Friday, 4 November 2011
It's November, which can only mean one thing. Writing... and lots of it. This is my fifth year of NaNoWriMo. If you're interested, you can follow my progress towards 50k on the NaNo site - and if you're also taking part, you can add me as a 'buddy'.
Here's a snippet from the beginning of the novel I'm working on ths November:
Max rocked onto the back legs of his chair and stared out of the window, trying to ignore his teacher and classmates, glaring down through the rain to study the cars – illegally parked on double yellows – in the street below. Like any eleven-year-old schoolboy, he hated Mondays. Particularly that stage on a grey Monday morning, like this one, when he just wanted to be curled up in bed with a hot water bottle but instead had to sit here on an uncomfortable plastic chair while Miss Arnold took the register and droned on about the week ahead. Miss Arnold was particularly good at droning, he'd decided, and it seemed that every week she had something new to go on about. If it wasn't bullying at the bus stop, it was girls rolling up their skirts or boys taking off their sweaters without permission.
His ears pricked up, however, when she mentioned football. This wasn't part of the usual Monday routine of fire drills and homework diaries.
“So if you want to sign up for the tournament, you need to put your name on this sheet of paper” – she held up a page of A4 – “and then the school will write to your parents for permission.”
Max wasn't completely sure whether his parents would let him play in a football tournament, but along with all the other boys – and even some of the more sporty girls – he stood up and filed to the front of the room. When he got to the front of the line and reached for the pencil, though, Miss Arnold stopped him.
“Sorry, Max,” she said, passing the pencil back to Tommy Wilkes who was looming over his shoulder. “Naturals only.”
“Why? I don't have football genes.”
She shrugged. “Rules of the tournament. Naturals only.”
“Yeah, you can't play football with us, freak!” Tommy said, pushing Max sideways out of the way so he could reach the desk to write his name.
Max turned without thinking and punched Tommy soundly in the face. His knuckles stung with the force of the blow, but from the strange crunching under his fingers he was sure Tommy's nose was coming out worse. He watched with a mixture of pride and horror as blood began to flow from the nose, down over Tommy's arrogant smirking mouth, dripping from his chin and onto his smart white shirt.
And then, realising the implications of what he'd done, Max turned and sprinted from the classroom.
“Maximilian Porter, come back here right now!”
Miss Arnold's voice echoed after him, but there was no way he was going to go back.
He ran through empty corridors, down stairs and to the school's front door. He knew from past experience that if he stood on tiptoes he was just about tall enough to reach the lock and let himself out into the street. He reached up and twisted the catch, pushed the door open, and stepped out into the rain.
Now he was really going to be in trouble.