Monday, March 7, 2011

Catch Me if You Can Blogfest!

Ok, this seemed like fun, so I thought, what the hey! Here are the first 500 of Evernow, my YA dystopian for the Catch Me if You Can Blogfest.








Life is so much easier without underwear. That was one of the first things Sal taught me. He taught me a lot of other things too. Like how to pee while holding a bow with an arrow nocked and drawn. In the Wild you have to know such things.
That’s what I’m doing now. Crouching over a leafy sprig of creeper so that my urine makes no sound on its way to the ground. My bow, Donriel, rests across my knees. My left hand holds it steady, my index and middle fingers twisted in order to keep tension on the arrow which is, in turn, applying tension to the string. I can let it fly while still crouched if I need to. But my friend, Brother the raven, is nearby at the moment. He’ll forewarn me of anything approaching.
I couldn’t do this wearing underwear. But in just chaps and a loincloth it’s easy, with practice. I’ve practiced a lot.
Eyes constantly scanning the forest around me, I pluck a large leaf of lambs ear with my free hand. It’s almost better than toilet paper. Softer but also more substantial. The pale leaf comes away with a smearing of blood.
Damn! The curse rings only within the confines of my mind. I’m too smart to curse aloud. Damn. Damn. Damn!
I stare at the leaf for a moment then drop it aside and pick up another. I get the same result. The last time I cycled while I was in the Wild, I was with Sal. Now I’m alone, with no one to keep watch or hunt while I lie in miserable discomfort. And bleed. And attract anything with half a sense of smell.
Brother startles me from my cringing thoughts, dropping from the air to strut around me in a circle. He lowers his thick-beaked head and snatches the soiled leaf of cows tongue from my hand. Skittering a step sideways, he grabs up the first one too, ratting them like a terrier with a toy.
“Yes, yes take them!” I murmur, shooing the black bird aloft. Sal taught him to carry dirty bandages, anything with blood on it far away and drop them where they won’t betray their source.
With the bird winging overhead I quickly set Donriel aside, rummaging for the cloths I carry in my rucksack. They never work like in the stories and books but they’re all I have nowadays. Three years after surviving the cataclysm that killed most of humanity, I’m used to going without what was once considered modern comforts.
I don’t have much time to debate what to do. It won’t take long for me to attract unwanted attention.
I skirted a small settlement yesterday morning. I might make it back there by nightfall if I rush. But if I go back to the settlement while I’m bleeding, they’ll know that I can still bear children while so many women nowadays inexplicably can’t. That will make it harder on me when I try to leave. And I will leave. I always do.
I decide to go it alone instead, find a defensible hiding spot and hope that I go unnoticed by anything roaming.

9 comments:

  1. An interesting world and a great first line.

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  2. I loved your first sentence, garbed me right away. And wow your voice is solid and I really get a sense of your writing style and I want to know more about this girl. Why is she in the wild? Who is Sal? What is this world all about?

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  3. This is great dystopia, and you know from the first sentences that this is going to be harsh, raw and real. There's a great sense of immediate danger -- and of this girl's skill and power, as well as her wariness. Your writing is polished -- and good enough that you can avoid the info-dump of this sentence:

    "Three years after surviving the cataclysm that killed most of humanity, I’m used to going without what was once considered modern comforts."

    Much of this is implied in the previous sentence, that there was something that worked better that she has read about, but that she's reduced to this.

    I would not be AT ALL surprised to hear you announce any minute now that you're agented -- or that you have a three-book deal with Harper Teen. :) Fingers crossed!

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  4. This hooked me and I would keep reading to find out more. Thanks for sharing.
    HMG

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  5. I was hooked immediately. I love the sense of humor and how quickly you built the world.

    I was a little confused with the bleeding because I thought the narrator was male, and I couldn't figure out why he was bleeding. I know-I know--she crouched to pee. Apparently I missed that. I think it was the use of the word "underwear" and the loincloth. I might also be distracted by my ten month old baby starting to cry. So if no one else brings this up, please ignore me.

    I really enjoyed your take on the realities of a dystopian world--this tends to be forgotten in most novels. I would certainly keep reading.

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  6. This is good. The first line caught my attention, then the bow and arrow, living in the wild intrigued me further. After that, I'm asking a lot of questions. Keep going!

    Marie, http://marierearden.blogspot.com

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  7. This is just amazing. It's very raw and the writing is solid and clean.

    The first line is a real attention-grabber. It does its job very well :) And from there, the tension in the story and the obviously high stakes just refuse to let you go.

    I love dystopian novels and this one has really piqued my interest. As Francesca said, I won't be the least bit surprised when you get agented and this hits the shelves.

    I'll be one of the first in line to buy it :) Thanks SO much for sharing!

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  8. You already know I LOVE this!

    Christi Corbett

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