My first book is finished and comes in at 84,000 words. I’m trying to print it out, but it’s a hassle. You can read the introduction to the book here.
Whilst I’m waiting for the book to stew over, and build up enough patience to print 256 A4 pages, I’ve started another project. This is a fantasy book, but I’ve not really done any world-building, or even thought about it at all. I’m thinking I want it to be a short book, part of a longer series (not necessarily conjoined like a trilogy, or saga, but a series of books with the same characters.)
The main character is a gifted young man called Peat. He’s sort of like a medieval, fantasy detective. The stories will follow his various adventures, all conjoined through some sort of link, some links more tenuous than others , I imagine. I’ve always wanted to write fantasy. I think the opportunity to just create entirely fictional worlds is…well, really cool.
Either way, I’ve just started writing it, because I think that’s the best way to get these things done.
Here’s the opening.
“Peat, you’ve got to help us, please, Peat.”
“Come on, help us.”
The villagers gathered around Peat like a mob. Peat sat cross-legged, and barefoot, on a cushion in the middle of his barely furnished hut. His eyes were closed and his arms were folded across his chest, defiant and silent. He barely heard the villagers. Day after day for the last three weeks, the villagers came to him, begging for his help. They brought cakes, bread, cheese, promised him their daughters and their sons and offered up their blood in fish-shaped cups. He didn’t listen to their pleas, he kept his eyes closed and his arms crossed. Each day a villager came in and lit the candles dotted around the hut, the same villager would ask Peat if he was okay, and if he was going to talk today, and Peat did nothing, said not a word.
And then the other villagers would arrive.
Peat was unmoved.
At the end of the day, when the sun first began to set, the moment it dipped even an inch in the sky, the villagers filed out of the hut one by one, and they tutted at Peat, and they shook their head at Peat. They quivered as they stepped over the threshold of his hut into the approaching dusk. They looked at each other with fear. As they went their separate ways, off to their corner of Foulness Island, they said goodnight to one another, all silently hoping that if something was to befall the village, let it happen to them, and not us. Bolting the doors, barring the windows, they turned to their loved ones and said, No, he didn’t say anything. But yesterday was yesterday, today is today, and tomorrow is yet to happen. We’ll try again. We’ll try again.
Peat got up from his cushion and stretched. He ached from sitting still all day. Bones cracked. Slapping his hands on his face he tried to wake himself, to clear his mind of the villager’s foggy words. Please, help us, please, help us. Bending over he picked up a stubby piece of chalk from the floor and marked, on the black wood of the centre-post of the hut, a forty-seventh dash. From the bucket by the door Peat removed a soggy rag and washed his arms and neck. He put the rag back into the bucket and moved it closer to the door, hopeful that whatever villager had been assigned to him would understand that he wanted some fresh, warm water.
Peat picked up the cheese, an eighth of a wheel, and an eighth less than this time last week, and nibbled at it. There was also some bread, but it was hard, and there was too much flour on top. It tasted like the floor of a mill, like hay, and dirt. The villagers were growing weary of him. This was their bounty, the bounty they had tried to convince him with. Peat sat down on his cushion, Candles flickered in his hut, but they cast no shadows except shadows of their own light, as there was nothing in his hut that cast a shadow apart from his own hunched body. Smoke from the village’s fires drifted through the cracks in the shutters. The smoke smelled like roasting pork, piglets from the spring harvest, eaten when they were still young and chewy. Peat’s stomach grumbled.
He ate his bread.
He chewed it slowly.
He ate his cheese.
He chewed it slowly.
Peat crossed his legs, closed his eyes, and resumed his mourning.