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Posted by U14641775 (U14641775) on Friday, 8th October 2010
The opening of a story... I am undecided as to whether or not to continue it...any thoughts would be much appreciated. Em.
The villa sat by the southern cliffs of Corsica, about seven miles from the town of Bonifacio. Its creamy stone walls, its domed roof and smooth, swooping arches filled the residence with a feeling of space, beauty and calm. From the villa’s cloistered courtyard ran a path that meandered along the cliff tops all the way to a tiny walled chapel. Hidden beneath the chapel was a crypt, in which lay the tomb of ‘Santa Giulia da Corsica’ a virgin martyr. Thick trees enfolded the chapel, with the exception of the front, which had a fine view of the ocean. The forest extended on one side almost to the edges of the cliff, its serried ranks glowering down upon the tumbled wave-drenched rocks at the foot the crags.
Also enveloped in woodland, was a small castle, possessing only a tower, a main building, and two prison cells below ground. The castle was inhabited by a reclusive Italian knight and his son. They were rarely seen in town, and passed their time scowling down from their keep with haughty contempt at the trees and stones which made up their kingdom. Further inland, behind the forest and the castle, stretched row upon row of grape vines. In the summer they thrived and were laden with grapes of magnificent purples and reds, producing the best wines in Italy.
The resident of the villa was not himself Italian but liked to believe he knew the language, the island and the people as well as a native. Dominic Leclerc was a widower of sixteen years and father of nineteen year old Matilde. He had retired to Corsica from Paris and enjoyed the quiet, comfortable life that he led, although he missed the company of his family. So, when his brother in law from Paris requested that his daughter stay with the Leclercs for several months, due to his wife’s contagious illness, Signor Leclerc was only too happy to oblige.
Camila Fontaine was admired by all who saw her. Her soft cloud of golden hair cascaded down her delicate figure to her waist and her eyes were as blue as the sky. She played the piano and the harp and her voice was that of a nightingale. She could draw and dance and she loved languages, being fluent in both English and Italian. She dressed fashionably and had a lively interest in the world around her. Although Camila was loathe to leave her mother, dreams of Italian romances and cliff-top walks drew her to them, and she left for Corsica without complaint.
Upon arrival at the villa, Camila was immediately made to feel comfortable; her apartment was spacious and light, her cousin high spirited, pretty and intelligent, and her host was jovial and hospitable, though a little self indulgent when it came to good Italian wine. The cliff path almost instantly caught her attention and she resolved to venture forth along it as soon as an opportunity arose. During her first two days she was shown all over the town and countryside by her uncle and cousin. However, on the third day she was finally at leisure to explore the surrounding area as she pleased. Matilde was visiting a friend and Signor Leclerc was inland on business. Camila had assured them both that she was perfectly happy to remain on her own for the afternoon at least.
It was high summer and the weather was sultry and hot, so that Camila was glad to reach the shade of the trees near the chapel. Inside the building were a few benches, an altar and a crucifix. The place was tranquil, though a little dim and Camila resolved to return often to the chapel to pray for her mother. As the days and weeks passed, Camila frequently ambled up the path to the chapel, sometimes with Matilde, but more often alone. Occasionally, through the trees, she saw a solitary figure heading, Camila assumed, towards the castle in the distance.
Posted by English Host (U1934188) on Monday, 11th October 2010
Hey Em - welcome to Blast! BTW if you want to change your nickname so it's not just a U-Number, you can change it in settings.
This is a wonderfully evocative opening to a story. I love the idea of the knight that no one ever sees and the wild Corsican landscape. That son of his sounds promising too. There's the faintest whiff of fairy tale about this - and I love it. I also really like the detail - like the saint's tomb, the thick forest and the ocean. I am guessing that if this isn't a real place, it is certainly imagined from reality?
I do find myself wondering whether you might try re-ordering the paragraphs though. We open with a lovely description of the place, and I wouldn't want to lose it, but I think that we will appreciate it even more if we start with a character - or even better, some action.
By 'action' I don't necessarily mean Indiana Jones type stuff, but just a character doing something - perhaps Camilla arriving at the villa. That way we can see the landscape and the area through her eyes, and we will automatically be even more engrossed in the story.
I'm slightly worried about Camilla's mothe having a 'contagious' illness - wouldn't Dominic be scared of catching it himself?
But this is nit-picking. I'm really loving this wild and romantic place, and I shall love the characters too, when we finally get up close to them.
Since you're new around here, perhaps you could introduce yourself a little? We'd love to be able to welcome you properly. I, by the way, am Sandra, the host around here - it's going to be a pleasure to have you on board.
Posted by U14641775 (U14641775) on Tuesday, 16th November 2010
Sorry that I too such a long time to reply to this, I was away for half term and then kept coming on when the message board was closed.
Thank you so much for you comments, I think I might start with Camila's uncle, becasue I dont really want to leave the island at all.
Your'e right about her mother, although, I cant think of another reason to send her away...
By way of introduction, I'm Em. I discovered Blast a few months a go and i think its a really good idea...I have just finished doing my English GCSE early and am trying to write a novel with my cousin. Not much else thats relevant...I have knobbly knees (?!)
Posted by English Host (U1934188) on Wednesday, 17th November 2010
Hey Em - you may be wondering why everything's a bit quiet around here. It's because, sadly, Blast is having to close. HOWEVER, we on the message boards are not losing each other - we're moving, lock, stock and barrel, over to Bitesize, which, since you've just been doing GCSEs, you may already know. You'll find us all over there - I'd be delighted if you could cut and paste your first sections into Bitesize so we can all start reading it again there. You'll find us here: