This is the fifth 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.
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 23rd
Progress: Day 2 complete. Following is the day's writing (continuation of Chapter One)...
Ryann opened her eyes and looked around her. She had fallen asleep in Megan’s room. She got up carefully and made her way back to her own room, leaving Megan asleep on the bed. Someone had lit the candle that was sitting on a box by the side of her bed, and Ryann went over to it and picked it up. Using the dim light for guidance, she crossed to the small trunk that was by the end of her bed.
She put the candle down on the floor and opened up the trunk. Inside was a tattered yellow nightdress, two dark brown dresses, and a small assortment of odds and ends she had managed to keep for herself. She pulled off her dress and slipped the yellow nightdress over her head. Then she closed the trunk and laid out the dress across the top. It would have to do for another day’s use tomorrow.
As Ryann bent down to pick up the candle again, the seam of her nightdress strained and split open, causing her to curse out loud. “Damn, that’s another piece of clothing I’m going to have to buy.” She hadn’t wanted to admit it, but she was growing out of everything. All of a sudden over the past few months she had needed new everything. She was sure she was already a full six inches taller than when she had arrived at the castle. “If only I could lose a little of my tummy too,” she said, patting it as she walked back toward her bed. “Still, I think it’s smaller than it was when I arrived. It must be the food.” She laughed. Or lack of it, certainly. “A growing girl needs more than I am getting. Maybe I should use a little of my money to buy some more food from cook.” Cook always wanted to earn a little extra money.
Ryann put the candle back on the small box and climbed into her hard bed. It was no more than a straw-filled sack that lay on the floor, covered with another sack for a sheet, but it was hers. Everything in the room was hers. She blew out the candle and ran her fingers through her long tangled black hair. Perhaps she would get a chance to wash it tomorrow. Perhaps. She lived in hope of a lot of things happening tomorrow.
As Ryann struggled against the sleep that was trying to take her, she said her prayers and thanked God for the few things she had. When Lord Cala had brought her to his castle she had only the dress she was wearing and a small pack that contained the memories of her childhood. It seemed like forever ago now, but only a couple of months had passed. Everything she had known before coming here had gone. Now she was a sclava, and she would remain a sclava for as long as it took her to pay the twenty silver coins needed for her freedom.
She wiped a tear from her eye and turned over on her bed. And that was just how much money she needed to leave. She also needed money to survive outside of the castle. No one could live in Walthern without any money. Cook had whispered to Ryann that she had forty silver coins saved up, but even that wasn’t enough to buy her freedom and survive outside for very long. And Ryann didn’t want to live as a beggar. At least in the castle she had enough to survive; a small room to call her own, a few clothes, and food every day. She thanked God once more and resigned herself to sleep.
“Wake up, Ree,” Megan said, shaking Ryann’s shoulders. “Wake up. It’s already nearly light.”
Ryann opened her eyes and stared up at the small frame of Megan leaning over her bed. “How are you feeling?”
Megan smiled. “I slept well enough. I just hurt some. That’s all. Cook already smeared a little fat on it though.”
Ryann wrinkled her nose. “I can smell it from here.”
Megan laughed. “Come on. We got things we need to do.”
Ryann brushed some hair away from her face, wiped her mouth, and sat up. She could see the faintest glow of daybreak through a small crack in the wall on the far side of her room. “Okay. I’ll be in the kitchens in a couple of minutes. I just need to get myself sorted.”
“Well don’t be long, Ree. You know cook don’t like it when you’re late.”
Ryann watched as Megan turned around and left her room. Then she pulled back the sack that covered her, and got to her feet. She took her dress from the top of the trunk and made her way to the washing room.
“What’s for breakfast, cook?” Ryann asked, a few minutes later as she walked into the kitchen.
“There’s no time for that, little one,” cook replied, mopping her brow with her apron and blowing away hair that was hanging down over her face. “Master Bramwel has already called for his breakfast.”
Ryann swallowed hard and looked around the kitchen. “Isn’t there someone else who can attend to him?” she asked.
“He called for you, especially,” cook replied. “Asked for the little urchin Ryann. Those were his exact words.” She pointed to a tray on a table-top a few feet away. “So hurry along and take that up to the Master. And don’t drop nothing. He’ll have you whipped.”
Ryann crossed to the table and picked up the tray. It was going to be a bad day today. She knew it already. When Master Bramwel, the eldest son of Lord Cala, asked you to bring him breakfast you knew it was going to be a bad day. She just hoped he spared her the whip.