Word Count: 73,094
I have no idea how it's happening (a miracle, no doubt) but I'm actually coming to the end of GOLDEN. After two and a half years and three drafts I feel like I'm reaching the end of a very long journey. Of course, I'm not there yet, but I can see it--right there!--a light at the end of the tunnel.
It's weird looking back at the journey of this book. I wonder what it all means (something I may post in detail on later in part 2). What made me determined to finish it in spite of it all? I was wondering there for a while if I was ever going to be able to write again. Like all the life of my words were sucked out. Because all the life had been sucked out of me.
Something to think about: how much does our journey in life leak into our books?
When I started GOLDEN it was full of darkness and angst. I began it the summer before I was diagnosed with cancer and had been feeling depressed and sick for three years straight with no answers--I was fed up at this point in my life. During the chemo adventure it was almost impossible to write at all. Then when it was over and I started to grow the chia pet back on my head, the world looked different. I was different. The book morphed again. And then I went through three months of thinking I was sick again and the doctor's faces said: this time would be the one that killed me. And again, a turn. When news came back that the second mass wasn't cancer It was like a light switch turned on in my chest. I was here for a reason. This time I set the current GOLDEN aside and began all over again. A new beginning for a new writer. And as I look back, I wonder: how much of the final story is going to carry pieces of my own tale?
How much of your work carries your tale?
Here's my Tease for Tuesday from an old version of GOLDEN:
The gate looms over this sector like a shadow of death, showing all where the real power lies. For twenty feet it climbs, a strange weaving of brick and earth, dead trees and concrete. Shapes peek out from the folds and bends of the structure: pieces of statues, arms, legs and faces. They reach out, they try to run away, they weep, but the gate holds them there, frozen bits of terror and brokenness.
My heart speeds up as we move closer. Sweat beads on my upper lip despite the cold air. The wall stretches straight out as far as I can see to my left, and my right. Its makeup is more of the same concrete and dirt, but brambles and dead limbs climb over that, with thorns as sharp as knives, making it impossible to climb.
I've never been here. I couldn't ever make myself come this close. I've never been to Trade, never met a Court brat face to face until last night. I never wanted to see where I was from. I hate it too much, that part of myself. It's like filth on my soul. I know it's why I have visions. Why I'm twisted and wrong inside.
My feet stop, making my captor falter. I can smell something…strange but familiar. It leeks from the towering barrier in front of us, raking at the inside of my head, making my eyes burn again. I can't go in there.
Hyl's grunt becomes a word. "Move!" His fist clenches tighter to my arm again, pushing me forward.
The pain pools into my bones, blurring everything.
No! I can't let it swallow me. They'll take me in there. Inside that terror.
I stumble and try to back up. I gag from the agony in my arm and my legs betray me, going limp.
If I go in there, it'll drown me. I can't. I--
"Give her to me, you fool! You've broken her arm!" Colm turns to me and grabs me up from the ground, throwing me over his shoulder like a sack of trash. "Just a moment, Areana, and the hurt will be over." His voice is breathless, every syllable an obvious effort. "Open it, Wyld, I cannot."
The blood pools in my head, behind my eyes. Everything burns. The fire inside me is a torrent. I can't see but I can hear a rumbling, a thundering. Everything shakes and rattles around us, echoing in my gut. And the smells--oh, god, the smells--twisting inside me, tearing visions to the fore. The girl is there. I am her. White silk molds against our body with the wind. The field of green lies all around us, so lovely. I know the man will come. The man with the crimson dragon on his chest. His hands…hands that take, that burn. The screams surface around us, surrounding us. Like thousands of souls burning at once, crying for death. And all of it changing, warping with the pain, turning to blood.
It covers the girl. It covers me.
The gate is open.