I’m a poor (at best) swimmer and this month I’m swimming upstream during Camp NaNoWriMo trying to complete an entire draft in thirty-one days. That’s right, I’m not talking about the November NaNo goal of 50k (passed that yesterday), but an entire draft.
So far I’m on pace to make it. Really though, it isn’t so much about the time challenge, but about imposed constraints. I do better when I’m forced to move as fast as possible through my discovery draft. Thus, for a change and to make life easier, my blog post each Thursday this month is about sharing excerpts. Of course, if they survive they’ll look much different later.
Today I’ll share a short, first-draft, Amatha POV excerpt from Traversing the Astral Plane that takes place not long after the protagonist, Amatha, meets Prayleen. Prayleen, while petite and be-speckled, is also the streetwise half of the pair. Amatha, on the other hand, spent the first 18 years of her life in an Astral Stasis.
They travel to Prayleen’s old room in a crumbling and abandoned boarding house. In other words, it isn’t the safest neighborhood. After Amatha is attacked they hurry to grab what they can. At the last, Amatha fights to manage an oversized canvas bag while Prayleen shows how she survived in the neighborhood…
Backing out of the room blind, the oversized bag making the world invisible, including the two-story drop the missing wall provided, she froze. Footfalls on the stairs. “Uh-oh. Not again.”
She peeked around the obstruction. A man as muscle-bound as the last one, but with browner skin than the sunburned landlord. “Who killed Big Boe?”
Prayleen emerged, the pistol crossbow extended. He raised his hands in surrender so fast his heels lifted. “Does he have a bolt in his forehead?”
“Uh, no, Prayleen.”
“Then it wasn’t me, was it? Anyway, you think two prissy girls picked him up and tossed him through the wall?” If he knew the truth they wouldn’t be leaving alive.
“Uh, well, no. Hey, Prayleen, put that thing down. I wasn’t meaning anything.”
“And you know I’ll use it if I have to, Chestnut. Instead of worrying over a dead Big Boe you might want to think about what part of his belongings now belong to you.”
“Think about it.”
“Wow, Prayleen, I hadn’t thought of it like that. You were always smart. That’s why Big Boe liked having you around for figuring numbers, why he treated you so kind and all.”
“Yeah, big heart in Big Boe.” She gestured for him to head down. “You should go see if there are any keys on his person, for instance. See what they open. Maybe coins somewhere waiting for you to discover them?”
Eyes rounded, he raced down the stairs.
Still wrestling the gargoyle-sized bag, Amatha’s stumbled a step. “My word, and all these men are twice your size.”
Prayleen grinned. “There’s a reason why smarter and survivor start and end with the same letter.”