Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Blast from the Past - an extract from my "first" novel

Recently I have been introduced to Writing Excuses, an excellent podcast featuring one of my favourite (and only recently discovered) fantasy authors, Brandon Sanderson. One thing they discuss is how your first novel will beyour "practise novel". This is somewhat reassuring to me, because I have written enough "practise" novels now to almost be skilled at it. Anyhow, they also have in the recent ones I've been listening to, been sharing their own "first novels" and dissecting them.

so, I thought I would share the first passage of my first fantasy novel (not counting the one about satanists in the sewers, let's leave that one where it belongs - downstairs printed on dot matrix paper). This is my first fantasy epic, which is highly, extremely derivative, as it was inspired by the Helloween song "Keeper of the Seven Keys" with characters based on the members of the band (names have been changed) and yeh... I was a little bit obsessive.

However, the writing style is actually passingly decent, so here, without further ado, is the first passage of "Keeper of the Seven Keys", the derivative novel.


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A lonely human figure picked its way through the empty streets of the village. It was early evening, but the darkness was so absolute, so complete, that it could have been the middle of a moonless night. The young man scrabbled through the garbage that littered the alleyway, desperately searching for something. In his callused hand he clasped his only possession of any worth, a small dark stone. To all but the trained eye, this stone seemed like a useless keepsake, but it was in fact a seeker stone, a stone that could be used to find particular items. This one was poor quality however; all it was able to detect was small coins. At the moment it was pulsing with warmth suggesting there was a coin in the vicinity. This was what he needed, money, needed it to feed his hunger. But not a hunger for food. For this young man was addicted to 'Myrth', a most powerful narcotic so named because of its effect on the user. The coin eluded his searching fingers.

A thin tendril of coldness ran down the back of the addict, icy fingers were reaching for him. He straightened up, turning and found himself staring into the face of danger. A dark, intangible shape with eyes so black that they glowed with an unlit radiance loomed before him, reaching for him. Pushing himself against the wall, he faced his adversary. He had heard of these monsters, who hadn't in this godsforsaken town? But had never seen one. Known as dream demons, or phantoms of death, they were rumoured to be from beyond the mortal realms and had materialised in this village soon after the last dawn had passed. Stuttering, afraid, the young man offered a silent prayer to any of the gods that might be listening. The phantom came closer, its shape expanding to engulf him. There was nothing he could do, he had no weapon except... his hand was warm. Why was that? The stone! Gritting his teeth and hoping upon hope, he threw the small missile at the main bulk of the phantom. His aim was true, the black, swirling mist engulfed the stone and the phantom seemed to become smoke, to separate.

"I killed it," he whispered breathlessly. "I defeated a phantom!" His heart leapt with joy. But wait, the smoke was coalescing into a figure again. The young man, realising this, turned swiftly from the alleyway and ran for his life.

The lights of the temple reached out to him, banishing the darkness. They were always lit, for in these dark times many of the villagers would seek sanctuary in the arms of the gods they worshipped. And although there were many gods, there was just one temple. Here should offer sanctuary. It was said that the phantoms could not venture into light and warmth, since they were from the pits of the frozen nether regions and had been released by the will of the god of darkness. The hunted man collapsed in a heap just inside the entrance, feeling the warmth and the light of the gods, or the church anyway, embrace him, luring him into sleep.

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1 comment:

Lauren Tomecek said...

I love Brandon Sanderson's work, he's a great author.