Piece for Critique from Tiara Schrombeck

Today’s post is a first for ATWC, and one I never actually thought of doing. Offering up pieces for your critique. Tiara contacted me with this and asked for exactly that!

Please keep comments constructive!

Tell her it was Stanley. Tell them all that it was Stanley.

Ann’s last words had made no sense to any of her ladies, or the physician’s around her. The priest that gave her her last rights had patted her hand, and looked up at Richard with questioning eyes. It made no sense to any of them. But Richard knew exactly what Ann meant. He knew exactly what she wanted him to do. To the ever calculating Richard, the knowledge Ann’s ladies as well as the priest had heard her dying command gave credence to the events that were about to unfold.

Tell them all that it was Stanley.

Ann’s command had broken through his grief. It filled him with a sense of resolve, and to be honest a sense of relief, about what he had to do. Richard was a soldier. He did his best when he was given orders to carry out. Ann knew this because she knew him better than anyone else. Her last act of love towards her husband was to give him this command. She had given him her blessing. She had given him a way to explain what had happened to the boys who had been in his charge. Richard had never considered placing the blame for the boys’ death on anyone but himself and the men who had convinced to do it. He was not the type of man to cast his sins onto others. The boys had weighed heavily on his mind. They were always waiting in the background to remind him that any path he took had to involve them in some way. Ann had solved this problem for Richard. She had, as she always had before, given him hope in a bleak and desperate situation. She had never acknowledged to Richard that she knew what he had done to his nephews, she didn’t need to. Ann had known Richard better than anyone could ever possibly know him. She had known the day he came back from The Tower what had happened there. He had looked at her with his soldiers stare, hiding any emotion he may have felt. She had walked over to him, put her hand on his face and simply said, “What’s done is done” before going back to sit by the fire and warm her ever-thinning frame.

Tell her it was Stanley

Elizabeth’s angry accusations and complete disrespect of him as her King and as her Uncle still riled up Richard. He had wanted to both strike the young woman and grab her in a comforting embrace when she had finally worked up the courage to confront him about what she was hearing had been the fate of her young brothers. She had walked up to Richard and Ann, sitting idly by the fire playing cards and talking about random events in their shared youth. “What did you do to them?”, Elizabeth spoke barely above a whisper but it seemed as if everybody in the room could hear what she had to say. All eyes had turned towards the trio, even though those eyes would not dare to look directly at Richard.

I'm a lover of all things Tudor, and historical - fiction or fact. My aim is to bring together writers of all calibers to share their work with like minded people!

3 thoughts on “Piece for Critique from Tiara Schrombeck

  1. Richard III and Ann Neville, I assume? And Elizabeth of York? Always good to see a new take on these characters. Most fiction since “The Sunne in Splendour” seems to take the stance that Richard was innocent of his nephews’ murder, so it’s interesting to see a version where he actually dunnit. I like the details of the priest patting Ann’s hand, and the Richard and Ann playing cards by the fire. Richard’s role as a soldier, Ann’s as dutiful wife, and Elizabeth’s as angry young woman, come across very clearly.

    But for me, there was a certain distance that detracted from the scene. Is there a reason you chose to use past perfect tense (“Ann’s last words had made no sense”) instead of simple past (“Ann’s last words made no sense”)? Especially if this is an opening scene, you want the reader to feel engaged straight awayt. Even if this takes place before the main action, you could still use simple past, and maybe include it as a prologue.

    I would have liked a few more period details to paint in the background to the scene. For example, what is Ann wearing when she dies? What type of oil did the priest use? How big is the room in which Elizabeth strides towards Richard and Ann? Are there furnishings, tapestries? Who else is watching as she accuses them?

    Also: “last rites” not “last rights”.

    Hope this is helpful. I’m intrigued to see where you go with this.

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  2. This is one of my favourite subject areas – Richard is someone I’ve always been interested in, and him being responsible for killing the boys has never made any sense to me because he had no need to do it. I love the premise of your story. Constructive comments: I always overuse the word ‘had’ when I’m writing, so I notice it when others do it too – you could probably lose quite a few of them – and that would also help to change some of it into the active voice, which would make it read a bit better. I hope that’s helpful – and I hope you finish telling the story – I’d like to read the rest!

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