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Read "Of Silver and Swans" a Novel Excerpt Contest Runner-Up!

Last month, we challenged you to submit a 400 word excerpt from your NaNoWriMo novels. From over 500 fabulous entries, we chose two Grand Prize Winners and four Runners-Up. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did! (For more excerpts, check out this forum thread.)

"Of Silver and Swans" by Dana B.

Maman crooked her finger, beckoning her daughter forward.

“Why so afraid, my little cygnet?” she asked, holding out her hands so that the pooled moonlight glistened alluringly. She tilted her head, an unspoken challenge. “Don’t you want to reap the moon’s blessing?”

Lynette darted a glance at the moon, seeking a sign. Any sign that would let her get out of this, just once. But the moon’s lips were sealed.

“No, Mamam,” Lynette lied. “I have no fear.”

She crouched down, tucking the hem of her nightgown under her knees. She looked up toward the sky. Maman took her time, drawing out her torture. Slowly, she spread her willowy fingers, allowing the liquid silver to seep through the cracks.

A drop landed on Lynette’s tongue. As much as she wished she could hate it, the taste of moonlight was indescribable. It was like stars colliding and moonlit waters and the cool midnight breeze all at once, sweet and saturated with sugar. She gritted her teeth, trying to tamp it down, but magic rose unbidden in her chest, called forth by the moonlight.

Lynette blinked away the bliss and rose to her feet, meeting Maman’s saccharine-sewn smile. The magic intoxicated her, filling her veins with a dizzying power, but she would not let Maman see. She crafted her features back into a picture of stone, hiding the unsteadiness she felt inside.

She made her way to the rear of the line, pointedly ignoring Circe’s smug look. Odette reached her hand back, her fingers imploring. Lynette took her offer, twining their fingers together, feeling the same soft hum of magic through her sister’s skin.

Lyra, Aderyn, and Evelyn joined the ranks behind her. Maman lifted the parcel she had brought from its resting place in the snow, unveiling its contents. Inside lay their cloaks, crafted of silvery feathers. Moonlight wove through them like gossamer, making the fabric impossibly silky. Maman doled the cloaks out, handing one to each girl.

Lynette took hers gratefully, sliding the delicate fabric over her cold shoulders. She tied it around her neck, the weight of the moonstone-inlaid clasp settling against her clavicle. As if in a trance, she and her sisters made their way to the edge of the lake, where they stood in solemn silence.

Jump, my cygnets, the moon whispered.

And they did.

author photo

Dana Blatte is a sophomore in high school who dreams of becoming an author, illustrator, and polyglot. When she's not sending pen pal letters, listening to obscure indie music, or scouring the internet for forgotten fairy tales, she can be found reading or writing. Her novels and poems, which are posted to Wattpad and Write the World, have been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and various Wattpad contests. Although she hasn't published anything yet, Dana hopes there are many more books and stories in her future.

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