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NaNo excerpt - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
NaNo excerpt
This should be a small enough bit to not make the story "published," but I wanted to share something--after struggling through days of horrible prose, going back to the back story produced 2,415 words of halfway decent prose, and I felt like showing off a few of them. They're not perfect or absolutely clean, but honestly, after all the trouble this story has been giving me, I'm happy to settle for "serviceable" at this point. If posting ten paragraphs screws my chance of ever selling it, then... oh, feh. I'm doing it anyway.

[Maren] pulled his clothes on and arranged his pillows on his bed to look like he was still there, in case Dorjan stumbled in later. If he was sleeping at the Uttegar, he'd probably be too tired to look closely.

Go wake him up. He should come home and sleep like a normal person, and he shouldn't be studying all the time. You should get him.

Maren paused, because that voice in his head, at least, was his own. It would be better to just get Dorjan home and get him sleeping. Maybe he could sneak out later. Maybe--


He shook it off. Dorjan could take care of himself. He should have known better than staying up so long anyway. He was always gone at night, and if he woke up with a sore neck and a bad back it was his own fault.

Still, as he followed Corbed out into the night, he couldn't help glancing at the Uttegar, at the flickering light in the library, where his brother was trying to learn the mysteries of the priesthood in a matter of days, so that Bedzalae wouldn't be without a priest now that Papa was gone. He could imagine Dorjan there, his pimple-covered cheek pressed against the vellum of an old book, hopefully not drooling on something sacred.

Then they were past the temple complex and he was free in the night, out of the shadow of home. Corbed led him down the hills toward the East Isavar river, across the bridge into the marshes. At the far edge of the marshes was the fence that blocked off the Haunted Plain, where the standing stones wailed their endless song to the stars. The gate was a quarter of a mile from the end of the bridge, and by the time they boys reached it, they were running, racing each other. Maren won, and collapsed into the tall marsh-grass, its rich scent filling his mind. He stretched his arms out and lay on his back, looking up at the stars, glad that he'd come out. It was good to be somewhere he could breathe, and somewhere he wasn't alone.

Corbed was leaning on the gate, looking over the plains. Egin and Heret, the twins, were playing catch along the fence. Reywa Mott was giggling while Finna Mije braided her hair and whispered some girls' secret in her ear. Semej Lyl was singing in his offkey voice. It was a good, comfortable place, much better than lying alone in his bed, waiting for his older brother to not come home.

"I wondered if you'd come."

Maren arched his head backward to look behind him. A pair of dainty white shoes were nearly touching his hair. Thin, spindly legs (covered with the normal bruises and scabs of any active girl), reached up until the swathing of light moon-white material obscured them. High above, Temisa Varsinon's face seemed small. Her long, sand-colored hair waved in the wind. She practically glowed in the dark. Her hands were balled at her hips, but under the curves of her thumbs, he could see the edges of the dark sqares that marked her palms.

Oh, and since I'm also bored, a meme nicked from hobviously.

ask me anything, be it dumb, random, or seemingly obvious. unless it's super personal, i'll answer you asap.

ETA: Please feel free to comment on the snippet. I won't beg. Really. Honest.

13 comments or Leave a comment
akashasheiress From: akashasheiress Date: November 12th, 2004 08:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Tea or coffee?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 12th, 2004 08:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Tea. I'll drink coffee if it's all there is (which it is too often), but only if it's severely disguised by a lot of milk and sugar (the latte is my preferred method of ingesting). Tea, I can drink black, sweet, with cream, iced, etc. Definitely a tea girl.
calliopeia17 From: calliopeia17 Date: November 12th, 2004 11:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, since you're (not) begging... :-)

I really, really like the snippet. I mean, if it were published, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. Seriously. In just a few sentences, I feel like I know the characters. Which, by the way, is something that's really fun to read from your favorite fanfic authors- because when I read your HP or SW fics, I already know the characters, and it's hard to tell if what I'm seeing is your writing or my perceptions. Here, it's all you. And it's very good.

Also, favorite book character?

