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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Writing Experiment #4 - Ryann Manuscript Part 1

This is the fourth in a series of posts where I document the complete process of writing a novella - Day By Day!


I am documenting (via my blog) the complete start to finish experience of writing a novella that I will be releasing for FREE once it is written.

Ryann is the story of a thirteen year-old girl who works as a servant for a tyrant of a master, and longs for the day when she can buy her freedom. The novella will serve as the introduction to a new fantasy series that I will start writing in 2013.

I will be writing approximately 900 words per day and I will post each day's writing the following morning, unedited, on my blog. This means you get to see my draft with all its original spelling mistakes, bad grammar, and clumsy sentences

The timeline for the experiment is as follows:
  • Plotting, Characters and Scene Outlines - April 1to April 20 - COMPLETE
  • First Draft Manuscript - April 21 to May 18 - IN PROGRESS
  • First Manuscript Edits - July 1to July 5
  • Reader Proofs - July 6 to July 25
  • Final Manuscript Edits - July 26to July 31


Today's Date: April 22nd
Progress: Day 1 complete. Following is the day's writing...


Ryann flattened herself against the cold stone wall and closed her eyes. “Please don’t say anything. Please,” she whispered to herself as the crack of the whip could be heard once more from the other side of the curtain.
A young girl screamed out in pain and a man’s voice could be heard laughing. “Now that’ll teach you. Just stay still will you and it’ll all be over soon enough.”
Ryann wanted to cover her ears but dare not move in case she gave her position away. Again she heard the crack of the whip and the crying, screaming, noise the girl made as it found its mark. “Please don’t say anything.”
She knew she shouldn’t have wandered into the bedroom, but she had been curious. That was all. And it had been typical of Megan to follow after her. At least she supposed it was Megan. As soon as Ryann heard the movement outside the room, she had quickly run to hide behind the curtain. And then, not twenty seconds later, Megan had been discovered. Ryann heard the pleading as the man muttered something under his breath. And then she heard the familiar sound of a whip cracking and a girl screaming out loud. It could only be the master, Lord Cala. He was the only one that had a whip. Or his son. Of course it could be his son. And that would be even worse. No, she definitely had to remain as still as possible and hope she was not discovered.
Another two screams and it was all over. The room fell quiet except for the silent sobbing of the girl. Ryann dared to lift her hand to her face and she bit into it, stopping herself from shouting out. She waited another couple of minutes and carefully peered around the edge of the long velvet curtain. Megan was lying face down on the bed with her simple dress half-torn, exposing her bare back. Ryann counted five deep cuts where the whip had found its target. She wiped away a tear from her eye and crossed over to Megan. “Come on, let’s get you back to your room. Come on.” She carefully helped the young girl to her feet and let Megan lean into her as they walked together through the corridors, back toward their quarters.

“Twenty,” Ryann repeated to herself as she counted the marks she had scratched out on the wall. She had made Megan as comfortable as possible in her bed and then returned to her own room. “Twenty.” She slumped to the floor and turned her head so that her face touched the cold stone wall. Then she closed her eyes and savored the feeling of refreshing coolness.
Twenty copper coins was not a lot of money, but it was enough to exchange for her first silver coin. She smiled. Her first silver coin. Another nineteen and she could buy her freedom and leave the castle. How long would it take? She didn’t know. She tried to do some calculations in her head but there were so many variables. She earned fifteen copper coins a week as a sclava for Lord Cala. But it cost her five copper coins for her room and the food she ate. Then there was the cost of new clothes from time to time. And also the cost of any punishments.
Ryann balled up her fists and tried to let the memory of Megan’s beating wash over her. It was probably going to cost Megan three coins for her disobedience. And it would have cost Ryann too, if she had been found. She sighed. She ought to give Megan one of her copper coins toward her punishment. That would make it nineteen left. Then she wouldn’t have enough for her first silver coin.
“Maybe a year,” she said out loud. Maybe she would have enough money saved up after another year. If she was lucky and if she was careful. She prayed she would be lucky. She didn’t want to end up like some of the other sclavas who were stuck in the castle for life, never able to pay off their debts.
Ryann got to her feet and wandered back to Megan’s room and looked inside. “You alright?” she asked.
Megan looked up from the bed, still lying on her stomach, and nodded. “I’ll be okay.”
Ryann crossed over to Megan and sat next to her on the bed. “I’m sorry I haven’t got anything I can put on your back. But maybe cook will have something a little later.” She wiped her hand across Megan’s face and brushed back some hair from her eyes. “Thank you. Thank you for not giving me away.”
Megan gave a half-smile. “You would’ve done the same for me.”
“That doesn’t make it any easier. You know that. And next time don’t follow me. You’re too young to get into trouble like this.”
“I just want to be free and to get out of the castle,” Megan whispered. “I hate it here.”
“I know you do. I hate it too. We all hate it. But getting into trouble just means it will take you longer to buy your freedom.”
“We ain’t never going to buy our freedom, Ree. Not ever.”
Ryann ran a hand through Megan’s hair. “Hush. Don’t say that, Megan. It’s the only way I get through every day here. I live in the belief that one day, one day, I’ll earn enough money to buy my freedom.”


  1. Ok. You got me already. I'm hooked! Great writing. Rooting for heroine. So excited to follow you on this journey. Thank you immensely for sharing your work and your knowledge. It does not go unappreciated, by me. Big fan! : )

  2. This sounds like a great story already. Thanks for sharing with us.