Trunk novels. We all have them. Very few writers publish their first book. And that's okay! No novel is a waste. This is how we grow and improve, right? But let's face it, those early works can sometimes bring a cringe of shame. And that is what I present to you today. Not just a trunk novel. THE trunk novel.
Today I take you all the way back to 2005, to the very VERY first novel I ever began. You'll note I say "began," because I never actually finished this book. And the world is a better place because of that. This novel never made it past page 40, though I edited and rewrote those 40 pages half a dozen times. And yet, for all my efforts, I couldn't make myself *not* want to punch my MC in the throat. To be honest, the book sucked.
But it wasn't all for nothing! Something good did come out of the dull, obnoxious, info-dumpy mass of pages. And that was the idea of magical relics, an idea which you should be familiar with, if you know anything about my debut novel.
Yes, it's true. These first awkward, embarrassingly bad attempts at writing yielded a concept which would get me my first contract.
But we didn't come here for a warm, fuzzy "no work is in vain" moment. You guys want the humiliation. So without further ado, I present a passage from The Trunk Novel of all Trunk Novels, which I lovingly refer to as "The Magic Twin Princesses Novel." The title pretty much says it all. But other than that, you should know that the father of said Twin Princesses is dying and has called his daughters before him.
Enjoy and you're welcome.
“Rose. Camellia. My daughters. I am sorry that it has come to this,” he croaked. Rose gave him more to drink. “Surely you must know by now that I am dying.”
Rose felt her throat tighten. Camellia already had tears glistening on the corners of her eyes.
“One of you must take my place to carry on the Coren dynasty.”
There was a very long pause. Both of the girls had dreaded the thought and never spoken it to each other.
“Do not be afraid,” he continued, “There have been fine Empresses in our past such as . . .” The Emperor gazed at the wall, his mind perplexed with something.
“Empresses such as Drucilla Coren,” Rose offered.
The Emperor nodded slowly again. “Rose, my girl, you always knew your history of the Corenian Empire.” He smiled weakly and coughed. To his daughters’ dismay, despite his failing memory of history, Coren remembered the task at hand. “One of you must take my place. Take the Staff.”
His hand made a motion to his right. There, in a marble alcove, built since the Emperor’s illness, stood the brilliant Soltarian Staff.
Rose’s breath trembled ever so slightly, and she felt the tightness in her throat. The staff itself was carved from the finest, strongest trees in Tove. It had then been plated in gold from the Treeland Alps. Narabian jewels were encrusted in dazzling patterns down the staff. The Corenian Emperors were always eager to emphasize the fact that these countries and all their finery belong to them.
Though, the glory of the Soltarian Staff was clearly the centerpiece. From the top of the staff rose a glimmering pearl unicorn horn. The only whole, unblemished magical object ever to be unearthed shone from the top of the staff, so close to Rose and Camellia that it seemed ridiculous. There stood the most coveted and legendary magical piece in history. It alone had ensured the dominance of the Corenian Emperors.
Named Soltarian for it’s solitary status in power the Staff was so sacred to the Emperors that no one even knew what it looked like, unless they were one of the privileged few who had seen it with their own eyes. The Staff now existed as the only magical relic remaining in the Empire.
“So important,” Coren said, almost to himself. His eyes suddenly fixed on the Staff.
“Father?” Camellia asked hesitantly.
But their father drifted into memory.
Twelve years before Xavier Coren the 11th faced a terrible reality, one that threatened to destroy everything his ancestors had built over the centuries. So long ago, when the pristine horn of the Soltarian Staff fell into the hands of Alexander Coren the 5th the Corenian Empire was born. Alexander Coren wielded the supreme power of the Staff to solidify control on all borders. The magic of the Soltarian Staff bought peace for half of the world and they prospered.
Jageth Coren the 7th initiated a mass mining enterprise and magic, once belonging only to the strong, became available to all. For hundreds of years citizens of the Corenian Empire used magic relics to help them harvest corn and scrub dirty clothes. The Corens condoned such magic. And before long relics could be found in every corner of the Empire.
Unfortunately, power cannot be contained for long. On a pouring summer morning a messenger burst into the Court. With his clothes still drenched, the breathless page choked a deadly message to the Emperor, Xavier Coren the 11th. An unfathomable danger had been created in the North.
“Magic had to be banned!” cried Coren so suddenly, and so loudly that Rose and Camellia both jumped in their seats. Heaving coughs shook the Emperor.
Camellia clasped her father’s trembling hands. “Rose, some water,” she said, and her sister again brought the goblet to his mouth.
“Magic had to be banned,” he repeated weakly.
“Yes father, we know. It was the only way.”
* * *
Renee is a YA writer and professional ponderer. She loves historical settings, fantasy, and semi-tragic romance. RELIC is her first novel, now available from Entangled Teen!