Here's a special excerpt from my new eBook, Freedom from the Darkness. This is sixth book in the Warriors of Aralan series, and is available for download off Amazon. Enjoy!
Screams and shouts of dying men and women echoed all around outside of the cottage, and Allister smelled the sharp acrid tang of smoke. He dashed to the window and looked outside, but someone pulled him back and hands guided him towards the trap door leading to the cellars. He looked up—the fact that he had to look up was a shock—and realized it was his mother. Her well-worn face was ashen. “Allister, quickly please. I don’t know what’s going on, but your father has taken your brothers and sisters to go see.”
“But mother!” his seven-year-old voice echoed through his mind, bewildering him further, “I want to help!”
“No, Allister,” his mother’s voice shook, “I want you to hide.”
A gleam of light caught Allister’s eye and he looked up to see tongues of orange flame beginning to devour the thatched roof. His mother saw it too, and hurried him towards the trap door with even more urgency. She held it open as he climbed inside and stood on the ladder. “Stay in there until it’s quiet,” she instructed, glancing back over her shoulder with a gasp. She let the trap door fall, but Allister cracked it open enough to see.
A man clothed all in black kicked the door open and readied his spear. He grinned wickedly at his mother’s distress as she tried to find something to arm herself with. “Time’s up,” he sneered, and threw his weapon with deadly accuracy.
To Allister’s horror the bloodied tip of the spear stopped inches from his face, protruding from his mother’s back as she lay slain in front of his hiding place. Everything began to spin as lights from the fire merged to blend with darkness of night until his whole world was a sickening, dizzying blur and he toppled from the ladder to the floor of the cellar where he lay stunned, the first of many hot tears beginning to streak his face. “Mother,” he whispered brokenly, shocked again by his young voice and just how much it hurt. “Mother.” As his throbbing being sank slowly into a bottomless black void, his eyes opened.
Allister lay on his back heaving for air, both hands full of dirt and face glazed with sweat. Moonlight glared in his eyes, and he flinched as a piece of wood popped in the campfire. The nightmare… it had been so real! The pain he had suffered on that night was so vivid, his heart still ached even as the colors and sounds faded.
He lay still for a while, trying to catch his breath and make sense of it all, but finally he sat up and saw that Aldyth was on watch. Fearing to go back to sleep lest the nightmare haunt him again, he relieved Aldyth and sat watching the peaceful, night-dark forest.
“What was that all about?” he wondered silently, feeling a refreshing breeze cool his heated brow. He realized now how lucky he had been to not have suffered from nightmares before. “Lucky, no,” he corrected himself, “blessed.”
But why would they trouble him now? Then he realized how silly he was being. One nightmare. That was it. “Allister,” he chided himself in a whisper, “You’re being a child. It was just a dream—one dream—it’s not real!”
But it hadn’t felt fake as he dreamed it. All the events were just as they had happened on that long-ago day. He shivered. The nightmare might not have been real, but the night of destruction had been.
Today is January first, and that means that many of us are bravely declaring our New Year's resolutions. Exercise more. Eat healthier. Write a book—write a book? That may not have been on your list, but I'll assume the persona of Mary Poppins for a moment and agree that writing your first book is a most excellent New Year's resolution indeed. I'm glad you thought of it.
And why shouldn't it be a New Year's resolution? So many of us have thought that one day—one day—we'll put pen to paper and do the thing. Open a document and type, "Chapter 1." Create worlds. Breathe life.
1.) The Idea: The only problem is figuring out how to get to Chapter 1. Odds are, if you've ever thought about writing a book, you already have an idea for a plot. But if you don't? I'll let you in on a little secret: ideas are everywhere! Books, movies and music are some of my favorite sources of inspiration, as are aptly-named writing prompts. But story ideas go so much deeper than that. The rustle of a breeze in the treetops. The cry of a newborn baby. A photograph of a smile from the '20s. Life. Death. That little chill that runs down your spine every so often. Unfulfilled hopes. Dreams come true. The way the steam escapes a mug of coffee on a cold morning. Sunrises, sunsets. The years slowly drifting by. The changes time brings.
2.) Developing Characters: After you've got at least a basic something for your plot, you need characters to carry it out for you. Some writers use a ton of characters, some use a few. At the very least you need a hero and a villain. For your first book, (and this also depends on how complicated your plot is), it's probably better to err on the side of few. I'm not going to give you a list of Five Characters Every Book Needs or The One Character Nobody Writes Correctly, because it's not that simple. Write what your book needs. The characters you like. I'm not saying make everything warm and fuzzy just because as a reader you hate it when characters mess up or... die... but give every character a little piece of yourself. That piece is what gives them life, and makes them real. And naming them? That's covered here.
3.) Writing (Finally): Plot? Check. Characters created and named? Check. Now you're ready to start. Open that document! Type Chapter 1! About five minutes in, you may realize that writing a book is a lot harder than it looks. That's because it is. It isn't easy—it never has been. The important thing is to keep going even when the going gets tough. Too many people quit at this stage. To be a writer you need to find ways to build bridges over the Chasms of Despair (What was I thinking?!), Doubt (This is garbage. I'm kidding myself to think I can write), and Plot Hole (... what do I put here?). If ever you find yourself getting stuck, drown yourself in the things that inspire you. In other words: refer back to #1 as many times as necessary.
Writers write, so as long as you get that first draft down, you've won. You're a writer. I'll say it again—writing a book isn't easy. But what New Year's resolution is?
Welcome to Katelyn Buxton Books! I'm a Christian author and blogger, with a passion for writing stories that are not just enjoyable, but also lead people to Jesus. Feel free to look around, and enjoy your stay!