So… I’ve had this idea for a novel for, well, years. I still have a lot of research to do to actually make the thing work the way I want it to, but I figured that if I don’t actually get on and write something it’s all a bit of a pipe dream. I follow ‘A Writer’s Path’ blog by Ryan Lanz and one of my favourite features is ‘Under The Microscope’ which takes the first 350 or so words from a manuscript and has a good hard look at this key part of a story. “Is it engaging? Do you want to read more? Is it incomprehensible? Or just plain terrible?”
I had thought that my first chapter would be someone barging into somebody else’s bedroom but realised that it would probably work better to avoid the predictable chronological sequencing of chapters and throw the turning point in at the beginning. So, here’s my first draft of the first part of my story. If anything seems wrong, unclear or just stupid, please chuck your comments into the usual boxes. Ta.
And then there was no room, no walls or floor, just an intense bright light and painful pressure squeezing every part of her. Emma just had time to notice the lack of gravity before it reasserted itself with the even more alarming sensation of falling. She struggled to see what was happening as she floundered in the air, groping for something to hold onto, something to break her descent.
The pressure in her head increased and she blacked out, her body going limp as it fell through the trees, snapping twigs and shearing leaves from branches. The others plummeted helplessly groundwards too, surrounded by speeding chunks of desk, floorboards and concrete that broke up as they fell, crashing into wood and foliage. The generator and assorted electronic equipment that were at the centre of the debris shower flicked off trees on the way down, spinning and tumbling until they hit the soil and mulch beneath.
The people were not faring much better. All five were unconscious and so were spared the full terror of anticipated impact. Human limbs rushed past, and into, their arboreal counterparts; ribs were thumped by outstretched branches. Their bruised, limp bodies finally crumpled into the ground; a few small items of debris, held up by the journey through the canopy, pittered and thwacked into the earth and foliage around them.
Some birds, alarmed by the sudden appearance and thirty-foot death-dive of half a university laboratory, continued their shrill calls as they flew away to safety, but all else was still.
Four seconds had elapsed from materialisation to muddy and bloody motionlessness.
It was a further fifty minutes before John felt awareness returning. Into the comfortable darkness came an insistent clamour of pain, jolting him awake. He opened his eyes and tried to focus on the green and brown shapes in front of his face.
“Unghh”, he exhaled. His head buzzed, his teeth hurt and his right arm was tucked uncomfortably underneath his body. He used his left hand to lever himself up and over and onto his back. He stared up at the trees, watching the dappled sunlight dance and flicker in the faint breeze. This was not right. In fact, he began to suspect that ‘not right’ was a very long way from accurately describing his situation.