NaNoWriMo is over for another year. If you were attempting it, I hope you achieved your goals.
In the end, I wrote just under 80,000 words of We are Saul. I think that I was helped by the fact that I’d booked my editor to have a look at my attempt on the first of December. It gave me a reason to keep going and get something to her that was worth her time to look at.
So now, I’m sharing a first look at what I’ve been writing. Without giving too much away, it’s a love story with a difference. Its setting is here and if not now, then certainly in the not-too-distant future. It starts with a tragedy and ends with…, well let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Here’s the full paperback cover.
This is the concept,
When Saul is paralysed in an accident, he thinks it’s the end of his life.
In fact, it’s just the beginning.
Contemplating what he can do with what remains of his existence, the mysterious Dr Tendral offers him a way to make a difference. All he has to do is join his project. There are no other details until he agrees, he’s either in or out.
What choice does he have? Agreeing is just the beginning. Saul undergoes drastic surgery, only then is the full depth of the project revealed. Or is it?
As time goes on and he learns the true nature of Tendral’s scheme, Saul’s choices become more and more difficult.
In the end, he’s forced to abandon everything he loves, for the chance of a new life.
Here’s the start of Chapter 1
I’m Saul and I’m paralysed. Thanks to a drunk driver my life stopped when I was twenty-five. When I woke up, the last thing I remembered was walking along the pavement on a glorious spring day, following the metronomic motion of a young lady in front of me. One moment, my mind was fixed on speeding up and getting acquainted with the rest of her, next thing, there was a loud noise behind me coupled with a scream. Before I could turn, I felt an impact, a burst of pain and it all went dark.
I opened my eyes to see a man’s face, complete with thick glasses and stubble, staring at me, very close. I blinked, tried to turn my head, failed. It felt like something was holding my neck still. I could move my eyes, that was about it. Flat on my back, my field of vision was limited. There was a lot of noise, machines beeped and clicked, there was the hiss of compressed air.
“Where am I?” I said.
“You’re in a hospital. Intensive Care actually,” answered the man, moving back a little, “I’m Mr McGee, a consultant Neurosurgeon on the staff. Do you know who you are?”
“I’m Saul,” I said, “why can’t I move?”
His eyes narrowed, “Saul, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for you.”
I had sort of gathered that my situation wasn’t brilliant, “Go on then, tell me the worst.” I tried to make it sound brave, inside I was more than a little frightened. Beside his head, I could just make out a screen. It showed multi-coloured flickering lines, a row of numbers. That was me, my life was reduced to mathematics.
“You’ve had emergency surgery to stabilise your injuries,” he said, “do you remember what happened to you?”
“It’s all a bit hazy, I was walking down the road, there was a noise behind me.” I stopped, that was it.
He nodded, “that was the lorry mounting the pavement and taking out everything in its path. Six dead but not you, the good news is, you’ll live.”
His face looked blank, what wasn’t he telling me? Perhaps I had broken bones, internal damage. I was being kept still while I healed. I tried to move my arms, legs. It felt like they worked but I couldn’t see the sheet moving, had no idea if anything was happening.
The bed suddenly moved, the motion felt strange, as if my head was being tugged by some dead weight attached to it, that I couldn’t see or sense. I felt nauseous. Somewhere below me, I heard a machine start up with a rattle.
“What’s going on? I think I’m going to be sick.” I must have sounded panicked.
“It’s what we call the Low Air Loss and Alternating Pressure Air Mattresses,” he said. “Technical name for a special bed. It stops you getting bed sores from lying in one position, as well as that, it helps take moisture away from your body if you sweat.”
As if I had any idea what that was. “I’ll take your word for it. Tell me the bad news.”
“Sorry,” he said, “I got distracted. You were thrown thirty feet in the accident. As well as a broken leg and arm, the impact also broke your neck. I’m afraid that it’s damaged your spine.”
“Oh, OK.” It didn’t register. “How long till I’m up and about?”
He shook his head, “I don’t think you understand what I’m telling you.”
Then it hit me, bones mended, spines did not. Panic set in. “What do you mean?” I shouted. “That I’m paralysed, that I’ll always be like this?”
“I’m afraid so,” he said. “We can’t fix you with the medical technology we have at the moment. In time, who knows? Your breathing and bowel function appears to be unimpaired, but your arms and legs don’t work. It’s called quadriplegia. We can keep you alive, with care and expert attention, your life can carry on.”
The manuscript is now with my editor. When I get it back, I’ll be making it ready for beta readers, watch out for details.
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