Monday, 3 November 2008

Shrapnel from NaNoWriMo

I’m 5585 words into the first novella ‘Shrapnel From a Broken Smile’ in my ‘Theatre of Curious Acts’ collection. I’m following the plot for the most part and discovering things about my characters that I never knew. One of my characters is loop-the-loop when I thought she was sane – there was no balding doll that she pretends talks in a childish voice in my plan. – another is pregnant.

Oh, and don’t you wish the NaNoWriMo site would display all your friends and their word counts on the writing buddies page without limiting the amount to eleven and hiding the rest.

Anyhow, for want of nothing better to say – here’s an extract:

Part One: SHRAPNEL FROM A BROKEN SMILE

(i)

The Troublemakers Union

1911

Clinton Folk stood in the doorway of the Theatre of Curious Acts and looked out at the end of the world. A breeze whipped at his trouser legs and rain spattered his shiny shoes. In his opinion, it was an innocuous and therefore perfect location. The white brickwork glowed beneath the darkening skies. The blood red words of the sign – Curious Acts - rippled with malevolence as if the pool of rainwater alone understood the true nature of the theatre. That is, its intent was to amuse itself and not to entertain the people who would crush through its doors over the next century.

He rolled a pamphlet up and tapped it against his leg. They were coming.

Excitement rippled down his spine. He had no doubt that the delegation would choose his theatre over the other establishments vying for ‘platform for the end of the world’ status. The Houses of Parliament were too obvious, the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool too grey, and both buildings had incorporated clocks into their structures as if an ironic statement about the passing of time. Time had nothing to do with the world ending except in the ceasing-to-be factor. However, it seemed, not all of his visitors were aware of that and a tremor jittered down Clinton’s left leg as the lead visitor consulted a pocket watch.

The man wore a red waistcoat over a black shirt, his pocket watch was gold and the tick-tick-tock vibrated within Clinton’s eardrum. Ink-black eyebrows overshadowed his pale blue eyes, and his forehead looked as if an angry God had chiselled it. A quartet of bickering women followed him.

He knew them only by reputation: the four ladies of the apocalypse, and he doubted any of them had any desire to ride a horse. Three of them were dressed for a ball in red, gold and silver; the fourth disguised as a Scandinavian milkmaid.

The representative for humanity was a god-like fellow with a long white beard, wild hair, and he wore a grey robe that didn’t quite meet at the back. The old man had a major part to play in the proceedings, he just wasn’t aware of it. With tongue hanging from his mouth and fingers pulling at the milkmaid’s purple smock, he had things other than the end of the world on his mind and whiskey on his breath.

13 comments:

Jamie Eyberg said...

Cool- I love it when my characters surprise me. One of the little things I really enjoy about writing. Am on course to get to 6000 words today. Good luck to you.

K.C. Shaw said...

Okay, that is seriously cool. Excellent beginning!

Aaron Polson said...

Nice work on that first line. Pulled me right in.

katey said...

I too love when the characters surprise me-- I'm getting a little of that this time around myself, though it happens almost every time. Luckily this time, they're remaining cooperative.

Thanks for the teaser, now I just want more! Seriously, really appreciate that peek into your process. Fabulous so far! Great set-up, interesting character appearances, and just... lots of yay.

Carrie Harris said...

Which lady of the apocalypse is the milkmaid? I've got to know. I've also got to stop laughing, but that's beside the point.

Barry Napier said...

Ooh, sounds great so far! Nice opening hook!

Catherine J Gardner said...

Jamie, me too. :)

Cheers, KC.

Thanks, Aaron.

Katey, my characters are so flipped around I'm stunned.

Carrie, that would be Famine. :)

Cheers, Barry

Mary said...

That’s a fabulous first sentence. And I love “platform for the end of the world”.

Pom-poms!

Brenda said...

Great teaser! Congrats on the word count...hugs...

Kim Kasch said...

A Scandinavian milkmaid . . . ;-D
love that, it's so fun watching you work on the Nano.

You're doing it - and I'm sitting on the sidelines watching.

Catherine J Gardner said...

Thanks for reading it, girls. :)

Carrie Harris said...

Famine the milkmaid.

I think I love you, Cate. In a completely non-weird, non-stalker way.

Angela said...

The best part of writing is not fully knowing what our characters will decide to do. Congrats on your nano count!