Thursday, 13 October 2011

Nils' First Love - Romantic Friday Writers' Challenge No. 23 - 14th October 2011


Welcome to the Romantic Friday Writing Challenge, started and hosted by L'Aussie Denise and Francine Howarth, where participants share their own 300-400-word text on a given theme. This week's theme for Friday, 14th October, Challenge No. 22, is 'First Love'.

Here is my text:
Nils' First Love

Nils folded his wings, removed his clothes, donned his nightshirt, climbed into bed, drew the curtains, and pulled the covers up over his head. It was still twilight, but he was tired, after a long day and a long life. He closed his eyes and let his thoughts wander back in time. He remembered how his father always spoke proudly of their race at family-gatherings:

Source: Wikipedia

Quick and quiet the Fae doth bring,
Drops of dew to every flower,
Light and airy doth the Fae take wing,
At dawn or the evening-hour.

Nils took also great pride in his heritage. He was pleased that he could still remember the words to this poem. To remember was important.

He remembered Tintomara, his first love. Tintomara was the prettiest little winged girl. Her family lived behind a huge moss-covered rock under juniper trees. Nils knew nothing about the power of love. What was a girl? he thought. Girls were like his sisters - someone to play hide and seek with; someone to tease and taddle-tale.

Being a brother is not the same thing as being a suiter or a husband. When Tintomara came of age, she blossomed like a rosebud opening its petals at dawn. One day, Nils was dumbstruck by her beauty. She flew as if she ruled the air
around her. Nils wooed her with bouquets of forget-me-nots and wild strawberries strung on a straw of grass.


Tintomara loved Nils too. They could have been a magnificent couple and the founders of a stunning dynasty of little people, if she had not taken ill and died before they wed.

Winter is hard on all creatures, but hardest on the little winged people who are so gentle, dreaming and fragile. They often perish, if winter comes too quickly. Tintomara was caught outside in the cold before she could take cover.

Nils was devastated. But he did get to kiss her once (and it was a magical kiss at that). But that was all.

Source: Wikipedia

Nils could have died of grief if he had not met Klara, who became his wife and gave him many children. He loved her too, as long as she lived. But since she passed away, he finds that it is not the image of Klara that comes to him on lonely, windy nights. No, when Nils closes his eyes, he sees Tintomara, and feels that one magical first kiss.

[Text copyright 2011 Christina Wigren]



Word count according to WordCalc: 400; FCA; Full Critique Acceptable. Write whatever you like. Constructive criticism is always welcome!


Best wishes,

P.S. This is a completely ficticious story with made up characters who have no resemblance to persons living or dead.
I have written the little verse myself. It is not a quote of some poem. It is supposed to sound slightly archaic to fit the ancient Faerie-setting.
You may perhaps recognise similar characters from my post for 'Bouquet' and 'Blue Moon', when I wrote about Carl Linneaus meeting faeries in the woods. In this story, I have removed Carl or any other normal-sized human beings and just kept the faeries.
Time frame: The young winged man who met Carl in the first two stories could feasibly be the old winged man who remembers his youth. This story, 'Nils' First Love' was written, as was 'Bouquet' and 'Blue Moon', directly for REW.

BTW: The name 'Tintomara' is a character from the novel Drottningens juvelsmycke
of the Swedish romantic poet, Carl Jonas Love Almqvist (1793-1866). I love the sound of Tintomara, so I borrowed it from Almqvist! Sounds similar to 'Tinkerbelle' from J.M. Barries' Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie 1860-1937). But Almqvist's Tintomara was neither male nor female. I am letting Tintomara be a beautiful female faerie in my story.

Carl Jonas Love Almqvist (1793-1866)

First Commenter:

Margo Benson

To read other texts for Romantic Friday Writers please visit this site or click on the image below:


Margo Benson said...

I love this line, 'She flew as if she ruled the air around her.' Isn't that stunning and poetic! Such a delicate and poignant piece, Anna, really lovely.

Now I have to finish mine....!

Scheherazade said...

My favorite paragraph is the last. It leaves a lasting image of the fragile faerie that reigned over his heart. Very nice.

One little typo - pedal should be petal.

Ann said...

a sweet little story of love and loss.

DeniseCovey_L'Aussie said...

Hi Anna

As always I enjoy your stories because I learn something new and fascinating. I, too, love the last line as it leaves a lingering feeling: 'When Nils closes his eyes, he sees Tintomara, and feels that one magical first kiss.' The imagery is strong as it is throughout your story at times.

Your writing of romance has come ahead in leaps and bounds and you're finding some truly excellent words and phrases but at this stage they're not maintained throughout your story. This is true of us all and it takes a lot of work to maintain a certain standard throughout a story. But you're getting there! You're really entertaining us and that is first and foremost what fiction writing is all about.

I hope these comments are helpful. I know you want us to write lots of helpful comments to you but I don't like to hurt anyone's feelings and not everyone likes to hear other's opinions. So, Anna, I hope you don't mind what I've shared with you.


Anna said...

@Margo Benson

Dear Margo,
Thanks for your kind words about little Tintomara.

You are First Commenter, and I have put an extra link to your blog on this post.



Dear Linda,
Thanks for your nice comment about the closing. Yes, faeries are fragile beings! I went back to continuing this Faerie-theme after our little written conversation about the importance of magic when writing romance stories. So a little bit of you is in the better parts of this text!

Thanks for catching the typo. It is now corrected!


@Ann's Snap, Edit & Scrap

Dear Ann,
Thanks for stopping by! I was thinking about you yesterday and wondering how cold it is in your area. Overnight it seems that we have to get the mittens/gloves and knitted hats out. Yesterday morning was the first time I saw 'smoke' coming out of my mouth when I breathed outside. There was frost on the grass this morning. The gardener has already taken the marigolds away and replaced them with heather plants. This was what inspired me to do my lastest Etsy treasury about heather. ('Heather and Holly').
I'll be by later to check on your blog.



Dear Denise,

Thank you for visiting, reading and thinking critically about what I have written. To get 'feedback' from you is one of the reasons why I am here writing these texts for REW. So don't be shy.

I know I'm not on the same level as the other participants who are published authors. That's alright, I'm here to learn.

I hope that you and Francine understand that I really do enjoy REW.

So, don't worry! When I put the rating 'FCA' on my post, I really do mean it.

I'm glad that you have returned safe and sound after the wedding.


Thank you all of you wonderful people for your comments!

Please take care!

Best wishes,

N. R. Williams said...

I love the names and it's ok to borrow them from others. Such a sweet tale. We do think back on our first love.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

Ruth Madison said...

So lovely and adorable and gently sad too!

"blossomed like a rosebud opening its petals at dawn." Love that line.

Francine Howarth: UK said...


I love your faery stories, because it feels a little like stepping back in time to the days of being read to before bed. I have no idea where the book went to, but I remember my mother and nanny reading stories just like this. It was a book with beautiful faery paintings (colour), and I think you could go far in writing childrens' stories of this ilk!

After all, a little light romance occurred in Cinderella and Snow White. I love this. It's enchanting. As for the writing and learning process of penning a fictional novel, I'd admire any one who is writing in English when for the most part speaking another language entirely. ;) The more you write the better it will become.

I'm glad you enjoy RFW and, the challenge of it all. I find it tough enough at times, in thinking what to write. If I had to write it in Swedish I'd be at sea without a lifebelt!!


Beverly Diehl said...

Anna, your writing is something that is truly blossoming!

Along with the others, love that magical, poignant last line, and so much in the story is good. The little faery poem - awesome. You build such a lovely, fragile otherworld I want to spend lots of time there.

That said, the beginning is a little flat. I would start it (not exactly) "Tintomar came to him at twilight. Sometimes they played hide-and-seek, other times she flew as if she ruled the air around her."

You have so much happening in this magical world you want to share with the reader. That's great, but when it is all in one place, as opposed to sprinkled throughout, it can slow down the pace. They say we should have conflict in every scene - in this case, you've got two conflicts, one, Nils coming of age, and him losing his beloved. Think about how you can move that conflict closer to the beginning, and then close with the sweet memory.

Kiru Taye said...

Anna, I'd say you're turning into quite a story teller. Your fairy 'tales' are certainly captivating. Good job.

Andy said...

I really enjoyed reading this. "
"Tintomara" is such a magical name.
I feel for Nils have lost love sad. At least he still has the treasured memory of that first kiss.

I liked the image you painted of Tintomara, especially "She flew as if she ruled the air around her."
Your ending is poignant too.

Nicely done!

The Beauty Of Love

Anna said...

@N. R. Williams

Dear Nancy,
Thanks for your thoughts about the the names. They're alright for a sketch like this, but I don't think I will be able use the name Tintomara in Swedish. It's too well established and connected to Almqvist. I wrote this very quickly to preserve the basic idea, but will have to rewrite it before it's ready to be presented to a publisher.

Reading it again now, I see that it is still very unfinished.

This theme does make us think back to a first love, but for me it is not autobiographical. It is also from a male point of view.

Sooner or later we all loose someone and know how that feels. I miss my father, but that loss helps me better understand how others may feel about their losses.

I am not at all like my character, Nils. For Nils, I am probably inspired by Tristan and Isolde, the story that ends with the two lovers becoming plants - roses, I think, that climb until their vines/branches finally meet again and interwine.
@Ruth Madison

Dear Ruth,
Thank you for you kind words about that image.

Thanks to comments from different participants, I think I know what is strong and weak in this text. I will revise it. Plants and flowers are important for the faeries; they live in a garden or in a place were wild flowers grow.


I'll take a break here to not overload Blogger!

Anna said...

Francine Howarth

Dear Francine,
Thank you for telling me your childhood memories. It means a lot to me that you approve of how I treat my faeries, considering that you are a genuine Brit, where there is a strong tradition of faerie-literature and they are a part of your childhood.

I'm flattered that you think that I might be able to write children's texts. It might be worth a try. It was once my ambition to write for children.

One Australian writer (originally from England) whom I admire, is Brenda Bryant. She writes amazing verses for both general audiences and children. Read anything that she has written! It's perfect. 'Rinkly Rimes' is Brenda Bryant's penname/blogname.

I don't know what the name of the book that your mother and nanny read to you, but the illustrations may have been painted by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939).

He was famous for his faerie-illustrations.

My dream and life's goal was once to become an illustrator. I worked for about fifteen years for advertising agencies, newspapers and book publishers doing drawings/illustrations. (This was before computer programs like 'Illustrator'.)

But I got tired of being the hand that someone else was trying to stear. I made up my mind that if I ever get back to drawing and painting that I would do my own projects and never, ever work on assignment again.

So, I decided that I should learn how to write and write my own stories first or learn enough about world literature to know how to choose.

I'm glad to be aboard with RFWers, and grateful to you and Denise for organising and maintaining this place for us to write and meet and discuss the joys and struggles of writing.


I'll take another break here to not overload Blogger!

Adura Ojo said...

I enjoyed reading your story Anna. It's my favourite of your stories so far. But I'm sure I'll have another favourite soon. Your characters - Nils and Tintomara are so endearing. I love 'Tintomara.' What a beautiful name. It was interesting reading on the background too. It gave insight into some of your sources of inspiration. I know your story is set in the land of the faeries; but I can also see this happening in the real world. Well done, Anna.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Christina :
Both texts are great. I, of course, love the fae one. First love is indeed fragile ... and magical. You captured both spirits. Bravo! Roland

DeniseCovey_L'Aussie said...

Hi Anna, back again. Fascinated to hear you were once an illustrator. Im going to have illustrations in my collection of short stories I hope to get published before Christmas. I'll be looking into that computer program 'Illustrator.' I have a talent for drawing but have never been trained but I think I could do it. Only has to be simple.

Thanks for your kind response to my comment.


Andy said...

Hello Anna.
Just stopping by to first thank you for the beautiful comments you left on my entry. You touched & humbled me with your kind words. I am glad that you found your way to RFW & wish you the very best with your writing.

Second, many congratulations on receiving the Encouragement Award for this week's theme. You totally deserve it!

Best wishes, my dear lady.


Wow. I am blown away. This is an incredible story. The writing is terrific and story itself is beautiful.

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