Words: Chapter 17 and part of 18 came to 5,451 words.
Basic details: I did a weird fast-forward of Delia's twenty-something years and dumped a bunch of political nonsense into the story. It covers what's going on in the kingdom that spurs Delia to get involved in some stuff (secretly), and outlines her weird fascination with the person the king ends up marrying. She also discusses ballroom dancing with her tutor Imelda and reveals her rather odd appreciation for sleazy romance books. Who knew?
The good: Well, I'm getting somewhere. The story's barreling forward to where I can finally start unloading the climax (within the next couple chapters), and the world opens up a little so you can see more than what Delia deals with personally. The less academic and magick-associated interests she develops through learning from Imelda helps make her more well-rounded and maybe relatable, and those scenes are even sometimes kind of humorous because Delia usually takes herself so seriously and comes across so stoic, and it's a nice change to see her chittering about silly books or imagining herself going to a royal ball.
The bad: Delia sort of becomes decentralized from the narrative sometimes when she's relaying what's going on with royal politics, and though I can't really think of a better way to do it, I don't know that this is appropriate. I guess it makes sense for me to get it down and then think of the best way to present it. Also, this is the first time I've ever squeezed an appreciable amount of time into the story in a highlights reel of sorts. Delia even comments on the weirdness of it in her narration, because the story is ostensibly her autobiography and she's basically telling you that it was a mostly uneventful time. It causes me to jump forward in time from when Delia's twenty to when she's about twenty-three in a conversation with Imelda, and then in the next chapter the narration reveals that the king is thirty-four (which means Delia is twenty-six because she's eight years younger than the king). Annnnnd I hate politics and know very little about them so to be honest I sorta feel like I'm phoning this in when I ramble about the politics in her kingdom.
Delia and Imelda discussing why she likes fluffy romance books, prompted by Imelda asking what Delia sees in these tales:
“I think I like the escape. The chance to temporarily live in the head of a woman who has . . . very straightforward, unmistakable, uncomplicated desires. And it doesn’t hurt that in these tales she always eventually gets her way.”
Imelda chuckled and eased herself into her favorite high-backed chair, putting her feet up by the fire. “An escape, eh,” she said. “Have you ever had a man of your own?”
I almost dropped the tea dishes. “Beg your pardon?”
She blinked and looked up. “That’s not too forward to ask, is it? I wondered if you’d ever enjoyed a fellow’s company.”
My face flushed, but I kept my voice steady. “I had a sweetheart for a matter of months when I was thirteen, but we never even kissed. And then . . . well, I mostly stopped meeting new people. No, I’ve had no men.”
“Pity,” said Imelda. “They can be fun, if aggravating at times. Now, if I may ask, since you like these tales so much, do you wish there was a man in your life?”
“I don’t think so. I mean I think about it. But the truth is. . . .” I sighed and brought the tray out to the table, where we both began preparing our cups. “I know it wouldn’t be like the stories. There aren’t really men like that in the world. Just like I’ve never met women who act like the heroines. It’s fun partly because it is a fantasy.”
When Delia begins her creepy tradition of sending weird things to the royal family:
I discovered something upon the receipt of my gift. Royal people really liked presents.
Delia reflects on her feelings about the queen after she reacts to a disaster by mostly caring about what her subjects think about HER:
I still retained a strange little pocket of empathy for this unyieldingly positive, oblivious girl. She was selfish because she didn’t know what it meant to suffer, and true anguish was an abstract concept to her. Maybe I just felt sorry for her, but in a way, maybe I wanted to be her.
Most of the other quotables and "good parts" require too much explaining or too long of an excerpt to make sense here, so . . . that's about it for now. :)