Friday, April 23, 2010

Chapter Six, In Progress

wordcount = 16,598! Not impressive, but increasing nonetheless. Happily, I feel a certain momentum building as the story heads into the end of this act. Also happily, this chapter introduces two more characters (Gertrude and Ophelia) into the story, and I am pleased with the way I've done them. Here's a helpful hint on introducing characters: already have them known to the protagonist so you don't go through a boring "getting to know you" phase. You can then throw them into the story within their own plot arcs, each character already in medias res. It works, really it does.

Anyway, here's a brief snippet. All the usual caveats about it being a rough draft and cetera:

When the queen and her party arrived well before sundown, her majesty was worse out of temper than ever I had seen her. Gertrude moved like a storm, bursting into the great hall, calling for the king. She was wrapped from ears to floor in a cloak of red and white fox pelts, a black wolf hat on her head. Only her eyes were visible between her furs, glittering sapphire blue and not resting on any face as she swept past the courtiers hastily lined up to greet her just within the castle doors.

“Where is my husband?” she cried, rushing by us. “Someone bring me to the king this instant.” Her voice rang through the hall, a hammer beaten against iron.

Gertrude had forbidden her advance riders to precede her to the castle and so we were caught off guard by her arrival, several hours earlier than expected. Servants and sycophants ran this way and that in her wake. I heard someone say that the king was in his chambers, having a bath. Prince Hamlet appeared and the queen threw herself around him and then they were gone from the hall, the storm of angry queen blowing down the eastern corridor, her ladies-in-waiting running to keep up.

“Did you mark," Guildenstern said to none in particular, "How her majesty gave me an especial nod?”

The queen had indeed brought a great many trunks, cabinets and servants from Copenhagen and these poured into the fort, Gertrude’s possessions carried in a seemingly endless caravan down corridors, up flights of stairs and delivered to her suite of rooms. There were boxes of clothing and jewelry, chairs and tapestries, a bedstead with a thick mattress, a rolling cabinet apparently filled with shoes, a dressmaker’s dummy and a dressmaker with her implements and much more besides. Gertrude’s train from the palace must have stretched out for a mile as they came north along the highway.


  1. Oh, Scott, this is brilliant. I love the descriptions of Gertrude, the sapphire eyes and all the stuff and fluff she leaves in her wake. :)

  2. this is great, keep up the good work. Something is definitely not rotten about this excerpt

  3. Michelle & Ee: Thanks! It's still rough, especially the last paragraph there. The transition from the Guildenstern line seems rough. I also don't like "indeed" or "caravan" and the last sentence is wrong; "Gertrude's train" doesn't agree with "they." Still, it's something on the page, and to revise is easier than to write from scratch.