Over the weekend (despite taking regular breaks to stick my head over a bowl of hot water and Olbus Oil and steam my sinuses in order to prevent my eyes from exploding) I broke 50,000 words on BaBBook! Now, I'm very, very (very) bad at estimating how long my novels will end up being - but with the way the story is shaping up, I'm pretty sure I can state that I'm now in the final third of the book, which means all Hell is breaking loose in the story and things are metaphorically blowing up all over the place. My favourite part of any story!
Given all this, it seemed like a good time to share a snippet of BaBBook and the main playlist that I've been writing to. And as snippets go, I don't think there's a better one to offer than the first page of the book. So... here we go:
* * * *
There is a monster in the forest, whispered the trees.
“I know, Obasan.” I patted the vast trunk of an ancient cedar with one sun-browned hand as I passed. “I know.”
The tree shuddered a little. I turned away to crouch by the body of the shaggy coated serow I had just brought down. Its thrashing and struggling had already stopped. My fingers sank into the soft, greyish fur as I turned it over, and looking down into the animal’s swiftly clouding eyes, I felt deeply grateful.
It was a clean kill. All living creatures struggled for survival, and so death was always painful. But the arrow was embedded deeply in the mountain antelope’s heart. It had only suffered for a moment in its passing. That was the best I could do.
The antelope’s pelt would make a warm blanket and perhaps mittens for the coming winter. Its meat, hung and cured, would feed us for many days. The horns and bones would become a multitude of useful tools. The animal’s death had been necessary to our survival – for I had seen little game today, and I was already perilously close to the edge of the dark woods. The trees were anxious, shivering and creaking around me, warning me from wandering deeper. We had needed this.
“Thank you,” I said quietly.
Digging my knee into the crisp fallen leaves, I pulled the arrow free from the serow’s body, examined the horn arrowhead for damage, then wiped it off and placed it back in the quiver strapped to my back. My bow, swiftly unstrung, slid into the quiver beside it, done for the day. I would barely be able to carry what I had caught as it was.
I lifted the serow with a grunt of effort, draping its weight across both my shoulders so I could hold its hindquarters in place with one hand and grasp its front legs with the other. Glancing down to make sure that the brace of small birds I had collected from my snares was still securely attached to the cord holding up my rough leather leggings – they were – I turned and made for home. Around me, the trees sighed with relief, leaves shaking gently as I moved away from the edge of the dark woods.
There is a monster in the forest, the trees murmured gently.
“No need to worry.” I wove swiftly between their trunks. There was no need for stealth now, but my bare feet, tanned as tough as leather, made little noise. “I’m going.”
* * * *
And now for my primary BaBBook playlist, courtesy of Spotify:
This book has been a lot of fun to write so far - despite the usual sporadic episodes of ugly emo weeping - which surprised me because usually when you've been desperately looking forward to writing something for ages it turns out to be a complete b*st*rd (ie., Shadows on the Moon). But it's definitely a strange book. Not just strange in terms of content, but in the way it's unfolded for me. I'll probably talk more about that when I've finished this baby and sent it off to Wonder Editor and Super Agent.
Read you later, lovelies!