Friday, June 22, 2007

1,089 Hours and 7,000 kilometres

Sing 'hallelujah!' Throw up your hands, the first draft of the novel is complete. Four years later. Tis a glorious day, and will allow for a nice weekend before the editing process begins. To celebrate, here is an excerpt from Chapter 11:

1,089 Hours and 7,000 Kilometres in Chapter 11

According to Robadise the case of the four child deaths and the Pulau man who killed them (some claimed that his weapon was black magic) had become a national issue thanks to the state supported media’s love of rogue violence and swift vengeful justice. Therefore, nowhere in Indonesia was safe for Bumi, the new prime public enemy. Robadise’s plan was to smuggle Bumi somewhere the Indonesian government couldn’t reach him. He provided few details, saying only that the less Bumi knew about it the better.

“Here’s the deal,” he told Bumi. “If you stay here you will die. I have friends who can save you from that, and save Ada, Bunga, and Baharuddin the pain of losing you. If it works, you can one day send for them. To be frank, it’s a long shot. But staying here is certain death, and that would in turn kill my sister and my niece and my nephew. At least this way they have some hope to hold on to.”

Robadise explained that his friend in the navy was well connected with the Chinese human smuggling industry. Bumi’s special circumstances complicated things, but for a high price he could be sent somewhere he could be a free man. “Think Bumi, no more hiding your books. No more living a lie, you can be yourself again.”

Bumi informed his brother-in-law that without Ada, he could not be himself.

“This is your only hope, Bumi. Maybe you would rather die than leave your family, but think of their needs. This way they have hope, and maybe one day you can be reunited in a place that is free, where you can pursue your ideas, where your intelligence can be put to good use. Maybe you will become rich.”

This beast my brother-in-law, thought Bumi, is a clever one. And again, questions. Why does he want to be rid of me? Is he working for Suharto? Perhaps he thinks I’m an inadequate husband for his wife? Bumi’s obsession with having committed child murder had been replaced with a deeply planted fear of the only man who seemed to be his friend. Yet another obsession he could not put to rest, an idea he could not disprove. “And Ada, you’ve discussed this with her?” he asked.

“Yes, Bumi.”


“She reluctantly agreed.” Aha! Reluctantly. And her absence was an indicator; why was she sent away like a common servant after bringing their untouched tea during the most important conversation of Bumi’s life? As if reading between the lines on Bumi’s face Robadise elaborated. “Of course she doesn’t want to lose you, Bumi. But it is obvious to everyone, expect maybe yourself, that we will lose you one way or another. We either lose you to God, or we lose you to Canada.”

“Canada?!” Bumi felt drunk as his mind clouded. Canada? The plan was insane. And Canada, of all the destinations.

“I shouldn’t have told you that,” said Robadise. “You weren’t supposed to know that much.”

“You couldn’t send me far enough, could you brother?” Bumi answered through pursed lips. He squeezed his eyes shut hard, straining his face until it was crinkled like his birth-face and tears were forced from his eyes. His chest heaved as he felt everything slip away, again. And now, 15 years later, he remained utterly feeble and small in the face of the powers acting to move him. He laid his head down on the floor and closed his eyes all the way, ready to submit to his fate and accept it as punishment for all his imagined deeds, and the evil he may have done, the things he had thought about that should never have crossed his mind.

“Canada is a good place for you to go, Bumi. Lots of coast, multicultural, easy refugee laws. Australia is almost impossible. And they treat refugees like criminals. Worse actually - they put them in internment camps worse than prisons, you don’t even get a lawyer and most people there just want to die.” Bumi knew exactly how they felt. “I even hear that Suharto has spies in those intern camps. They report back to him about who is trying to get out of Indonesia and into Australia. So if Australia sends you home he knows it, and you die.

"Anyway, most likely you’d never get past their navy – they patrol the shoreline for illegals. Most likely you’d starve to death at sea or get sent back. You don’t want that. The USA is difficult too. Everyone tries to go there and few succeed. Canada has very good odds, and it’s too far for them to get to you.

"Besides, your politics fit better in Canada.”

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Okay, I'll try again. Stupid internet.



You can either jump right on editing or let it stew for a few weeks on your hard drive (backed up redundantly, of course).

I've heard both methods touted as the only way to go. I don't know since I've only got as far as novella.
o.k., I'm hooked...
just like that!
Excellent use of metaphor with characters that come to life. Great work!

[waves at Marva]

I recommend letting it stew. After a break of a few days at least, you will see things you wouldn't see right now.
Congrads indeed!!

Looking forward to reading the whole thing! It's interesting how very creative some of the Benjamins seem to be.
Interesting comments about strategies of writing/editing. What do others think?

