Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Boy and the Train Station

                I sat on the subway bench, waiting for my train to come. The air was dense; the darkness in the tunnels lent itself to the thickness of the air. I had a paper with me, but I didn’t bother reading it. Anything important I wanted to know I’d seen already on the news station.
                I sighed, shifting in my seat. As I glanced to my left a smile played on my lips. There was a little boy, no older than 6 years old, sitting on the bench about six feet from me. A floppy, stuffed dog was beside him. From its looks it must have belonged to a parent before being passed to him. But the boy’s hand now held my interest, as well as his.
                I couldn’t tell what the boy was doing. He was frozen, looking down at his hand with droopy eyelids. His hand was in a very loose fist, raised just to shoulder level. His index finger was raised, and his thumb curled neatly beneath to meet his other three fingers.
                If the boy was trying to point to something, I didn’t know what, as his finger was curled. He turned and looked at me. I made eye contact and gave a little smile. The boy’s expression didn’t change much, but his eyes glanced over me. His solemn little face then turned its attention back to the finger.
                A subway roared past on the opposite track. The boy paid no mind. Slowly he arched his neck forward a little, bringing his head a bit closer to his hand. I still couldn’t tell what the boy was doing. Suddenly the boy’s little red tongue darted out. It hit his finger just as his mother turned around. I instantly turned, unfolding my paper, but I kept an eye loose as I listened to the mother loudly scold the little boy. He wiped his nose on his sleeve, gathered his stuffed dog and took his mother’s hand.

Back Into the Swing of Things

This post is primarily an update about my writing life and what's going on.
For a while I had a fairly large project, which was something of a very long free-write which eventually would have become part of a fantasy novel. It's been some months since I've written anything for that project, but I'm getting fired up again about writing. So now's the time I've rented several books from the library on the subject and when I've begun to devour these. I've also been to the bookstore recently, and I've acquired another book.
Now I'm in the phase of exploring. My 2 main goals at this point are first, to come up with a premise for a book and second, to develop my lead character well enough to know how he'll respond. (If a car comes flying at him, is he the adventurous type to try to jump over it, or will he simply dodge out of the way?
Besides devouring books and thinking a lot, I find myself freewriting to discover who my character is. (Again, if I know him I can watch him more closely).
So, with these things in mind, I'll get back to writing.
Let me know if you have questions, thoughts, comments, or ideas. I appreciate any and all feedback I can get. Thanks!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Drama

Well, some exciting news here (for me anyways). Earlier this month I was cast in a college production of And Then There Were None, an Agatha Christie play from the early 40s. 10 people are invited to stay at an island resort. When they arrive there, a voice comes out of nowhere and accuses each of them of killing someone specific. Then one drops dead from cyanide in his drink. They find that one of the little figures on the mantle-piece is smashed. I will be playing the part of General Mackenzie. He's the oldest in the cast, and as the play goes on, you start to wonder whether he's going senile. :) This should be fun.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Freewrite - April 19th


     Jimmy thought the man's nose was too big. He was wearing ratty clothes. He looked poor- he had dirt smeared on his face, and a tattered brown jacket that looked like it had barely survived World War I. He was talking too quickly. The man had come up and told him that he could get $100 on the spot. When he asked the man how? The man became very nervous. Now he was standing and blathering about something Jimmy didn't understand. He was only 11, but he didn't think anyone could understand what this man was trying to get at.
     People passed on the left and right. The man would glance at one of them every once in a while, but he would always look at the ground, especially when they looked back.
     "It's for my daughter, you see." Jimmy cocked his head.
"So you're a daddy?" The man's face lit up.
"Yes, yes, that's it, I'm a daddy!" You would have guessed that the man had just found out about her birth. "It's a girl!" echoed through the boy's mind.  The man looked like he had won the lottery.
"And now I need you to use this-" he pointed to what looked like a toy gun in his hand- "on me so that I can go and find my daughter."
     Jimmy scratched his head. He didn't know what those medical doctors or those doctors that work with the brain called crazy, but if he ever became one himself, he was pretty sure that this man was crazy. He looked from the man's pleading eyes to the object in his hand.
     It was one of those toys you'd expect to find in a toy store from the 1930s. A very small one, bright red, with a ridge sticking up all around, showing where the manufacturer joined the two halves together. And just like you'd see in those science fiction movies of the time, there were three prongs with little metal balls on them, coming off of the front of the gun. The barrel of the gun narrowed and then closed off altogether to a point.
      There's no point in making a gun if the front is closed off. How are the bullets going to come out of there?
     Suddenly the man was moving. Jimmy found that his hand was open. The man slapped the device into his hand, closed the boy's fingers around it, then took three large steps back.
     "SHOOT ME!" Jimmy stood, dumbfounded. He thought he should be embarrassed, but he was too interested in the man to to that. What did he want? The man's shoulders drooped, and it looked like he was going to give it up, to turn away.
     A body was flying at him. Without thinking Jimmy pulled his arm up and pulled the trigger. Reflex. Jimmy blinked twice at what he saw, not understanding.

