The Forest: A Novel Teaser #2

In April, I talked about my writing goals. I’m happy to say, I’m doing fairly well on them. I’ve written about 1,000 words of my novel (it may not sound like much, but as I’m a slow writer, I think I’m doing fairly well!), and I’ve written a couple new poems. I’ve also been more active on this website. It wasn’t a goal to be, but it’s an achievement I’m proud of anyway.

It’s been almost a year since I shared the first teaser of my novel, The Forest, which is about a young girl who wishes herself into a fairy tale and gets trapped.

Please enjoy this short preview of my novel.

“There’s magic in the world, Gwen,” Papa said, his one hand gesturing towards the open window.

Gwen rushed to see. She wasn’t sure what she expected, but it certainly wasn’t the same, tired scene: The outhouse hidden between two evergreens; the dilapidated truck with the wheels missing and the front fender dented in; the chickens pecking their way across the grass, heckling each other for food. She turned back to Papa with a disgruntled sigh. “Those are just chickens, Papa.”

He laughed. “Well, of course it’s not going to show itself in broad daylight!” He dropped his voice to a whisper. “It’s afraid.”

“Why, Papa?”

Papa patted his knee. “Come here, child.” Gwen took one last look out the window, searching for a quick glimpse of magic hiding in the shadows, or perhaps sitting in her Papa’s old, rusty truck, before running over to climb into Papa’s lap, eager for another of his stories. “Magic is afraid of people.”

“Like you and me and mama?”

Papa pinched her cheek. “Exactly so. When people first came to the world, they were mean to magic. Fairies had their wings cut off. Dragons were put to the sword. So many witches burned at the stake; the sky was black with smoke for an age.”

Gwen felt tears stinging in her eyes. “Why, Papa? Why were people so mean?”

“Because people kill what they can’t understand.”

The Forest: A Novel Teaser #1

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is the-forest-1.png

I don’t usually write novels. It’s much easier for me to write poetry or short stories, as I’m too flighty for such a big commitment as a novel.

I began my first novel in 2007. I had just discovered NaNoWriMo and I was excited. I rode that high the entire month of November and I “won,” but only just (my final word count came in at 50,134 words). I’ve failed every year since.

Still, I hold out hope that, someday, I’ll finish a novel (and hopefully publish it). A little over a month ago, I got a new idea for a story I’m rather excited about. I’ve written about 3,000 words of it and haven’t lost interest. Perhaps this will be the one?

Continue reading for a short preview of the first chapter of The Forest, a story about a young girl whose family gets trapped inside a story.

Gwen enjoyed a good blizzard. They were a part of her, after all, she had been born during one. She had weathered so many, storms of her own making and ones of the earth, that no matter how much snow fell or how hard the wind blew, she never grew frightened.

As she stood at the edge of the void, all she could feel was fear. Staring into it, she couldn’t help but feel something was staring back.

It was unlike anything she had ever experienced. Even the worst blizzards could not have prepared her for the absence of everything, the startling white of the nothingness before her. Even when the snows fell two or three feet deep, there was always color left in the world. Like a painter who had come through with his brush to touch up any faded spots in a piece of artwork, the world was more colorful after a blizzard. The rough browns of the tree trunks were darker. Evergreen boughs took on a heartier hue. Glossy, red winterberries, which always lit a fire in Gwen’s heart on cold nights, were brighter when contrasted against the blank canvas.

Behind her, the forest existed as it always had. The trees shook in the wind, animals rustled in the bracken, and the river burbled its merry song. In front of her was…nothing. Not even a stray bird in the sky or a tendril of smoke from someone’s fire. She could feel the implications of it pushing at the boundaries of her mind, looking for any chink in her psyche to pour madness into.