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 12th, 2004 11:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. :) I needed to hear that, and I'm especially glad that the characters came out in the brief snip--I often wonder the same thing when I'm writing fanfic!

Favorite book character...

Ack, no short answer. Have to give you a few.

Ralph (Lord of the Flies)--a normal boy, doing his best in a horrible situation, learning what's really valuable as it's stripped away from him. Very well realized.

Larry Underwood (The Stand). It's not so much what Larry does as a kind of offhand thing that happens to him. His mother is dying of the plague, and he finds her right after getting good news, and for just a moment, he thinks how unfair and inconvenient it is for him to finally have good news only to have her too sick to care. It's a very real moment, and an emotional state that is overlooked a lot.

Remus Lupin (Harry Potter). Big surprise. ;p I think Remus is a very well drawn character--sketched in the actual text because of Rowling's choice for a tight POV, but with a great deal of implied characterization that the POV character doesn't experience.

Tom Sawyer. I like Huck Finn a lot, and I appreciate his moral growth, but Tom makes me smile. Tom is the playful side of Twain himself, I think, and I just have to love a boy who bases so much of his pretend on books he just loves to pieces.

Peter Wiggin (Ender's Game). Like Remus, Peter is sketched from another character's point of view--a somewhat biased one at that. Peter is a fearsome character and often an amoral one, but twice during the book--once to each of his siblings--he opens up and expresses first his love for his brother, then later his fear of himself. Those things together made him intersting for me.

Sheesh, this is going to be a long essay to a simple question if I don't knock it off!
sonetka From: sonetka Date: November 12th, 2004 11:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Best and least-liked first names?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 12th, 2004 11:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, I have a fondness for all sorts of names, but I'll go quirky with my favorite.

A many-generations-removed Puritan cousin of mine (the niece of my something like seventh-great-grandfather) was named Reconcile. It's a nice, traditional virtue name without being common, and it can be nicked down to the unencumbered "Connie." On more normal names, my hands-down favorite is Elizabeth.

Least favorite? Again, too many to pick from, but going with ones I actually know people with... Edna, maybe.
purplerebecca From: purplerebecca Date: November 12th, 2004 01:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not quite enough for me to be able to tell really what's going on, (other than they are nice kids) :) but I positively adored this line: "hopefully not drooling on something sacred."
I laughed, that's awesome.

I love it when fantasy writers include a welldrawn religion that surrounds their characters.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 12th, 2004 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was a goal here. I haven't got all the details of the religion worked out, except that it's largely based on a pair of sister goddesses.

Glad you liked that line! Thanks.
contrail From: contrail Date: November 12th, 2004 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like the snippet you posted. I got the sense that Maren cares for his brother Dorjan but at the same time is feeling hurt because Dorjan's spending all of his time studying instead of paying any attention to him, which is something I think you were trying to convey in this passage. I liked the line about standing stones wailing 'their endless song to the stars.' It's an interesting image. At the end of it I was left wondering about some things (in a good way, not in a 'What the heck is the author trying to say here?' way) and wanting to read more.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 12th, 2004 08:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's definitely how their relationship works--they baffle each other, but definitely care about each other. Glad that came through.

Hopefully, there will be more. Just probably not online. :)
myf From: myf Date: November 12th, 2004 09:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I liked it, Fern. I'm not really a fantasy reader, so I often rail against the names that authors use. Quite apart from that (and the names weren't that bad anyway), I liked it. Already I could begin to visualise the surroundings quite well, and I was left with, 'What are the dark squares?' So great work, I'd say.

Question... I don't have one. Sorry.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 12th, 2004 09:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay, right question. :)

Thank you, and I'm glad the milieu is, er, visualizable. I'm always a bit concerned about settings, and have a tendency to have kind of a noh stage set sometimes.
myf From: myf Date: November 13th, 2004 07:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, no, no, not noh at all!

I have already started visualising Dora's Kensington flat in Shifts, and I feel like I could easily navigate my way through Smeltings. So despite how you feel about your writing of settings, it comes through nicely.
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