Category Archives: Story Line and Plot

Thou Shalt not Suffer a Witch to Live

Yesterday, I spent the morning researching religion and belief systems to create the kingdom of Dagda Mead from the Kings point of view. My writing has so far been from the point of view of the Wytch – based on the old religion and paganism. I have had a problem with the Kings (and therefore the kingdoms) new religion, as I didn’t want it to be regarded as anti Christian (or other). So I set about creating my new world religion for my fantasy kingdom. This in itself is a rather large task!

Whilst researching, I received a text from a friend of mine with a link to her new website. About two years ago, they received a different kind message; one from God, to plant a church. Through prayer and hard work they are beginning to realise their work. I was excited for her, for her family, to be doing something that they believed was not just a calling, but also something that they were passionate about on the spiritual and physical levels. I checked out their website, I read everything. I texted back telling her how happy I was for them to be doing such a worthwhile thing, that they were amazing, and I wished them all well on their journey. I even tweeted a link, because I am genuinely happy for them.

My research continued. I came across a site with the title of this particular post : “What is Wrong with Witchcraft?” on Christianvoice.org.uk dated July 2013. Okay, it’s a while ago now, but the comments were still coming through as recently as this year.

In the article, the writer suggests that a Christian lady who was interviewed on a programme – BBC’s Big Questions, answered a question regarding witches, wrongly.

“In Exodus, it says “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” What do you say to that?”

Her answer was that the particular passage was from the old testament and that the new testament encourages us to love our neighbours.

The author of this piece, suggested her answer was lame, and proceeded to explain why. The whole post however, there are websites and shops, being advertised dedicated to witches, wicca, neo-pagans, and generally the pagan faith. I continued reading, and bookmarked the site so that I could return and follow the links to said witchy sites. I was after all in research mode, not shopping mode!

Excerpt:

“Firstly let me say that no Christian could support ‘trial by ordeal’ by which unfortunate women were wrongly convicted of witchcraft in our land during a period of more than two hundred years with the seventeenth century at its heart.  There must be solid evidence to be convicted of any crime.  Turning to the self-styled witch on ‘Big Questions’, where is the evidence to convict him?  Sticking a star around your neck, growing your hair and dressing in your mum’s old curtains does not come close.

However, it does seem today that we have passed from the hysteria against witchcraft of the seventeenth century to a feeling today that witches and witchcraft are benign and either a bit jolly or silly.  Certainly, no-one today could take witchcraft seriously, or say that it is any more than a bit of fun, could they?  Well, I believe we ought to examine witchcraft in our day rather more closely.”

He then goes on to state:

“I once heard Colin Dye of Kensington Temple tell a story of Christians in an outreach somewhere in Africa who were opposed by the local witch.  The opposition was on purely economic grounds, like the shrine-makers in Ephesus.  Christianity would decrease or eliminate her income.  So she cursed the missionaries with death before the morning light.  Needless to say, they stayed up all night in prayer, praying that God would be their shield and defense and that the arrows of witchcraft would be returned to sender. We can be shocked in Britain by such an approach, common as it is Africa; many of us would pray for the witch instead.  Some might go so far as to pray that God would ‘bless her’.  Show grace, they would say.  Well, these Christians prayed for protection and for the arrows to be returned to sender. (insertion of a quote from Acts 13:8) You are probably way ahead of me already.  As dawn broke, the Christians found themselves all alive and in good health.  But news soon came.  The witch was dead.  Then the news spread.  What power was here!  The village followed the Biblical Deputy and turned to Christ en masse.”

Ding Dong, the Witch is dead! How glorious for them to have such proof and now more dedicated followers. (Sorry, it irked me!)

My perception of this article was that this guy was, actually is, suggesting that witches are in fact a danger. That we have the ability to harm our enemies, that without the light of his God in our lives, we are in fact his enemy. What enemy does a witch have? Do we not live by a code, that although  is a recent writing, is still very much based upon ancient lore:

“‘An it harm none, do what thou will.” Harming none is the absolute in the earth based religion.

As I read it, he even suggested that the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, Cornwall, bought upon the floods in 2004. The museum had been there for a long time – 50 years. It brings tourist and trade from around the world, and has a huge traffic to its website. Would their God have flooded the entire area because of a museum?

