Hello and Happy Tuesday to you all, Dear Readers. Today marks the very last day of our International Creative Writing month, and it's time to share, share, share!
How many words or pages did you write in May (and this little bit of June)? Did you achieve your target? Miss it by miles? Blow past it? Adjust it? Tell us how you did in the comments and get support and encouragement from your fellow writers.
Remember - people who checked in on every InCreWriMa day will be eligible for entry into my surprise prize draw, and since today is the last check in, you'll need to comment today too. You'll have until Thursday THIS WEEK to get your comment in. Thursday is when I will randomly pick the winners and announce them. You don't want to miss out!
As I'm typing this post out I'm looking at my current notebook. In a very few pages the notebook will be full and I'll need a new one. Frankly, I'm a bit staggered to realise that at the beginning of May I'd only filled (let me see)... twenty-seven pages. This particular notebook is one hundred and sixty-four pages long. Subtracting the title page and the ones left blank at the end, that means this month I've filled...
One hundred and sixteen pages!
And that comes to just under 21,000 words. Not the highest word total I've ever managed in a month (I managed 40,000 words in a fortnight once - I must have been very highly caffeinated!) but nothing to be ashamed of, especially considering all the travelling and excitement and nervous tension in the last two weeks of the month, which never helps me to get words down.
My word total on Katana #2 is now 58,500 words, which is around 80% of the estimated word total. 80% peeps! Of course, that's assuming that the book does end up the same length in first draft as the first book (which is a dangerous assumption to make with any book I write) but still! I'm very happy with that. With any luck I'll be able to turn this book in a couple of months in advance of deadline - and that's always great, because it means extra time for editing, and extra time for me to work on the next book.
In celebration, here's a teeny tiny teaser snippet of The Katana Trilogy Book One: The Night Itself.
A scream rang out, cutting through Jack’s rising anger. The noise died off with a wet gurgle that made goose pimples spring up over my entire body. Without a word, we both set off running toward the sound.
Look, you don’t have to say it. I know that we were two teenage girls out walking alone, and that we should not have been running towards the sound of screaming. But it was broad daylight, and Jack already had her mobile out to call the police. Nine times out of ten, if people come running, your potential mugger or rapist is going to drop what he’s doing and get out of there, right? And I suppose all those years of martial arts classes had made both me and Jack feel like we could take care of ourselves. Besides, I’ve already admitted that I’m not the brightest bulb on the chandelier. What more do you want from me?
Where the tarpaulin covered railings curved away there was a narrow alley between them and the railings of the red-brick building next door. I took one look down it and stopped dead. Jack, a step behind, nearly fell over me.
“Near the Justice building, on the corner of Carey Street and Grange Court,” she was saying into her phone. “I think someone’s been attacked – ”
Her voice cut off with a gasp as she looked over my shoulder. Faintly I could hear the 999 operator demanding more details. We both ignored her.
“Holy crap,” Jack whispered. “Holy crap.”
I recognised the person in the alley – the pretty face and the long red hair. I had seen her on the news in Jack’s flat before we headed out. It was the woman who’d been murdered at the museum. A dead woman. And she was ripping someone’s throat out.
She looked up from the man she was holding, her teeth bared in a snarl. Blood was smeared across those teeth – teeth that were way too long and sharp for any human’s mouth. Her gaze fixed on me, and the bright blue of her eyes flashed yellow, like a cat caught in the beam of a flashlight.
Her victim groaned weakly, and she flung him down at her feet like trash. Ragged clothes and a straggly beard marked him as homeless. There was a lot of blood on those threadbare clothes. My first impulse was to go to him and try to help, but another part of me – a part that had been humming with tension since we heard the scream – held back.
“Yamato,” the woman said, and ice shot down my spine. Her voice was like a special effect from a film, a sort of cat warble with human tones underneath – but worse than that was the fact that she knew my name.
Her bloody lips stretched into a smile that spread wider, wider, revealing rows of needle-like fangs all the way back to her ears. “I knew you were near. I knew you would come. Yamatos can never resist a cry for help.”
“Run Jack,” I whispered. I wanted to shout it, but my throat wouldn’t work properly. “Run.”
The woman’s body was spreading, losing its human shape as it drifted out into a mantle of darkness with nine long trailing tails. An overpowering smell of animal, dung and wet fur, and something sickly and rotting, rolled over me. I gagged on the stench as memories unfolded in my head. This was the creature I had seen fighting the boy in my dream – or vision – or whatever the Hell that had been – last night.
Desperately I scanned the windows of the red building, but they were all veiled by thick grey blinds. The tarpaulins on the fence concealed us from the Courts of Justice. It was the middle of the working day and the street was deserted. There was a monster, a nightmare monster, right here, alive and walking around in daylight on the streets of London, and no one had noticed.
“Give me the sword.” The creature was suddenly right before me. I hadn’t even seen it move. “I know you have claimed it. Give it to me.” Black, jelly-like tentacles reached out for my face.
Something shoved me hard. I fell, and the tentacles closed on air.
Jack hadn’t gone anywhere. She was stood directly in the monster’s path, in her fighting stance, fists raised.
“No!” This time my scream worked. It was too late.
The creature lashed out at Jack. Its tentacles thudded solidly into her midriff and swept her right off her feet. She went flying over my head and crashed into the rank of motorbikes parked behind me. They toppled like dominoes.
Jack disappeared in the tangle of wheels and exhaust pipes.
Now, over to you, my lovelies! The comment trail is open!
P.S. My Top Ten UK YA Novels is posted over on the UKYA Blog right now - check it out :)