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How To: Write a Winning Chronicle

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  • How To: Write a Winning Chronicle

    Penned on the 15th day, 4th moon, Year Twelve of the Recent Awakenings

    To the Denizenry of Her Majesty's Castle Marrach;

    In accordance to the will of the Lord Chamberlain, and in upholding the duties charged to me as a Junior Chronicler, I hereby submit an account of How To: Write a Winning Chronicle.

    ''On Sun's Day the 10th of the 4th moon, Mistress Jerisa led a session on 'How to Write Chronicles.' She did this completely without use of a pen or a scroll and kept her audience entertained. Here are some of the secrets she told to us.'' That was sera Jerisa's proposed opening for a chronicled event such as this one.

    The Patron of the Chroniclers called the first tip the ''Five Wise Ws and their helpful H friend:'' what, when, who, where, why, and how. Chronicles should not only be factual, but interesting. Sera Jerisa demonstrated for the first paragraph, ''Not just 'On Sun's Day Just past the sixth late bell did Mistress Jerisa lecture a polite group of folk...'''

    What makes chronicles interesting? Sera Louise chimed in, ''Those little details that most people would never notice, but the observant ones do.'' Chronicles should ''engage the reader's interest, and perhaps even do it with style and wit,'' advised sera Jerisa. The lead paragraph needs to summarize the piece and ''set the tone... but also make people want to learn more.''

    Sera Jerisa requested that Corporal Alexandr step forth; he accepted, saying, ''I am at your service.'' She began to compare the Corporal's outline to one of a chronicle. ''See how wide his shoulders are, and how he becomes slimmer as one's gaze proceeds to his feet?'' Chronicles should start with a summary, but then ''get more and more narrowly specific.'' She deemed the Corporal a, ''fine shape for a Chronicle, and an excellent visual aide.'' The Corporal thanked her in turn.

    Sera Jerisa now spoke about the use of quotations, ''Will it be important for folk to know that he placed himself at my service?'' She encouraged her audience to pay attention, ''especially to any isolated statement that stands out to your ear.'' Quotes can often ''perfectly illustrate a point, offer an opinion, or present a bit of humor.''

    It was time to talk about things that should be avoided in chronicles. ''The first is confusing fact and opinion,'' sera Jerisa warned. She explained that chronicles are not about the writer's opinion: ''No,'' she lifted her finger, '' the narrator – you, the writer – need to be almost invisible.'' To illustrate her point, she said, ''Say 'the group sat or stood comfortably around the benches,' rather than, 'I sat on a chilly stone bench and my arse got cold.''' The denizens exchanged smiles. The second thing to avoid is writing about oneself, but rather, ''why it's important, or funny, or helpful,'' to the reader.

    How long is the average Chronicle? Sera Jerisa admitted that the shortest ones ''are actually the hardest.'' With a smile, she read what she deemed, ''one of the best first chronicles'' that she'd received; it was written on the Aspirant's first day of Awakening. She recited The Entrance of a Courtier, written by Aspirant Chronicler Anders. [The chronicle has been reattached to the side, here]

    ''Did you notice?'' sera Jerisa inquired afterwards, ''He took the most commonplace thing – the entrance of a Courtier – and made a Chronicle of it. He even worked in a quote from an onlooker, as well as a direct quote from the Courtier.'' She opined the chronicle was ''a very well done bit of comic fluff. Natural he was accepted into the Office on the spot.''

    All-in-all, sera Jerisa enlightened her audience with the following chronicling advice:
    • Chronicles are factual reports, but should be interesting.
    • Engage the reader's interest; perhaps even with style and wit.
    • Let your lead paragraph set the tone with a summary that makes them want more.
    • Your chronicle should be broad at the beginning and narrowly specific near the end.
    • A direct quotation is more powerful than any narrative can be.
    • Avoid confusing opinion with fact.
    • Don't make it about you, the writer. Make it about what happened.
    • There is no specified chronicle length; the shortest ones can be the hardest.
    • Even commonplace events can make entertaining chronicles.

    Sera Jerisa assured denizens not to worry about the headers and footers for the Chroniclers' Writing Contest, assuming that Senior Chronicler Emerick would provide them. ''But,'' she smiled, ''I very much look forward to the pieces that you will all write!''

    As a Scholar of the Royal Collegium, sera Jerisa plans to hold an evening's discussion of literature, and forms of literature. The session will be about how to write an event in different forms: in a chronicle, in a report, in fiction, in a spoken story, and in poetry. There are ''all sorts of groups who are devoted'' to literature, added sera Jerisa, such as the Chroniclers, the Library, and the Unity of the Arts.

    ''I'm so glad you came,'' sera Jerisa expressed to Registrar Kaspar, Aide Adriana, Aide Bearlan, sera Louise and this humble writer. ''And I hope you'll write lots and lots!''

    This chronicle will be subject to changes and corrections, as I humbly ask that the readers indicate to me through their discretion any falsehood I may have mistakenly communicated. It is by means of the conservation of the Past that we continue to serve Her Majesty and give substance to those that follow.

    In service to Her Majesty Queen Vivienne, the Lord Chamberlain, the Chronicler's Office, and the Denizenry of our Gracious Queen's Realm;

    Junior Chronicler

  • #2
    The chronicle writ by Aspirant Chronicler Anders was titled ''The Entrance of a Courier,'' not a Courtier. This humble chronicler apologizes for the error.

    Junior Chronicler