I was intrigued by what I was reading. Are we bad people? Because we believe in something else, are we the enemy? It made me think about my book, about my King and the Wytches in Dagda Mead. I am happy that I came across this article, as it has helped me form opinions in the point of view of the King.  Yet maddened because he states that through prayer, Christians make a spiritual connection to their God, whereas Witches make a false spiritual connection through spells and potions. While the answer to a prayer is in Gods hands, the spell unleashes a power at the hands of the practitioner.

He also states that witchcraft is jolly and silly.

Erm, what? Which is it – do we have the power of your God or are we silly? These two statements don’t match up to me…

More importantly though, from the passages that I have copied above, you can also see that it raises serious questions in the real world. Firstly, that no Christian would support trial by ordeal (yeah, let’s not go through the witch hunter general and the burnings again), but that it is okay to pray for the death of an enemy. As is Gods will? Isn’t this how wars start?

It also raised a question in my own personal world. With my new witchcraft classes due to begin soon, if I were to message my friend of the Christian faith with my own happy news of establishing my business would she tweet a link? Would she be happy for me?

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NB: The word witch in the true translation means something else entirely than our modern day meaning of the word – apparently! As my research continued I came across this article: An Enquiry into Biblical Mistranslation over at  Proteus Coven 

Still. With all this, I got some research done, I reached the heights of spiritual outrage with opposing views and can now happily write the Kings p.o.v.  🙂

 

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Fridays Flash

I thought I would share a little excerpt from Wytch, which introduces my anti hero, Brom, to a certain extent. It’s more about the messenger, than the man himself.

It’s been a tough few weeks where my writing has been concerned.

Wytch had to take a rest, or rather, I had to take a rest from Wytch. There are several reasons for this – Story line and plot, my two heroes battling it out for stardom, and the time line (again!) It seems that when ever I solve a problem, I create a new one, sometimes even two.

So I put it away.

I worked on some short stories instead.

I worked on my joint project with my writing partner.

I caught up with boring jobs, like ironing.

I caught up with old friends for a ceremony to say goodbye to our friend.

Today, I am trying to get serious again.

I took Wytch out. I looked at my notes and have decidede that there are a few things that just aren’t quite right. I still don’t know whether this is due to my trying to combine two different stoies, or three different time lines. I’m pondering.

However, I promised Fridays Flash, and so far have only provided one. so here’s the second.

Have a fabulous weekend 🙂

 

“The child stepped gently through the red and golden leaves that now lay on the forest floor, highlighted by the light-show of crepuscular rays breaking the monotony of the trees.
She adored this time of day, walking through the woodland, listening to the world around her as it woke from a perfect night of sleep.

The job of bringing in the netting and thread from the stream down below her though, she did not like.
It was her duty as the youngest girl. To rise before her sisters and brother was almost like a punishment to her; she tried so hard to not do things wrong, to go through life quietly and carefully.
She tiptoed along the carpet of moss and stones. Seeds and dust particles circled her as she disturbed the stillness of air; tiny winged creatures hovered around as she knelt at the waters edge.
Pulling on the thread, that her sisters had weaved the previous day, she noticed there was a tension, a tension that she had never felt before, and as she pulled it tighter, winding it around the stick, three fish broke the surface of the water, attached to the hooks on the thread.
She allowed herself a giggle, anxiety released its grip from within her stomach allowing relaxation to return, usually there was only one fish, today there were three, this was why the tension was different.
Silly little girl, allowing superstitions to play games with her mind, she tried to focus on her task, and rid her mind of such foolish thoughts.
However, as she pulled at the fish, she saw that the talisman seal was broke. How could this be? She shivered, as her heartbeat quickened, what would it mean for family.
The forest lights went out, and she felt the cool air change to a hot flash.

On the floor beside her, were two hooves, almost cloaked in green fabric, she followed the skirt upwards to a brown leather corset and the woman who wore it. Her hair looked like horns and she had dark coal eyes, she was holding a finger to her lips and slowly smiled at Sala.

“I need you to go to your brother and tell him it is beginning. “
She spoke quietly but with a warm intensity, not quite a demand.
“Do you understand me, Sala?”
Sala nodded, she didn’t know exactly what this meant, but she had heard the tales about broken seals and hooven creatures. She thought her grandmother and brother were just entertaining her, she never believed it could all be true.
The woman stood, and began to make strange markings on the tree.
She glanced around at Sala and raised her voice this time.
“Go. You must go. Do it now Sala.”
Sala turned and ran, she left the fish and the thread, she left the forest, and she didn’t look back.”

