Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, where participants share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. I’m switching gears this week and returning to my WIP, Journey Through a Dark Forest. The book is shaping up to be much longer than I’d guesstimated going in, and I’ll probably end up putting it out as four volumes (making clear they’re installments of the same book, not separate books).
These lines start Chapter 60, “Keeping a Promise,” one of the Iranian chapters. It’s the Summer of 1941, and Alina Petropashvili has been living in Fereydan with her Armenian friends for four years now. Her husband, Amiran Koridze, was arrested at the height of the Great Terror in 1937, and ordered her to get the hell out of Georgia, go to her old friends in Armenia, and escape to Iran, where some old friends of his would take care of her. Alina’s old orphanage friend Inna and their now-elderly orphanage mother Mrs. Brezhneva also fled to Iran, and settled in the nearby city of Isfahan (a former capital city).
Alina is now in for a startling surprise.
On her way home from the bazaar in the Georgian neighborhood of Fereydan, Alína hears a great commotion. She turns to look and sees a horrific-looking man collapsing by a wall, about twenty feet away from a crafts kiosk. Feeling a little bit sorry his piteous cries for food or water are ignored by everyone, she makes her way back into the bazaar. At least Tamar is back home with Ohanna and her children, and won’t have to see this severely disfigured soul.
Alína kneels down and pulls her canteen out of her green, purple, and yellow felt bag. “Here you go, Batoni. You can drink as much as you need.”
He grabs the canteen with a mangled hand and greedily gulps the entire contents.
I’ve known Alina since my first Russian historical, when she was 12 years old and one of my favorite orphanage girls, and featured her a few times in the sequel, but never had any plans to use her in the third book. I’m so glad I decided to expand my outline to finally make her one of the main characters in the ensemble cast, and to make her the star of one of the storylines. Plus, I’ve loved writing the chapters and sections set in Iran, so much so I’m planning to visit Iran for firsthand research for the future second draft.