10 Jul 2014

Introducing Bear - extract

I haven't written in a while, despite best intentions. I thought I would share my opening few passages of my novel. This is the sixth or seventh opening, but I think it's stuck in place now. 

Being a perfectionist really can kill the first draft. I'm trying to teach myself not to be. I sent another beginning to an agent and he was really nice about my writing, but had a note of caution: over-writing. 

In other news, I'm seeing a hypnotherapist. Not romantically. 


The bear nosed through the forest, his boxy shoulders making light work of the subshrubs. He didn’t know exactly where to find Salena Aro, just that he’d know her when he saw her.

Humans. He’d seen them at a distance, always turning his back to lumber away. With their shouts, nail hammering, tree chopping and gun-banging, they were a grating bunch. Hyper-coloured in bright plaid shirts and hyperactive too. Busy-busy with their own inventions and possessions rather than with nature.

Most self-obsessed, thought the bear, who liked alone time more than most and spent much of it meditating.

The soil smelt spongy and pungent after the rain, so the bear breathed deeply, able to pick out the snail shell from the berries, moss and mulch. He lingered on the sizzling sauna sausages from a feast last night, still present on the breeze and carried a mile or so across the lake. A rotting mink carcass and a party of carrion revellers gave him cause to exhale. In death, the mustelidae are a putrid family. His favourite animals in life, otters could really pong once maggots came and he wouldn’t wish a stinky weasel up the snout of his worst enemy, if bears had enemies, which they don’t.

The bear stopped and sniffed in a different way. A focused, narrow way that allowed him to reel in a ribbon of familiarity. Wolf? His friend Wolf had crossed this path, some months back. Dear Wolf, whose grey fur emitted a pleasant cologne of sheep wool and lingonberry, and whose gruff voice could turn a howl into a requiem. Wolf was the first of the pair to get a mission from Mother Sky, and he was asked: Are you brave, Wolf? And Wolf said, of course I am. 

Bears and wolves must serve, so when Mother Sky tasked the bear to make a deal with Salena Aro, he knew he must put aside his distaste for humans and make his appeal with the kind of celestial eloquence only a bear has words for.

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