My options for today’s flash fiction post were: do 1000 words on ‘why I write’ which is today’s challenge from Chuck Wendig; write 1000 words to one of the random titles that came up a couple of weeks back when I was busy at camp, or give you a quote from the start of Book 2 of the Viridian series.
I didn’t really want to blog about my writing, not having come out of the revision of The Perihelix and started doing the next one; it’s too much to sit down and think about it right now. My head is full of stuff like story arc and description; making every word relevant, and dialogue that has a purpose (story, character or something else I’ve forgotten). I have to open with something that grabs the reader and make them want to read on. I should be making more of Pete and the Swede as imperfect heroes, and maybe make my villains more villainous.
But as I’m just wending my way back from Camp Nano, I thought I’d share the opening of the first chapter of the new book (Viridian book 2), and see what you thought. I suppose I should mention that the planet Corsair is the original home of Big Pete, as we find out in the first book, and that Lars has an interesting encounter with Kaa Birith in the first book, too.
Extract from Viridian Series 2, Chapter 1 by Jemima Pett
Screams and shouting echoed over the gently sloping fields as dawn pressed through the rising mist of a fine summer’s day. The idyllic and fertile land of the planet Corsair had seen twenty-four years of Imperium rule. After the initial killings and enslavery, those who were left had enjoyed a peaceful existence, provided they worked from dawn to dusk in the fields, ensuring the Imperium’s bread-baskets remained filled.
“What’s happening?” Maya Trescothick asked her husband Colin, as he dashed back into their tiny wooden cottage.
“Get the kids, grab some food. We’re leaving.”
“No buts, Maya. They’re back. Just like when we were kids. Move!”
Maya needed no second urging She could hear explosions in the distance now, and more screams, from adults and children alike, noises that were growing louder.
She pulled the children from their bed, got them dressed, against their squeals and protests. “Come now, hurry. Hear the people running past? We have to join them.”
“Dolly!” squealed Trisha, the four-year old, hanging back as Maya pushed her out of the door into Colin’s waiting arms.
“I have her!” called Maya as she added a knitted woollen doll into the sack of essentials she was gathering. Wool sweaters, hats, scarves, barely a change of clothes each. Martin’s wooden horse got thrown in alongside Dolly, string, candles, a skein of sausages drying from the ceiling, two cooking pots, and a small box made of silvery metal.
“Maya!” Colin urged her on, settling the kids on the cart, pulling sacks of corn on board and keeping the horse under some sort of control by hanging on to the end of the reins. Maya threw her sack on board too and they set off, hauling three neighbours up onto the cart as they joined the flight away from their homes, away towards the hills and the limestone caves where they could hide.
Now they could hear the yells at the end of their village, screams from people who had stayed to defend their meagre hovels. Everything the people had they had built in the last twenty years, once they had emerged from the caves last time to work the land for the Imperium. Explosions punctuated the screams. Three hovermachines moved inexorably forward, blasting every house in their paths as they chased the Corsairs off the land once more. Anyone in their homes died, vaporised. As long as they didn’t blast the retreating families …
On the bridge of the Imperium spaceship, the captain and the senator watched the progress of the clearance. The senator’s lips curled into a satisfied smile. “Why not just blast the lot of them?”
“Clearance has a protocol, senator, as you must know.”
“But who would live to tell the tale? It would be more efficient.” He paused and watched the vidscreen cover a wrecked village in detail. Razed.
“How many will escape to the hills, do you estimate?”
“Maybe fifty percent. That would be a reasonable level for a future workforce.”
“As many as that? Surely that provides a large potential guerrilla movement.”
“The fit ones get to the caves, then we select from there. They’ll starve by winter if they don’t toe the line. Guerrillas don’t get enough support in these pogroms. You’ll be quite safe, senator.”
Kaa Birith of the Imperium Senate raised his head in an imperious way that enabled him to look down his nose at the captain, and sneer without changing his smile.
“Very good. Carry on.”
(c) J M Pett 2015
How does it sound? Do you want to read more? Any other comments?