     "Jimmy, let's go!" Mrs. Rogers came stepping up to the corner of the sidewalk, where she had left her son for a moment to run into the flower shop. But the boy wasn't standing on the corner. He was bent in half, peering under a bench which an older gentleman was sitting under.
     "Jimmy!" the boy looked up, and she motioned with the bag in her hand. "Come on, we can't be late."
"Mom, I'm looking for... looking for..."
"Looking for what? Hurry up, we've got to get home; I've got to get dinner on."
"But he was just here." She sighed, and ushered Jimmy away from the bench.
"Honey, you shouldn't bother that man. He's probably waiting for someone."
"No, not him mom. I wasn't talking about that man on the bench." She was already walking back to the corner.
"I'm sorry sweetie, but you'll have to tell me about it on the way home. Now come on." Despondent, Jimmy trudged after his mom, but not without several glances back to the street corner. The man was nowhere to be found. All he had to show for the experience was a toy gun.
    
     Jimmy couldn't get away from the dinner table quickly enough. He had to know more about it.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Abby

Have you ever had one of those moments where Microsoft Word thinks it's more intelligent than you? For example, when I'm working on my latest project, it tells me that I have an extra pronoun in the following sentence;
"Gael quickly made herself comfortable, settling directly across from Andrew."

Apparently the program thinks the word "herself" is unnecessary. But if we edit that out-

"Gael quickly made comfortable, settling directly across from Andrew."

we have something which is clearly not an intended sentence. But, the computer insists, claiming that "herself" refers to a third, unnamed person. That makes a little sense. Let's say 'herself' IS another person, and that this other person is named Abby. Now we put Abby in her place and see what we get;

"Gael quickly made Abby comfortable, settling directly across from Andrew."

OK, that solves our 'herself is someone' problem, but is the settling part of making Abby comfortable? Gael is 'settling' something or someone, she's taking an action. This action has something to do with Abby, our pronoun-turned-person. And if so, what business is it of Abby's where Gael sits?
There are just too many unanswered questions.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Novel project

Well, I've made some good progress.
     Since I started last Wednesday (November 27) I've got a bit more than 17 pages, and it's likely to grow in size again soon. Not including extra material, outlines, lists, etc. I'm up to 10,527 words! As a general outline, most sites will recommend that a novel of standard length is 60,000 to 100,000 words, though of course many books go beyond that. Anything shorter than that is considered a novella. Google is helpful with the definition here! :S  "A short novel or a long short story." In essence it's a short novel. Or something more than a short story, whichever you prefer.
     In any case, the development of this story has been interesting. As I start many projects, I began with an ordinary person and had something strange happen to them. After a page or two, it quickly became very strange. Then I said to myself Hey, you've got something there! But this needs a backstory... So I retitled what I had as "Chapter 2" and went on to write "Chapter 1", which was much more serious than I anticipated the project would be.
     I'm at that stage in the project where you just have to keep writing to get all your ideas on the table (no matter how much you/I cringe as I type them out.)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My Next Project

I know that it's been a while since I've updated my site. This last month in particular, though, has been one where my interest in writing has been sparked again. I must say, as well, that I've come to a point where I'm telling myself; 'If you want to get serious about writing, you might as well start now and get a head-start on things.' That's why, in essence, I've decided to start work on my first novel. I'll have more updates soon.