On the Road in 1471 – WIPpet Wednesday

It’s that time of the week again – WIPpet Wednesday! So, for the 6th March I’m sharing the last six paragraphs from chapter six of my children’s novel, Time Shifters. I’ll set the scene: Maisie and Lizzie have been time shifted to April 1471, they’ve left the relative safety of Warwick Castle and are following the Earl of Warwick’s army towards the Battle of Barnet in the belief that Maisie’s best friend, Danny, has been caught up with the soldiers. The army is well ahead of them and they’re walking through a wood on their own when they hear voices and a creak of wheels behind them…

I dragged Lizzie into the undergrowth at the side of the road and we huddled behind a tree. A skinny horse appeared round the bend in the path pulling a covered wagon. The horse’s mane was matted with dirt and its grey coat stained with mud. A man as dirty and skinny as the horse held the reins at the front of the wagon. A girl younger than us sat next to him. The man talked to someone inside the wagon and a woman’s voice answered him. “We have to stop, I need a piss!”

“We’ll never get there,” the man said, scowling as he reigned in the horse. It didn’t take much persuading for the poor horse to stop. It dropped its head and searched the ground for grass. A woman in a brown dress eased herself down from the back of the wagon.

“If we’re late we’ll miss a days pay,” the man muttered. The girl next to him nodded. The woman disappeared behind the wagon.

“Are they, like, gypsies?” Lizzie whispered.

I shrugged. They looked like they had a hard life whoever they were. I wondered where they were heading and what they were going to be late for.

“Let’s ask them where the nearest town is,” Lizzie said, and before I could stop her she’d stepped out from the cover of the tree.

Got a WIP  to share? Link an extract of your WIP to the date – so today you could post six words, lines or paragraphs from page six or chapter six – and then make sure you add your post to the linkie over on the talented K. L. Schwengel’s blog. This week’s lovely WIPpeteers so far include:

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  1. This is really exciting Kate. I’d love to read it when you publish it. I like the idea of time travel and dangerous situations – they’re always appealing. You set the scene well with the images of the children hiding away and them seeing the wagon and its occupants. It creates tension; the children don’t know what’s going to happen next. Will the occupants of the wagon discover them? And there’s the mystery of what the people the children are watching are up to.

    I would like to be able to write historical fiction – I know yours is a fantasy tale but it does have some history in it. I just feel I know next to nothing about history so wouldn’t be well qualified to write about it. I wonder what your thoughts are on historical research? I would like to know how to go about it. I’ve read a lot of historical fiction and I enjoy it. Ideally I’d like to try writing fiction with a historical bent, even if it’s fantasy with an element of history to it.

    • Thanks as always for your kind comments, Elaine. I’ve always loved history, particularly the unsavoury side to history (I would have loved Horrible Histories when I was a kid). For Time Shifters I just did a lot of reading about the times I was planning on writing about – the food, clothes, battles, looked at old maps of London and visited places such as Warwick Castle. I’ve loved writing Time Shifters even more so than The Butterfly Storm – I guess it’s the mix of fantasy, history and adventure that really appeals to me. :-)

  2. I love the character that acts first and thinks second. You paint a picture of this bedraggled family beautifully in this WIPpet and already I’m asking questions… Where are they going? What impact will they have on the story?… I’m really enjoying these WIPpets!

    • Excellent that you’re enjoying these WIPpets and it’s left you asking questions and wondering about what will happen – just what I wanted from the end of a chapter. :-)

  3. I like how Lizzie still talks like a 21st century kid even though they’re way back in time. It’s been fun seeing snippets of your story! Do you have a synopsis written up somewhere online I could check out?

    • The only synopsis I have online is the one under ‘novels’ in the navigation bar above. Although it’s more of a taster of what to expect from the book rather than a full synopsis. I’m pleased that you’re finding these snippets fun!

  4. This excerpt has left me going, “Noo, Lizzie, terrible idea!” Though it’s the sort of thing that may work out very well for them and you’ve left us in such a such a good spot that I’m asking all these questions!

    • I’ve tried to make sure all my chapter endings will hook a reader into wanting to know what happens next, so I’m glad you thought it finished at a good place. Thanks for reading it, Emily.

  5. I agree with what everyone else said. 😉 I love that Lizzie is so . . . naive? I think she’s going to get them into a lot of trouble.

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