The Novel I wrote when I was Ten — “A Wizard with a Beard for a Robe”


This is Part II of my summary of the book I wrote in middle school. If you want to start with Chapter One, go here.

In Several Short Sentences About Writing, Klinkenborg says every good writer starts with a good sentence. They write a good sentence, then write another. But there isn’t a single, decent string-of-words in The Hero on Foot: The War of the Bowl. Even the title chonks like a basketball-sized cat.

But that’s why we’re here. Not to read literature, but to laugh at ugly prose. The following is the first book I ever wrote.

Enjoy?


Chapter Two

First, a recap. Our hero’s family is dead, his village destroyed. Okay, recap over.

We find our protagonist living in the woods Into the Wild style.

Is it?

Is it cool?

I imagine my fifth grade teacher writing “cool” like John Oliver says “dope.”

(John Oliver also has an unimpressed “cool” but the gifs were too grainy.)

Javis lives in the forest for years. Coincidentally, he finds and ignores the magical artifact mentioned in the title. He’s also not very skilled at forest living, for his traps are described asBut just as the narrative begins to stall, I toss in this fascinating vignette.

Again, things happen to the Silver Bowl, but its function, purpose, and abilities are never, ever explained. It’s a bowl in a cave, and sometimes wizards use their wands to fill it with silver fluids.

Wait, is that a euphemism for something?

And it is “wizards” plural because it’s not long before A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WIZARD comes looking for the bowl.

In case you didn’t get that his name is Thames Tom, but he prefers Lenny or Lester, its repeated in the dialogue.

Meanwhile, our hero’s language, due to the forest living and horribly concealed traps (which has probably stunted mental growth), has devolved into a weird, barbaric elocution.

Now there’s actually something fun about Thames Tom. Specifically, he has a beard that he wraps around his body like a cloak. In fact, Thames Tom doesn’t wear clothes at all.

I hired an artist to recreate the character.

Thames Tom (I mean Lenny or uh Lester) is probably the only good thing to come out of The Hero on Foot: The War of the Bowl.

He teaches Javis Kyle how to play the harp.

Oh, right. Thames is on the run from knights who are also hunting for the Silver Bowl. Thames has, of course, led them right to it.


Chapter Three

Javis Kyle realizes he will have to man up and fight these guys if he wants to protect his beard-wearing, harp-playing mentor. Javis puts on armor, grabs a sword (it’s not the power sword from the first chapter⁠—that blade has been lost for some reason), and packs some “medicinal herbs” called Mi-Spiral.

Conveniently, I solve my own problem of having a protagonist who speaks poor English.

The knights, by the way, are from the same horde that killed Javis’s family. It doesn’t come up.

Javis confronts the horsemen, and one of them charges at the hero lustily.

Javis goes John Wick on their asses, because a brain-damaged, emaciated child living in the woods is logically the better fighter than trained knights on horseback.

My younger self really stretched his imagination naming the knights.

The cast:

  1. Sir Venice
  2. Sir Fernando
  3. Sir Joshua, son of John Baker
  4. Sir Bernard, son of Early Grey
  5. Christopher Bloodbow
  6. Sir Treacle
  7. Lord Dawson of Chaos

The others remain nameless.

(Reminds me of Sergeant Shadwell from Good Omens coming up with names for the Witchfinder Army.)

After slaying most of the knights, Javis Kyle faces Lord Dawson:

We know Dawson’s bad because he’s the same guy who killed the Talking Cat in the prologue.

Game. Of. Thrones. Shit.

So what does our hero do?

He drops his sword and runs away.

So ends the chapter. Our hero lost in a forest he should know intimately because he’s been living there for three years. Weaponless. Dying of organ exposure. (He took a lot of swords to the chest.) All chance of drama killed by the herb in his pocket which can heal him and restore his pronunciation.

With that, I’ll set aside the manuscript. Swing by July 15th for the next installment.


Silver Bowl by María Lucía Escalona

Beard Mage by Hari Nezumi

Black Knight on Horseback by Nazareno Gonzalez