Re-doing Keeper of the Keys

A long time ago, someone told me that English couldn’t be my first language (in a nice way), because I was too precise and elegant to be a native speaker. This is quite flattering, I wish I still had the exact words. Anyway, part of the reason was that my English is/was “too correct”, but also because I often make very odd errors that suggest I didn’t grow up speaking and writing English. I looked back at my summary for Keeper of the Keys and realised that I had used three colons in one sentence.

Anyway, about KotK, I had to write the audition snippet on my phone in several awkward bursts. In the car on the way to Owen’s doctor appointment. In the waiting room. In the car on the way back. …I think at his savta’s house. That’s my excuse for that fact that the snippet is kinda crap.

It’s lacklustre in any case. But it also fails to convey any of what I want to be in the story. It’s not representative of the world, the plot, the characters, or the writing style or mood.

So what to do? Rewrite. This time I’m using a different character. Because I was working on this story back when we were in the early days of Desiderata, she shares a name with Thorn–but that’s all they share. They do not have similar backgrounds or personalities. And they definitely don’t have the same “feel”, that atmosphere each character has.

Unfortunately, my explanation there is kind of pointless, since I didn’t manage to get her name into this snippet. Sigh.

  • First Person

Not all of us grew up in Vo. Immigrants of force, as we natives called them, had once peppered our history. The great adventurer, John Park, had originally come from a place he called “Incheon.” He’d arrived on the crest of a flood.

Others were blown in with odd debris in storms. My favourites were the ones who fell up from underground. They told tales of earthquakes, and never seemed able to explain how they had wound up under the shaking earth. Let alone under our earth, to pop out of it like bumbleflowers.

And so they had come to be called immigrants of force. They arrived with agents of force, against their will. Force brought them to our rather isolated country.

It was the only way they could reach it.

I spread myself out in a field of black beargrass. My pale hair fanned out over the ground, a sharp contrast to the dark shoots. They were young yet, and I ought not to have lain on them. But my mood left little room for compassion for plants.

I tended to bad moods, as part of my nature. My brother Bant said that was why I’d been named Thorn. I could never tell if he was joking or not.

Wind whipped over me, signalling a storm on the rise. It seemed to carry the voice of my brother in its invisible arms. Stop loafing about. It’s time to work.

He said that kind of thing more often than anything else. I tried rolling onto my side and covering my head with my arms, but it was no good. Storms were our most profitable export. We couldn’t afford not to harvest this one, and Bant would need every available hand to do it.


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