Sunday, November 1, 2015

All stories begin somewhere...

The first day of November has arrived in a rush, and here I am, at the start of both NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo, sort-of ready and sort-of terrified.

Partly I am terrified because I am attempting something that I think will be quite difficult for NaNoWriMo - a verse novel with a science-fictiony bent. It's tentatively called Theory of Mind, and I am going to challenge myself by not shying away from confronting content. This is something I normally avoid, and I've realised part of the reason I do so is because I am still, in part, writing like a good girl for my mother to read, and in doing so, avoiding writing things out as fully as they should be written.

I don't write sexual violence, except obliquely, and this story won't contain any, but it will contain physical and psychic violence - I need it for the story I'm trying to tell. Without it, the story will be milky-vague and unformed (I think). 500 words in, there's already a gun, being wielded by a man who's killed before, and there's language not fit for my mother's eyes. But if I am going to write this, I am going to write this - not a watered-down version of it, but the story I have planned.

So here's the first excerpt. Hope you like it...

Theory of Mind

The room is hot and close, with that sticky sickly skin-film that breathes
of sullen tropical summer. Air that insinuates into pores, soaks lungs:
the sort of air that never used to be among our afflictions, here in the once-cool south.
Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis, I suppose – but this air, like a moist sponge from hell,
I think this air is partly to blame. Yes, I do.

The gun in his hand looks heavier than I had supposed; his hand is steady, but I can see
(I wonder if the others can, too?) the slight frictive buzzing in the wrist, the tremble of nerves
I know shit about guns, so I can’t even say what type of weapon it is.
A handgun, I suppose – it nestles into the heel of his strong left hand, it doesn’t have to balance
on shoulder or knee, or be steadied on a frame.

The atmosphere in this close, closed room (don’t think of it, don’t) is best expressed in smell.
The least-regarded sense, poor cousin to sight and hearing, less sybaritic than taste and touch –
Here it is overwhelming. The sourness of the adrenalin-tainted breath of seven people
all in varying degrees of terror, mingling with the ever-present nostril-curling tinge of summer sweat
the aroma of the warm mangoes on the shelf and the back-note of the pine-scented floor polish
I think I even smell the gun, although, as it has yet to be discharged, I know this is probably illusory
That chalky-metal explosive sillage a function of my imagination only – or, wait –

This is post 1 in NaBloPoMo. 1 down, 29 to go!

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