Blog for new project: Historical Fiction of Three Kingdoms

Fan art, illustrations, poetry, music, photography, and more.

Blog for new project: Historical Fiction of Three Kingdoms

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:39 pm

So given that I now have three months off in the summer from University and mind numbing full time office work monday to friday (and equally repetitive parties and drinks on the weekend, does life sometimes feel like a Sims game to you? ....well...I guess that was the point of Sims...but I digress) I've decided to channel my creative energy into attempting to write a....I'll say novella though I don't want to be ambitious.

Basically I want to write, in the style of historical fiction (ie. Erich Maria Remarque, Conn Iggulden and Bernard Cornwell) a story based on early three kingdoms. Mostly focusing on Cao Cao's campaigns against Yuan Shao and his children. It'll be multiple POVs, I plan to have the story begin during the climax of Liu Bei's rebellion/Dong Cheng's plot against Cao Cao, and end with the execution of Yuan Shang and Xi by Gongsun Kang. I've also appropriated some of Cao Cao's poetry which I'll splice into the story.


I've just finished the first like....two paragraphs and will post them up for critique once I complete the chapter. I've decided upon Cao Cao, Cao Ren, Yuan Shang or Yuan Xi (leaning towards Yuan Xi right now) and Guan Yu as definite POV characters. Also considering Guo Jia, Zhang He, Liu Bei, Ju Shou.
User avatar
Crazedmongoose
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 1509
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:10 am
Location: Sydney, Aus

Re: Blog for new project: Historical Fiction of Three Kingdoms

Unread postby James » Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:00 am

Sounds like an interesting project.
I'm looking forward to reading the beginning.
Kongming’s Archives – Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel, History and Games
“ They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
  — Ben Franklin
User avatar
James
Sausaged Fish
Sausaged Fish
 
Posts: 17998
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2002 3:21 pm
Location: Happy Valley, UT

Re: Blog for new project: Historical Fiction of Three Kingdoms

Unread postby Shu Ryorin » Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:16 am

Yes, that definitely sounds interesting! I shall look forward to it! :D
"Only dummies call people dummy, dummy!"
-some fairy in "Breath of Fire III"

Grad school is hard, you guys.
User avatar
Shu Ryorin
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 1480
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2003 7:32 am
Location: Canada, wandering the less-frozen-than-Alaska-but-still-cold wastes of grad school

Re: Blog for new project: Historical Fiction of Three Kingdoms

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:41 pm

weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee finished first bit (I wouldn't say chapter, just intro and first POV bit)


<<excerpt removed>>
Last edited by Crazedmongoose on Sun Dec 06, 2009 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Crazedmongoose
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 1509
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:10 am
Location: Sydney, Aus

Re: Blog for new project: Historical Fiction of Three Kingdoms

Unread postby Sun Fin » Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:43 pm

Crazedmongoose wrote:Basically I want to write, in the style of historical fiction (ie. Erich Maria Remarque, Conn Iggulden and Bernard Cornwell) a story based on early three kingdoms. Mostly focusing on Cao Cao's campaigns against Yuan Shao and his children. It'll be multiple POVs, I plan to have the story begin during the climax of Liu Bei's rebellion/Dong Cheng's plot against Cao Cao, and end with the execution of Yuan Shang and Xi by Gongsun Kang. I've also appropriated some of Cao Cao's poetry which I'll splice into the story.


Sounds good to me, Bernard Cornwall's my favourite author so if you can get near his style I'd be estatic. But yeah I also write historical fiction (as a few people online might remember) so if you want to talk over idea's or anything I'll be around.
Have a question about a book or academic article before you buy it? Maybe I have it!
Check out my library here for a list of Chinese history resources I have on hand!
User avatar
Sun Fin
Librarian of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 7734
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 9:20 pm
Location: Vicar Factory

Re: Blog for new project: Historical Fiction of Three Kingdoms

Unread postby HowSwiftThySword » Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:38 pm

Exquisite. Very promising. But I think that it can be further improved.
These:
“You’re the Tiger Guards I assume? So the Cao bastard has sent his dogs, and you must be Xu Chu, the biggest and stupidest of the dogs…”

In as few as fifteen years, the capital of the once eternal Han Dynasty has bled often and with a macabre extravagance. The momentous yellow turban rebellions saw hundreds of activists and commoners ruthlessly purged. Eunuchs and gentry spent the better part of a decade murdering each other. The capital city at Luo Yang was burnt to the ground, its population of over a million exiled west. The capital city at Chang An was torn apart by civil strife, and the people moved east again. It seems the young emperor carried a curse withering every city he touched even as the provinces of the empire spiraled into war around him. And now, in the new safe haven of Xu Chang, on this eve, the strands of fate converge and demands blood will flow in the streets again. Only now it’s not the blood of commoners, eunuchs, gentry or even nobles.

