Sunday, June 25, 2017

First Draft

Hello again! It know it's been a while, but I have an exciting update. Over the past few months I've been going through some changes, so I haven't had time for writing. But things have settled down, at least for a moment, an I've had a chance to do some writing.
For a while I was stuck in my story. I had an idea of how I wanted it to end, but I didn't know the details. After a considerable break I went back to working on my novel.
And I am pleased to say that, as of last night, I officially have my first draft complete!
This is a big step for me, since having the first draft done means I have a pretty good idea of how the story will work. I know that there may be plotholes and times I will need to write characters in more or cut them, but I'm happy to say that the first major step of my novel-writing is finished.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Another excerpt - Paint

Well, as promised, here's another excerpt from my novel. It's a little short, but I hope you enjoy it.

          The table itself was crude. Workbench would be a more appropriate title. It was scarred here and there with cracks and indentations. Paint of various shades covered it. A bit of rusty orange here, violet there. It seemed worn, and yet satisfied. Like an apron passed from mother to daughter, its stains being markers of memories. Abigail pulled out a palette.
            “All right,” she said, “now the first thing you have to know about painting is that I haven’t done it in years. So, if you’re determined to do something-” she spread her arms “-now’s the time.” Robin laughed. She looked from the paints to Abigail and laughed again.
            “I can’t paint.”
“Of course you can’t. But how do you think I got started?” Robin shook her head.
“You’ve been doing this for a long time. I never-”
“Doodled in your notes? Used finger paints in kindergarten? Honey, you must realize that there was a point for me, too, when I had never painted before. Now come on.” Robin sighed, then laughed again. Abigail was squeezing paints onto a palette. Handing this to Robin, she stepped to the canvas.
            “What am I supposed to paint?” The protest was weak at this point.
“Whatever you’d like to paint.”
“Well… how about a tree?” That seemed simple enough. Abigail gestured to the canvas in answer.

Novel in Progress

     Here's a post to give you all an update on my writing. I know it's been a while since I've posted  about that 20,000 word-count.
     Things have been going very well for the last few weeks. I'm off for school, which means I can spend more time working on my current project and planning future projects. And having one of the family cats climbing all over me. Like right now, as I type this entry.
     I've been reading some new books on writing as well as pressing forward with the novel I'm working on. I still have to come up with a title. As you may already know, you can find some excerpts here on the site. I put out a teaser about putting a new excerpt, so I should probably follow through with that.
     Other reading material is made up of Christmas gifts I've received this year. One of these is The Children of Hurin by Tolkien. A bit dense, but an excellent read, especially for those who like older literature and the style of story-telling modeled by the traditional passing on of tales.
     Another book I am very excited about is The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain. This is something of an autobiographical work (I believe) by Twain. He had the opportunity to travel all over Europe by boad along the coastline. My familiarity with it stared as an interpretive speech during my last year of high school. In short, you take part of a book and turn it into a ten-minute skit. No props, no set, and you're wearing a suit.
     In any case, I thought I'd let you guys know that I'm rounding the bend with my first draft I think, unless some big plot development waylays me. My current word count is now well past the 40,000 word mark, and growing steadily. As I mentioned before, most novels (especially ones by new authors) tend to be around the 60,000 mark. Some are as long as 120,000 (or more) but I'm not nearly that ambitious.
     I hope your Christmas and New Years went well. Keep an eye out for that excerpt, I'll pick one and have it up soon.
All the best!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Exciting Word-Count

As some of you my know in the process of writing, we keep track of the word-count, the number of words which are in the project we're working on. Most novels on the shorter side tend to be 60,000-80,000 words, though there's a lot of variation. Some say that you have to have 60,000 to have a complete novel, while many agree that if it's within the scope/size of a novel, that's what defines it, as opposed to a shorter work, such as a short-story.
As I've been writing I've been keeping track of my word-count because it's a good encourager, letting me see how much progress I've made, and how quickly.
All of this is to say that I have an update on my word-count for my novel.
As of this afternoon, my word-count is up to (drum roll please)...
20,000 words!
This is big for me, as the longest project I've ever written before this was certainly less than half of this size. But the ideas keep coming and the words keep flowing.
So, until the next post, Blessings!


