I’ve been having a blast with National Novel Writing Month 2012 and, even though I’m still pretty seriously behind on my progress, I also feel that my chosen story could shape up to be a really great novel. Something I might want to get published for real, the dream of any potential writer. Below is the first few hundred words of my NaNoWriMo entry and I’d love some critique on how to make it better or even just to find out if people would be interested in reading more.
“From the first notes of the engine, Achille Fabris recognised his airship from nearly a league away. He always recognised his own work and felt the greying hairs on his neck stand ready for any fight. But they could wait for now, the distance from his workshop was still great and he could at least finish sanding down this frame. With each stroke he felt his body soothe with the familiarity of work, always taking precendent over the fear of intruders. Fear froze him up, what little of it he could still feel, so Achille waited until the wood was pristine before he leant to pick up his rifle.
Surrounding his workshop and home, he had taken great efforts to ensure that the surrounding area was rough and rugged terrain. The only landing strip for any hopeful airship was his own and so short that it would take an expert to not run over onto more jagged rocks. As the roaring engines approached closer, Achille stepped up the wooden steps into his attic, giving him full scope of the runway and anywhere a potential strike force could possibly run to. The pilot was coming in too fast, they’d certainly end up in the rocks at the end of his landing strip. Clicking the scope into place with a pleasent snap, Achille’s rough fingers began to work the sights into the correct position, giving him the perfect shot. It was almost upon him now. Alone. Again, a slight flutter in the base of his gut but easy enough to ignore after so many years of waiting for the worst and this couldn’t possibly be the worst.
Landing rough and fast, the pilot was either injured or concerned with something else. A two cockpit ship, two targets at most with the size he could see. The metal plating was new, straight from a workshop from the new lick of paint. The wings were larger than was necessary, a modification that grated him a little inside. Would they never leave his work alone?
As Achille glanced over the sight, the hulking airship was hauling itself down onto the runway, almost clipping the rocks that lined the outer limits. The breaking and deceleration was perfect and even, even the larger than necessary wings didn’t swerve their control was so great. The ship slowed and breaked, reaching the tip of the landing strip and silently Achille lifted the scope back up to his eye and focused it onto the pilot’s cockpit. Breath flowed out of him and the perfect stillness took him as he gently began to squeeze the trigger by degrees.
The cockpit was thrown open and Cabel leapt from the seat, jumping onto the wing to access the area behind him. Achilles stopped squeezing the trigger any further but continued to watch as the young man pulled a small shape out of the other seat, a flash of red was now cascading over his arm as he held a frail figure in his arms. Dragging her to the edge of the runway, Cabel suddenly looked over towards where Achilles was aiming and clearly started howling in rage. With a sardonic smile, Achilles hauled the rifle over his shoulder and began to walk down the steps. Exiting the workshop into the bright sunshine of the plains, he saw that Cabel had made surprisingly little progress with the small creature he was carrying. His short, dark hair was ruffled and unkempt, large dark circles were under his eyes and black stubble that extended up past his moustache and accross his grizzled chin. He looked as though he’d been awake for days. Without a word, Achilles walked over and placed a large arm under the crook of the young woman held in his arms. Sharing her weight between them, they began to walk towards the house, which was further from the strip than the workshop and was certain to take at least five minutes with her weight.
“Th-hanks dad” Cabel panted and the strange word held between them like stone. Achilles couldn’t help but frown as they began to make headway.”
This story is aimed at the teen market and is set in a steampunk style world where airships are commonplace and a phoenix flies across the skies. The only elemental creature in the world, with the rise of the steam engine this creature (which was once worshipped as a god) has now become a tempting fuel source for those in power. Covertly, an airship pilot is hired to capture her but when he finds the egg all that is inside in a small girl. This begins a journey they must take across the lands as the phoenix has to make a bargain in order to keep the world as it is. This has turned into a far more complex story than I originally imagined and the second draft is certain to be very different from the first but it’s all AWESOME! I am so pleased with what I’ve created so far and all the characters who have been created, especially Achilles who I honestly think is going to be a favourite character amongst my friends. He’s just such a boss and has ended up being a massively more important character than I initially envisioned.
If you enjoyed this excerpt then please let me know and I’ll post more of this rough first draft up. It’s like watching a baby grow into a gangly teenager with limbs that are too long and a rubbish haircut but sooner or later there will be a handsome adult in there, ready to take on the world!