NaNoWriMo officially began at 12:01 am. As predicted by my husband, I caved and went to bed last night by nine. So, my novel writing month began this morning at 5:00. Pretty good so far, I’m a little over a thousand words into my middle-grade fantasy novel. The plot is starting to take shape (in my head at least) and I’m beginning to be able to “see” my characters. Only 48,000+ words to go!
Here are a few paragraphs from page 1. Let me know what you think: the good, the bad, AND the ugly!
Thundering feet trampled the grass into the damp earth. Smoke billowed from the creature’s nostrils. The villagers cowered, shoving their sacrifice toward the beast. With her cloak fluttering in the autumn breeze, the princess strode forward into her doom. The dragon swung its scaled head from side-to-side as though pondering which bit of the maiden to bite into first. As the gathered crowd hushed, trembling, a figure strode forward, pushing between the villagers. The sun pried apart the clouds and fell onto the knight’s golden cape. His sword held aloft, George challenged the dragon, stepping between the beast and its prey as he invoked the name of St. Michael.
The assembled throngs cheered as the first drops of rain began to fall upon the furled wings of the giant lizard as it slunk back to its cave. The crowd dissipated, teachers herding their classes back into the earthen buildings. Richard sighed. The sixth grade’s dragon had been decent, though he was sure that in two years, his class would create a monster that would render the villagers catatonic. Richard liked the word catatonic; he liked the rhythm, the bounce of the syllables. Sylvia mocked him for reading the dictionary, but he figured that if you’re smaller than everyone else in your class and you have floppy blond hair and round glasses, a big vocabulary couldn’t be a bad tool. Besides, his way with words had landed him the part of St. George two years ago. Sylvia was just jealous because she had been stuck in the middle of the dragon’s tale behind Billy Langdon and his body odor.
Richard sighed again. To tell the truth, he kind of wished that Sylvia had been at the head of the dragon that year. It would have been nice to beat his big sister at something, even if only symbolically. Symbolically was another good word; he filed it away to use at dinner. His parents were sure to want to talk about the Michaelmas pageant. Mom and Dad were “schoolers” and were kind of rabid about their refusal to educate their children in the pods. They seemed to feel that the best way to make up for their lack of conformity was to go as far over the top in enthusiasm about their children’s schooling as possible. Richard looked toward the ring of oaks that had formed the “stage”. Yep, there was Mom, unclipping the silk cloths from the line. He shook his head. Even a cheap holo, the kind you get at the grocery store, would have made a better backdrop than green and brown silks. Who was going to buy squares of cloth as a village? Richard enjoyed school okay, though he sometimes suspected there would be advantages to the pods – no chance of making a fool of himself in Games and imagine the amount of information he could get in a dump. But, he thought sometimes that School took the “minimal reliance upon technology” thing a little too far. Not only did it seem cheesy to use homemade scene settings when there were perfectly good holograms available, Richard worried that the school might get into trouble with the Party.