 

 

 


The Wytchwood Tree

For this weeks Fridays Flash, I thought I’d give you a glimpse into the past. By looking into the past, we learn who we are in the present and also our potential for the future. I haven’t spoken much about my heroine, Emeline, so I think I might concentrate on her for a couple of weeks. Here is how she was created – In a way!

It was as though no one saw the crows, all seemed deaf to their calls, they even ignored the feathers they dropped. Rare indeed.

Not one person chose to hear their messages.

Lugi called his crows back after a while, it was no good, had the witches turned their backs? He stalked over to the Wytchwood tree and leaned his forehead against the wide trunk. Blonde and brown bark grown into narrow avenues and hills stretching up from earth to air, rough and smooth, up and down. He stroked the trunk and the tree moaned and moved, its branches shivered overhead.

Pan would not show himself. Silly boy, thought Lugi. For ones who deliver courage and strength to all who ask, they run and hide in fear when someone enters the forest, they couldn’t keep a little for themselves? The tree sighed. “Oh, who asked you.” said Lugi.

He pushed himself away from the Wytchwood and stood for a moment. “So what do we do then?”

The tree sighed again but dropped a seed.

Lugi stared at what lay at his feet.

“I couldn’t.” He spoke quietly, not taking his eyes off the seed. It was the size of a crab apple, with a smooth, brown casing. The seed within held ancient magics, if planted at the right time, and in the right place, Lugi knew that as the seed grew, and its roots sought out the nourishment of the earth, the Lullie would grow with it. A renowned female warrior, the Lullie would posses the magics of the Wytch, but also the darkness of the Woo. For every wytch born, a wytchwood was first planted.

Rare it is for a crow to drop its feathers. Rarer still that a wytchwood may drop a seed. 

His crows circled above him and called out for him to take it. Lugi remained stationary, he knew he would, but he didn’t dare pick it up.

“Do it!” a voice called from behind him. “If the Wytchwood has spoken to you, and you know how to do it, then the only thing left is to, well. Do it.” Pan stood with his chin tilted up to Lugi, his hands resting beside him with a curved bow in one. “Too cowardly am I?” he asked pursing his lips and pouting in jest. “Look at you, you’re too scared to plant a tree!” The two laughed together at the simplicity of the action, yet they both knew the dangers.

Lugi’s crows had stopped their squawking; flown south to deliver the message to the Volva.

All they needed now was the Nixen and there would be no excuse, no reason not to. Lugi looked up to the moon, its waning phase cast a shadow of concern over the bright wisdom of the Goddess. “We’ll have to wait.” said Lugi. “Yes.” Pan agreed. “We wait. We allow the wolf to pass. The stag will eventually show himself and then we will work.”

“Who do you think she will be?” Lugi stooped and picked up the seed, holding it in his hand. Such a small thing, such promise of life.  


Fridays Flash

Every Friday I’ll be posting a flash fiction or a character interview from Wytch.

A glimmer, or indeed a flash, into the story that one day, *sigh* will be finished!

This week, my first week, is Destiny-ations, a little look at Ellen, one of my minor characters, who I thought deserved a voice of her own.

My destiny was the same as my mothers.

Hers, was identical to that of her mothers before her, and so on through the ages. All identical. 

I didn’t want identical. I didn’t want the same. I didn’t want to tread where others had previously trodden. 

I am aware that there are some folk who like to walk in the footsteps of those who have since passed, to step through the echoes of time, but my life – my story, isn’t his-story, nor is it her-story. It is mine.

I was born during the Sacred Moon, just as my mother had been, and her mother before her.

Tiresome. To know that from the moment I was born, my path was awaiting those first tentative steps upon it, to carry me from that moment to my last. An identical path. It angered me.

I was no different to any other newborn, that the Water Raptures visit to deliver their fate, the only difference was that we all knew my fate. This is how it has always been in our family, destined to be the Quenes hand. Our destiny set.  

True. We are each destined. All the many roads take us to the same end, the destination of which is certain. It is the choices we make upon our travel to that end, that are not so certain. The choices determine how we arrive, whether we stroll to our destiny taking many detours, resting at the wells to drink, or rush to greet our destiny in haste and in thirst.

I have been blessed. I see those things that others can not, and I drink deeply at each well. However, it is something I had to learn.

I found my teacher, my guide, quite by chance, because of the tedium I felt about my destiny, of following in my mothers footsteps. I never bothered to look ahead, after all, I knew what lay there. Still, I was a curious child and instead of looking down in misery, I looked elsewhere, for adventure.

