Had a nice rest after finishing and polishing my litfic novel The Honesty of Tigers. The rest included getting its submission package ready and starting that process, then writing a short story for The Bridport Prize and subbing that.
Then I took a full week off to do nothing writing related. Not a thing. A nice week of brain cleansing. Then I opened the file I closed last summer when I was 42k into it but got too ill to continue, which is my YA fantasy novel The Orphan Age.
Last week I rewrote that 42k. POV-wise, it’s a two-hander, and originally both were in 3rd person past tense. I’ve changed one to 1st person past tense and one to 3rd person present tense.
The first one is in the form of a daily journal written by Connor, a 16-year-old boy who’s accompanying his novelist father and several other adults on a quest through what he used to think was the high fantasy world his father had invented for his Tamass the Fearless series. Changing Connor’s chapters to a journal and putting him into 1st person has given him the agency he was lacking with all those adults being In Charge. (I know, buzzword. Sorry. But it applies.)
The second one is Molly, a 15-year-old Anglo-Indian girl who has ME. Her life of painful chronic illness is brightened and enlivened considerably when she discovers her inherited talent to be a Storywalker, which enables her to enter books, interact with the characters, and have adventures. Guess what’s her favourite high fantasy series. 🙂
Here are the opening lines of Molly’s first chapter, which is entitled A Bolthole in London:
Molly relies upon herself.
She has to, because everyone else lets her down. Sometimes it takes a while, but in the end there’s always just her again, alone inside her head with whatever she’s reading at the time.
Her books never fail her. They’re where she goes to explore other worlds inside. Where she hides when the outside gets too jagged.
The local public library is a solid symbol of that refuge, and her favourite place in the world is its main fiction room. It’s a big echoing space of carved pale stone and brown-threaded white marble under a high domed ceiling, filled with thousands of worlds, all bound and shelved and waiting patiently to be discovered or rediscovered.
Sometimes they whisper to her.
I’m loving this story. I expect it’ll be around 100k long, and although I’ll edit to tighten it up a lot later on I’m really enjoying the luxury of writing these lovely characters in this exciting world.