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Today I am sharing the first chapter I wrote for my Nanowrimo novel. As embarrassing as that is, I wanted to show what happens when you just go for it and type down whatever comes out of your head. It’s hard to start a piece of writing off isn’t it? Whether it is an article, a blog post or a piece of fiction, that first line or two can be a nightmare to get down on paper. Some people procrastinate over it for weeks, longer even, but you have to be careful not to do that, otherwise you will never move on.
When I wrote this, I immediately hated it and wanted to scrap the lot. But Chrissie gave me a big kick up the butt and told me to ignore it and get on with writing the next bit. I took her advice and I’m glad I did, because at least I can look at this when it comes to the editing stage and it gives me something to work from.
So anyone worrying about sharing their work because they don’t think it’s up to much, worry no more. This is what the writing process is all about. We write, we re-draft, we take advice and we learn from it. Here goes then… (Eek!)
‘Come in, sit down over here please, Mr Woods.’ Dillon sat down at the plain grey melamine table, noting the uncomfortable, hard plastic chair. The chair that wasn’t the only thing making him uncomfortable, though.
‘Right, you know why you’ve been asked to come down to the station today don’t you? For the record, I would like to make it clear that Mr Woods has come here of his own free will.’
Dillon nodded, but he didn’t feel able to speak. Something about the starkness of the room and the formality, with which he was being addressed, made him feel nervous.
‘Let’s get straight to it,’ said the Police Officer. ‘Interview with Mr Dillon Woods, Saturday 20th August 2009. Present in the room is DCI Marshall and PC Logan.’ Dillon noted that DCI Marshall had a no nonsense presence about him. A towering bulky figure of a man, he had intimidation down to a fine art, even his PC look terrified every time he spoke to him.
‘Mr Woods, let’s start at the beginning. You and Aimee Land were boyfriend and girlfriend were you not?’
Dillon nodded again, a lump coming to his throat.
‘How long were you together?’
‘A year and a half roughly,’ Dillon said, thinking of the roller coaster ride that had been their relationship. No one could ever say that as a couple they had lacked passion.
‘What would you say your relationship was like?’
‘Oh, well, just the same as everyone else’s I guess: normal, quiet.’ Dillon wasn’t about to admit to the wild arguments they sometimes had, often not caring about who heard them.
‘That’s not what others have said. It says in my notes here that the two of you often rowed, publically and that you were a jealous and possessive partner.’
‘Who said that?’ Dillon snapped as he jumped up out of his chair.
‘Mr Woods, sit back down please. I can’t disclose that kind of information.’
Dillon sat, cursing under his breath. The police were out to get him, he could feel it; they were going to pull him to pieces, make him look guilty; they wanted to pin this on him. A wave of dread washed over him, along with an accompanying heat, just to make him feel even more uncomfortable.
‘Ok, well it’s true that we sometimes argued, but doesn’t everyone? That’s what I meant by normal.’
There was an awkward pause as DCI Marshall’s stare weighed heavily upon Dillon, before he looked down to his notebook and scribbled something. Dillon tried to see what it was, but it was written in illegible handwriting.
‘Aimee’s parents said that about a month ago, she started to get a bit depressed, stayed in her room most days. They couldn’t find out what had upset her. Do you know anything about that?’
‘We had an argument and we weren’t getting on as well,’ Dillon said. ‘Maybe it was that.’
‘What did you argue about?’ Now Dillon was really uncomfortable. If he told the truth, it was sure to incriminate him. He couldn’t risk that.
‘It was nothing, really. We were growing apart. You know how it is when you get together with someone when you are young.’
‘Did you end things with her?’
‘Not really, well kind of. It was more of a trial separation. It was all very amicable, but maybe Aimee took it a bit hard.’
‘Do you think that’s why she ran away then?’
‘I don’t know, maybe. I hadn’t spoken to her for about a month, so I don’t know what was going on in her head.’
‘When was the last time you saw each other?’
‘I don’t remember the exact date, but it was around the end of term. Some of our group had finished GCSE’s and we were celebrating. There was a lot of drinking and I can’t even remember what we rowed about in the end. I left early and I didn’t see her after that.’
‘What, you mean that neither of you tried to make up with the other? That doesn’t sound very believable to me, Mr Woods. Normal couples, as you say, would talk things through and try to work things out.’
‘Yes, that’s true sir.’
‘Tell me Dillon. What would make a young sixteen year old girl, with a normal family background and stable home run away? A row with a boyfriend doesn’t cut it for me. OK, so she might have been down and upset by the break up, but that’s not enough to make someone leave home. Do you want to know what I think? I think that she was murdered and someone staged it to look like she ran away. The question is, who murdered her and why?’
Dillon paled and put his head in his hands. He rubbed his temples, trying to soothe the headache that was building up. This is what he had been dreading ever since Aimee disappeared: the call from the police, the accusations. ‘It’s always the boyfriend,’ he could hear people saying already. They had him down as guilty just because of who he was and how he had been involved with Aimee. Dillon knew that if he told the police the real reason he had argued with Aimee that night, it would seal the deal. It would make him look like he had a motive to kill her. He didn’t need to give them any more ammunition to throw at him. He was in way too deep as it was.
‘I didn’t kill her, sir,’ he said.
‘I didn’t say you did, did I?’
‘No, but I feel as though you are pointing the finger at me.’
‘Mr Woods, I can assure you that I am merely trying to get to the bottom of what happened to your girlfriend and to establish where she is. Her parents are very worried about her.’
‘As am I,’ Dillon said.
‘Really?’ said DCI Marshall.
‘Yes, really,’ Dillon snapped back, feeling annoyed at DCI Marshall’s tone.
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