I peered around corners and doorways, into yards, through fences and gates. I climbed trees to find the horizon that others could not yet see, I opened boxes that sat upon shelves holding their secrets under closed lids and sometimes locks.

If I was spoken to, I rarely looked upon their face, I studied the way their hands moved as they spoke. If their hair was shiny and oiled or dirty and dry. I looked at saliva bubbling in the corners of their mouths and if their eyebrows were neat or untamed. I was always looking for something else, something that others may not see.

Out on walks, I tripped and stumbled, bruised and grazed, always because I paid attention to different things. I was 9 and returning home with lavender bread that my mother had sent me out to collect. On that journey back, through the trees that lined the stony path, the sunlight cut through the branches and stopped me in an instant. 

It had been raining and the air snapped around me, a thundery cloud above, threatened to soak the land below it once more.  It’s scent surrounded me, a primal musty smell that leaves an after taste in your mouth of damp earth. I always loved that smell, it reminds me that there is something more to where you stand at that moment, something bigger than time itself. With the smell enveloping me, and the sunlight bathing me, I felt as though I was standing in magic itself.

Dust particles danced gracefully around me, I saw flickers and orbs of colour. The branches swayed in the breeze chasing the light away. When it returned, it bought with it the sweet sweet song of the thrush. Transfixed was I, caught in the beauty of nature. Entranced by magic indeed.

Had I have not disliked my future so much and refused to look at what was in front of me. Had I have not looked up instead of straight ahead, I wouldn’t have seen that show of magic. I wouldn’t have looked around for more, and I wouldn’t have seen the gate.

The gate was small, woven from hawthorn, hazel and gorse, a simple gate, and the simple gate was ajar. Me, a rebellious child, I could not resist such a temptation to see what that gate would open to.

That gate saved me. It saved me from myself. It showed me that my path was a blessed one, regardless of the fact that the path was the same as my mothers, and her mothers before.

As I stepped over the threshold and into the garden, I was greeted by yellow flowers, green herbs, red poppies and even weeds. A host of plants, rich in fragrance, that all looked to have been planted with care, consideration and love.

I’d never met a wytch before, and when she spoke to me, I didn’t look to see if her hair was oiled or dry, I didn’t notice her eyebrows or if the saliva collected at the corners of her mouth, I simply stared at the eye. The one eye that was turned inward. It was as though someone had erased the colour, the iris, the pupil, it wasn’t turned inward. What stories had I been told!

She spoke softly, yet laughed loudly. That day, my first day of meeting her, she showed me that standing in magic was a rare treat indeed, but to walk in magic was rarer still.

She taught me that it didn’t matter that my path was the same, that all roads lead us to our end. That it was the people on our path that would make it so unique.

Such a simple notion. This woman gave me, a nine year old, time and understanding to explain the meaning of our destinies. In gratitude I left her the loaf of lavender bread, my mother was so angry with me, but it abated when she saw the difference within me regarding her life that I had to follow. 

I visited the wytch twice a week, from that day, until her death.  

Forever teaching me, guiding me, showing me how to look for the beauty in all things, even those that appeared ugly to me. She taught me about herbs and flowers. About the birds and different insects that each held their place within her garden, our land.

She taught me how to see the various avenues and lanes that branch off the main road, that each one is a choice, a possibility, an adventure. 

Throughout my life, she was the one who made my path unique. This beautiful woman taught me everything I know, she enriched my world and showed me that looking ahead is full of joy and beauty. That we need to stop and rest, to look around, to drink, so that we won’t trip or thirst. She taught me to be a witch.

Our destinies are the same, yet we are each unique.

Whilst we travel on the same road toward the same end, we can still experience different aspects that life has to offer. It doesn’t matter that someone once stood where you now stand, because it is who stood with them that counted. It is who stands with you that matters to you. It is those people who make your path worth travelling.”  

Ellen appears in Wytch at various points within the Royal storyline.

She lives at the capital city, Magda, in Dagda Mead.

She is excellent at keeping secrets, will occasionally meddle in other peoples love lives, and stands tall and strong in her convictions.

In memory of her mother and to commemorate the day in which her views of her mother changed, she bakes lavender bread at every Sacred Moon.

 


Glimpses

“I catch only a glimpse of what might have been.

The gold spark I longed to touch.

Always trying to focus on where it is going to.

Tears fall down my face, as I am reminded there is still feeling within me.

Alas, the monsters hand is finally upon my back.

It rests, I have but a moment.

I have learnt too late that there is never a reason to jump, just a reason to stay.

