Even though I don’t call myself an author, I think this is a pretty accurate portrayal, haha.
So on BM’s 2nd birthday, Linda asked me to talk about my writing and this post is going to do just that.
I’ve shared original work on BM before so if you want to get a sense of my writing style etc (this is, of course, assuming you are interested) you can look under that tag. But if you want something more, this is my writing tumblr filled with my writing. I have no fixed writing style though some would disagree with me on that account. I can write in a lyrical manner but I’ve found that for novels, lyrical doesn’t really work all that well. Short stories are more receptive to poetic writing unless you are Franny Billingsley and I’m not. Hur.
My works in progress, they are two. The first one is a first draft and honestly? It’s fun but it lacks substance. There is no character development and things are resolved too neatly and just…there’s no meat to it. The writing, too, could do with a lot more work. It’s a spy/assassin thriller set in Seoul, Korea. The main character is something like an assassin but not really. It’s a first person narrative and I’m having the hardest time developing all other characters when most of the narrative is focused on the main character. I probably need to work more at it.
But oh, I lack the discipline. And the inspiration. I know I have to rewrite it but damn me, if I know where to start it! It is frustrating but I’m probably just making excuses right now. Anyway, that’s project Uno that is percolating in my head and on my computer right now.
The second one is also frustrating me!
I admit it, okay? I have a tendency to overthink things. So for Project Dos, I started chapter one four times. FOUR whole times and it was on the fourth try that I thought “yes! I have a feel for this character now!” and then when I reread what I had written, I had an Uh Oh moment.
You see, my main character is not human. She’s a…okay, I don’t want to give anything away at the moment so suffice it to say that she’s a Brownie. A fae creature that I may or may not create my own mythology for. (I need to read more books on mythology.)
So yeah, Brownie. But in my writing, she reads EXACTLY like a human girl! Arghhhh. That was no good, you guys. An NG! Because Croi (my character’s name, pronounced Cree) is definitely not human and it follows that her way of thinking will not be human so she shouldn’t sound human. But then, I’m human and I can only sound human and not anything else.
See my conundrum? You’ll say, Nafiza, you’re overthinking this. And I know I’m overthinking it but honestly, it makes sense to me. I remember reading Leah Cypess’s first novel and being impressed that her main character evinced her other-worldly nature through her interactions, observations and narration and I want something like that.
Which resulted in the fifth attempt at a first chapter. Which I’ll share with you below. I know this story will take me forever to write but I don’t mind if the end result is something I’m satisfied with. Anyway, here is an excerpt of the first chapter. I hope you enjoy it.
A hint of red. An alluring curve. The promise of sweetness.
The apple promises and I fall into temptation. Eyes wide open and hand grasping. My teeth bite into the yielding flesh with a satisfying crunch. My chin is sticky with juice.
The fruit seller will wonder what happened to his apple later. He will think one of the dirty little humans took it. They run wild in the market, their man-made forest. Right now, Mr. Fruit Seller is talking with Madame Big Nose and her three daughters. The third one I like. Her eyes are like grapes. She leaves me food in her garden. A saucer of milk and sometimes something sweet. Cinders, they call her. Sooty Cinders.
I am not supposed to be here. But I am. In this sticky, stinky collection of roiling humans. Rich ones that try to mask their stench with perfumes. Flowers are sacrificed and the bees mourn.
The poor ones cannot afford the floral sacrifice so theirs, at least, is an honest stink. I steal a gaudy scarf from a woman who has many and a tinkling trinket from a trader from across the seas. I steal toffee from a baby and watch as it scrunches up its ugly face and cries.
These blind humans who cannot see what walks amongst them. What runs skips breathes amongst them. The animals do. A tabby purrs from her perch on a wooden fence when I pass by and I hiss at her. Meows are not music to me.
They live these busy lives, these humans. Screaming, crying, breaking, mending, laughing. A carefully choreographed chaos. Who is their creator then? Who is the creator of these mud puppets who think they rule the world?
She said this morning that I could no longer come to the city. The Hag stood up tall, like a poplar tree, and told me so in her grandest voice.
“You cannot, Croi,” she said. “Little Brownies will be discovered much too quickly.”
“But I am invisible!” I put on my most hurt face and presented it to her. “I have been there many times, down the river path, through the hole in the wall and into the grounds of the castle! No one has seen me before! No one ever will!”
“And it has to stop now,” The Hag commanded me, looking at me with thunder stormy eyes.
“But why?” I cried like a cat whose tail has been stepped on.
“No questions,” The Hag said in a cold as a winter morning voice.
I am made up of questions. My fingers, arms and shoulders are whys, my torso, legs and toes are hows and my head is a who. I am a question the universe keeps asking. So far, no answer has been forthcoming.