“I'll be dead in thirty minutes,” said the prince to me over lunch. “Please pass the sugar.” Funny how those two sentences could be spoken in the same tone.
My instincts warred inside of me to do two things:
One. Assess the threat and neutralize it.
Two. Pass him the sugar.
My body reacted by standing abruptly and reaching for the sugar bowl at the same time. I missed and sent it rolling, scattering its contents all over the table before it landed on the floor. It didn't break, thankfully, but now there was sugar everywhere and the prince was looking at me with his eyebrows raised.
“A bit clumsy this afternoon, are we?”
He was calm. Why was he calm? He wasn't in jest—I knew him better than that.
My eyes swept the room. No dangers that could be seen. Then my gaze fell on the lunch platters and, finally, the tea trays.
So begins my newest story, a planned 'strict medieval fantasy' that started brewing in my head a little over a week ago.
Allow me to point something out. Something which might surprise you. Something which frustrates me. Something I really think you should know. I don't get new story ideas very often.
Early this summer I jotted down some notes for what I'm referring to as a Retro Fantasy, a project I am looking forward to writing...once it has more plot. Before that, my latest story idea was from sometime in the spring: a retelling of the Pied Piper. Three story ideas in almost nine months. That's all.
I've heard of writers who get one idea, write it, and then wait for another one, but these seem a rare and almost insincere breed. I also have friends who come up to me on a regular basis—daily, at least—and say, “Guess what awesome idea I just had!” (You know who you are.) Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately—take your pick—I don't belong to either group.
Besides the fact that most of my ideas come without plots, the ideas themselves take an eternity to show their faces. (And I don't mean full blown book concepts, I mean little inklings of a fresh something.) Part of me thinks this is good, since I can avoid being utterly sidetracked five times a month. Still...it'd be nice to have a larger quantity of fresh material on hand.
But I digress.
This particular story comes from one of my Screen Saver Thoughts (a concept I'll probably make up a separate post for in the near future) and is the first of its kind to originate that way. It is also, I've realized, my first strictly medieval tale. (Castles, royalty, swords, political intrigue, etc.) Others like it have either included dragons, magic, or have had the feeling of a medieval tale but with no castle or royal family in sight.
And I am very excited about it.
New story ideas give me the same sense of euphoria as a kid on Christmas morning.
The project's working title is Fall of the Crowned Ones, in case you didn't guess that much. And the reason I'm so excited about this one is that, along with its spontaneous arrival, this one came complete with plot! Most of my ideas are more of the here's-a-cool-setting/character/scene/creature/thing-but-it-doesn't-fit-any-of-my-stories-so-let's-invent-a-plot-for-it variety. FOTCO—which rather sounds like a filling station—actually has a plot! (Aside: This is a major accomplishment for me.)
Basically, the MC in Fall of the Crowned Ones is the bodyguard to the crown prince and there is a threat to the prince's life, a threat which the prince discovered and then was made to forget. (Exact properties of this are still in question.) The threat is on the rest of the royal household as well, which should keep my characters busy.
Considering the time frame the prince has given, I'm hoping that about the first half of the book will be a mad dash to figure out what's going on and to save the prince in those deadly thirty minutes. This will be tricky, but wonderful if I can somehow pull it off.
I know a few more details than that which give the plot more body and complexity, but that's all I'll say for now. Oh, and neither the prince nor the MC have names just yet. Lucian or Lucius are possibilities for the MC, but I just don't know.
So does the hero figure out the assassination plot in time to save the royal he's sworn to protect? *sneaky grin* That is the question, now, isn't it?