And so it begins–The Traitor King

So I have a first chapter of The Traitor King. I have no idea if it will still be part of the book later, because I am pantsing this book so much more than I like to. If I were to draw a plot line, it would essentially start with a list of characters who will be important: Keros, Margaret, Nicholas, Gimlet, Amberdel, Vaughn, the lord chancellor and his wife. Then there would be this line leading from Margaret and Gimlet, since they are where this chapter started, and then there would be this large, lovely, black scribble ball in the middle, taking up most of the page. Beneath it would be a caption saying “many bad things (and some good) happen.” Then there would be a teeny-tiny little line, maybe a quarter of a centimeter long, and it would lead to the word: END.

YOu’ll note that what I know about this story is the character names. You’ll note I don’t know much else. Which isn’t true, really. I know a lot. I just don’t really know what will happen, nor the order it will happen in. I’m terrified.

But here is a snippet for those of you who want to know how this begins . . .

Margaret had no intention of dying today, though her pursuers had other ideas on the subject and just at the moment, the odds were in their favor.

She ran down a flight of steps, taking three at a time. Her skirts tangled her legs and she snarled silently as she lost her footing and twisted her ankle. She fell against the wall and pain spun around her leg in rings of fire. She bit down on her cry, drawing blood, and plunged onward, clutching her satchel tightly to her stomach. She could hear the voices of the Crown Shields too close behind her. Their armor clanked and their booted feet echoed.

At the bottom of the stairway she paused, trying to quiet her gasping pants. She peered around the corner. The long gallery was empty, but for a scattering of pedestals holding bronze and marble statuary, a line of cushioned benches along the left wall, and a series of doors hidden inside recessed archways marching along opposite. Margeret rubbed her knuckles over her tense lips as she glanced over her shoulder. Her mind raced.

She couldn’t afford to hide and wait for the Crown Shields to give up the chase. Not that they would. The mother-cracking lord chancellor would tear the castle down stone by stone before he quit looking for her. But she’d stupidly let them herd her into the sovereign wing and that left her precious few escape routes.

But she was out of time, but she wasn’t helpless. In an instant she settled on her plan. She fled purposefully, threading her way through the gallery as fast as she could manage on her throbbing ankle. Her back itched as she waited for the guards to thunder down the stairs and find her.

She reached the other side before they spilled into the gallery. The noise of their arrival echoed. There was a crashing sound as a marble statue shattered on the parquet floor. Margaret ducked into a narrow cleft artfully concealed behind a display of laquered Chaturakian armor. She went quickly to the door at the end and slid through, pulling it firmly closed behind her.

She paused in the shadowed corridor, listening. While the gallery outside had been deserted, the servant hallways were much more likely to be busy, no matter what time it was. She breathed a sight of relief. Chayos was smiling on her and no one was lurking. Licking her dry lips, Margaret turned right. Her plan was insanely risky, but worth it if it worked. Her jaw clenched. It had to work. Too many people would die—and worse—if she didn’t.

3036 / 120000 words. 3% done!

Not a lot on the word meter, but at least I’m underway.


  • Lisa Shearin

    Hmmm, terrified. I know how you feel. I’m pantsing the book I’m finishing now (well, seven more chapters to go before May 1). Just trust your instincts and everything will be fine.

    Take care!

  • Di Francis

    I’m beginning to think my instincts are shot. But hoping not. Urga. Doing the revision dance on Bitter Night. Hoping I can make it dazzling.

%d bloggers like this: