magistrate: The arc of the Earth in dark space. (Default)
You know, I feel like I did this last year, too. Dove into the Write-a-thon with both feet, conveniently forgetting a few salient facts. In this year's case, the facts I overlooked are these:

1) The end of June is the end of the fiscal year for the University of Iowa, and I support and develop financial applications for the University; and

2) I'm going to spend just about every waking hour of next week in Laramie (or driving to and from Laramie) to learn about astronomy.

In short, I haven't had the time to work on fiction, nor will I.

But I have this week, and let's hope I can get something done this week.

What do we have up? *drumroll, please*

After The Land of Dragons


(A working title, which cribs too much from the excellent After the Dragon by Sarah Monette, which you should definitely read.)


It's a story about shattered communities, altered bodies, collateral damage, and unexploded landmines, except that the landmines are really dragon bits. Fun times!

The story takes place in the land of Los, which is a small, non-industrialized country which was torn up because their territory fell between the country of Ande and the country of Vycom – which I may be renaming, because Vycom sounds a little bit 8-bit for my tastes. The Ande and the Vycom started a land war, and the Ande drove packs of dragons through Los and into Vycom. This didn't end well for the Los.

By the time the story starts, it's been several years since the end of the war and NGOs are swarming Los to try to put it back together again. But the land has been irreparably altered, and is dangerous.

The main character and narrator, Domei, makes a living by searching for dragon scales cast off in the forest in order to sell them in the markets for food. But Domei's best friend, Hano, wants nothing more than to leave the tent city in which they live, and go searching for the people they've lost in the chaos after the war. Hano's mother was separated from him and taken to a women-only camp, and Hano hasn't been able to find her since – but the only way to look is to venture through the forest, and all its dangers.

I wrote the first draft of this for my Iowa City crit group, who unanimously told me that it needed to be a novel. I think that with a bit of tinkering and clarifying the arc and focus, I can make it work as a short story first. Let's see if I can, this week.

Oh, and have an excerpt, too!

My name is Domei. I live in the city of Ponçan. Ponçan is bad ground: hard to till, hard to herd animals on, and full of dragon leavings. But Ponçan is also at the center of our nation, Los. That's why the NGOs come. They can reach every part of Los from here.

Kwesi is a huge man with skin the color of topsoil. He came in with the NGOs from across an ocean, and he taught us how to pronounce NGO as Ngo: you put your tongue up at the top of your mouth to make an n, then make a g with the back of your tongue. Then the first thing you say is the o; you let it out and it pushes the ng right out in front of it. Kwesi's language had a lot of ngs, just like Los had a lot of NGOs. He likes Hano and I. He likes all the Ponçan kids. He especially likes the ones with something wrong with them, like me.

After he brought back the casket he found Hano and I sitting on a fence, watching one of the old beggars screaming at the Parlais man at the top of his lungs. The Parlais numbcat was screaming right back.

Kwesi offered each of us a cigarette.

"This is what I say," he said, lighting it for me. "You've got to get out of here. Go to the capital. You're smart, and you can do whatever you want. There's no future for you here."





There's still time to sponsor me and help out an awesome workshop! Clarion West is supported by cool folks like you.
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