GUEST POST: NIGHTSPELL BEGINNINGS by Leah Cypess
I'm so pleased to have this opportunity to kick off Leah's NIGHTSPELL Blog Tour. If you haven't read these two fine books I highly suggest them:
Now Here is Leah with some words on writing Nightspell:
So to start off the Nightspell Blog TOUR I thought I’d show you the original beginning of Nightspell. This was what the beginning looked like for most of the book’s creation. But when I sent my final draft around to critique partners, one of them mentioned that it was a bit passive. Sometimes, a comment just hits you right; by the time I had finished reading that critiquer’s email, I had thought of a new way to start the book and written it down.
Curious about the beginning that hit the dust? Here it is:
The ghost was watching them from behind a tree.
Darri started to tighten the reins, then thought better of it and forced her hands to relax. Her horse, not fooled, snorted nervously and tossed its head. Darri stared straight ahead and thought, as hard as she could, of sunlight and blue sky and empty plains. The mental image had worked until now, keeping her just at the edge of panic. But the farther they rode into the tangled trees that towered over them in the darkness, the more difficult it was to pretend she was riding through her father’s lands, where the dead were safely hidden beneath the earth and you could see an enemy coming for miles.
No one else had noticed the ghost. Even Varis had passed it right by, wearing his habitual focused expression and scanning the ground and the trees. True, none of them was used to riding at night or among trees, and the torches cast flickering shadows that made it difficult to see anything. Still, their lack of attention was testimony to the general quality of the men who had been willing to ride with them into Ghostland.
Despite herself, Darri looked back. Beyond the pale glow of the last torch, the forest was so dark there could have been a thousand ghosts there – or none at all. Or just the one she had seen, the tall girl in a tattered gown, with her long hair twisting around her shoulders and a tree branch clearly visible through her translucent torso.
Here be ghosts the maps said, and that was all they had to say about the kingdom known as Ghostland. There would be more than a thousand ghosts where she was going. There would, the legends whispered, be as many ghosts as there were people. Each ghost looking for vengeance, and each unkillable. You couldn’t kill the dead, but they could kill you.
Varis glanced over at her swiftly, frowned – at what, she couldn’t imagine – and went back to scanning the shadows between the thick tree trunks, as if expecting a ghost to leap out from between them.
She tried to feel scornful, but in truth she was no better. She had reached for her dagger a dozen times since they crossed the border. In her case, though, her tension was only partly because of where they were. It was mostly because of where they were going, and who she was going to see there.
“Don’t be nervous,” Varis said, making her almost jump out of her saddle. She turned and glared at him. “We’re almost there.”
(If you want to compare it to the original beginning, it’s available for free at HARPER TEEN)
What do you think? Which of the two beginnings do you like better? Are beginnings easy or hard for you? Let us know in the comments, and be entered to win a one-of-a-kind annotated copy of Mistwood!
Thanks so much Leah!