Posting Notes

Posting Notes: In post title, please use this format: Title - Prompt Name (if applicable) - Author Name, then repeat in "Labels" at bottom of post. Post longer pieces under a jump break. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Lady - Wedding Dress Prompt - Richard

Here's "Something New", short, starting something I'll be continuing. I generally rely on pretty lengthy description and haven't worked a lot with dialogue, so I'm trying to fix that. Also trying to make medieval-period characters talk like they're people and not Hamlet. Let me know how I do with both.

My Lady

            Duncan twisted his codpiece strings into an incorrigible knot, and then cursed his clumsiness. “Damned…” he muttered under his breath, making his sore fingers undo each agonizing string. Righting the garment, he then found his cloak-pin upside down; fumbling, he unpinned it, dropped it, spat on it, cursed it, sleeve-shined it, pinned it back. He found one glove, the other absent, he looked about the changing room, wither did… only to see it in the mirror, stuffed into the back of his breeches. This time he laughed. He ran a finger through his now-clean hair and wondered if he should have trimmed his beard.

“Shall I drink this red by myself, if you’re going to be in there all night?” Phillipa called to him, from her bed, beyond the changing curtain.

             “For some of us, my lady, beauty takes time. You are always beautiful, and would not understand” he called to her with mock wounding. From behind the curtain, he heard her giggle; her laugh was a warm breeze. He brushed himself down, took a breath and tossed aside the curtain with a flourish, thrusting out his chest and chin, his legs apart like some noble knight from a tale.

            She clapped and laughed “What a picture you are!”

            Chin thrust forward, he strode purposefully across the room, arms swinging manfully. He grasped his goblet with vigor, raising an exaggerated eyebrow.

            “I shall defend fair maiden from the treacheries waiting within the wine!” And took a generous gulp.

            She placed one hand against his arm and another against her forehead, crying My Hero! and they shared the wine and laughter, and toasted her fine hospitality, and drank again, and toasted his victory, and drank again.

Phillipa took up the cheese knife, her eyes locked grimly on the wide-mouthed bottle of peppery red wine and stabbed at it with vigor.

“Back beast, back! You will not stain Sir Duncan’s honor!”

“Stain my honor? It will do no more than stain my clothes, should we keep drinking this way.”

“It does unman you now! You will soon be so far in your cups, after only three swallows of that tiny glass, that you will barely be able to stand on those long legs of yours.”

Duncan scoffed, “If I will be in my cups, you will shortly be so soaked that your pinned curls will all come tumbling down, and I shall hear a curse out of that proper prim mouth of yours, finally, and I shall spread the hearing of it to every ear!”

She raised playful eyebrows, trying not to laugh. “I will be soaked?”

“Aye, wet.”


He shrugged casually. “As many ladies become wet, in the presence of strapping knights.”

She crossed her hands in her lap, like a nun. “Never me; I am a winter flower, never blooming.”

Duncan suddenly went to one knee, and called to sunset through the window, “Would that the summer sun come and make this flower bloom!”

Phillipa laughed long. And he told her, her laugh was the summer sunshine. And she smiled for him, and he did not know what to say, so they drank, and she called for another bottle. Duncan sat in a chair by the window, away from her perfume, and tried to keep his head from spinning. But he could not take his eyes off of her.


  1. Very nice. Their banter is very natural. I love the entandres

  2. Hi Richard!

    Great exercise, I agree that writing natural sounding period dialogue is a huge challenge! I think you did a great job and it comes across as very natural. I agree with Ken, the entendres were great and also very period accurate! I loved the part where his missing glove was in his pants pocket.

    The only phrase that seemed a bit awkward to me was "You will soon be so far in your cups, after only three swallows..." Maybe try switching it around? "After only three swallows of that tiny glass, you will be so far in your cups..."

    Another suggestion - and I know this was more of a dialogue exercise - would be to sneak in a few more descriptions of the characters or setting wherever you can. A perfect example would be "He ran a finger through his now-clean hair" - throw in a color, length, texture - just something to give us a better picture of what these two look like. Because there is a lot of flirtation in this piece, I think certain descriptions would really help to set the "mood" - are they in a sitting room? a bedroom? is it lit by candles or just the fire? etc. You mention the scent of her perfume and the flavor of the wine, both great sensory details, and I think a few more details would round out this scene very nicely!

  3. Thanks Kate!

    Haha I definitely gave you the same note about awkward phrasing for your piece, and then wrote the exact same bit of awkward phrasing. Go editing! Covering each others bases, I dig it.

    You're very right about setting the stage, I definitely didn't do much of it and it shows. I was just in the mood to jump right into the dialogue, my plan is to put in another submission with lots of setting description. So, that'll be another exercise all its own! Good suggestion about working the description in with the action, definitely going to put that to use.