I’ve been writing now for nearly four years. Over the course of that time, I have learned a thing or two about what NOT to do (want proof? Check out my previous post). Anyways, I dug into the craft of writing, adsorbing as much information as this old brain can take, trying to better my stories and prepare for publication.
Everyone has an opinion.
For young adult, always use first person, present tense. For young adult, never use first person, present tense- it’s sooooo last year. Don’t start with a dream sequence. Don’t start with a prologue. Show don’t tell…
Don’t, don’t, don’t. Blah, blah. blah.
You know the feeling – when you’re trying to do EVERYTHING right and then you pick up a book and the author is rich and making a gazillion dollars and they started with a prologue? Maybe one that includes a dream, even?
What’s a newbie to do?
I’ve been working on Fairless, a young adult fantasy, for two years now. It’s gone through love and hate and editing and even a series of workshops with writer friends who helped me dissect it this summer. And still I struggle with the beast that is voice.
Until the other night. Until I finally shut down the screaming inner editor that’s been clambering for attention. Yes, Sue let go and breathed.
The book came from a dream. So it starts with a dream. I’d left the prologue out for my writing group and left them wallowing in confusion. The constant question of my protagonist’s motivation plagued MY dreams. And then I realized. I have to embrace this story. It’s not what the publishing world wants, but it’s what the story wants.
I closed my eyes and wrote. If you don’t mind, I’ll share the prologue and a bit of the first page….
In my dream, I’m holding onto you.
You, the beautiful boy that haunts me.
Strength and warmth flow from your hand to mine. I want it to last, this connection, though I know it won’t. It can’t. You aren’t real.
Your eyes sparkle with mischief. The sky behind you ripples with streaks of fiery russet, golden ochre and deep cobalt blue. Such stunning colors, if only they aren’t so illegal.
You’re a rogue, daring me to challenge your creation. This is your sky. These are your colors. No matter they’ll summon the Sovereign’s wrath.
I want more each time we meet. I want to move that mass of hair back and touch your face. I want to see and know the color of your eyes.
I want to know your name.
A breeze rustles your white shirt. It’s coming: the pain, the ache of loss. Whatever it is that will claim you has arrived. I clutch your hand, as if binding you to me, but it’s not enough. It’s never enough.
I hold tighter. I grab at you with both hands, but something rips you away as if I simply don’t exist and I am left standing on the ground, watching, helpless as you are lifted up and hurtled toward the waiting moon.
I’m a fool to fall in love with a dream.
I glance at my hand lit by sage-green moonlight, imagining your fingers entwined in mine. And I know, if I could place my other hand on your chest our hearts would beat as one. I am for you. You are for me.
Crickets sing out their night song as I tiptoe to Father’s workshop, using the shadows as a shield. I should turn around. I should return to my family’s lodge and crawl into my bed and be the girl they need me to be. I should but I can’t. I have to know if you exist.
My linen tunic clings to my body. Sweat beads on my forehead and I swipe it away. I’m risking too much. What if I’m discovered? How will I explain that I’ve overheard some school girls gossiping about a young man who’d painted his sky with vivid, bold colors and that has propelled me outside and in the dead of night?
How, when the words sound crazy even to me?
Your smile lingers in my memory, daring me forward.
Care to read more? You can find this chapter here: http://www.wattpad.com/story/22556779-fairless. I’ll be uploading more chapters as I go.
For now, I’ve got to go. Thanks for swinging by…