I did it! The first draft of Swanskin is complete! I wrote a mighty (for me!) 7033 words, and on Wednesday, the job was done. Swanskin is just a little book, my first novella. I anticipated around 30K words, and it came in at just under, but that could change. There are a few areas I need to rewrite. And of course, the whole thing needs a bit of spit and polish. The story came to me in such a rush, that I was in a hurry to get it all down and catch up with myself.
Strangely, once I got going, I became very emotionally invested in this story. I didn’t expect that. It was inspired by the lovely tale from Irish mythology called The Dream of Óengus, which I retold for my compilation, Conor Kelly’s Legends of Ireland. This story is one of the few Irish myth stories which ends on a happy note. Swanskin, I have to tell you, does not, but follows in the true vein of romantic tragedies.
Here is an excerpt from Chapter Ten, in which Cethlenn is considering whether to tell her bestie, Sophie, about Ruadhán…
“Where the hell have you been? You missed registration,” hissed Sophie.
“Well I’m here now, aren’t I?” I banged the door of my locker shut and turned to face her.
She gasped. “What happened to you?”
“Nothing.” I picked up my bag and shouldered past her.
“Doesn’t look like nothing.”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
I stopped and stared at her, weighing up what I could trust her with. She was my best friend, and we had shared everything since we first met at primary school. We were more like sisters than friends.
“Really, it’s nothing.” I carried on walking.
She shrugged. “Ok, but you’re going the wrong way. First exam is in Room 12.”
“I know that,” I snapped.
She fell in beside me. “You sure you’re in a fit state to do this exam? Maybe you should tell old Poker-face you’re not well.”
I took a deep breath. “I’m fine.”
“Ok. Well, I covered for you. I told her you were so nervous you were puking your guts up in the bogs, and that’s why you missed registration. I reckon you’ll get away with it.”
I grinned. “Thanks, Sophie. You’re the best.”
Here’s another little excerpt. Ruadhán had gone missing, and this is what happened on his return…
I opened my eyes, but blackness still pressed against them. I blinked just to be sure. Yes, pitch black. No moon. I reached for my phone; 2am. Great.
My eyes were swollen and tender from crying. I’d had a huge row with Mam. I squeezed them tightly shut again. I just wanted to sleep, so I didn’t have to remember, so I didn’t have to think, so I could just slip into oblivion and not have to feel so shit.
There it was again; the noise which had awoken me. Someone was throwing stones up at my window. But who? Sophie? No way, we hadn’t spoken in weeks. Besides, not much would drag her from her bed before lunch-time. Cian? Had he forgotten his keys again? I’d bloody kill him.
I yanked the quilt aside furiously, and went to the window. Although it was a dark night, there was no mistaking the long coppery hair which glinted under the starlight.
I flew down the stairs, heart hammering like a pneumatic drill. I wanted to scream at him, thump him, beat him black and blue for dumping me, but most of all, I wanted to lose myself in his kiss. Then I would kill him.
I fumbled with the key in the lock. Somehow, my fingers didn’t seem to know what to do, ten stubby fat sausages struggling to manipulate a key so tiny it must have been made for Barbie’s gaudy apartment. My whole body was shaking. But I managed it, and then I was in his arms, clinging to him like ivy to a tree.
So there you have it. Next week, I will begin editing, and contacting beta readers soon after. Thank you to my lovely volunteers!
SWAN FACT No3: A swan can fly at speeds of up to sixty miles per hour.
I wrote a quatern poem for Jane Dougherty‘s prompt called The Bridge. Please pop along to her blog to read it, if you are interested. I love poetry, but it doesn’t come easy to me.
I also submitted a micro-fiction piece to Sacha Black‘s Writespiration, inspired by the prompt; ‘Write about a rusty thing’. So I did, but it’s probably not what you might think. Why not drop by her blog and check out all the other fab entries while you’re there.
Last but by no means least, I would like to thank lovely ladies Marje of Kyrosmagica, and Sally of Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life, who both nominated me for the #Girllove Blog Challenge. I am deeply touched and honoured, and hope to complete this challenge in the not too distant future.
#Girllove challenge was launched by Lilly Singh, a.k.a. Superwoman, on her YouTube Channel. Lilly Singh is a Canadian vlogger, actress, comedian, and rapper, age 27. She is tired of ‘girl-on-girl hate’ in schools, workplaces, and social media, so she decided to reverse trends by promoting #GirlLove. In her empowering video young women speak out about their respect and gratitude for other women in their lives. Proceeds from video views will go to the Malala Fund to help educate girls around the world. The goal of the fund is to “enable girls to complete 12 years of safe, quality education so that they can achieve their potential and be positive change-makers in their families and communities”.