Friday, April 28, 2006

"Sheep's End" 2.0

I finished the next draft of "Sheep's End". It's 108 pages, 16 pages longer than the previous.

The new scenes that start off this draft are more active than the last revision. There's also an extra battle scene at the end.

Most of the additional pages are character development. I find Hawthorn an difficult character to communicate in words. He's terse, stoic, subtle. His dialogue and actions remain guarded, so I tried to get his emotions across in motif. I hope this draft makes that more apparent. I also tried to etch the jeopardy more starkly.

Here's the first scene, one page long.


In the hallway of a medieval manor house, HAWTHORN races out of a sumptuous, feminine bedchamber. He pulls the door closed after him, holds it shut.

He's a man whose strength grows more from a hard, wiry frame and experience than sheer bulk. His hair is cut short in a practical military style. This is not a man who spends time in front of mirrors.

He wears simple linen and wool, out of place in a luxurious nobleman's home like this one. Fine tapestries line the hall.

Hawthorn winces as he hears something porcelain smash to bits against the other side of the door.

He braces to keep the door tightly shut.

Muffled by the stone wall and thick wood, an angry young woman shrieks incomprehensibly.

The yelling stops. Hawthorn relaxes... until another delicate object breaks against the far side of the door.


You asked me to be honest!

His comment ignites another angry feminine rant.

As the yelling continues, Hawthorn cautiously withdraws. He knows how to retreat.

He tiptoes backward, while facing the door. He periodically glances back at the stairway he's moving toward.

Just before he makes the stairway, the bedchamber door opens. Out steps ISABEL, a smoldering girl in her late teens. She's disheveled, and angry. She wears an unflattering high-waisted dress, and she holds a small ceramic pitcher.


Hawthorn? Hawthorn!

Hawthorn backs to the first step down.



Isabel shrieks, heaves the pitcher at him. He ducks down the stairs. The pitcher explodes right where he stood.

Isabel storms back into her room.

I admit it's a bit cliche, but it works in the context of what follows.


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