Can be improved.
For the briefest moment Ji Ben’s eyes shifted nervously. There it is, thought Guo, the flicker of weakness. These self righteous Han loyalists and Confucian gentry disgusted him. They could write entire volumes and insult others patronizingly for hours about ethics and won’t even consider for one moment the wellbeing of their peers and families. As if dying for a just cause but achieving nothing, and leaving loved ones behind was righteous, was moral. Here’s another one, who put his entire family in danger without any prior consideration for their wellbeing.
This part I loved.
If you want, I can proofread your posts.
Quote of the Day:

"Someday I'll strangle you with your own beard, Cao Cao!" - Dong Zhou
HowSwiftThySword
Scholar
 
Posts: 335
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:14 pm
Location: Beirut, Lebanon

Re: Blog for new project: Historical Fiction of Three Kingdoms

Unread postby Shu Ryorin » Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:56 pm

Very nice! :D

There are a few parts that I think could be written a bit more clearly, but this is definitely way better than anything I could write unedited!
"Only dummies call people dummy, dummy!"
-some fairy in "Breath of Fire III"

Grad school is hard, you guys.
User avatar
Shu Ryorin
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 1480
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2003 7:32 am
Location: Canada, wandering the less-frozen-than-Alaska-but-still-cold wastes of grad school

Re: Blog for new project: Historical Fiction of Three Kingdoms

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Sun Dec 06, 2009 1:02 pm

Haha, i just got solidly taken apart by my friend who is excellent at Linguistics and Literature and I fully see what he means now. I'm taking off the bit I posted up (currently halfway through the second POV, each chapter is about 3-6 POV bits) and rewriting it.
User avatar
Crazedmongoose
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 1509
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:10 am
Location: Sydney, Aus

Re: Blog for new project: Historical Fiction of Three Kingdoms

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:39 am

Okay, second POV bit done. Doing third now. Thought about editing all of it thoroughly but couldn't be bothered. I think momentum is more important in writing. So from now on I'll stop removing them.

Here it is, from the beginning:

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The capital of Imperial China is bleeding.

The slow beating heart of the most populous empire in the world, a city swathed in the robes of winter, stands once again on the brink of chaos.

In as few as fifteen years, the capital of the once eternal Han Dynasty bled often. Luo Yang was burnt to the ground, Chang An was torn apart by civil strife, and their people suffered accordingly. It seems the young emperor carried a curse, withering every city he touched even as the provinces of the empire spiraled into war around him. And now in the new capital of Xu Chang, the strands of fate converge on this eve. Blood will flow in the streets again. Only now it’s not the blood of commoners, eunuchs, gentry or even nobles.

It’s the blood of royalty.

January 200AD, Xu Chang, Yan Province


Guo Jia (Style Name : Fengxiao )

Uncomfortable heat permeates the dungeons of Xu Chang, stark contrast to the bitter chill of the winter's night. Amongst the fetid and unshaven pens of convicted killers, rapists and thieves sat two nervous men in conspicuously fine clothing. The younger one bore the unmistakable appearance of gentry. His silk headband and refined jaw line granting the curious prisoners a sight rarely seen.

Beyond the rotting wooden prison bars was a troupe of striking men in their thirties. Four of them had tattoos of tigers upon their cheeks and wore full scale armour even in a heat which has other men stripping off their shirts in minutes. In this era of plague and famine, all four were of unnatural stature and towered over the prisoners. Three of them stood at least six feet. Their leader is even more remarkable, standing nearly eight feet and so large that had he not been bare from the waist up one must mistake him for being obese. Yet every inch of his frame was packed with massive plates of muscle. His body was tattooed to resemble that of an enormous white striped tiger, yet in truth he looked closer to a bear than anything else.
One of the men was away laying out a fascinating array of torture instruments, the sights of which made the prisoners shiver. Yet the elder of the two well dressed men stood defiant as ever, and spoke.

“You’re the Tiger Guards I assume? So the bastard Cao has sent his dogs. You must be Xu Chu, the biggest and thickest of the pack…”

The younger gentry winced at the thought of the giant man’s retribution. Yet Xu Chu made no move, only slowly replying in a deep and genial voice.

