Well, my writing friends, I promised you that I’d share an excerpt of my story, and so I shall. Keep in mind that this is a NaNoWriMo novel, and hence completely unedited. There could be typos or sentences that contradict each other all over the place. My prose may be rougher than I normally like to show to the public. But this will give you an idea of what I’m producing. On Thursday, I plan to write about how to read somebody else’s writing with an eye towards encouragement. There may be some excerpts from other Salon Auteur members later this week.
As of yet, I have not decided on a title for my novel. Hopefully you will enjoy this sneak preview. This is taken from the beginning of my novel. The genre is cyberpunk by way of Michael Crichton techno-thriller, although it contains an element of urban fantasy as well. Here are the first four pages—900 words. Less than half of what I wrote on Day 1. If that seems a rather stingy excerpt, well, it is. On the other hand, I’m not normally in the habit of releasing my unedited work for public consumption.
I’ve been really excited by NaNo this year. Between the fresh idea that’s driving my story and the large number of friends I have who are also participating, I have 7,000+ words at the end of Day 4, which puts me right on track to finish on time. Can I keep up the pressure for the next 5 days? I certainly hope so. Tomorrow’s goal is the big 10,000! I hope you are all having equal success with your stories. If you’re stuck for ideas today, you could always Remember Remember in honour of our favourite English terrorist. How would you include Guy Fawkes into your novel? Does somebody make a comment or joke about November 5th? Do you have an anti-government plot? That could be exciting. Is your Fawkes a villain, or an unsung masked hero? You might say my story has an element that captures the explosive nature of the Gunpowder Plot, although I hadn’t really thought of it that way when I wrote it. Feel free to form your own opinion.
Happy November 5th, Day 5, and happy writing!
“Grande soy caramel macchiato!” Ash Weaver sighed; these hipsters with their pretentious drinks, slowing down the line for everybody. Not for the first time, she thought about the logistics of making her espresso at home. It was the convenience of the matter, more than anything else. She was more than willing to pay somebody else to wash and maintain the espresso machine. A practical girl, Ash.
The barista repeated her call for the drinker of the caramel, espresso, and soy monstrosity. Ash itched behind her right ear—a fresh piece of ink she had just had done a month ago. She knew she shouldn’t scratch, but the outline of Solanum dulcamara—better known as bittersweet or woody nightshade—tingled. And she hadn’t even had the tattoo coloured yet.
Ash watched with narrowed eyes as the offensive coffee sat on the counter. If the beverage had been a person, it probably would have turned away uncomfortably. With her military buzz cut and heavily Egyptian style makeup, Ash stood out in any crowd. Her dark plum wool jacket and fierce scowl gave her the demeanour of some straight-from-the-comics super-villain. The coffee did not react, however, and it wasn’t long before the barista called out her order—a large Americano, no sugar.
As Ash took her first sip of the caffeinated liquid that fuelled her mornings, a slim, willowy girl in a hand-knitted brown snow cap snatched up the caramel latte.
“Pardon me,” she mumbled, her voice soft and shy.
Fucking hipster, was Ash’s snap reaction, but then she did a double take. The girl had covered her head thoroughly with her stupid hat, but was she merely cold, or hiding something? Ash felt a growl forming deep within her gut—beneath the lumpy outline of wool, she was sure she saw pointed ears. How dare they come here?
Legally, there was nothing stopping Cavanaugh Elves from buying their coffee wherever they damn well chose. In fact, since the Supreme Court ruled that self-identification as an elf was a freedom covered under the 1st Amendment’s Freedom of Religion clause, and the anti-discriminatory principles of the 14th and 31st Amendments applied equally to all self-identified post-, pre-, and trans-humans, there was nothing that Starbucks could do to keep elves out. But here in Williamsburg? They ought to have more respect.
In 2026, scientists researching advanced quantum mechanics had stumbled upon the ultimate environmental restoration tool. Using advanced hypothetical mathematics, they had discovered a way to actualize one of the theoretically infinite parallel worlds and pass into it using a high-energy electromagnetic field. The scientists posited that using a sufficiently powerful explosive, they could open a permanent gate to a primordial alternative version of earth, thus solving environmental degradation, limited resources, and nuclear disarmament in a single stroke.
There was, of course, vocal opposition to such a plan. What right did we have to steal the resources of these parallel universes, asked the environmentalists? What need did we have of primitive resources like oil and coal, asked the trans-humanists? Why should we give you our bombs, asked the militaries? What guarantee do we have that this cockamamie scheme will even work, asked everybody else? “You wouldn’t understand the math,” the scientists responded, to the satisfaction of no one.
And so the idea was shelved, and the technology necessary to perpetrate such a change on the world never came to fruition. Or at least, that’s what the world believed. In June of 2026, a series of explosions ripped through Manhattan as ever expanding time bubbles sucked the home of mankind’s greatest city forty-thousand years into the past. Seventeen million people vanished that day. Two of them were Ash’s parents.
Seven years old, Ashley Weaver was spending a day at the beach with her grandmother when they heard the explosions. Experts later estimated that it had taken twenty separate nuclear devices to power the explosions that generated the time fields. Why the time bubbles stopped expanding when they reached the rivers, nobody was able to explain—the scientists who had originally come up with the idea had disappeared along with New York City. Perhaps it was as simple as the flowing water. Maybe it was more complicated math. All that anyone knew is that suddenly what had been a normal June in America’s most populous city was now a pristine February from approximately 38,000 BCE.
That was sixteen years ago. Today, the island still sat inside its time bubble, roughly eight months and forty-thousand years offset from the world around it, the edge of the time field a shimmering fog bank about ten yards out from the banks of Manhattan. Ironically, the world itself seemed to take little notice of this twenty-three square mile anomaly. Weather patterns just flowed around the island, and while satellite imagery always accurately recorded the stunning temperature difference between Manhattan Island and the remaining portions of New York City, nothing—neither flora nor fauna nor primordial disease—seemed to penetrate the wall of fog and time.
This wasn’t to say that one could not intentionally pass through to the ancient land. Indeed, environmental scientists were the first to explore the land, drawing startling conclusions about the ecosphere of ancient earth in the process, although no trace was found of the missing city. The government declared Manhattan Island a historical treasure and national park, forbidding restoration of the city that so many longed for.