They kept moving, following the road down the cliff-face, but staying in the bushes and long grass until at last they could see the glow of the foundries and hear the sound of the train pulling in to the station.
“Come on, we won’t have long before they finish loading,” Justin said, gesturing for her to hurry. They kept moving down the winding road, and soon they were in amongst the buildings, keeping to the narrow back alleys as they made their way towards the station. It was only by the silhouettes of the cranes looming over the skyline that Rachael had any sense of how close they were. In the gloom, she could almost have been in London again. The buildings had the same feeling of faded industry, though up close they were obviously recently built. Even in the night they could hear the sounds of work coming from the warehouses, getting louder as they grew closer. Continue reading
Rachael tossed and turned, unable to get to sleep. It was too warm inside, the air too humid. In the bed across the room from her, she could hear Arsha’s soft breathing as the girl slept on in spite of the heat.
Eventually Rachael slid out of the bed and pulled on a dressing gown. She slipped out of the room and padded down the corridor, hoping to find a glass of water. In the dark, the unfamiliar corridors all seemed alike, and she found that she could not remember the way to the bathroom. Instead she ended up at the end of a narrow hallway, looking up at a small and winding staircase. Curious, she followed it, and found herself in some kind of greenhouse. Arranged around the edge of the room, stone planters overflowed with a brilliant array of flowers. The scent of them filled the air, almost overpowering her. A glass dome gave her a perfect view of the stars. By the planters were three low marble benches, like those she saw sometimes in the older parks in London. Continue reading
As they were brought inside, Micah took Arsha’s hand and lead her away. Rachael was left alone with Dayaram, struggling to match his long strides as he lead her down a corridor flanked by doors on both sides and decorated with elaborate tapestries. She had little time to take in the artistry as they moved past, but Rachael couldn’t help but notice that most of the tapestries seemed to depict strangely fantastical beings; a man with a body made from cogs and gears, a floating cape with the suggestion of a body within, an androgynous figure holding up a needle and thread, and a lithe woman whose body seemed to be carved of jade all caught her eye, though briefly. Continue reading
The man in the red and gold looked her father over with a cool gaze, as if he was studying an apprentice’s craftsmanship.
“I trust your journey was not too trying?”
“We had a little trouble on the way, but nothing we couldn’t handle,” her father replied, smoothly. “Now, this must be… Vaneeta, yes?”
Her father smiled politely in the woman’s direction. She inclined her head ever so slightly, as Rishi and Abasi offered perfect half bows. The smoothness in her father’s voice, and his pleasant smile, reminded her of how he sometimes acted around the men on the university board. Though she’d seen him put on the facade before, it always left her feeling a little unsettled, as if she was watching a different person who had stolen her father’s face. Across from him, Dayaram and Vaneeta’s faces seemed like perfectly arranged masks, pleasant on the outside, but with eyes that seemed all too hollow within. Continue reading
As they arrived back at the ship, they noticed a commotion ahead. A crowd seemed to have formed around the dock where the Triskelion was berthed. At first Arsha thought they wouldn’t even be able to make it to the ship, but Rachael took her hand and lead her through the crowd, slipping through gaps and shouldering people aside with a few mumbled apologies until they were through.
As they cleared the last of the crowd Arsha let out a horrified gasp. At the foot of the dock, where the Triskelion was berthed, were half a dozen men in long grey coats, rifles slung across their backs and swords hanging from their belts. Continue reading
So, here’s a little extra for you guys.
I recently tweeted that just before posting Chapter 16, I ended up doing a fairly major rewrite on it at the last minute. So what actually happened there? Well the chapter was original written from Arsha’s point of view. Whilst The Stolen Child relies pretty heavily on transition between Arsha and Rachael’s perspective on the story, knowing where to make those transitions has been a pretty major challenge. With the exception of the opening chapters, I’ve tried not to switch back and forth too much, because I find that it’s better to give the audience a sense of continuity. Changing perspective is always jarring. After the events around the Shard Building (where we have a lot of rapid fire perspective shifts to really convey how chaotic and jumbled everything is during that acton sequence) I chose to settle into a calmer rhythm by staying with Rachael’s perspective for several chapters at a stretch.
In the original draft, the switch to Arsha’s perspective happened at the start of Chapter 16, with the idea being that we stay with Arsha for the next few chapters, before switching back to Rachael at a very particular moment. However, when I looked over the chapter one last time, I couldn’t escape the feeling that by showing the events from Arsha’s perspective we were losing a lot of the strength of Rachael’s decision at the end of the chapter. So I rewrote the chapter to give us the story from within Rachael’s headspace. I feel really happy with this choice, as it gives a much clearer sense of the choice she’s making and why (though it might be argued that I lay the point on a little heavily), and it allows me to get in some more foreshadowing throughout the chapter.
Since we’re still on hiatus until Monday, I decided instead that I’d give you guys a chance to see the original chapter, before the rewrite, and compare the differences. Maybe I made the wrong choice; maybe you all feel that the version from Arsha’s perspective works better. Let me know what you think. Whether you feel I made the right or the wrong choice, hopefully this can be something that you can use to help your own writing.
Don’t forget to come back on Monday for Chapter 17 – Distance. I could be wrong, but I’ve got a strong feeling you’re not going to expect what’s coming 😉
We’re on hiatus this week, so no new chapter. Instead, here’s something fun; the first part of the officially unofficial (and unofficially official) soundtrack for book 1.
- Chapter 1 (Sky) – Someone To Die For, by Belly
- Chapter 2 (Rain) – Hunting For Witches, by Bloc Party
- Chapter 3 (Secrets) – Intervention, by Arcade Fire
- Chapter 4 (Tracks) – When You Were Young, by The Killers
- Chapter 5 (Scaffolds) – Murderer, by Low
- Chapter 6 (Circle) – Affection, by Crystal Castles
- Chapter 7 (Shadow) – Another Tale From Another English Town, by Lanterns on The Lake
- Chapter 8 (Lights) – Follow The Cops Back Home, by Placebo
- Chapter 9 (Shelter) – Blake Says, by Amanda Palmer
- Chapter 10 (Exiles) – Await Rescue, by 65daysofstatic
- Chapter 11 (Thunder) – God of Thunder, by M83
- Chapter 12 (Lightning) – Greet Death, by Explosions in The Sky
You can listen to the whole thing here:
Just a quick reminder (for those who missed it) that The Stolen Child is on hiatus this week. Regular chapters will continue with Chapter 17 on Monday the 28th. In the meantime, check back on Wednesday and Friday this week for some fun extra content instead.
They were flying low, the ocean stretching out on all sides. There was the smell of salt water on the wind, and a soft mist that settled on her face as Rachael stepped out onto the deck. Arsha was standing at the prow, leaning back with her hands holding onto the railing. Her face was turned upwards, a soft smile on her lips as she basked in the sunlight.
“Hey,” Rachael said, leaning against the railing beside her.
Arsha turned to her and smiled. Continue reading
First off, a big thank you to everyone hitting those ‘like’ and ‘follow’ buttons, here, and on twitter, facebook and tumblr. I really do appreciate it. And if you’re enjoying this story so far, share it around. Get your friends involved. Just think; you’ll get to say you were a fan before it was cool 😉
Next up, a correction; Chapter 14 was accidentally published under the title “Falling”, which is actually the title of Chapter 15 (which is why you will have seen the same chapter seem to go up twice). Chapter 14 was actually supposed to be entitled “Conversations”. This has now been fixed.
Finally, our actual big news item; After Chapter 16 (“Rooftops”), to be published this Friday, The Stolen Child will be taking a one week hiatus. What’s the hold up? Well, it’s mostly because I need a short break in the publishing schedule in order to get some pieces in place for the release of the finished book, which is going to be available through Amazon (and probably Smashwords) as an e-book, and as a print on demand physical book from Lulu. So that’s awesome. I’ll also be using this time to finish up the review copies which I’ll be sending out shortly after. If you review young adult/crossover fiction, or you know anyone else who does, get in touch.
After our mid-point intermission, we’ll resume normal service on Monday the 28th with “Distance.”