“Doctor, I respect your trade and do not mind what you call me…I’ve never had a lot of education or honest work I guess…but slander the chancellor once more and I will skin you with my bare hands”

The last man of the troupe, a thin man wearing a rich silk robe who could be considered handsome if he didn’t look so sickly, put his hand on the giant’s arm.

“Leave it for now, open the cell door, we’ll start with the respected doctor”

The older man was dragged out of the cell and tied to a wooden post. Even as his younger companion looked close to fainting the older man was loud and insulting as ever.

“So, you’re the brain basket Guo Jia? Hmph, selling your wisdom for a handful of coins, a waste of your mother’s womb I say, not feeling well I guess? Take it from somebody in the trade; you won’t make it past forty”

Ignoring him, Guo Jia announced.

“Ji Ben, you’ve been arrested for attempting to murder Chancellor Cao via poison, the charge for which is treason. The penalty of this I’m sure you’re aware is execution of your entire clan spanning three generations .”

For the briefest moment Ji Ben’s eyes shifted nervously. There it is, thought Guo, the flicker of weakness. These self righteous Han loyalists and Confucian gentry disgusted him. They could write entire volumes and insult others patronizingly for hours about ethics and won’t even consider for one moment the lives of their peers and families. As if dying for a just cause but achieving nothing, and leaving loved ones behind was righteous, was moral. Here’s another one, who put his entire family in danger without any prior consideration for their wellbeing.

Guo leant closer. “If I can be convinced that you were….coerced, into treason by a conspiracy, I will see to it your family is spared and well taken care of, your children deserve a chance doctor.”

Ji Ben hardened his nerve and muttered “One can’t be loyal to both country and family , I will just have to beg for my parents forgiveness under the yellow springs ”.

Guo frowned. “You would send your family to execution to protect other men? Idiot, we will find them with or without you.”

“Other men?” Ji Ben laughed dementedly “Cao Cao is a tyrant who holds the Emperor hostage for personal gains, and Heaven itself commands he be destroyed! All righteous individuals will rise up and take his life; I need no other men to tell me how to serve my Emperor!”

Guo Jia withdrew and whispered to Xu Chu “He puts his loyalty above self interest and even basic human compassion. We won’t get a name from him.”

“Should we just leave him then to be executed with the others?”

Guo Jia pursed his lips “No, torture him first; make sure the other one watches.”


Cao Cao (Style Name: Mengde )

The chancellor could not sleep tonight, not when so many enemies are moving against him. He paced about a modest but clean suite at the top of the Tower of the Three Dukes, every so often glancing down at a low table. Cao was an unremarkable man superficially. Average height, average features, average built. Yet he had a presence which made him a giant amongst men.

Tonight however Cao felt small. Every so often he would glance at the maps and reports laid out on the table, in hopes that they’d somehow be different from the last time he looked down. China was gripped with war; that much wasn’t new; he had waged a great many wars himself in the past decade. But he had never before seen a situation he couldn’t even fathom how to handle. Fretting advisors and officers lined the walls, troubled by the same thoughts.

The stoic Cao Hong, Cao Cao’s younger cousin and a follower of the Chancellor since his earliest call to arms, stepped into the suite holding a scroll, brushing a sheen of snow from his cloak.

“Chancellor, I have the latest figures from the Xu Province. Inspector Che has been killed, as we feared, bereft of a higher commander most of our army defected to Liu Bei, Governor Wang of Xiaopei is missing, Castellan Shi of Xiapi is probably dead-”

“Enough” interrupted Cao, “I don’t need to know about these food buckets who manage to lose us an entire province in less than a month, tell me about our current dispositions”

Cao Hong nodded. The Xiahou clan has never made time for mediocrity. “Xu is in open revolt, the commanderies of Dong Hai and Chang Ba have declared for Liu Bei, the others are likely not far behind. He currently has about ten thousands swords, at the least.”

Xun You, one of Cao’s advisors, spoke up “The latest report from our spies in Yuan Shao’s camps shows him mobilizing all four provinces under his influence: Yi, Bing, Qing and You. He’s called in his bannermen and sent envoys to the Wuhuan Tribes in the north and the yellow turban remnants in Runan, to our south.”

Cao Cao waved his hand impatiently “What’s your point?”