I caved and decided to post another scene from my project. This is an excerpt from one of the funniest moments, so far, in the novel. As a bit of background, Robin has just met Abigail, who invites her to sit and eat with her at this diner. Having heard it mentioned, Robin absent-mindedly orders the Fireball Chili-Mac. Having ordered the chef's special, Abigail also receives an order of the Chili-Mac.

          Robin took up a forkful and took a bite of Earl’s Fireball Chili-Mac. Her first impression was This is a good chili-mac! Though in the next instant something started to happen. Warmth. She moved the bite about her mouth a bit, getting a better feel. It wasn't just warmth, but heat. Not just any heat – then it hit her like a freight train.
            An mmph! came out, and Abigail looked up from her root beer float, smiling a little. Then she saw Robin’s expression, and the corners of her mouth dropped.
            “My goodness child, what is it?” But at this point, Robin couldn’t hear her. Her taste buds, her mouth, her very existence screamed one thing – FIRE!! Grabbing Abigail’s cup of water, she began chugging it, spluttering as she went.
            “Oh, it can’t be worth that much fussing!” The look on Robin’s now sweaty face said otherwise. Curiously, hesitantly, Abigail took up her own fork. Robin’s eyes went like saucers now. She had finished the water, but was still trying to find her voice.
            Shaking her head frantically, she waved her hands, trying to get Abigail’s attention. Seeing this, Abigail let out an exasperated sigh.
            “Now really, it can’t be that bad!” Robin was nodding a yes it could, but Abigail had already taken up a forkful. She took the generous bite whole.
Abigail looked up to Robin’s face as she took her first bite. Robin stared back, hopelessly. The first wave hit her.
            “Oh! Well, it looks like Earl decided to change up the recipe! I never-” then the second wave hit her, stronger this time. “Oh! Well I say! I haven’t-” Sweat began to issue forth from her pores, en masse.
            A hiccup issued forth from Robin. Abigail laughed before a hic sounded from her. Now it was Robin’s turn to really laugh. And so the two sat there, laughing and hiccuping breathlessly, tears streaming down their faces.
            “I guess-” was all Abigail managed before another hiccup asserted itself. “-guess misery – hic – misery loves company!” The twosome continued to hiccup through their redoubled laughter.
            At this point Peggy made her way up to the table.
            “Everything tastin’ all right for you two?” this caused squeals of laughter from both of them, shaking their heads ‘no’. Bewildered, Peggy looked from one to the other. “Well what on earth is the matter?” Abigail was the first to attempt an answer through laughter.
            "The ch- hic, the- hic chili is- hic a little- hic a little- hic- ” At this point she was laughing too hard to be comprehensible. Robin tried for them again.
            “She’s saying the ch- hic the chili - hic is too- hic the chili’s-” Abigail was laughing even harder now, and Robin burst out laughing herself.
            The waitress stared in wonder at the two hiccupping women in hysterics. The rest of the customers weren’t even pretending to be disinterested at this point. Determined to get to the bottom of the matter, Peggy spoke.
            “For heaven’s sake! What in the world could-” seeing the two bowls, she grabbed a spoon from a nearby table, and took a bite from Abigail’s bowl. This prompted another squeal of laughter from the women, followed by more hiccupping.
            Peggy was chewing at this point, but they hardly noticed. She sighed as she chewed.
            “I honestly don’t see what’s-” Now boarding the Fireball Express, please be sure your luggage is stored in the proper compartments, and hold on for the ride! Her mouth dropped open, and she fanned herself a little.
            “Well it must’ve been a while since I last had this one. But it’s not-” The next wave swelled. “I mean goodness! It’s got quite a kick!” This only encouraged the laughter from the two women, old and young.
Peggy opened her mouth to say something else, but the next wave of heat hit her at that point, and she stood there in silence, mouth agape, fanning herself. Seeing her expression sent the twosome into a redoubled fit of laughter. Not knowing what else to do, the waitress hurried back into the kitchen.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Father and Daughter

Well, I was poking around in my writing the other day, and I found a little project that I wrote this spring. So here it is, a bit of flash fiction using a writing prompt. Now, a common format for the writing prompt is in the form of a first or last sentence. Here's a little bit of fiction I wrote using a prompt like this, the given sentence being the last one.

