For the past month, I’ve suddenly switched gears with my writing. I typically write contemporary romance novels. In fact, 90% of my unfinished work is firmly in the contemporary sub-genre, with one that is in the (barely) paranormal category. But in the last five to six weeks I’ve been furiously working on a dystopian novel, which is shaping up to be in the YA/NA category.
It’s been an interesting change because I now find myself writing in first person point of view, present tense. So yes, I’m basically breaking all the rules of writing which typically tells you to stay away from first person narration, and especially stay away from present tense. So needless to say this shift has been, um, interesting. But fun as well. I’ve managed to write about 50,000 words but a good 10% of that will most likely end in the cutting floor. I’m aiming for an 80,000-100,000 word length.
Between editing, proofing, and beta reading, I think the earliest release for this book will be July. I hope to have it ready by summer so my pre-teen son can read it. That’s been another interesting part of this process–my boy has been one of my “critique” partners. I was smiling for days when he said the book is “really good”. Quite a compliment from a person that’s living in my house, eating my food, but who seems to be embarrassed by my mere existence–oh, the joy of parenting a near-teen. But I digress. He’s been reading it for me, making suggestions, and even catching some errors, including blocking errors which are really one of the more difficult technical aspects of writing an “action” oriented story.
I’m including an excerpt of The Butterfly Effect. Although it hasn’t gone through editing, I hope this excerpt doesn’t make it to the cutting floor as its one of my favorite scenes.
Mila and Silas are Sentry soldiers. As part of their duty, they are coupled with each other, expected to have a child who will become the next generation of well-trained soldiers. This was the second night of their coupled life.
“Do you regret this?” I stiffen even more at his question.
I push down the angry retort because his voice sounds as lost as I feel. “No.” Because how can I regret something that was against my own will from the beginning, something I was told I needed to do. Regret is reserved for actions of one’s own volition. I had nothing to do with this. No choice. No say. But I don’t say the rest of my thoughts. Even in my anger, I can’t lash out at him. Because I know, this too is not his choice. So, I suppose there is some kindness in me. Kindness reserved for Silas because I don’t say the unkind words.
“This is our life now.” Is he trying to convince me or himself? Or both of us?
“Yes.” My voice sounds so hollow.
“We have to make the best of it.”
“I know,” I say it in a whisper as if saying it louder will irrevocably bind me forever to him, the way that the coupling ceremony didn’t.
“Can I hold you?”
I almost choke at his question. He’s hurting. We both are. How did we not see this coming? We’re both so young, so eager to please, so willing to sacrifice what must be done for our country, we didn’t realize how hard this is going to be. And he’s right. It doesn’t have to be this difficult. It can be, but we can make it work for us. Maybe not right away but at least we can work toward it. After all, there are thousands of us living these same lives. And generations before us. My father and mother, his, and others that have come before us. If they were unhappy, we didn’t know it. Or at least it didn’t matter, because the collective good is stronger than individual happiness which is considered a caprice of the weak, reserved for children. So I don’t answer him. But I shift so I find my head against his chest, listening to the steady staccato of his heartbeat. His arm wraps around me. I place my hand against his heart, and he places his hand above mine. For the first time in days, I exhale.