As it happens I don't have much of a choice because I have a grant and I'm supposed to finish-finish by August, so I'll be delving into the editing process next week.

Marva, thanks for coming by here, I love your site.

Singleton, thanks to you too for dropping by, and I'm glad your hooked, that's good news for me!

Tomcat, thanks again. Here's a tummy rub.

Jonben, thanks dude, the creative gene runs strong in us, as does the science gene. Funny combination, but it works for us.
Very tight writing. just enough scenery from the background to be able to envision this scene happening. I like this little part of a larger whole, kept my attention and made me feel both his suspicion and the pain of his separation from his home and family but also his need to face the inevitable.

I have 7 unpublished works longer than 60k words (really am not trying anymore to get anyone interested) but you don't have the time for what I do as far as edits go which is 3 months before I even open it again. 5 of the 7 have each been edited five times. *sigh* time is a luxury that i have a bit too much of.

Very Much Peace in Your Edit

I like that this part is a lot of dialogue. It gives you the feel of being a listner, instead of a reader who is complicit with a narrator. That will lead to perfect control over what you let the reader know. The slow unveiling of the greater story is so much the part of writting that people don't get.
I threw your link on my sidebar, too. The list keeps growing.
Good reading!


I posted a chapter out of my book a while ago... nobody read it... *sigh*

Maybe I should stay at my dayjob?
TC: good kittie.

TWM: funny thing about time, you can have too much sometimes. too much time on my hands makes me very unproductive, so i'm impressed you have written so much with yours.

Eric: yeah, my narrative tends to fluxuate between intensive dialogue and lond third person (or first person in some cases) descriptions. This novel is probably the most complex narrative I've attempted. And, thanks for the link.

HOD: I'm pretty satisfied with my approach - part-time day job part-time writing. It's a real good balance. Do you have a link to your book? I'll give it a go.
Congrats mate!

Oh, hey, Death Cab are great !
More about Australia, I say! Include someone called Davo then develop his character as an ex Aussie Rules football player who sold drugs to maintain his expensive BBQing habit. Oh, wait...You've already written it.

All the best with the microscopic analysis prior to the final surge to greatness. Even though I don't perceive the almighty dollar to be your motivating factor, I hope this pursuit leads to a long-term involvement in the industry.

Now remind me again...Was it page 165, third sentence? ;)
wow! Sounds like you have a tight plot. I have a very hard time with plots. I admire someone who can stick to theirs.
thanks ms smack - yeah i like those boys.

kaufman: closer to 213. 156:3 reads: "Deception was not his strong point and it made him nervous and nauseous." sorry your country didn't come off so well in this passage, but i do stick it to canada later in the book.

thanks bbe, this is my most plot-based story to date, and hardly any of the characters are ghosts of celebrities.
Plus you know a thing or two about Canada, which is handy... :o)

That was really good, you've snatched me on the hook! Can we get some more excerpts or do you want to hold on to them for now?
Congrats, Sir!

I'm loving what I have read so far.

I read somewhere that Steven King puts every book he writes in a draw for a month right after he finishes it.

Then he goes back and takes a stone cold look at it.

I don't know if you want to be taking tips from King though..
Ah, Canada: Last chance for the desperate of the world.
Right margin, top of my blog - "Guide 2 me - paperback"

I'm doing full time daytime and write full time at nights. Is that my moonlighting? LOL
errr, ok... Hallelujah?
Ant: Yeah I may post some more excerpts in future so watch for that. I don't want to post too much of it because some publishers frown on that kind of thing, and there is already one showing some interest, yay!

Thanks UTMG, someone who has sold as many copies as S.King can't be ignored. Not that it's all about sales, but I would love to make my living this way.

Trevor: we do have that reputation, but it is not always deserved.

HOD: I'll be sure to check it out soon. Good luck with the writing - that must limit social engagements eh?

Crash: you did throw up your hands afterward right?
Sorry for the delay- I saw this post a few days ago while flipping through blogs at the lab, and figured I should actually take the time to give this post a thorough read-through.

I'm very intrigued- I enjoy stories that deal with the reality of lives in countries that are very distinct, as well as that which is close to home that I can relate to (Canada is less frequently a setting in popular fiction).

And I want to know more of Bumi's story, and why Robadise feels so driven to help him...
thanks so much PP, I appreciate your taking the time and the thoughtful comments. In short, the backstory is that Robadise cares so much because he's Bumi's brother in law, and family is everything. Maybe at some point I'll post an excerpt about their initial meeting. Indonesia is a fascinating place that I always seem to return to in my writing even though I was only there for five months. I want to go back and hopefully I will someday. But for now I have to rely on memory, imagination, research, and respect, to try to get it right. As for Canada, that's easier for me, especially Toronto where I'm both and insider and an outsider.
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