“Look Daddy, over here!”
“I’m coming, I’m coming!”
I marveled at her speed and determination as my 4-year-old daughter pulled me along the dirt trail by the hand.
“It was over here, Daddy!”
I had been reaching back into the car for my phone when she snatched my hand and began tugging with an urgency like I’d never seen before.
“Hurry, Daddy, Hurry or we’ll miss it!” So, guided by those chubby little hands with ever-lengthening fingers I trailed along behind, feeling like a dog pulled with a hurry down the sidewalk.
Branches jumped and rolled as her feet brushed them. They snapped under my feet. The air gathered close as we moved into a glade, the trail sweeping left and cutting right, only to wind to the left again. Suddenly she stopped. I tried not to trip over her.
“What is it sweetie?” But she didn’t answer. Quietly, almost reverently, she walked slowly to off one side of the path, looking into the woods. I was panting, my breath coming in little bursts. Without a word, my daughter spun around and ran back towards the park.
“Where are you going?” she stopped and turned to look at me.
“It’s OK Daddy, I don’t think he’ll mind.” Then she sprinted away. It occurred to me to ask who ‘he’ is and why he would mind... mind what? With a look to my feet, I shook my head and laughed a little to myself. Whenever I look at my feet I’m reminded that they’re where they should be, so something’s going right. Laura’s were at the car, so our daughter would be fine. As I turned to head back down the path I looked up. And that’s when I saw the fox.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Novel - Hotel Scene

          Stepping up the porch, bag in hand, she was greeted by great, heavy, oaken doors. As she stepped through, a Ding-a-ling-a-ling sounded. What is it with bells on the doors in this town? Stepping to the counter, she expected the man to greet her with a “Howdy Mrs. Douglas!” Instead, she was greeted with a smile and nod, followed with a courtesy “Good afternoon!” It was clear he meant it.
            She smiled (or grimaced, she couldn’t tell which, and couldn’t care less at this point).
            “You looking for a room?” A ‘No, I’m looking for a stall and a bit of your finest alfalfa, sir’ was clearly warranted, but Robin held herself back and nodded politely.
            “All righty then, let’s see what we’ve got.” He pulled a bound, leather book from under the counter. What is this, the middle ages? Should I ask about where to park my mule?
            “Let me see…” he passed his index finger down the list. “We’ve got rooms on the first floor… we’ve got a few rooms on the second floor…” Robin expected him to say something about stabling. “…we’ve got rooms on-”
            “Second!” the man’s eyes darted up. “Second, second floor is fine.”
“Yes ma’m.” Robin almost gagged. How old does he think I am!? The man took out a pen and turned the book around, placing his finger on the first empty line. There were seven entries from the last five years. She scribbled a name in it and put the pen down. Taking the pen and turning the book, he bent over and squinted at the text.
            “Alrighty then, Ms…” The manager squinted harder at the text, moving his head this way and that. His body waggled, following its motion. A huff escaped Robin’s lips. Hearing this, the man’s head lifted up to Robin’s stare. His head lolled back, as did his eyes, as though scanning the ceiling.
            “Avery, Avery, what are you thinking?” he laughed. Robin’s brow furrowed, and she stepped back a bit. Seeing this, he laughed again and flapped his hand at her. “Oh, don’t mind me. Just and old man…” He reached down to the counter. “…trying to read without his glasses.”
            Perched on his nose, his glasses intersected his gaze, providing clarity. “Now let’s see here, Miss…” his finger ran down the page and stopped. He blinked. He blinked again. His lowered head now looked like a doorknob, rotating to one side.
            He glanced up at Robin, his voice suddenly very quiet. “Miss Romany.” She blinked. Was he having a stroke? Her arms came up, and flapped back down to her sides.
            “Yes, that is my name. Miss Robin ­­­­­­Romany." He glanced back to the book. "Is there a problem with that?”
“Oh no! No, not at all. Always happy for another guest.”