A good raconteur makes a long story short and entertaining. A good storyteller makes a short story and turns it into a long story, aka a novel. Aren’t y’all glad I’m not a raconteur? Anyway, today’s #1lineWed THEME is **LONG**. Now, I write romance. Sometimes, I write down and dirty romance. And there’s that whole size matters discussion so you know my brain went there…like…immediately. However, I decided to share the short beginning of a very long story instead. As this is the start, it shouldn’t need any explanation. If it does, I need some serious rewriting!
Brian “Boru” O’Hara was a wily old Wolf. At the age of sixteen, his parents shipped him out of Belfast during the Troubles and he landed in Boston on the first day of the first month of the year of 1969. A distant cousin, a small-time hood, took him in. That was a momentous year for the Irish teen. In July, the US put a man on the moon and Brian got his first taste of running numbers in South Boston. A big lad, he moved on to a bit of leg-breaking and breaking-and-entering, but generally kept his head down. He mostly stayed up-wind of the likes of Whitey Bolger and the McLaughlin brothers, the Mullens, the Killeens and the Winter Hill gang. He managed to skirt the edges of all of them. Brian O’Hara was known as a stand-up guy and it was Whitey himself who gave the lad the moniker of Boru.
“Just like Brian Boru taking over t’be the king of Ireland, this lad will be king of Boston before he’s done,” Whitey told a group of his associates. “And he’s as loyal as the day is long.”
That last part was true. If Brian was on the payroll, he was loyal and that worked to his advantage.
At twenty-two, he met, courted and claimed his mate, a lively Irish lass with hair the color of a sunset, freckles on her nose, and a love of dancing. They were married in Saint Brigid’s Catholic Church in 1975, in the middle of a mob war. As a testament to Brian’s standing with the various factions, they called a cease fire for the festivities.
Eventually, Glenna presented him with two beautiful daughters, Bernadette and Noreen, who in turn married good Irish American boys—one a doctor and one a lawyer, both of whom wisely ignored their father-in-law’s less-than-legal enterprises. He had a passel of grandchildren, Glenna and their daughters were still beautiful, and he’d lived a prosperous life.
He’d stayed in the background, waiting and watching. On his 66th birthday, with his family and friends gathered to celebrate, Brian retired to his study around nine o’clock. He didn’t call in either of his sons-in-law. No, he summoned a man he considered his son—of the heart if not of blood. Ronan O’Connor arrived with a bottle of good Irish whiskey. The two men remained closeted behind the closed door for over an hour.
Late in the night, after the food and the festivities, and after Glenna danced a jig with the old man, Ronan walked alone into the chilly Boston night, Brian’s words still ringing in his ears. “It’s time, boyo. Go take what is ours.”
Yeah, yeah. I realize that’s quite a bit of telling rather than showing but that’s what fits the narrative, the timeline, and the story. Chapter 1 gets off to a banging start. 😉 Writers, any long words to share? And readers, which do you prefer short stories/novellas or full-length, ie. long, novels?
Ooo, I love it! Personally, I like a bit of telling every now and then. Mix it up. Stir it in. Makes a better stew, if you ask me. ;o) And that’s some good stew there.
As a reader, and as a writer, I prefer long to short. Short stories always leave me wanting as a reader. As a writer, I always have more to say than a short story allows.
Here’s a bit of Song of Storm and Shroud (Untitled Fantasy, if your readers want to know) with ‘long’ in it…
He longed to rail against their fate. Lyra should’ve been the twin invited to train at the Academy. Her heart belonged within these stone walls. His would rather be back home, hunting the woods, or tilling behind their sturdy oxen, or chasing hares through the fields. If the choice had been Lyra’s, she would’ve given her right hand to take his place, just as he would’ve given his left hand to stay at home.
But she would never say so.
He’d said as much every day since the stranger had stopped at their farm near Northunder for water. The man… an envoy of King Herin… had been searching all across the Shroudlands for souls who held the magic.
The envoy had discovered a single soul during his stop. His soul. Not hers.
Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered whether either twin had argued vehemently for what they wished. They’d had no choice. Aryl possessed the magic from their twinning, not Lyra. They wanted him, not her.
The wagon master’s whistle shrilled in the air once more. Their parents had long since said their goodbyes and gone. Their mother had given him a kiss in front of the other boys, while Da ruffled his hair and slapped him hard on the back. The pride in his parents’ eyes had shown like the bright stars in the Hunter’s Bow. And he’d felt like a charlatan. Once the keepers of this place had closed the metal gate separating him from his family so he could begin this new life, the feeling deepened.
He wasn’t a mage worth much of anything. No amount of training could make him one, no matter what the envoy’s magic said. The enchantment laid upon the man had been woven to seek out those worthy of entering the Academy to be trained for battle. Everyone gasped as Aryl glowed, including Aryl. It wasn’t fair. He didn’t want this. He wanted to be on the caravan headed home.
Have I mentioned I LOVE the title?!?! And I’m totally going to devour this book. Sooo good. Poor Aryl. He’s such a reluctant hero–often the very best kind! ❤
Good to know! I’ll try to give you a variety. 😉
Story length doesn’t matter as long as I can read it. Yes, some stories are too long and others are too short, but that’s what the imagination is for. Loved both excerpts.
Yay and thanks! I totally agree. The story needs to be the length to tell the story. Some are short. Some are long. Some just won’t shut up and they become a series. LOLOL