Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ready for Prime Time?

Protesting Too Much
Whether here on Alpha Heroes, or elsewhere in comments, I've said on more than one occasion that I am not an aspiring writer and that my angle here is purely as a reader. 

 But, you know, things change.  People change.  I think maybe I've changed my mind about that.  I'll still be here, reading everything I can get my hands on and sharing my thoughts with the intertubes (because everyone wants to know what I think, right? Right!).  But also, I think I'd like to take a shot at the other side of the review desk. 

See, I Have This Idea for a Book
... that I've been scribbling on for a while now and I feel like maybe it's ready for a tiny bit of sunlight; and-- I hope-- for some feedback from my favorite readers.

I haven't decided whether it will be post-apocalyptic or near-future-alternate-history, because there are elements of both that I find really appealing.  Either way, it will be somewhat dystopian, but with hope (because with romance, there's always hope!)

The heroine is shockingly sheltered, by our standards and by those of the fictional world.  Basically, she's been raised in a bubble. The world she knows will shatter, along with her virginity, and as she adjusts to the "real" world around her, warts and all, her parallel journey will be to accept her own flaws which in turn will enable her HEA.

By contrast, the hero is scrappy and scarred, inside and out.  He's grown up on the streets, and has never known the comfort of having anyone shelter him from anything. He finds the soft, naive nature of the heroine insistently attractive, but at the same time, he feels horribly unworthy and fears that he can only corrupt her purity.

I'm leaning toward making it a road romance, as a metaphor for the journey(s) they will both undertake, and also, those are just fun.  I'd like to include some allusion to McCarthy's  The Road, an homage if you will, but not in a derivative way, and, you know, happier. 

The Excerpt
Bianca woke slowly, muddled, to a maelstrom of confusion: heat and weight that should have been suffocating but instead something in her craved more.  She tried to turn her head but it wasn't allowed.  She tried to scream but the tongue in her mouth--someone else's--made that impossible.  Her eyes flew open, their usual clear blue clouded with perturbation, and locked into another pair, the color of ice and steel and things that were sharp and dangerous.

For a moment she was distracted by this. The only eyes she'd ever seen were the same color as hers-- her mother's. Close-ups in the old movies her mother had on VHS had shown eyes of other colors, but she hadn't really believed them. Her mother had told her that people back then often wore contacts to make their eyes different colors, and she wondered if the man with his tongue in her mouth was wearing contacts.

Awareness grew. Panic rose. Where was she? Where was her mother? She couldn't see where she was, but she heard the rising sound of chanting she didn't understand. Frantically she tried to twist, to writhe, to throw him off, but she was weak and the gray-eyed man seemed not even to notice.

Morlock* had drawn the short straw. Breaking into fall-out shelters was a good way to get a faceful of shotgun blast or worse, if they were occupied. On the other hand, they usually weren't, and finding an unbreached one usually meant a couple weeks of good eating, and his gang** hadn't had much luck lately.  After forcing the door open, the utter silence was promising, but the scene in front of him had taken precious seconds to make sense.  The old woman lay slumped over a table, arm dangling.  Eyes staring right at him. Foam on her lips.  Dead, but not very long.  A glance to the left revealed pantry stores-- empty.  Behind her, a survivalist kitchen setup with a jumble of gear; a water purification rig-- dry; and various utensils.  To the right-- whoah.

The young woman lay on a daybed which no doubt pulled out to be shared with the older woman in times past. Hair the color of midnight cascaded past her shoulders and pooled on the floor.  He'd never seen anyone with hair that long.  She was pale, so pale. Dead. That, he'd seen plenty of.

Instantly his mind rejected that. No. Not dead. He crossed the small room quickly and called to his comrades to stay back.

A kaleidoscope of want spun through his brain. He wanted her to be alive. To wake up. To be his. He wanted to protect her, from the men** who had always had his back (well, almost always). And from the dangers that they protected each other from.  From... everything.  He wanted to be worthy of her.

He wanted to hear her say his name.

*placeholder name -- but keeps my creative sense of the character where I want it

**I need a better name for the hero's band of unconventional, violent, but redeemable, comrades. Working on it.

So. That's the teaser. What do you think? Be gentle, this is my underbelly showing here.


Photo Credit: Vidalia_11 on Flickr, used under the Creative Commons licensing.


VanessaD said...

That little excerpt pulled me in.. can't wait to read it when it's done!

Sassy Jane Genealogy said...

Oh, I think you definitely should continue. Do you have contacts through the blog that would help you get an agent/publisher?

Erin said...

I really look forward to reading what you write. Congratulations!

Charlie Ragdolls said...

Ooh an interesting twist on Snow White! Will Morlock find that other person's tongue and pull it out of her mouth in time to hear her say his name, or will she choke on it and fall into a coma?! I am hooked.

Nicola O. said...

You are all being so sweet to me.

Did you notice the date?


Shannon said...

Yay! Go, Nicola! Keep writing, please. I haven't touched my manuscript enough and it has languished. Don't be me! heh.

I really like what you posted and definitely encourage you to keep going.


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