Whenever I’ve thought of, or more realistically dreamed of, myself as a writer I always pictured my writing being of “contemporary” times. My stories always being one that could be or should be happening in current time periods, I never thought about writing a in the future novel despite how much I seem to dig YA Dystopian novels, or creating my own universe and sense of time, or especially a period piece set way back in time. And it’s not because I dislike those types of books, I mean as I stated already series like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner are some of my favorite books and I love Jane Austen novels as well as a wealth of classic novels of the sort, and the Harry Potter books and their unique blend of wizarding world and muggle world have shaped me and my attitude towards reading/being a writer irrevocably. So it’s never been that I had no interest in those types of stories, but I think I just never thought I’d be any good at writing along those lines.
Most of the ideas and stories that have ever entered my brain end up being stories that can be dropped into a modern setting, so that as you read them it could be actually happening somewhere else at the same time. Which isn’t to say I couldn’t just re-organize and re-write to move them back a decade, forward a few years, or to an entirely different planet all together they just always felt like “now” in my head as I created characters and stories for them to live out.
But about a year ago, which really blew my mind when I went back to check the note I made in my phone, an idea came to me and it was a period piece. No way around it. It scared me at first because what the hell was I actually going to do with a story that had to take place hundreds of years ago? How would I tell that story even remotely right? But I jotted down the initial idea and let it sit in my phone until today I walked by our shelf of books at work and one caught my eye;
It caught my eye mostly for the title and given how much I love the show, ‘The Arrow’ and I just had a good chuckle to myself…and then I picked it up. I have a fascination with romance/smut novels that started when I had to read one as required reading for a college class. All of us in the class had to go out and pick out any romance novel of our choosing, buy it, read it, and then in class we discussed things like the common tropes and the demographic of the novels and the weird stigma that surrounds them. I totally loved every bit of that part of class (well I loved it all truthfully) and it made me see the novels in a new way. I’d never judged them or shunned them before because I remember my mom being a fan when I was a kid but to know them on a much more intricate level made them seem much more interesting and cool and unique to me. So long story short; I defend romance/smut novels whenever I can.
But a sub-genre of the romance/smut things is the period or historical romances, which is exactly where The Arrow fell in. It is set in Scotland in the early 1300s and there are wars and battles and a Highland Guard (which the author actually has her series set around, it’s like eight separate novels! Like damn girl! Get it!), and of course some steamy romance. Anyways I read the first chapter, just to see how the author does her period writing, and while I am not sure it’s super accurate it’s also supposed to be an easy read and not very deep so I get why it reads like fairly common vernacular and what-have-you. But it got me thinking about my little idea and how maybe I shouldn’t shy away from that, that I should maybe revisit it and try to just write a bit and see if it is something I could get a feel for.
Granted if I ever wanted to make it a full novel I’d need to do some hella research but for now I just wrote a slight synopsis and little blurb that came to me as I tried to put myself in the mindset of my characters and their situation and their time. Which is my own, self-made prompt for the day. So yeah I’ll put the synopsis first then the small excerpt I jotted down on some scrap paper here at work.
Pirate/Princess love story
A pirate (Liam) infiltrates court with the grand plans to rob jewels and other goods. Meets the princess (Gwenivure) and becomes instantly fascinated and attracted to the royal highness. His identity is discovered quickly but he manages to escape before being caught and sent to the gallows. He hides out on the shores and before he ran he left a note with Gwenivure and despite his surface lies and reputation she is drawn to him and they continue a relationship in secret.
Originally Gwenivure’s brother, Oliver, is in line for the throne and his marriage to another kingdom’s princess is a big ordeal. So never did Gwenivure worry or imagine being in line for the throne but when Oliver dies suddenly she is the eldest heir and is to begin her preparations. She and Liam both know they can never keep up their bond if she actually becomes queen. Mentions of her being married to prospective gentlemen also start flying and neither Gwenivure or Liam like that. Ultimately she must make a decision about her future that she can live with for the rest of her life.
“Here these are for you.” Liam whispered and placed a small wrapped parcel in her lap.
Grasping tight, the material beneath Gwenivure’s hands molded easily to her fingers. Looking back up with curious eyes she asked, “What is it?”
