Hey dear friends. This week I’m talking to author Ann Morgan again as we look at another writer’s first page. For those who are interested, the opening song in this week’s episode is a piece I call ‘The Uniform of the 10th Light Dragoons, 1794’.

The show needs first pages to be submitted if we’re to have stuff to discuss – don’t rely on other people! Get critiqued! Read our submission guidelines then send me your work – or, if you already have or you don’t want to (perfectly reasonable of you) then please share the podcast with writing pals who might like to themselves. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Soundcloud and iTunes so you get it as soon as I upload it.

Here’s the extract we looked at:

Hero (by Nathalie)

It happens for the first time when he is eleven.

He doesn’t know how. He is aware of slipping, the scrape of the bark against his fingers, of being faintly embarrassed by his own high whimper of fear, of losing his grip and falling, and then the rush and thud of impact.

He waits, his heart throbbing in his throat and the tips of his fingers, for his breathing to even out and his shoulders to unclench, and then he opens his eyes. His arm is impaled on a fence.

Choking on his breath, Charlie stares. Six inches of metal protrude from the pale, soft flesh of his forearm, levering his upper body unevenly off the ground. He bites the inside of his cheek and, gracelessly, forces himself to his knees and lifts his arm off.

It doesn’t hurt. It occurs to him almost as an afterthought, only as he looks at the split edges of his skin and reaches with his other hand to touch. Maybe he is too surprised to be hurt, he thinks, because he can feel the air on his injury, the cool hum of breeze against the exposed flesh, but nothing else apart from a vague discomfort he is certain he is imagining.

The hole is an almost perfect half-inch square, set like a diamond a little way up his wrist. He is not, he notices belatedly, bleeding. Through the hole he can see the bright green of the grass, clashing against the violent pink and yellow and white insides of his arm, the tiny dark blue threads of his veins.