You guys! As you know, I wrote a story for children this year, and a lot of you have been asking about it. So I thought I'd share a little bit of a sneak peak of the early process...
The very first passage I wrote was a description detailing the journey 2 children took to find a secret beach. This part of the story was based on my own experience climbing to the top of Wayag; first in 2014 when we did the liveaboard trip on Shakti, and then again in 2015 after we had relocated to Raja Ampat.
It looks a little bit like this....
I don't know that I'll ever experience anything quite as remarkable as the view from the top of that island, and if you ever find yourself in a position to climb it then I highly recommend it.
Anyway. The book.
I wrote this passage in my head on a 10 minute boat trip from home to one of the villages. The day was spectacular and the brilliant colour of the water gave me a surge of inspiration. Obviously not all writing days flow quite like that, and the story has changed remarkably since this passage was put onto paper.
I wrote the whole first draft like this - a detailed description of an adventure taken by Petrus + Novi - a brother and sister who live in a small fishing village in the Raja Ampat Archipelago. The book itself with be far simpler and mostly dialogue, but this is where it began...
Petrus paddled the boat while Novi sat in the back, dutifully bailing out the water that seeped in through cracks in the wood from which it was carved years before either of the children were born.
The oceans surface was flat. The water changed from a luminous turquoise to deep indigo as sandy bottoms turned to reef, alive with fish, below them.
Petrus steered the boat towards an island. Novi could see nothing but rainforest. This couldn't be the beach her brother bragged about. As they drew nearer, though, she noticed a lightly beaten path through the thicket.
The rainforest was glossy. Beads of the last rain still clung to the oversized leaves in tiny, plup, mirrored orbs that reflected the light piercing through the canopy in golden rays. The leaf litter was soft beneath the childrens feet and the smell of damp dirt was comforting.
The path through the trees opened to a rocky cliff. Petrus scaled the cliff expertly, using the tree roots that wove through the rock as foot holds. Noiv followed her brother, far less brazenly but certainly determined.
When they reached the top, Novi's hands were stinging from cuts the limestone had caused her and her lungs and legs were burning from the effort of the climb. But the view took her breath away. They were on top of the world. King and Queen of the archipelago.
Chains of islands snaked through the sea in front of them. And the water - more shades of blue and green than Novi and ever seen or imagined.
The children skidded and slid down to the bay before them. A silvery stretch of sand lined the waters edge. The bay was shouldered by white limestone. The orchids that grew on it had pale purple petals. The delicate blooms stood in stark contrast to the jagged rock and dense rainforest from whence they came.
The ocean rose and fell in steady breaths. Novi put her toes in the sea and let the waves whisper past her ankles and over the sand.
Bait fish schooled in a giant shadow and Novi wished she had brought a hook to throw in. Instead she threw herself into the cool water to join the fish beneath the waves.
I'm looking forward to sharing more as the project unfolds....