With a flourish of his hand Liam instructed her to open it. A small flash of glee ran through her eyes that he caught just barely in the low candle light of the dark corridor. Swiftly her fingers moved, pulling the thin string undone and allowing the garment to more unfold. Gwenivure held the object up and out before her examining them with a careful eye. “Liam what are these?” she said poking her head around the edge of one of the brown legs of fabric now between them.
Seeing her like this never got old for Liam, and he took the moment to catalog her inquisitive joy of the moment. “Breaches, trousers, pants I do believe they have been called before. They are not as elaborate as the ones you see at court I imagine but they do their job.”
Laying the item on her lap she glides her hands up and down the lengths of each leg. She continues to do so over and over again as she asks, “And they are for me?”
Her head finally tilts up again and her eyes the shade of honey glimmer at him with a mix of confusion and amusement. Swallowing, Liam regains his focus and speaks softly, “Yes. As much as I love the way you look so decadent in your skirts these will be much easier and faster to travel in.” He pauses to watch her face perk up at his compliment, filling him with a warmth only rum could once do. “On nights you wind your way through multiple castle corridors in secret to see me. Your dirty secret, your pirate.” His voice continues lower and lower as he speaks and a slight flush crawls across her pale cheeks. Reaching out, Liam brushes the back of his knuckles on that blushed skin ever so tenderly.
Easily Gwenivure lets her face fall into his touch. She doesn’t receive the comfort of this presence let alone his skin on her own nearly as much since his identity was discovered and he had to flee from her court and immediate kingdom. Initially she had planned to have a remark ready to match his teasing of himself but it fell flat when she opened her eyes and caught the flames of the wall torch dancing in his ice blue eyes. Bringing a hand up she circles her fingers around his wrist and tugs lightly, “I miss you.”
The stone step beneath them is cold and unforgiving but Liam pushed that knowledge away and scoots closer, removing more of what little empty air between them. Turning the hand still at her cheek, he fully cups her face in his palm. He tucks his four fingers around the curve of her neck and entwine them with her loose hair, while allowing his thumb to slowly caress back and forth against the arch of her cheek bone.
For a long while they stay like that, in silence and staring into each other’s eyes saying their words with quick flicks and raised eyebrows. Time passed and muscles became sore from lack of movement but neither cared for it was a small thing to endure for the time together. However eventually they both knew Gwenivure would have to return to her quarters and Liam would have to be long gone before the guards made their rounds back to this area of the castle. They tried to take turns starting the goodbyes and it was Gwenivure’s but he could see the struggle she was having so instead he broke the silence, “Parting from you is the last thing I want to do right now, but I must.”
Tapping her fingers on the outside of his wrist she looked down and bit at her lower lip. “I know.” She looked back up at him again, “I hate this part, days without you and your devilish charm seem wasted in comparison.”
He laughs at her pout and drums an index finger from his free hand on her nose. “Aye, I don’t much fancy being out of the grace of that brain of yours.”
It never got tiring to hear him compliment her smarts over her looks like all the other potential suitors she had been meeting. She grinned wide into the base of his palm and mumbled, “You better go Liam.”
Vibrations of her words tingled from his hand to his whole body and he fought off a shake. “Are you staying here?”
“For a bit, easier to watch you go than leave for some reason.” Her eyes aren’t necessarily sad but not alight either.
“It’s the view I reckon, had my share of bar maidens tell me so anyways.” Liam said with his usual playful tone and a wink. Gwenivure laughed into his hand and he took the opportunity to lean forward and place a kiss on the crown of her head. “I will see you soon Princess.”
Standing up he let his hand linger within her grasp for as long as his height would allow. When he reached full height just the tips of his fingers curled around her own and she brushed her lips across them before uttering, “Go.”
Liam knew when to listen to her word and so with a nod he turned and made his way quickly down the corridor through all the secret passageways he knew and out onto the edge of the main square. The night still had a firm hold on the world but the sun was beginning to tip the scales, giving him just enough time to make it back to his ship and for Gwenivure to slip back into the silky sheets of her quarters, no one the wiser to their late night meetings once again.