Friday, May 8, 2009

Manuscript update

I thought since my Twitter posts have been flashing up on the side of my blog for the last month I should bring folks up to speed with what's actually happening with my new manuscript.

I would like to say it's done, but it's not. I have, however, managed to complete 51,049 words over a total of 27 days (29 days, actually. I didn't write on 2 of them). I expect another 4,000 to 9,000 words should wrap up the story. Since this is a children's/young adult story (probably suitable for 10-14 year old girls) I think this length should be sufficient, although it may still be a little on the short side. The story has some loose similarities to Lois Lowry's The Giver, mostly just in the style of the highly structured, rule-bound world.

The story, simply titled Nora at the moment, is a piece of speculative fiction. It's set some undetermined time in the future where most of the Earth has turned to desert. Humans live together in compounds of around 1000 people (some more, some less). They grow as much of their food in greenhouses as they can. There's also a degenerative disease that kills about 65-70% of the population before they reach the age of 50. Because most people die young, there is a keen distinction kept between children (those younger than 18) and adults (those older than eighteen).

My main character is a 16-year old girl named Nora. She's deaf. When I first mentioned the idea of making her deaf to Andrew, he thought it would be difficult to write, but I haven't found it so. Mostly I've had to be mindful not to describe sounds, which hasn't been difficult. When I start to edit I want to increase her awareness of other senses like smell and colours. Currently there's been a large focus on facial expressions, which she uses to determine what kind of mood people are in. I've given her the ability to read lips. In reality I don't think a lip reader would be quite as proficient as she is, but I've tried to point out she often can't understand what people are saying because she can't see their faces. She also explains to another character that she pieces together what she can catch and fills in the blanks on her own.

My other main character is Tomas, a 17-year old boy. Yes, there's a bit of a romance in the story. I can't help myself. It doesn't start out well as Nora smacks Tomas in the face with a door. It comes back to haunt her later on. Tomas is a considerate young man who has a tendency to help others. He's also very attractive (blond hair, crystal-blue eyes), although not overly tall (around 5'8").

The third important character in my story is Ms. Amatrist, the greenhouse attendant. She's a special friend to Nora (I didn't mention earlier, but her mother died when she was 10 years old and she's never known her father), who always encourages the heroine to pursue her interests and work hard. Ms. Amatrist is the wise teacher sort.

The main crisis of the story arises when a fast talking stranger (i.e. a con man) arrives at Nora's compound and tries to convince everyone that he has created a cure for the disease. He swindles the compound out of it's money and Nora, Tomas and Ms. Amatrist wind up chasing after him to get the money back. That's the part where I'm at now. The end of the chase. After that will follow the obligatory handing down of justice and a touching death scene. I hope the action is balanced well throughout. It's been exciting to write. Now I'm going to have to go back to touch up and improve.

I'll be looking for readers once I'm done... ...



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