Tag Archives: There by Candlelight

TBC July Writing Challenge – Poor Hero

A few weeks back, I posted about a German band playing English Folk music in a Rock style, and I mentioned that my favorite song off the album was called Poor Hero. This got me to thinking about the concept of Poor Hero. Is this a hero you pity for some reason, or merely one who lacks the monetary stability that he would, perhaps, prefer? Or both? Or some other interpretation?

You tell me. It’s your story.

The July There By Candlelight writing challenge is to write a 500 word or less story that somehow incorporates whatever the phrase ‘poor hero’ means to you. My own entry will be below (yes, below. I’m posting them out of order so they show up correctly on the main page here).

In other news, we had no submissions for the June writing challenge, which is sad. I thought it was an interesting concept.

My novel Blood Fury is almost finished with the first draft. Then I will give it to some people for critical review, do a beautification pass, and it should be out hopefully by or before August. Cross fingers!

Jennifer and I are beginning to work on the Independent Writers Association. More details to follow, stay tuned.

And lastly, if you happen to live in the Greater Los Angeles area and find yourself near the Culver Hotel at any point, the Culver Jubilee at the bar is delicious.

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The Sword of Light

For the TBC June Challenge

We first saw the Stranger as he walked up the dirt road past the Morrel farm. He wore simple brown robes and a hood to keep the sun off his head as he trudged along. There had been a terrible storm the night before, and although the day promised to be warm with late spring sun, the ground was still wet and the mud sucked at his leather boots.

Visitors are rare in our small town, and so farmers stopped in their fields, wives stopped in their cooking, children stopped in their chores to watch the slow, almost leisurely approach of the Stranger. As he neared the town center, several of the men including the village hetman, Jogen, strode out to meet him. Some carried long-tined hay forks or adzes, but the Stranger merely smiled at these precautions.

The Stranger came to a halt several man-lengths away from the village men and pulled back his hood. He was a handsome youth with lightly tanned skin and sandy hair. Nodding politely to the greeting party, he spoke loud enough for all listening to hear. “I am not here to cause you trouble. I am looking for the Sword of Light.”

Old wives, watching from behind fences, nodded sagely. Why else would a Stranger come to our remote village?

The story of the Sword of Light is an old one around these parts. In my father’s father’s generation, another Stranger had come to town, injured in some battle and sick with infection. He carried the Sword and claimed to be a Knight from a distant land. At the time, our village was troubled by bandits who lived in the hills where now we graze our sheep, and upon hearing of this the Knight, despite the fever that wracked his body, took up his Sword and made his way to the camp of the bandits. When my father’s father and some of the other village men worked up the nerve to follow some several days later, they found the Knight surrounded by the bodies of the bandits. The Knight, miraculously, still lived long enough to give his Sword to the village hetman at the time, and swear him to keep it safe until one would come along to claim it, one who could prove himself worthy of the blade. The Sword has lain in hiding, the location only known to the current and former hetmen, until the Stranger came to claim it.

“We know of what you seek,” called our current hetman, “but you must prove yourself worthy of the Sword. We’ll not give it to any random stranger for the asking.”

The Stranger nodded and spoke. “I seek only to honor the Knight who bore it here. As for proof of my worth…” Reaching into his robe, he pulled forth his own Sword of Light and the pale blue glow that surrounded it wrung a gasp from those assembled.

“Very well,” the hetman nodded. “The Sword is yours Sir Knight. If I may, we never learned the name of the Knight who fell here, but might we know yours?”

“Of course,” smiled the Stranger. “My name is Luke Skywalker.”

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TBC June Writing Challenge

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table Pizza.

A well-loved literary chestnut is the old ‘fish out of water’ tale. Take a famous character (for some reason there seems to be about a 90% chance it will be Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, or King Arthur) and transplant them into a different setting. Whether it be the Great Detective fighting the cultists of Cthulhu or investigating a holodeck murder on board the Enterprise, or Dracula finding that movie theaters make a pretty decent place to hide from the sunlight during those long summer days, authors and readers alike seem to really enjoy these tales.

Usually they are played for some degree of camp. After all, watching ‘that crazy Arthur guy’ running around waving a sword at a bus and charming the love interest with his ‘chivalric’ ways never seems to go out of style. However, these stories do not have to be played for humor value, and sometimes some really good storytelling will come out of such a yarn.

So June’s challenge is this: Take a famous character and put him/her/it in a radically different setting. Play it straight or for laughs, your call. Try to keep it around 500 words or so, in order to promote other people having enough time to actually read your bon mot.

I should clarify: I’m looking for stories where the ACTUAL character finds him/her/itself in a different setting. Not simply taking the idea of the character. For example, Dr. Gregory House from the TV show that bears his name would not qualify. Even though he is basically a Sherlock-inspired character (actually, he’s a Conan Doyle inspired character, but ACD used himself as the template for Sherlock so… close enough), he is not ACTUALLY Sherlock Holmes. You get the idea.

 

 

— May wrap-up:

Well, we had zero submissions, which I guess is to be expected for our first try at this. It’s also possible that the topic was one that only appealed to me. Heh. Anyways, hopefully this month we’ll see the gauntlet taken up by some others. That would be neat.

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