Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Snippet

I am going to the zoo tomorrow, so I thought I would actually get this done and up early. I know; I'm shocked, too! The little guy to the left is a Mueller's Gibbon, by the way. I took the picture last year.)

The new job is really still taking a great deal of my time, but I'm starting to claim some of it back. It's going to take me a while before I get settled in, but over all, it's not going badly.

My writing has taken a tremendous hit in all of this -- down from a bit over 3k a day at the beginning of the month to barely 500 words a day for the last week. I'll get it back up to at least 1000 soon, and I hope to build back up to at least 2k by the end of next month.

Now, about the snippet. This is a little scene from farther into Vita's Vengeance and introduces a recurring minor character who lives the war on the ground level, so to speak. Originally, I had written this chapter out in a long 'show, don't tell' sort of way, with a lot of interaction with others, etc. -- but it seemed to drag, and I really wanted it to have a more personal, quiet feel. So here is version... well, it's probably at least version ten when it comes down to it. I've redone this chapter -- and this novel -- more times than I can remember!

(And I'm certain I'm not done yet!)


At the age of eighteen, Page Clair saw his entire life change in a matter of hours.

Shortly after sunset, neighbors arrived at the farm with the first reports about the Anon invasion and their Verdi aide. By midnight nearly everyone in the sector had collected at Digger's Well for a meeting. He couldn't remember seeing this many people in the village, even during the last big fair.

Most of the farmers thought they'd go on growing food and living as they always had since the Verdi wanted the crops. What did they care about who ruled in Kaiton? It never affected them much anyway.

Page's father, Radlil, disagreed. Page respected his father's opinion far more those of the fools who seemed to think Jarak was no different than Elisa.

By dawn, Page couldn't stand listening any longer. He slid through the crowd to his mother's side, and whispered a few quick words. The woman smiled and nodded as though Page had made the right choice. Maybe they wanted to leave as well, but had to remain since Radlil was a sector mayor.

Page jogged down the North Path, and then slowed when he left the sounds of the village behind him. A breeze whispered through the corn and a rare, wild bird chirped from the brush by the road. Walking calmed him. The warm summer sun lifting over the horizon almost lulled him into daydreams of what he would do --

Not this time. There wasn't enough certainty in the future to pretend. Somewhere far north of their village, Verdi transports landed in Tyr and the half mythical Verdi Elite marched toward the Kai-Anon border -- and no one sane expected them to stop there. Page knew he would join the next batch of recruits into the Kai army. His imagined future had sometimes included border patrol against Anon -- but never a real war.

The old path rose in a steep hill about halfway between Digger's Well and the Clair Farm. Page climbed to the top and followed a little foot path to the eastern embankment. He stood on the edge of the green-clad hill, with a wide stream below and the farmlands spread out to the horizon -- nothing different from last week when he stopped here. He squinted and brushed blond hair from his eyes, looking across the open blue skies, and the endless patterned fields of green corn. Corn. Never in his life had Page Clair imaged the damn, dull corn they grew could be important enough for an off-world invasion.

Something bright streaked across the sky and fell, screaming toward the ground, off toward Center, a village to the north of Digger's Well.

It wasn't until he saw the plume of smoke that Page realized he had seen the first sign of war.

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IanT said...

A nice arcing image there at the end; easy to visualise over the corn fields...

Bri said...

I really liked how quickly you characterized Page and his father - as well as the villagers. I also really enjoyed the fact that he was the "man on the ground" experience for the reader. It seems that the maneuvering of armies in the war will be much more "real" and not so abstract because of his POV. Very interesting.

Gabriele C. said...

That works fine with telling, for sure.

cherylp said...

I've been thinking a lot lately about war and its effect on everyday life. How interesting to read your take on that very subject!