.

“You almost shot me in the face!” Paryu cried. “You could have killed me!”

“I *almost* shot you in the face,” Gwinn emphasized. “If I’d meant to *actually* shoot you in the face, it would have happened.”

--Alice Witten


Dave Fragments said...

I think she should have shot him in the buttocks and then picked wildflowers.

Maureen said...

Does she have a magical talent, i.e. is this part of her role in restoring the princess, or is she just really good with weapons? Paryu sounds like such a wuss!

Rachel6 said...

Haha, I enjoyed that.

And brava, Alice, now I'm curious about the rest of the story!

sarahhawthorne said...

Hi Alice!

It seems pretty solid to me. A couple things though:

When you say Gwinn waits for Paryu to get out of the way, I assumed that she waited until he was clear of her line of fire. If she shot right past his face, you might want to clarify that line.

And on a character note, shooting arrows right at someone - especially if this is Gwinn's first time with a bow and arrow - is an incredibly dangerous thing to do. Gwinn is risking Paryu's life. I hope she has a good reason for it.

Mister Furkles said...

Hello Alice,

For a time my daughter took archery lessons from one of the best coaches in America. While watching, I picked up some of the lingo. Your brief story lacks the “feel” of archery. This is easy to fix. Find an archery club or team in your area and go to some practices and talk to them. Then get in touch with a chapter of The Society of Creative Anachronism. Get in touch with members who are involved in recreating medieval archery tournaments. (

Katherine Kurtz, author of many fantasy novels, was an early member. Her novels have a “ring of truth” about medieval life and times. SCA is a good source of information if you are writing fantasy about medieval times.

Sarah, It's fantasy. You know fire breathing dragons and wizards. What's the big deal about a precocious archer?

Alice Witten said...

Author here!

Thanks for the comments/feedback, everyone!

Maureen - she actually has a piece of the princess's soul (it was split and concealed in four different girls to hide her from a sorceress), so Gwinn (and the other three girls who come into the story later) picked up the princess's talents. But the princess doesn't "talk" to them. I'm dreading writing the query because I think it's going to be hard to explain without going into way too much detail and mucking everything up. But when the time comes, I'm sure the minions will help me out!

sarahhawthorne - thanks for the suggestion for clarifying the line. It's amazing how many times I reread that and still missed that detail.

Mister Furkles - thank you so much for the suggestion! It's good to learn about available resources and it's definitely something I'll look into.