“Of our territories, Xu has rebelled and our meager holdings in Yu and Sili are in utter disrepair, only Yan is of value. Yuan knows this, he is mustering the might of four provinces against one my lord! Yet we’re still here wasting time, chasing shadows in the capital and worrying over the one rebel commander Liu Bei. If we don’t use every last ounce of strength to resist Yuan we’ll be washed away with the rising tide!”

“Wasting time?” Cao said, narrowing his eyes “This is a conspiracy which has already implicated the highest levels of the court, and we knew nothing of it until they were trying for my life. Who was next? The Emperor himself? Having such an unknown danger, right here in our capital, threatens not only our strategic interests, but the integrity of the throne! You’d have me face the whole fury of the north whilst the court itself is vulnerable?”

Xun You stepped back, abashed yet unconvinced, desperately glancing for help amongst the ranks of advisors and generals.
“My brother is perhaps hasty in his reaction, but he is not wrong my lord”

All heads turned to the speaker, Xun Yu. The chief advisor of the Chancellor continued, meticulous as ever “Liu Bei is a charismatic and talented man, and it was a mistake for you to let him go. A mistake compounded by the massacres we committed in Xu six years ago. Liu Bei is a tenacious commander, and the people of Xu will never yield, not after what we did to them last time they did”

Several of the junior officers in the room winced at Xun Yu’s bluntness, yet if Cao Cao was bothered he gave no sign. The chancellor is the consummate statesman, oft treasuring the lessons of his mistakes more than his successes.

“We can’t take Xu by force, not without expenditures in supplies, men and time. All of these things are already in Yuan Shao’s favor. Chancellor, you have to force an outcome with Yuan first.”

A murmur of assent spread through the room. Cao looked crestfallen “you all agree?”

Xun You nodded, fiery as ever “Chancellor! By the time Yuan Shao crosses the yellow river Xu Chang will be indefensible, let us ride up and meet him now!”

This one should have been a general, Cao thought smiling, what’s he doing hiding behind books and desks?

Cao walked to the open door and stared outside. He favored this building. Though shabbily decorated, it was four storeys tall and situated on a hill. Here he could see all of Xu Chang, from the imperial palaces to the numerous markets to the execution square. Cao never understood men who would sooner stare at one room of gold and jade than a whole openness. A panorama of stone, wood, rivers and skies, it was eternal yet ever changing. Tonight, the city was a lake, with great lily pads of villas floating upon a serene surface of snow.

Cao sighed “How can I leave Xu Chang and the Yan province undefended, our families, our people…the emperor…if we lose here we’re finished, if Liu Bei or this conspiracy takes Xu Chang-”

Xun Yu was gentler this time “I can hold off Liu Bei even if he attacks whilst you’re gone, but you must meet Yuan Shao before the yellow river my lord. We’ve both known him for too long. Yuan won’t just end us, he’ll end the Emperor.”

Cao sunk into the seat. In one sentence Xun Yu’s broken the paper window and said aloud what he knew all along. At the end of the day, whatever his detractors may say of his authoritarian nature, Cao has bound himself to the Emperor for his entire life. His victories are the emperor’s victories. Yuan Shao conversely has no loyalty to the Emperor Xian, or if he did, it was in words only, not substance. The weight of the world bore down on Cao’s shoulders as he suddenly realized who he was about to face, and what was at stake.

Though gods' long lived lives drain as rain;
Though serpents borne on mist die as ash;


Yuan Shao, the pride of the most powerful family in China, handsome, popular, charismatic, amibitious. Yuan Shao, leader of four provinces and over a hundred thousand men, foolish, arrogant, dangerous…and the last of Cao’s childhood friends.
User avatar
Crazedmongoose
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 1509
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:10 am
Location: Sydney, Aus

Re: Blog for new project: Historical Fiction of Three Kingdoms

Unread postby HowSwiftThySword » Thu Dec 10, 2009 4:20 pm

Excellently written. I love the way you portray Cao Cao, although he seems too attached to the Emperor rather than the welfare of China (which is the way I would've portrayed him). Xun Yu and Guo Jia also are done really well, can't wait to see the way you portray Xiahou Dun.
Quote of the Day:

"Someday I'll strangle you with your own beard, Cao Cao!" - Dong Zhou
HowSwiftThySword
Scholar
 
Posts: 335
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:14 pm
Location: Beirut, Lebanon

Next

Return to Artistic Expression and Illustration

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Copyright © 2002–2008 Kongming’s Archives. All Rights Reserved