I was ready to scrap the whole project.
But I didn't think I had time for a complete rewrite.
And quitting the contest entirely was not an option. Quitting is worse than failing.
I set aside some time today to work on it. It's not as bad as I thought it was...which is always a comfort. I reworked the new scenes to make them fit better. It's funny how at some places during the story I am so disatisfied with my work...and yet when I finish reading it, I have this little budding hope that it might actually win.
By now, you are probably tired of reading about my emotional roller coasters. So, as a reward for putting up with me, here are some snippets:
He thrilled at the feeling of force in each parry and the flashing of sunlight off the swords.
At last, a servant knocked on his door and delivered the message on a silver platter. William snatched it up, unfurling the tightly curled paper, and held it to the light.
“Soon music will be playing, people will be cheering, and the most delightful smells will be drifting up from the kitchens. The whole country rejoices at his return.” She turned keen eyes toward him. “Will you?”
William popped a grape into his mouth and slowly crushed it between his teeth, feeling its sweet juices spraying across his tongue.
Then, without changing any further, he climbed into his bed, reveling in the smell of horse sweat and leather than still clung to his clothes.
She blew a little puff of air that was almost like a laugh. “You can’t be serious,” she said, her eyes wavering between disbelief and mockery.
A laugh rose in William’s throat but stopped halfway up, turning into a lump that would not be swallowed.
“You poor thing! Manual labor?”
“Open the door, you beast, or we shall burn you out!”
Her face was still angry and she lifted her chin defiantly. “I do not care if you are the king of Leramay and the handsomest man alive,” she said.
These thoughts flitted rapidly through William’s head, even as the deer in the field startled at Grace’s appearance and leapt into the forest. And then, just as the deer, the thoughts were gone, replaced by the sound of thundering hooves.
“God save us, sir! You’re bleeding!”