Humble Pies

I found a writing notebook from when I was 12.  I read over the stories in it and had a pretty good laugh at my poor baby self.  It isn’t exactly warming how far I’ve come as a writer, because hey, I was 12.  I wrote these stories to try to get published in Sword and Sorceress.  I’m glad now I didn’t send them in.  MZB has/had a bit of a reputation for being pretty harsh.  A friend of mine suggested I post some actual writing, so for your viewing pleasure, I’m going to post (without any editing at all) a short story from my 12 year old self as well as the letter I wrote to accompany it as a submission for S&S (S&S 9 or 10, it would have been).  No laughing. Well, ok, a little laughing is appropriate.  All comments of mine are in italics.

Dear Marion Zimmer Bradly,  (I’m sure misspelling her name would have gone over well)

I have written many stories but never tried before to have one published.  If you don’t like my story, could you please send me a list of you’re guidelines so that I can do better next time! (I was apparently in love with exclamation points at this time in my life, they are everywhere).


my name

Lessons (even then I loved one word titles for my stories, so some things don’t change I guess)

I have to keep going. I must keep going. I will not fall. I will not fall. I must keep going. I will… not…fall.  I… will…not..stop. I must…move, must…run. I will not…stop. I…must…keep…going.  I… will…

I looked up. A big leafy branch met my vision. I was bound securely to a tree.  This was fun! Forcing my throbbing head to move I looked around.  Where was Rumor?  Then I remembered being dragged.  How far? How long?  I thought about that great black oaf!  I would skin her with a dull knife if… Stop, I told myself sharply.  For all I knew she might have been killed by this pack of rat eaters, that, until recently, I had been hunting.  Oh Rumor, please live. Please live. (I also still loved commas too!)

I must run. I must race. Hurry. Oh my sister, I come! (No, seriously, the exclamation point!)

Rumor, I thought bitterly.  This was my fault. Sure we had needed the money, but we’d lived through leaner times.  Oh goddess why?  My Rumor. Rumor.

“It’s awake.” Three rather uncleanced and unshaven men approached me.  Great!  “So kid, ya going to tell us what ya were doin’ near our camp, eh?”

I sighed. This had better be good.

Run, plunge. Stop. Wait. Liston. (I couldn’t spell listen, apparently, but I was consistent in using an o, that’s something right?) I will come. I must run. I will not fall. I must… go…on… I COME…

“Well?”  They looked at me.  Ok, I thought, take it slow, don’t say anything you’ll regret.

“I was lost, I am trying to get to the city of Sarket.  Do you know the way?”  Well, that wasn’t to bad.  A knife leveled at my throat.

“How did you get so near our camp?”

I tried again.  “I was lost.” I said perplexedly (I hope!).  (yes, I couldn’t spell listen but I could spell perplexed, mmm private school education)

The knife dug in a little. “How did you find our camp?”

“Aw, come on Jerrik, maybe the kids tellin’ the truth, let him go and send him to Sarket.”  On of the men pleaded. Yes! I thought, liston to him. He’s right! And I’m not a boy!

“Shut up, Kellis, Now kid do you want to live?” Jerrik glared at me.

“Mmhmm.” I nodded meekly. I was just about fed up with them.

“Good, then, tell me how you found our camp.”

Fine, if they insisted, I would, “My nose,” I snapped.  Their looks darkened. Whoops!

Easy, keep to the shadows. Sweet sister I come, look how I come. Slink, crouch, wait, wait, wait, now!

Two things happened at once. The first was I kicked Jerrik in the knee.  At that moment the other two crashed into him proppeled by, by, by Rumor!  They fell to the ground, stunned.

“Quick, untie me!” I hissed at her.  She grinned, her pink tongue hanging out.  “You’re drooling” I remarked politely as she began tearing apart my bonds.  As soon as I was free I checked the stunned bandits.  “Uh, Rumor, be a little more gentle next time, please?”

“Why?” She asked.

“Their dead” I replied.  (their, they’re, oh well. I know plenty of adults who can’t keep those straight, sigh)

“Ohf, really?” She said with some difficulty.  I turned to see her dragging our gear out of the bushes.

“You’re wonderful.” I laughed.

“And you’re dead.” Said a voice behind me. I moved, dropping into a spin kick that connected sharply with his chest as he fell I jammed my dagger into his throat.  Twisting to the side I ducked under a sword stroke and thrust up into his ribs.  I then dove for the sword and lept to my feet, armed!  Standing, sword in guard position I awaited the next attack.  It never came.  “Demons!” The two remaining men fled.  I turned to my companion.

“Well, let’s retire back and plan that attack on the camp.” I grinned broadly.

“Yes,” agreed Rumor. “Let’s and this time, please, make sure that the sentry you ‘killed’ is actually dead!”


And that is the story.  Pretty improbable fight scene at the end, isn’t it?  Not entirely sure what I was thinking there.  Where did those guys come from?  All sorts of questions raised there.  Also, what is Rumor? I think I meant it to be a large cat, based on a Terry Brooks’ character of the same name that is a Moor Cat.  Poor little me. At least I never sent one in. I’m nearly 27 and I can barely handle rejection.  I can only imagine the pain I would have been in after inflicting that story on the S&S slushpile.

Perspective. I has it now.  Time to go work on something a little more current. Enjoy!

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