I have been absent from my blog for well over a week now, which for me has to be some kinda record, since i even blog when I am traveling. Pssst can you say “addicted” anyways I thought I would give my readers a little clue into what I have been up to. Its a book I have been writing, specifically a “novella” as its going to end up somewhere around the 20,000 word mark. The great news is after burning mucho midnight FK oil I have almost finished it, last chapter left only and am now wondering how to end it. Anyways here is the first page, please tell me what you think, its a very rough draft by the way so it will go through some polish at the end.
He looked across the vast expanse of water before him, the waves coming slow and steady in the early morning tide, lapping at the feet of the rocks he was perched upon, net cast in the waters. His grandfathers words rang in his ears as he desperately tried to stay awake, the rocks slippery enough for him to fumble even if he shifted his weight slightly to either side. â€œThe Kekra will not come your way on its own Saleh, you have to show it respect, you have to be their at the time of sunriseâ€
Looking back at the line of huts amongst the gravel laid out by the people of his ghot for the city folk, he checked for any signs of life. He had watched a couple of huts with music streaming out past the midnight hour as he huddled with his mother in their mud abode, wondering what on earth the picnickers were doing at this hour. He had watched with fearful eyes as he saw the forms of male and female bodies swaying behind thatched windows, illuminated by the inner lights of these huts. The sound of their frolicking not drowned by the generators that provided them with warmth and light.
Even as he got up to fetch the morning water from water drums kept on the side of their dwelling he had heard the slamming of car doors and the cheerful but tired voices saying goodbye.Saleh had shuffled back in the morning cold, the water bucket clenched to his chest trying to make sense of the words these city folk spoke, the language sounded harsh to him, as harsh as the cry of a sea gull and he did not understand it. This was not the soft and musical language spoken by his grandfather and mother or by his father, whenever he saw him. It sounded foreign, alien with its rasping vowels and sometimes arrogant tone, although he had heard his father speak to his mother sometimes in the same tone in his own language, after they had been arguing for a while, thinking he was asleep.
He had swept the ashes of last nights coals from under their charpais, out of the front door. They used coal for warmth in the winters, when the mud and thatch huts could not stop the biting cold from creeping inside. The rough blankets and chadors that they had in the huts were not enough to stop the wind then. So they lit fires inside each hut from afternoon and kept coal heated in them for the night. Clumsy but effective, he had always thought, but then they never had the money to buy a heating device or the power that it used to warm up.
Salehâ€™s teeth chattered now, far out on the bar of rocks framing the inlet of this beach paradise. He rocked back and forth one hand on the net, the other clasping at some seaweed to gain some purchase on these rocks as he sat and waited. Looking down in the blue green water he thought he heard the bell floating above the trap jingle, his eyes narrowed as he waited for them to announce that the trap he had set was full of todayâ€™s catch.
He knew today was Sunday by the old calendar his mother had hung next to the door, musty from the sea air and filled with obscure images of bears frolicking in the snow. Yes today was the day the city folk would come again in their shiny new cars, laughing and making their sounds of merriment as he basket in hand trolled the line of huts, speaking politely and urgently at each stop, announcing his delicious wares.
â€œCrabs Sahab Ji? Crabs roasted on coals? Very spicey sahib ji, very goodâ€
Yes I know, I have had no formal training in this, but neither have I got any journalism degrees and that did not stop me did it?
Nicely put but dont get me wrong..You can shorten the description a bit of the people around and do mention something related to the main plot on the first page..
Giving the story a desi touch with kekra and charpai looks cool to me…
Waiting to read the complete novel..
Do we get sneak peek signed First Editions? :p
Yeah I need a draft before it goes to the publisher… I read very quickly I will get back with feedback in 2 days.. 😀
yes Talha u are right… that’s what i was thinking of doing as well but this is the way i write.. could be boring lol ……doods if this ever gets published all of u will get signed copies to distribute forget first bloody editions!!
However as u read on the descriptions get lesser…i sort of learnt to write a book with this one.. and it is a story of a desi machaira from mubarak village lol so off course it has a desi touch.
Waisay I would like to have Kekra sometime…but from somewhere close like kemari or maybe manora… 😀
Besides some negligible grammatical errors (which you’ll automatically take out during the polishing phase), it’s very well written and like I said: captivating (and gripping)!
So when shall we see this in bookstores? 😛
Really like it will do a lil edit with this.. jus a little. Else its great, I like that you haven’t laid the plot at all, jus the backdrop. mysterious enough to want the reader to read more!
You know… I was expecting a typical desi author over exaggerated thingamajig. But was pleasantly surprised. It kept me reading. 🙂 I like the descriptions. They’re the kind which make you feel like you’re there. The only thing I sort noticed was that some of the sentences might need to be broken up.
The problem I have with this opening is that it is too self-conscious. It reads as if you, the author, thought to yourself, “What must a village boy think when he sees us rich people partying in our beach huts?” and then you wrote down what you thought he would be thinking. In that sense the ‘voice’ is not authentic. Too self-conscious and too stiff. The writing needs more elegance, it needs to take us into his head and make us forget that an author even exists. It should not make us think it’s just a gimmick by the writer. My two cents, for what they’re worth. – BS
Good work, Faisal. It’s a captivating, rich and promising narrative.I like the descriptive narrative…you are actually painting pictures with words. Good luck with you venture!
I have seen the whole chapter people … things will keep getting better
by the way, whats with Lord Nazir? I mean seriously!
@ Waisey babu thanks, yes i think i will clear out the errors in the edit man 🙂 you will find this in the bookstores if someone agrees to print it lol or else i will put up the finished novel here for download & say to hell with our publishers.
@ Saira thanks a lot, yes as mentioned it will go through a final edit 🙂 if i can find someone who is willing to sit through it lol.. or ill do it myself.
@Bina shah the two cents are worth a lot, and i understand what you are saying, but hopefully i can make it better for the final draft. In any case ive never partied in those huts on the french beach so i dunno 😛
@Tahera, thanks that means a lot coming from an accomplished fiction writer like you 😀
@ tazeen yeh you were the first one to read the first chapter i think, thank you for your support Taz, its always been there. As for Lord nazir i shall say two words “Sher Squadern”
Im happy first of all that I have found ur blog after a lonnnnnnnnng time 😛 and reading this post specifically after all this time made my hunger to read something good fulfilled 😀 Im really happy to see such an amazing effort from u and Hey I better be getting a free copy of this book 😉 Just Kidding !
wow not bad not bad at all!!!
@ Nikki be careful what you wish for, and thanks 🙂
@ Raheela thank you
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