Thanks very much for sending this story to Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Unfortunately, it's not quite right for us. While I loved the character of Mistress Shoemaker, I wished the story had been told from the perspective of her or Sir Draw, to truly draw me in to the action.

Wow. I am deeply grateful for such thoughtful and detailed feedback from @BCSMagazine. Read. Donate.

Now to rewrite the story.

(Rubs hands with glee.)

The story occurs before the events in The Forge by about nineteen years. In part, it’s about one of the Red Ranger’s squires and a lesson they learned.

From the comment, however, my original focus on the squire was a mistake. The squire’s story stems from the central conflict between a displaced knight and an innkeeper. I think the comment stems from the way the squire’s conflict is merely adopted, not essential: it’s a cause the squire takes up.

In retrospect, this could be seen as a face-palmingly obvious mistake. Or. It could be seen as some missing exposition.

The fun part of doing this rewrite is the way the story is wedged into the overall Tales of the Red Ranger universe. It almost feels like journalism: the events are fixed, and I have to provide a coherent narrative arc so the reader can follow them.

I cling to this little scrap of comfort tightly. I’ve got seven non-fiction books. Working my way into fiction involves learning how to chart the course between vaguely weird and ponderously pedantic. Exhaustive enumerations of details are required for a book on computer programming, but the approach lacks drama; I’m trying to step away from unvarnished bullet lists.

Sometimes, I fantasize about #sff written like computer programming books. There would be bullet lists of what’s going to happen and how the events in this chapter intersect with events in previous chapters. There could be character summaries at the ends of chapters. Chapters would have detailed, nested subsections. It could be wild, but, it could also be kind of tedious.

Shifting the focus of this story to the innkeeper appeals to me. I don’t think I have the skills to describe the charismatic failures of Sir Draw without devolving into farce. Too much exposition would erase what little sympathy the readers have for him.