Title: Daphne's Book
Genre: Bildungsroman within the YA genre
Word Count: 100,000
Daphne's Book is the story of Daphne Chase, a melancholy 18-year-old girl obsessed with writing her first novel. Against her father's will, she moves to the town of Middleton to study creative writing at McAdams College. Abelard Chase, an established author of Byronic nature, doesn't believe that studying writing will help his gifted daughter become the writer she wants to be. Although leaving her house means stepping out of her comfort zone and exposing herself to others, she decides to fight her social anxiety in order to find a writing environment away from her father's alcoholism and stubbornness. Adjusting to life in Middleton and managing to develop the plot of her book, however, proves to be harder than she had expected. Daphne drifts from innocent reverie to dangerous delusion as she stumbles upon a series of misfortunes that range from being ostracized by those who mock her social awkwardness to the death of someone dear to her.
An introvert suffocated by a world that demanded from her an open, vibrant behavior, Daphne finds herself clashing with other students and her neighbors at the Franks' Inn, where she lives. On an attempt to survive and find inspiration, she is gradually more inclined to long walks in the woods where Esther, The Witch, hides. Her only friend and companion is the Masked Man, a mysterious young man who silently follows her wherever she goes.
As life becomes more difficult after disappointments and one frustrated attempt at falling in love, Daphne fully withdraws from society and immerses herself in writing. She is constantly visited by her characters and other creatures that inhabit her imagination. Daphne soon realizes, then, that a complete downfall to madness seems to be the only way she could ever be able to finish her novel. But, letting her mind wander away to accomplish her only ambition in life also meant risking losing herself forever.
My name is Rebecca Carvalho and I'm a 23-year-old Brazilian author with work published both in Brazil and in the U.S. I have a B.A in English from Lawrence University, and I currently live in Madison, WI, where I work as a freelance journalist and writer. My most recent published piece was a contribution to the war memory anthology Operation Legacy, edited by the NGO Old Glory Honor Flight, and currently available on Amazon.com. My work often covers the boundaries -- or, rather, lack of boundaries -- of creativity and what happens when one can't separate delusion and reality. I'm also devoted to everything that has to do with what I'd call "the voice of youth." I keep a blog where I regularly discuss writing, and where I also interview teenagers and young adults about their frustrations with today's society, their goals and ideas on how to be more active in the present.
A man was standing behind the oak tree on the other side of the river. He had been doing that for nearly a year now, tirelessly watching the Chase family's house, without food or water, without rest.
He was no more than a vulture -- His face anonymous, his intentions hidden. But Daphne knew he wasn't someone to be feared. At least not yet. Being the daughter of Abelard Chase had taught her that even shadows, when properly tamed, could be helpful and surprisingly friendly.
Daphne craned her neck from behind a curtain and peeked at him like she did every morning right after getting up. She sighed. It was almost comforting to find him there every day guarding their grounds.
He always stood straight like a good soldier, but this time he leaned on the tree trunk. Daphne instinctively knew there was something wrong with him, and wondered whether he knew she was leaving later that day. Was it possible he knew she planned on never coming back home?
She walked away from the window and stood by her desk, where her notebook still laid open from her previous attempt at writing. She lazily stretched and tried to adjust her thoughts before breakfast. That was an important day for her, and she was nervous. It was still very early, and she thought of meditating. But, instead of hearing the ticking noise of her alarm clock, she heard music. Her heart skipped a beat. It was Heitor Villa-Lobos' Fifth Bachiana.