04 October 2011

Excerptification: Not a Word

I’m never quite sure how interested people are in excerpts, as they don’t tend to attract many comments, but of course are not the kind of thing that really elicit comments. So, if you do happen to feel like clicking through and commenting today, I’d love to know your opinion: to excerpt, or not to excerpt? Interesting or skim-worthy?

Personally, it depends on my mood at the time and how many unread items are in my feedreader O:) :D

Anyway, I’m really excited about the story I’m working on at the moment. I have several Big projects I’m ‘supposed’ to be working on (a rewrite of the 33 Mistakes About Dogs book for rerelease in November, revising Marked for tentative December release, editing Jesscapades and Sanctuary for submission to publishers, etc), but it’s hard to fit those in around the brain and time requirements of The Snowdrift of Marking Doom. The couple of shorts that have pounced on me? Much easier to squeak in, especially since they’ve arrived with Voice, which always, ALWAYS make things easier to write for me.

The one that I’ve excerpted (ha, Word accepts that as a word!) from today is tentatively titled To Dust, and is about the MC’s quest to find out first what the mysterious box does, and then how it can save their society from the [insertnamehere]s. It’s a quirky sort of blend of post-apocalypse and fantasy, and includes zombies and fae and technology and magic, and most of all dust, because dust is important. I’m loving this story, and can’t wait to see what it turns into.

Enjoy :)

[rough draft, unedited, blah blah blah]

Sometimes, walking away is the hardest thing you can do. That day, in Oseena, I swore I’d never do it again – and yet here I am, backpack slung over one shoulder, sunglasses perched on my nose, staring down the infinite road to nowhere, everywhere, anywhere but here. I don’t want to run away. In fact, I rather hate myself for it. It’s so much easier to stay, to fight, to be one of the people who get to die in a glorious blaze of meaning and feeling and then feel… nothing.

But it’s not my day to die. Today, I have to live, because today, I have to get the box away. The perfect cube that can sit on my two outstretched palms, sharp edged and shined to perfection – the only hope we have of stopping the [name] forever.

And that, I want to do. I want to stop them more than anything else in the world; more, even, than I want to stay. Which is the only reason why I set off against the sunset, heading north in a town that runs south, away from the battlefields of the fallen to where the rumours are born – the north, from whence our salvation comes.

That’s what they say, anyway, and as I step past the protection of the last building in town – a tiny drugstore, good for toothpaste and tobacco and not much else – I can only hope that they are right, whoever they are.

The road before me is straight and broad, dust whipping off it in the erratic wind into spirals and billows that whip across the fields like spirits. Dust spirits, earth spirits; spirits of those returned to dust. From dust born, to dust returned. Only that’s exactly it: with the [name] on our doorsteps at last, there will be no return. It might indeed be easier to join the battle, the onslaught, to rush at the invaders headlong and fight – but death at the hands of a [name] is not death at all.

I’ve seen bodies the [name] left behind, twisted, gruesome things with flesh squeezed until the insides popped out, left in the sun to ferment, a rictus of pain on their face – and the eyes. It makes me shudder. The eyes are the worst.

No. Walking away is hard, to be sure, but it’s right. I’ll succeed; I have to.


ClareB said...

:D I like it Inky!! :D

Botanist said...

Thought-provoking question, Inky! Like all the best questions, I find I can't give a black & white answer.

As a rule, I'm not keen on excerpts and I tend to gloss over them.

But there are exceptions. The most notable being entries in blogfests where everyone is posting an excerpt on some common theme. I love taking part in those and reading other entries.

Amy Laurens said...

Clare - thanks :D

Botanist - Yeah, I think as a general rule there has to be some 'hook' other than just, 'Here's my excerpt, read it!' Like you say, a theme or something to give it deeper purpose... Mm. Interesting thoughts. Thanks for making me think :D

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