Okay, don’t laugh. But…

Okay, don't laugh. But after I sent off my latest draft to Bob, I did start thinking about the sequel to Rasathi. And since my ending is still a bit wobbly, I thought it might help if I knew a bit more about what happens in Book Two, of which I have only the foggiest of ideas. So I decided to use NaNoWriMo as a prompt to try to get a very rough draft of the second book done.

I'm not going to make myself crazy trying to get to 50,000 words -- for example, yesterday, I was exhausted (have a brand-new cold, sneezing and phlegmy, yippee), so I didn't write anything, and that was okay. In theory, I should be writing 1500-2000 words a day, which is about two hours of writing a day, roughly what I was doing this summer and some of the fall. That's a good amount for me -- lets me get down several scenes and start thinking about what comes next without getting too confused / exhausted. So I'm going to aim for that, but be kind to myself if it doesn't happen.

Thinking about the second book is also helping me be less crazy waiting for Bob to read the second draft of Rasathi and tell me what he thinks. (Is it still brilliant? Does he love it? Did I somehow manage to completely destroy it with this revision? Does he now see the terrible problems that he somehow missed on the first read, which will doom the book to complete failure? Argh argh argh... mustn't think about it!)

Anyway, I actually did write the opening scene this morning. And I like it. :-) And here it is -- mild spoilers follow if you haven't read the first book, I'm afraid. So I'll leave some space for those who are very anti-spoiler. But if you do read it, I'd love to know if you'd keep reading, if you picked this up in a store.

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Chapter One

Anjali crouched in the narrow dumbwaiter space, waiting for her grandmother to leave the room again. You wouldn't have thought a sixteen-year-old could fit in there, but Anjali was mostly thin, lanky limbs that folded up surprisingly easily. Useful for competitive gymnastics, useful for spying on her grandmother, not so useful for attracting boys, but she still wasn't sure she actually wanted to attract boys, so she could live with her body for now. It wasn't as if she had a choice, anyway. She had chosen to climb into this claustrophobic space, for the tenth time in the last month, and even though it was cramped and dark and musty-smelling, Anjali was grateful that she lived in a rackety old Victorian house that still boasted such useless details as a dumbwaiter.

Her grandparents' room was on the first floor, in what had once been a combination of butler's pantry and scullery -- they'd moved down there a few years ago, when her grandfather grew ill enough that stairs because difficult for him. The dumbwaiter had been intended for servants, to help them run food and cleaning supplies up and down the stairs. It had been close to a century since anyone with servants had lived in this house, and their parents had strictly forbidden their three daughters to play with the dumbwaiter. But of course, that hadn't stopped any of them, not even their oh-so-perfect eldest daughter. Not that they were so thrilled with Riya these days; she'd been dating the same stupid boy for the past two years, and last spring, she had actually told them about it, which had led to all kinds of crazy. But now both she and the boy -- who was actually not a bad guy, if Anjali were forced to admit it; he could have been so much worse, given her sister's tastes -- had started college, and their parents had, reluctantly, agreed that Riya was old enough to date if she wanted to.

Riya was mixed up in this too, Anjali was pretty sure. She'd confronted her sister about it once, and Riya had completely denied any knowedge of their grandmother's suspicious behavior. But Anjali had seen the surreptitious looks they'd exchanged, had heard the quiet whispers in dark corners. She'd never been able to make out what they were saying, and mostly, Riya didn't seem to do anything. But Anjali was sure she knew. Knew that their grandmother, that skinny old woman wrapped in a simple cotton sari, was secretly a witch.


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I wish our house had a dumbwaiter. :-)

4 thoughts on “Okay, don’t laugh. But…”

  1. There actually was totally going to be a secret door between the kids’ playroom and the upper level of my tower, and then we realized that the two roofs don’t actually connect, and we’d have to build an extra bit of roof there, and it all started seeming sort of ridiculous for something that wasn’t necessarily a good idea in the first place — “Let’s bother mommy while she’s working!”

    We thought hard about where we could put secret doors, but couldn’t come up with anything actually useful. Sad.

  2. Mary Ann,
    I’ve always liked the “Door to Nowhere” idea where one opens a door and sees a bricked up wall… It raises all kind of conjectures as to whether it was a door to somewhere and/or whether there might be a secret room or passageway behind the brickwork. Taking it a step further, the the brickwork could be a fake sliding panel that when opened reavealed a window to the outdoors. This goes with the outside viewer always wondering why there was a window that didn’t have a room to be seen. A mystery novel knock-off.
    If the dumbwaiter was at least 100 years old, I would have serious worries for Anjali. Those devices were operated by ropes and lead counterweights. After 100 years these would be deteriorated and could suddenly break, sending the lift crashing downwards. Of course if that happens, Anjali could be knocked unconscious and experience another fantasy…

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