Every year, I manage to set a ridiculously oversized goal for my Clarion West Write-a-thon project. And every year, I somehow manage it in between bouts of self-doubt and stress shopping. (Also every year, I resolve that I won’t do this again next time. This resolution, obviously, fails.)
This year, my goal was to finish the first draft of Goodwin’s Road, an anti-fantasy novel I started back in 2002. It’s going to need a lot of editing before it’s worthy of the world, but I did it! I finished the epilogue and everything!
(“Anti-fantasy” is my term for taking all the things we lovingly expect in a medieval epic and then doing them backwards.)
I’m so happy about it, that I’m going to give you a sneak peak of the beginning of Goodwin’s Road. It begins, of course, with a prologue. Because all good medieval epic fantasy novels need a prologue, right?
Goodwin’s Road – Prologue
If a certain country road hadn’t been constructed, Supreme Emperor Goodwin would never have come to rule these lands.
Perhaps it would be better to say: “if it weren’t for increased trade in the kingdom.” Or better still: “if Goodwin’s family hadn’t grown such amazing radishes or made such palatable ale.”
Yes, Goodwin’s tale begins with a country road. But you have to understand the kind of man our Supreme Emperor has always been, or else you’ll wonder that a mere road could propel him to the exalted position he has today.
So we will begin this tale before the bit where the road gets built.
Haven’t heard anything from that period, now, have you? The bards don’t find it very exciting. Did you know our most-beloved Supreme Emperor lived on a quiet family farm and never wished to leave it? Oh yes. I don’t know if it’s still there now, waiting for him to come home, but he was definitely a more provincial sort before the road appeared.