This is number eight 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 26th
Progress: Day 5 complete. Following is the day's writing...
Ryann ran down the corridor, away from Bramwel’s bedroom. Her vision was blurred as tears started to stream down her face. She pushed past two other sclavas that were walking near to her room, ignoring their questions. She pushed open the door to her room and flung herself down on her bed and wept.
Her face stung and already she knew she would have the bruises to show for it within a couple of hours. Everyone would know she had displeased her master. It would probably mean she would be punished too. Not even cook would believe it hadn’t been her fault. Sclavas were never in the right when there had been a dispute.
Ryann rolled over onto her back and wiped away the tears from her eyes and stared at the ceiling. She gently touched her right cheek. It was burning and the bone felt bruised underneath. Yes, it was definitely going to show. All she could do was hope that Bramwel said nothing special to cook or to the steward of the keep. Otherwise it would be worse for her.
She forced herself to get up and she brushed off a few pieces of loose straw from her dress. No, she was just going to have to carry on with things as though nothing had happened. That was the only way. And Bramwel had told her not to come back until a little later. That meant she had a little free time before she had to tidy his room.
Looking into Megan’s room as she walked down the corridor, Ryann noticed Megan lying in her bed. “What’s wrong?” she asked, crossing over to Megan’s side.
Megan stared up at Ryann and mouthed something indistinguishable. Ryann leaned down toward Megan. “What’s wrong?” she repeated, brushing some hair away from the young girl’s eyes. “You’re burning up. Does cook know?”
Megan nodded and took Ryann’s hand. “Sit down,” she mouthed.
Ryann sat down next to Megan and put a hand to her brow again. “I need to get a wet cloth to cool you down.” She tried to pull her hand away from Megan but Megan held her tight.
“Tell me about your family,” Megan pleaded, almost silently. “Please.”
Ryann squeezed Megan’s hand and smoothed her hair once more. “I have no family,” she said. “That’s why I’m a sclava. I grew up on the far side of the town. My father was a thatcher and my mother worked for the local farmer, milking the cows and working the fields when there was a need. In the evenings she would teach me a few things and sometimes she would even take me with her to the farm.” She smiled. “One day I even got to milk my own cow. That was fun. We even got to drink a little of the milk.” Ryann sighed and looked toward the far side of the room, lost in thought for a few moments, before returning her gaze to Megan.
“Then one day my father fell from the church roof and hurt his back really badly. He got a fever and they said there was nothing they could do for him. We buried him two days later.” Ryann smiled down at Megan as the little girl squeezed her hand. “So my mother went to talk to the farmer and asked if she could do more work for him. But there was only so much and so she asked around at other places too. I even tried to help out but everyone said I was too small and dumpy to be of any use.” She laughed. “But look at me now. They should have known it only takes a few weeks of being a sclava to lose all that fat. Anyway, my mother got another job at a different farm and worked from before sun-up to after sun-down every day. She fed me well enough but I didn’t know she was going without everything just to look after me. In the end she got too weak and a simple dose of poison-berry got her.” Ryann let a tear fall from her eye onto the bed.
“I tried to stay in our house and look after myself but I didn’t know what to do. Then some people came from the town and said my parents owed for the cost of burying them and other things. They took our house and threw me out into the woods. What was I supposed to do? I didn’t know anything. I found the farmer that had the cow and I asked him if I could milk the cows. But he just laughed at me and sent me on my way. For a couple of days I found berries in the woods and I even stole a loaf of bread from an open window. But then they caught me when I went to the market and tried to take some cheese.” Ryann gazed down into Megan’s eyes and smiled. “Let me go and get you that cloth now.”
“No. I want to hear the end of the story,” Megan said. “It is making me feel better.” She squeezed Ryann’s hand again.
“Well after they caught me, they asked about in town for me but no one wanted to claim me. So they said I would have to be sold to repay my debts. I told them I didn’t have any but they didn’t listen to me. The next day I was tied to a cart and led to the big market, the one that is near to here. They washed me up and put a new brown dress on me. Then they tied my hair back and displayed me. The rest you know. Lord Cala and his steward looked me over and made a payment.” Ryann freed her hand and wiped some sweat from Megan’s face. “And what about you? How did you get here?”
Megan opened her mouth to say something but nothing came out. She looked up at Ryann and smiled.
“Megan? Megan? Are you okay? Say something. Don’t die on me. Don’t die on me now.”