Writing is hard. You hear that a lot (or maybe you don’t), but until you’ve continued to write for months past the point where inspiration runs out and writing becomes an exercise in endurance you don’t really get how true it is.
Writing is hard.
I’ve been slogging away at my young adult novel for most of this year, and this morning I just reached the final scene. I got to write one of those reveal moments that the other 50,000 words have been working towards, and it makes all that work so damn worth it.
So here’s the snippet, in all its first-draft glory, and without the context of the 50,000 words that went before:
They walked into a cavernous round chamber, concentric circles inlaid into the floor in bands of different metals. The walls were covered in metalwork that seemed to depict scenes folded within what looked like cartographers maps. High-backed chairs ringed the room, and most of them were occupied.
These Paxins were entirely unlike those Abigail had already met. They wore intricate robes of deep, vibrant reds and blues and burnt umber. Their hair varied from a dark auburn to a lighter shade of orange-gold than Dano’s. She cast a quick look around but couldn’t see the traitor anywhere. She ruthlessly suppressed the loose ache in her throat just like Dano had taught her. Mind first, then heart.
A man stood at the head of the horseshoe of chairs, his back to them. His hair was a gold so bright it shone, and it fell down past his shoulders from complicated braids above his ears. His robe was cloth-of-gold, so thick with embroidery that she wondered his shoulders could be so straight beneath it.
The guard who had brought them here knelt down on the floor then pressed his chest to it, his arms stretched out before him. “My life is forfeit, Radiance, Sun of my people. May my soul forever rest in dark places where your warmth will never reach. Abigail James has compelled me to bring her to you.”
The Sun still did not turn, but raised one hand. Two brown-haired soldiers came swiftly forward and removed the prostrate guard.
She bit her tongue. She needed the Sun to let her go, and telling him not to punish the guard would not be a good start. Head first.
“Radiance.” She went down on her knees and then prostrated herself on the floor, her face against the cold metal. “I don’t know the words of your people, but please believe I come humbly before you, and forgive me for compelling your soldier.”
She heard his slow turn, but didn’t look up.
“Abby,” Viv whispered, her voice strangled and urgent. More feet moved swiftly towards them and Abigail silently begged Viv to hold her tongue.
“My crew and I have fought with those who are loyal to you, to bring you safely home. We beg that we might have our freedom.”
“Only your freedom?” he said in the flat Paxin accent. He was closer than she had thought, and she began to tremble.
“I also beg an audience with the man Giovanni King.”
There was a long silence after that and Abigail began to despair. How could a man who had been reared to weild the power of the Pax Equation deal fairly with her, when her urgency was so much of the heart?
“Then rise,” he said finally, “and have your audience.”
She came slowly, painfully to her feet and looked up into the face of the Sun.
“I am Giovanni King,” said Dano, “Radiant Light of the Paxin people, the seven-thousand and third Sun of that race.”