Okay, this is going to be fun.
The Intern is currently doing “International Sh*tty First Draft Week,” where authors post excerpts from the sh*tty first drafts of their now-excellent finished novels. I figured I’d participate.
Sadly, I don’t have some wonderful, finished, published book where I can take you “behind the scenes” with an early version for comparison. In the spirit of the week, though, I dug deep into my personal archives and found (drum roll please)…Transfer of Power, my very first novel, which I wrote back in high school, a full decade ago.
I use the term “novel” loosely. MS Word puts the total word count at 47K, and I never bothered to revise much after the first draft. Sure, it’s awful. But it’s also the first time I ever sat down and wrote something remotely novel-length start to finish, so it still has a place in my heart.
Doesn’t mean we can’t laugh at it together, though. Allow me to present…the opening of Transfer of Power.
“The Drii have taken our land!” shouted Marrott. “The Drii have captured our towns, they have terrorized our children, and they have made us prisoners in our own country! They take our money, and give us nothing in return! They leave us our kings to sit on the throne as they please, so long as they dance to the music of the Drii whenever their leader makes his wishes known! They do all this, and we sit back like idle cowards, watching it as if it were a play! What’s wrong with us?” he demanded. “Why have we grown complacent? Since when is it all right to complain and curse our oppressors while we run to do their bidding at a moment’s notice? Since when?”
Marrott was not a young man by any means, but his age did not seem to have hampered his spirit in any noticeable way. He flung his arms into the air as he spoke, beating his fist into his palm. His thin gray hair flew around wildly in contrast to the peaceful surroundings, but nobody thought this unusual; they were used to Marrott’s speeches against the Drii by now. For the most part they agreed with him, but the main problem – as in all oppressed communities – was that nobody was unhappy enough to overcome their fear and muster the courage to fight their oppressors. This sentiment was voiced by a member of the crowd.
A young man in the back stood up. “What you ask would throw Kylar into war the likes of which has not been seen since our grandparents were children! Would you have us oppose the Drii in the open, then? Would you bring them down upon us like an iron hammer, to take not only our freedom and our money, but our lives as well? Our lives are not bad, Marrott! We need not send our friends and our brothers to die for a concept which is abstract at best!”
“Abstract!” snorted Marrott. “Freedom? Abstract? Yes, it is. As is truth, and justice, and hope, and fear, and pain, and love; but those are the things which shape our lives! There is a price to pay for everything. I am not afraid to die. Are you?”
There was a murmur in the crowd at that, and faces turned to see the man’s response. People enjoyed a show, and this was exactly the kind of duel of wills they loved. “What I fear,” the man said through clenched teeth, “is people like you; people who are afraid to face the truth.” He sat down, though.
Marrott smiled. “The truth is all around us,” he said. “The entire world is composed of truth. The only lies are those we make to fool ourselves.” He looked around. “It’s getting late. Those who haven’t yet forgotten what freedom is like may hear me speak again on the same time and day as always, next week. Thank you for coming.” He bowed slightly, and walked off. With that, the crowd dispersed.