PictureRobin Hood and Friar Tuck - Zombie Killers
If you’ve studied English literature, you’ve probably come across Geoffrey Chaucer. Writing two hundred years before Shakespeare, his language is even more impenetrable to the layman than The Great Bard himself – I mean, even the word England was spelt ‘Engelond’ in the 14th century. And in case you’re unfamiliar with Chaucer, he’s famous for writing The Canterbury Tales, a series of stories told by a group of pilgrims on their way to the city of Canterbury.

Fast forward six hundred years, and yours truly is writing the pilgrims’ return journey to London. No problem you might think, until you realize that there are 33 pilgrims - which translates to 33 stories!

Still not a problem? Well, what I haven’t mentioned is that Chaucer, aka ‘The Father of English Poetry’, told his Tales as rhymed poems, ranging in length from fifteen hundred words to fifteen thousand words.

So far three of my ‘Lost’ Canterbury Tales have been commercially published, the most successful one featuring my own rather bizarre take on that lovable swashbuckling rogue, Robin Hood.

In keeping with my goal of writing in as many different genres as possible (my ‘Lost’ Tales cover everything from Chick Lit, to Arthurian legends, to fairy tales), when the zombie-horror publisher Coscom Entertainment suggested I write an 18,000-word novella for them, I jumped at the chance.

“Medieval zombies,” the publisher assured me, “will be fine.”

Six weeks later, having knocked out 500 words of rhyming couplets per day, the awesomely titled Robin Hood and Friar Tuck, Zombie Killers – a Canterbury Tale by Paul A. Freeman was ready for submission.

The publisher’s response? ‘Wow!’

Part of the novella’s blurb – written in the style of the rest of the book – is below:

The fate of all--the evil and the good--
Was in the hands of Robin of the Hood
Whose outlaw men, along with Friar Tuck,
Against rampaging hordes of zombies struck.


There’s been much speculation as to why Chaucer himself never wrote a Canterbury Tale featuring that perennial English hero, Robin Hood. One possibility is that having been mugged twice on the streets of London, Chaucer didn’t feel inclined to romanticize a man who was probably, in reality (if indeed he ever existed), a common criminal.

Anyhow, the bottom line is that Chaucer’s loss is my gain.

Below are links to my Canterbury Tale published by Coscom Entertainment, my most recent Global Short Story Competition winner, my short-listed story for the National newspaper, Abu Dhabi's, annual short story competition and a story that appeared on the Every Day Fiction site - where you can leave a comment:

http://chaucers-uncle.weebly.com/index.html

http://www.inscribemedia.co.uk/assets/october-ebook.pdf

http://www.thenational.ae/arts-culture/short-story-a-day-for-decisiveness

http://www.everydayfiction.com/the-d-day-diorama-by-paul-a-freeman/#comments

Happy writing!



 


Comments

FHLee
01/09/2014 07:13

Wow is right! Having tried three times now to get through Chaucer, without a degree as a carrot, or a professor at my heels, your approach to him, his writing, and your tales all make it that much less daunting. Your background explanations are as entertaining as the stories themselves. And helpful too! Long live the king of the 2nd tales!

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