Writing Sample: Introducing Anjeni from Namesake

Namesake quote: Jaded AnjeniWith minimalism in mind, I’ve dropped the definite article on my book title and streamlined it to Namesake. In this excerpt from Chapter 1, our heroine Anjeni gives us a  jaded introduction to her life.

Excerpt: Namesake, Chapter 1

Magic is supplementary, but my parents require me to take it, and I fail, year after year after year. I can recite the theories off by heart, but I have not even the slightest budding of abilities, and every class conducts the exams in the same order: practical first, followed by theory.

Every year, I fail the practical. So every year, I scrawl pictures all over my theory exam. I carry a lighter in my pocket so I can flip it open when my tutors present their dreaded candle test. I sleep through magic classes, or stare out the window. I check out of life.

My tutors have asked my parents—begged my parents—not to enroll me anymore.

My dad always has the same response: “She tested positive. She’s just being stubborn.”

I did test positive for magic, right after Tana started setting fire to her crib sheets by accident. In this day and age, they don’t test by making the suspected magician produce sparks. No, they scan the part of the brain that governs magic use. Tana’s tests were off the charts for a one-year-old. Mine were just below average, but I’m pretty sure it was a fluke that I registered at all. False positives have occurred.

Really, if anyone is stubborn, it’s my parents. They aren’t worried about me so much as their own reputations. Magic skipped over both of them, so it would look better to have two daughters as magicians instead of just one—even if that one is the wondrous Tana.

“Jen, I know you can do this.” My latest tutor, Miss Corlan, regards me with steady eyes. I can practically read her thoughts: she’s going to crack this tough nut. She’s going to get through to the recalcitrant elder daughter of Rayvi and Jerika Sigourna. She has the patience, the knowledge, the compassion to coax me from my shell.

Amateur.

“I can’t. Some people can’t, you know.”

“You just don’t want to.”

The accusation strikes a nerve. “I’m not my sister. What will it take to get that through everyone’s stupid head? I’m not Tana.”

Her mouth twists into a practiced smile. “But you’re so like her. You have the same black eyes, the same profile, the same long, dark hair. You two are more alike than you want to admit. If you’d only recognize your similarities, maybe you could finally overcome this mental block of yours. You may pretend you don’t care, but I can see as plain as day how much you want to be like her.”

Five years ago she may have been right. Five years ago, I still had hope. I don’t have any left, though, and being told—again—that my failures are somehow my own fault rankles me in a way that only Tana has ever accomplished. I can’t change my profile or the color of my eyes, so instead, I go home and hack my hair off to the nape of my neck. Then I bleach it blond just because I can.

Only I fail at that, too. When the water rinses away all the peroxide and the steam on the mirror clears up, I am left staring at a fiery orange mess.

Further Reading

Find the previously posted excerpt (from Chapter 6) here.

Still no definite publication date. Writing this novel was like pulling teeth, and now the cover is giving me roughly the same treatment.

But hey, you could always go read The Legendary Inge if you’re bored.

~Kate

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