After my post yesterday detailing just a handful of the many plot lines floating around in this silly little writer’s brain of mine, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. All those great stories that have been forsaken in lieu of querying agents, editing and re-writing a book that really needs a professional’s eye more than mine–well, it sunk in.
Between noon and 8pm today (Argentinian time), I hammered out the first 6,500 words of The Aeronauts. Because I’m totally wiped and exhausted, this post is going to feature a snippet (first draft, obviously) of this crazy nonsense that spilled out of my fingers.
From Chapter Two of The Aeronauts: a YA novel
“Haverite comes from the water,” said Allasten, sounding much like a parent teaching his young child the basic principles of the world. “Haverite is what makes up everything. It keeps us circling the sun; without it, we would fall and fall and fall forever, until the sun ate us up.” Maria considered contesting his point with basic astrophysics, but decided it would only get her in trouble, and she was in enough trouble as it was.
“When the world grows,” Allasten went on, “it sheds its skin—and that skin becomes sky-land. That is where we live. You will see it when we reach port.”
“And the Haverite beads that make the ships fly? They come from the sky-land?”
He sighed at her impatience. “One cannot simply chop off pieces of sky-land and make airships. Haverite has a lifespan, just like the Haverite under the water sheds its old skin and continues to grow new skin. After some time, the Haverite loses its ability to float and becomes worthless. Rock, as you would call it. And each piece of sky-land has its own body and memory. Destroying it will only cause it pain; the parts cannot float on their own. So the Haverite beads are mined for us.”
“From where? If you can’t get it from the sky-land…”
“From under the water.” Allasten led her down to the deck and they peered over the railing together.
“How do you get down there?” They were up high enough that Maria could only barely make out tiny white dots, the crests of high waves. “Do you go scuba diving for the Haverite?”
Allasten raised an eyebrow. “Scuba diving?”
She shook her head. “Nevermind.”
“We cannot breathe water, as you can imagine.” He seemed skeptical that she really did understand this basic principle of human survival, but when Maria nodded her head, he went on. “But there are some, not human, who can.”
“What, like mermaids or something?”
“Mer-whats?” Allasten shook his head. “Nevermind. No, they are called the Aguien. The water-folk. Just like we are the sky-folk.”
“So, the water-folk are people who can breathe water? And they mine the Haverite?”
“They are not people.” His expression turned hard. “They are Aguien, not human.”
Maria felt like she had stepped on a land mine. “Okay, right, not human. Aguien.”
There was a tense silence between them as a trio of kinkwings flew by, screeching like some terrifying, giant mix of rat and bird. Allasten leaned on the railing.
“The water-folk free the Haverite beads when the planet grows, the way you might pull teeth when the mouth is too full. They mine other things, too—iron, copper, silver and gold.” The first mate fingered a steel chain around his neck. “We have traded with them for many, many years: they give us the beads and the metals, and we craft the metals into objects that both of us can use.”
“And the Haverite beads allow you to make airships?”
Allasten nodded. “The sails hold air, and propel us forward. The rudders on the back of the ship allow us to turn from side to side, to dive, to rise. And the Haverite keeps us from plummeting to our deaths.” A smirk tickled his lips. He turned away from the railing and gestured for Maria to follow him. “Is that enough knowledge for you, Maria of Too-san?” he asked as they descended back into the cabin.
A planet covered by water. People that lived in the sky; others that lived in the water, breathing water, mining the planet’s wisdom teeth.
“Sure, I guess,” she said. Not that it made any sense. It was like high school Calculus all over again: she had learned something, but had no clue what it meant.