Breaking News

Read "The City's Pawns," our Novel Excerpt Contest Grand Prize Winner (age 13 and under group)!

In February, we challenged you to submit a 400-word excerpt from your NaNoWriMo novels. From over 650 fantastic 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.)

"The City's Pawns" by Abigail C.

Edith popped a lollipop in her mouth and hopped down from the wall. The morning had been successful. No different than most pre-Games mornings, but it was always fun to slip past the wealthy.

Back in the slums, she wiped the kind smile from her face and walked back to the Garage. Even though Edith technically didn’t work for anyone, it was easier if people thought she did. Solos rarely worked out in The City and the last thing she wanted was attention.

Edith climbed in through the second-story window in the back and took out her notebook to jot down what she’d found. She would burn the page after committing it to memory, a necessary precaution since the information she stole could topple family lines. Even on Games week she made sure to leave no trace of what she knew.

Footsteps echoed in the stairwell. Edith stared at the page a moment longer then ripped it out and stuck it in the furnace vent. She climbed down from the window and stalked out into the alley. Anyone who saw her would think she had given whatever she -- supposedly -- stole to Madame Friedswell, and thieves would believe she didn’t have any valuables on her. She’d learned that trick from a master.

Edith kept the same pace until she reached the slums bordering the Trading Quarter. Most of the time there were stands selling completely useless items to the gullible immigrants, who aspired to be merchants but didn’t realize you had to be rich to live in the Quarter. But it was almost Games week. The sellers were out working their side jobs as criminals.

“Hey, miss! You shouldn’t wear those rings around here. Someone could steal them right off your fingers!” Edith glanced up at the speaker, a filthy old man sporting missing teeth and an acrid odour. The crook made to prove his point but she grabbed his hand and bent his fingers back as far as they would go without breaking. He grunted and tried to pull his hand away, but she pressed harder.

“Believe me, kind sir, I know. I’ve gone lengths to ensure that won’t happen,” Edith crooned. His eyes widened and he stopped fighting. She grinned and let go. “Now run along. I have work to do.”

She didn’t tell him about the trap his mutinous gang had set for him, poor old Farley Baxter.

Guest author judge Tashie Bhuiyan had this to say this about The City's Pawns: 

"Reading this felt like reading something from a published novel. The worldbuilding was so easy to get into and really helped set the scene. It was so immersive and captivating, and the main character immediately drew me in!"

author photo

Abigail (Abby) C. loves reading, writing, music, and standing on top of hills with her face to the wind. While her friends at school say she reads and writes too much, her family and other friends say otherwise, so she’s not stopping anytime soon. Her favourite books to read always involve betrayals and major plot twists, to the dismay of book characters everywhere. She hopes to one day follow in her mom’s footsteps and become a published author.

View All Breaking News