To celebrate hitting 50k in my current WIP, I thought it might be nice to share an excerpt with you. I’m not normally one for sharing my work before it’s done (because I’m a discovery writer and it’s messy), but I’ve been prioritising writing stories over writing blog posts recently, so it’s only fair to share what I’ve been doing.
To my shame, I’ve actually left my MC falling to pieces and sobbing her eyes out as she realises just how serious the whole situation is. Does anyone else feel guilty leaving their characters in dangerous or difficult situations? I know they’re not real, but when I write, I like to get them to a reasonably safe place (or at least somewhere they can breathe for a second while I go live my life) before putting my pen down.
This particular scene is from very early in the book. The story around it seems like an unnecessary divergence from the main plot at first, but you have to trust me that you’ll be kicking yourself when you realise why it matters later on.
To understand what’s happening, there are a couple of things you might need to know:
The main character, Morwen, lives in a city (Abatiya) centred around dragons. Her friend’s dragon was born premature and damaged, when she was attacked by wild animals on her way back to the city with the egg. Morwen attempted to heal Gomer’s baby dragon, and so did the most gifted healers in the city, but to no avail.
This is a first draft with edits only for spelling. It’s messy.
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Dawn broke blue. A legion of dragons stood waiting as their riders lined up in front of them on the plateau above Abatiya. A little way off, a pyre waited, empty. Before the pyre, Gomer stood, a bundle filling her arms.
As the navy of night watered down into a brilliant blue, there began a soft, low song. Every rider, runner, and apprentice wore white. Their heads were covered by white shawls and a line of pale paint ran from their foreheads to their chins, with white dots from the corner of one eye and down their left cheeks.
Morwen stood by the edge of the runners, singing softly. When the hymn reached its second verse, Gomer turned from those gathered and placed the cloth bound form upon the pyre.
A cool wind blew, tugging at her so that the loose end of her shawl rippled in the breeze. Her shoulders hunched and she let out a great cry that echoed across the Crags on one side and the Salt Plains on the other. Morwen clasped her hands tightly in front of her, every muscle burning to run to her friend and hold her.
Three dragons stood behind the pyre. One belonged to Jakan, the Eyrie Master; One to Nissim, the Commander of the Flight; and the third to Abiram, his second in command.
After a moment, Gomer collected herself and looked up at the three great creatures, gleaming in the early rays — one gold, one green, one blue.
“He gives and takes away,” Gomer choked. Morwen bit her lip. The hymn had fallen still, but Gomer had spread her hands wide and tilted her face to the sky as she finished reciting the line. “Blessed be the Maker’s name.”
Shoulders hunched, she stumbled the short distance to huddle beside Morwen, somewhere between runner and apprentice.
The three dragons shook their wings and groaned. Those gathered spoke as one.
“Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.”
The dragons each took a deep breath, their chests glowing golden beneath their scales, and exhaled a stream of flame. Morwen found Gomer’s trembling hand and squeezed it in her own as the heat subsided and the dragons stepped back to stand over the blazing body of the hatchling.
The hymn began again, soft at first, but growing more strong and sure with each line. It was a song older than the city itself, a song of love and grief and longing, a song that told of a Maker who held all things in his hands.
And in the West, the morning star began to fade.