Tuesday, March 22, 2016

New Beginning 1056

Corbin Jones let the back door slam shut as he made his way into the servant’s kitchen of the vast Stately Stately House. “Mornin’ ladies” he called to the two women seated at the table.

Maid Helen grunted at him. “How many times have I told you not to slam that door? It’s bad form!” She sipped her breakfast tea.

“Now, luv, don’t be so hard on him,” said Cook Millie. “He’s just a boy.”

“Boy or not, he needn’t be going around, slamming doors.” Maid Helen snapped her newspaper open.

“Um, Miss Cook?” began Corbin timidly. “Could I maybe have a cuppa?”

“Of course. Help yourself.”

“Thanks. It’s mighty cold out in the stables today.” He let the steam roll over his face. “Oh, by the way, Miss Helen, Lord Stanhope’s body is still in the library.”

“What?” she shouted, dropping her paper with a bit more force than needed. “Lord Luvaduck, those damned Yanks never clean up after themselves!”

“You’d think a murder writer would be more careful with his characters,” sighed Cook Millie.

“Bloody Yanks,” snarled Maid Helen. “Well, I’m not going to clean this one up. He can rot there for all I care.”

And rot it did, along with many many others. The Stately Stately House strike of 2016 was a gruesome, gruesome scene. Bodies on top of bodies piled on top of bodies hacked, slashed, shot, poisoned and punctured by wild, imaginative means, until the Stately Stately House was in danger of becoming the writer in residence’s worst nightmare – a clichécliché

The background characters held fast to their demands of being brought to the fore. But alas, the strike was broken when the brilliant, brilliant writers of Stately Stately House killed off the striking labor with ropes and revolvers, knives and wrenches, lead pipes and candlesticks. Then the brilliant, brilliant writers created newer more eager background characters to clean up the mess and return Stately Stately house to its magnificent magnificence. 

Opening: Khazar-khum.....Continuation: JSF


AlaskaRavenclaw said...

I like everything about this except putting "Maid" and "Cook" in front of the first names. This wasn't how nomenclature was handled in Britain's Age of Servants, and it looks too much like an info dump. Putting the name followed by comma the cook comma would be less distracting.

(If you haven't read it already, I recommend Frank Dawes's Not in Front of the Servants. It's the best book I've read on the social history of British servants.)

Anonymous said...

Considering the meta-fiction aspects, it might work a bit better for me if the titles were done more like "Maid 3, aka Helen" or something.

The titles do seem to be more for world building than historical accuracy. If that is the case I'd prefer consistency. So, "Stableboy (Page? Handyman?) Corbin Jones" or whatever his position is.

Also, Corbin looks at first glance like the MC since he's the only one without a servant title and he's introduced first.

Evil Editor said...

P1: Apostrophe in wrong place on "servant's"? Comma after "ladies." "Called" seems a bit loud if they're near each other.

P2/3/et al: Agree w AR that Maid, Cook are annoying, even if these are special "titles" used in the house to help identify minor fictional characters who appear in multiple books, possibly in different roles. Also, it's inconsistent of Corbin to refer to "Miss Cook" in P5, but "Miss Helen" in P7.

P4: 2nd comma not needed.

P7: The guy who works in the stables comes into the kitchen from outside in the morning and knows the current situation in the library? I doubt he'd be allowed in the library or even the upstairs. That would be like Daisy's father dropping into the Downton Abbey library.

Dave Fragments said...

I'm not having a good day -- too much housework. Keep that in mind...
That being said -- This sounds to me like it wants to be set in the Civil War. It sounds a Southern Manor House.
So that would be 1850/60 approximately.
Also, I don't hear this as an English Manor House outside of London or any part of Great Britain.
I presume you know what the NGRAM viewer is.
Don't use "handyman" because according to the NGRAM viewer, that word wasn't in literature until after 1900.
"Lord love a duck" wasn't in literature until 1round 1905 and later.
"Ducky" or "Duckie" is from the late 1800 (that's not the middle period of the Civil War).
I think "Cuppa" is more colloquial. The OED first cites it in 1934.
Now "Bloody Yankees" is fascinating... The NGRAM finds "bloody" and "yankee" but not together. I do find "Damn Yankee" and not because of the musical. "Damn Yankee" goes back to 1812. The word "yankee" itself is related to Yonkers, Junker (Dutch) and existed before the US Revolution (1775-1783).

And the only other thing I can say with all my distress sand confusion today is that Jimmy Cagney wanted to be remembered as a song and dance man.

St0n3henge said...

“What?” she shouted, dropping her paper with a bit more force than needed.

You don't drop anything with force. You just let go of it.

"let the back door slam shut" Is it a screen door or a windy day? Did he let it shut, or shut it?

Choose your words carefully. Say what you're really trying to say.

khazar-khum said...

Hi all

LOVE the continuation, so much so that, with your permission, I might borrow it as a bit of a subplot.

It's clear that the Stately Stately House, like Stately Wayne Manor, needs some work. I'll change the name ASAP as it has caused a bit of confusion.

The house itself is adapted by writers in need of a place to set a scene or story. It is therefore a 'timeless' place, where doors lead to different 'plot spaces'. Rethinking based on EE's suggestions, it's a place where today's rose garden murder scene is tonight's love scene.

So I will do some rehab on the old place, and give it another shot.

Tk said...

I like the lively interactions between the characters and the way you get right to the action and the plot.

I agree with Dave and AA about the language. Besides the points they mention, you might want to check “mighty cold” – it feels like an Americanism to me. So does “um”, though I could have that wrong – Harry Potter always says “er.”

Anonymous said...

Borrow away! The Manor is a cool idea.

PLaF said...

Realizing I'm late to the commentary, I think you should open with: "Miss Helen, Lord Stanhope’s body is still in the library."

Then launch into how those American's never clean up after their literary selves.