Dead Boy Running was my first serious attempt at publishing a work of fiction. It was also the story I sent as part of my application for my MA in Creative Writing, which I undertook from 2015-2017.
It’s a character-driven thriller of 85,000 words. Here’s a basic outline.
Peace could finally be reached between the two rival gangs of Nottingham. All it will take is the murder of a homeless child.
Twelve-year-old Jason Light is an unloved parasite, and a waste of space who trespasses on the world’s property just by being alive.
At least, that’s what he has been told to believe.
Jason has spent his last year on the streets following the deaths of his parents, where he has been abused and manipulated by the gang leaders he relies on for shelter. This is his life, growing up far too fast in an underworld that does not love him, and he knows he doesn’t deserve better.
When Jason’s handlers offer him to their enemies as an olive branch, the boy finds himself on the run from both of Nottingham’s gangs at once. Each of them believe that their fragile ceasefire can only be kept alive by his blood, but for once in his life Jason vows not to go down without a fight.
It took a death sentence to teach Jason the value of his life. Now his survival instincts have awoken, and he means to keep it.
Agents have shown bites of interest here and there (two have previously requested the full manuscript, which I’m led to believe puts me in the top 1% of aspiring writers), but it is as yet unrepresented. Incidentally, if you’re a British literary agent perusing autism blogs for some reason, feel free to ask for more.
(Edit for clarification- in a rare example of a part of my life that does not involve autism, Jason is not autistic. He does, however, experience a LOT of isolation as a result of his circumstances. And I won’t lie, a part of that is inspired by times in my own life when I’ve felt socially isolated.)
Chris Bonnello is an autism speaker, available to lead talks and training sessions from the perspective of an autistic former teacher. For further information please click here (opens in new window).