I don’t usually write novels. It’s much easier for me to write poetry or short stories, as I’m too flighty for such a big commitment as a novel.
I began my first novel in 2007. I had just discovered NaNoWriMo and I was excited. I rode that high the entire month of November and I “won,” but only just (my final word count came in at 50,134 words). I’ve failed every year since.
Still, I hold out hope that, someday, I’ll finish a novel (and hopefully publish it). A little over a month ago, I got a new idea for a story that I rather like and think could be a great novel. I’ve written about 3,000 words of it and haven’t lost interest. Perhaps this will be the one?
Continue reading for a short preview of the first chapter of The Forest, a story about a young girl whose family gets trapped inside a fairy tale.
Gwen enjoyed a good blizzard. They were a part of her, after all, she had been born during one. She had weathered so many, storms of her own making and ones of the earth, that no matter how much snow fell or how hard the wind blew, she never grew frightened.
As she stood at the edge of the void, all she could feel was fear. Staring into it, she couldn’t help but feel something was staring back.
It was unlike anything she had ever experienced. Even the worst blizzards could not have prepared her for the absence of everything, the startling white of the nothingness before her. Even when the snows fell two or three feet deep, there was always color left in the world. Like a painter who had come through with his brush to touch up any faded spots in a piece of artwork, the world was more colorful after a blizzard. The rough browns of the tree trunks were darker. Evergreen boughs took on a heartier hue. Glossy, red winterberries, which always lit a fire in Gwen’s heart on cold nights, were brighter when contrasted against the blank canvas.
Behind her, the forest existed as it always had. The trees shook in the wind, animals rustled in the bracken, and the river burbled its merry song. In front of her was…nothing. Not even a stray bird in the sky or a tendril of smoke from someone’s fire. She could feel the implications of it pushing at the boundaries of her mind, looking for any chink in her psyche to pour madness into.