Sunday, October 7, 2012

TCWT October: My NaNo 2012 Novel

TCWT's October blog chain prompt:"What are you writing for NaNoWriMo? Briefly explain how this book idea come about. Then write a mock first page for the novel.”
My story's 'logline':
A powerful young mage discovers he is a sleeper agent whose goal is to bring down the Bloodmage Order from the inside, but while leading the revolution he
struggles to win the heart of one of his many victims.
This is an idea I've been fleshing out for a while, hammering out the details and (in)consistencies, trying to make it work. And since I'm now arriving at the point where I just need to write it, this will be my NaNo project for 2012.

The seed of the idea came to me last fall, when I was thinking about plants/infiltrators - people who join causes with the eventual goal of bringing them down. I realized that if the cause or organization was bad enough, the plant would have to do a lot of terrible things before they would be in a position to make any changes, and in many cases the kind of person who could force themselves to do all those terrible things might not end up changing anything at all.

This was kind of interesting, but I didn't want a main character who could commit mass ritualistic murder - even for the 'greater good'. Then the idea popped into my head of somehow magically separating part of oneself: creating a different personality to be present for the rank-climbing years, so that the "true and good self" could retake control and make changes once one had power in the evil organization.

That's the premise of this year's NaNo novel, currently known as SRM ("supressed rebel mind") and desperately in need of a proper title. Suggestions very welcome. 
I hope you enjoy the first page below, and please check out the other participants in the chain.


[Trigger warning: descriptions of torture, sexual assault and murder]

Anita had never been so scared in her life. Not when she'd nearly drowned as a toddler, not when her brother Connar had broken his leg and she'd had to walk ten miles for help, and not even when masked strangers had dragged her from her bed in the middle of the night. That had been terrifying, but this was what they had dragged her away for, and it was ten thousand times worse.

She was deep in the bowels of the Galoy cliffs, where the Bloodmage Order made their nest, attending some sort of ascension ceremony for a young man not much older than she was. She used the word 'attending' rather loosely - she was a prisoner here, and would rather have been anywhere else.

Anita could feel her whole body trembling in fear, and she watched the young mage to distract herself. He walked the room with an assurance few men twice his age possessed, and wore robes embroidered with enough gold to feed her family for months.

He was well-featured, there was no doubt about that, but arrogance and cruelty twisted his face into a mockery of handsomeness, and when he stalked closer to where she stood, Anita cowered away from him in disgust as well as fear.

But he did not even look at her, instead grabbing the first girl of the three in line. They were all similarly dressed - in nothing - and held tightly by their guards. The young mage tore the first girl from the mage holding her and dragged her to the centre of the room, where he bound her to the floor with invisible chains.

Anita couldn't watch then, but she heard the soft, wet sounds, the cries and pleas of the prisoner and the laughter of the mage. He seemed to revel in her pain and fear. The sounds stopped suddenly, and when Anita risked a glance back, she saw that the girl's throat had been neatly slashed.

She looked away again as her stomach threatened to rebel, knowing the young mage was not done yet. He grabbed the next girl and bound her to the floor as well, but this time started at her with the knife right away. Anita began to think his treatment of the first girl had been near merciful when the second victim was still alive hours later, bleeding profusely but no longer even able to scream.

The mage seemed to be drawing the pain out, stretching the kill, inching toward some peak of pleasure - no, some peak of power. And when he reached it, she knew despite no knowledge of magic, because he shone with a dark red light, and he smiled a victorious smile that made her want to melt into the ground

But even though the girl beneath him had breathed her last, the mage did not come for Anita. He rose slowly instead, and took up the gold circlet an older mage passed him. He crowned himself, and all of the other mages knelt.

"Who is your master?" the young mage asked.

"You are, Grandmaster." The reply came as if from one voice.

"Who will bring you power?" he asked again.

"You will, Grandmaster."

The Grandmaster - although Anita had litte idea what that title actually meant - nodded in clear satisfaction.

"Do you pledge to serve me, obey me and in every way be bound to me?"

"We do, Grandmaster." There was another shining light, this one black and thick, connecting the young mage to each of the kneeling mages. A small piece of Anita's mind wondered why such a younger man - nearly still a boy - would be leading this group, but she didn't have much time to think, because as soon as the light faded, the new Grandmaster turned dead pale and started to sway on his feet.

His lips moved in silent speech, too fast for her to have any idea what he was saying - or was it praying? It almost looked like it, but she didn't think the bloodmages workshipped anything but power. She guess this - exhaustion? - must be normal, for none of the servile mages mentioned or questioned it. 

Indeed, none of them spoke at all until one of the oldest stepped forward. "Grandmaster, will you finish the sacrifice?"

The young man's lips continued to move, though his eyes were curiously blank.

"Grandmaster," the bloodmage repeated, "we are truly impressed that you did not require three sacrifices to bond to us. Would you care to take power from the third one now?"

He meant her, Anita remembered with a start. The third sacrifice was her, and the young mage was being egged on to kill her. She swallowed hard, and went back to wishing to melt into the floor.

I hoped you enjoyed my first page (okay, first page and a bit). It's a first draft that got a bit of polish, so while I welcome critique, please keep in mind that this is rough.

If you're also doing NaNoWriMo this year, I'm Morgan101 on the site. Feel free free to add me as a writing buddy!

Want to follow our blog chain?
October 5th  – Lily’s Notes in the Margins
October 6th – Reality Is Imaginary
October 7th – One Life Glory
October 8th – Of a Writerly Sort
October 9th – The Leaning Tower of Plot
October 10th – This Page Intentionally Left Blank
October 11th – What Updates?
October 12th – Miriam Joy Writes
October 13th – Between the Lines
October 14th – Inside the Junk Door
October 15th – Musings From Neville’s Navel
October 16th – Kirsten Writes!
October 17th – A Mirror Made of Words
October 18th – The Teenage Writer
October 19th – Platonic Pencil
October 20th – Mark O’Brien Writes
October 21st – It’s All In My Head
October 22nd – The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer
October 23rd – Teens Can Write, Too! (announcing next month's topic)


  1. Nice first page! Well, 'nice' isn't really the right word. 'Interestingly written' perhaps, since nothing involving sacrifices could be called 'nice'. Ehehe :D

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I was worried the dark stuff going on might keep people away since, as you say, human sacrifice is not nice!

  2. Interesting concept, and good job on the first page. Good luck on NaNo!

  3. I like this. The voice is solid, and the idea behind even more so. Good work!

    1. Thanks Gabrielle... it's always nice to know the voices sound good *outside* my head :D

  4. This is good! I like how you communicated the horror of what was happening without going overboard. Interesting concept too (sleeper agent in an evil organization).

    1. Hey twitter-friend, thanks for commenting! I'm glad the concept seems neat - that's a big part of what I like about it, the "hook factor". But I was worried the ugly stuff might scare people off - so I'm glad to hear it wasn't overboard.

  5. Awesome post! And awesome blog; I've added it to my blogroll. :)

    1. Thanks Neville, that's very kind of you to say, and do!

  6. Ohhh, nice idea! I love unique fantasy, so I'm excited to see how this turns out! Have fun with NaNo.