But I hesitated too long. I made my decision too late.

And, it is with a gentle push, that I am gone.” 

A letter written by Gold Leaf – found by Emeline.

 


Wytch Mythology

Some may call this procrastination, some may suggest it’s a much needed part of the planning. I think it’s definitely procrastination!

Let’s face it, we have paper and pencils to do this kind of a job, if it’s even required at all.

But I like to mess about and faff. It gets my left brain/right brain calibrated, and that can only be a good thing. Anyway, a good diagram into the way my worlds religion works ‘ain’t gonna kill anyone – Is it?

With that in mind, it’s time to stop playing, and get back to my writing, because actually, I do have a death scene to write, it’s a dirty job 😦

 

Wytch Hierarchy


Plot Holes

Having been quite consumed this last couple of weeks by my other project that I’m co-authoring, I haven’t spent as much time as I would have liked on Wytch.

However, this has turned into quite a good thing: One, is that while I’ve neglected my writing and blogger duties, I have been able to let my cooking pot of ideas simmer into something a little more flavour-able.

The second is that when you leave a project to rest for a while and return to it with fresh eyes, you see things that you hadn’t noticed before. As is the case for me and Wytch.

This in itself has proven to be twofold; A massive problem in one of the plot lines stared up at me with unblinking eyes. Secondly, it’s allowed my characters to show what facets of their character is lacking.

Which has led me to ask the question: are my characters driving the plot or is my plot shaping my characters.

Sure, our plot has to shape our characters, just as life shapes us, they change, we change, there’s a whole lot of growth and adapting going on! But… Which comes first? (Chicken? Egg?)

For example, one of my characters Sybille began life as the Queen, first wife of Mael.

Together they have a child, that child is Wytch – In order for Mael to not find out that Sybille has bore him a “corrupt” infant, she instructs her hand maiden, Ellen, to kill the child.

Ellen, instead, takes the child to Agnistead to be bought up by her spiritual and most faithful friend, The Chief.

Sybille then decided that she was best suited as a magical creature, rather than a human…

A Water Creature, in the disguise of a human, who tricks Mael into marrying her.

This sent me down a new road of discovery, in order to explain the affliction of the wyt, interspecies breeding could be the answer! A mundane + A magical creature, such as the Nixen or the Pan = A Wytch.

 

On top of this, the reader being allowed into this little secret from the beginning and keeping it hidden from the characters would create a feeling of involvement with the reader whilst keeping the real truth hidden from them.

I was quite happy with the way it turned out, Sybille seemed to want to be a magical creature from water, instead of a “normal” human. I took notes, I charted the plot line, I wrote.

I then got busy with my other project. (So exciting! Can’t wait to tell you all about that!)

After my couple of weeks break from Wytch, I realised with dramatised horror that there was an almighty plot hole. (This would be the unblinking eyes I spoke of above)

Whether Sybille is a magical creature or not, how the hell do I explain the baby? Yes, the baby born with wyt is an interspecies, Meal must not learn that he has fathered a wytch child. (so far, all fine!) Sybille instructs Ellen to take the child and kill her, (yep, sure.)

Where’s the body?

Surely the King would expect a body of his first child, the princess, to be available to him to say goodbye, to bury her. Wouldn’t he?

I don’t like loop holes. And that’s a great big bloody chasm!

But it’s okay. After all, Sybille is a water creature, a Nixen. She has magical friends from the other quarters of Air, Earth and Fire. And what are these creatures if not magical? Magic is the key!

Whilst it is true that I don’t like using magic to explain away plot holes, where reason and logic can be applied. I also don’t like those plot holes that can’t have reason and logic applied to them. The only answer here is magic.

Of course, the book itself is about magic, and the mundane worlds view of it. Therefore, this is a perfect example to add to why Mael wants rid of it; why he is working so hard to extract it from his kingdom.

This will give him a far deeper need to drive his story forward, it will also give him more emotional conflict when faced with the decision of killing his daughter when they finally meet.

The Kings character now, seems more fleshed out, more emotive, and I have actually started to feel a little happier with him now than I ever did before. It felt, for a while, that he was just beyond my reach, aloof even.

From one character changing the plot (Sybille), to the plot in turn changing another character (Mael).

(I think this means that the chicken came first!)

It has also allowed me to create a new story line within a story. And I like it when that happens 🙂

Rest is always good for the writer. I hope it proves good for the reader too!

Have a great weekend all of you, whether that means writing, or resting…

 


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