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.”

This Current Project + Another Scene

The writing's going well but, more importantly, the idea has stuck. I've had some projects that were longer than others. These, though, tended to be less than 10,000 words. 10,000 is a kind of mile-marker to say "OK, now I've got the beginnings of a novel."
At this point, my word count (not counting the writing I did for today) is up to 16,622! This is a lot more than I've ever written for one project. I feel good about this because I've managed to stick with it, and because I have a fairly good idea of what direction the project is heading in.
My writing process has always been a little funny. My stories are idea-driven, but I don't tend to flesh things out very much. I'll start with a simple idea, start to write some, and develop the idea as I get more of a draft written.
Sometimes I manage to surprise myself - scenes will sort of pop out of nowhere. I think the next scene I'll have to share with you guys will have to be one of these that I'm talking about. Another way to describe this process is that I'm discovering the story as I write. That's how this scene that I'll post here came about.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

An excerpt from my latest project

As promised, here is a sneak peak at the novel I'm drafting. Enjoy!

           Ding-a-ling-a-ling. In came trouble and then some. Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum. The Hickston brothers were known for being a bit rowdy here and there. Most people left them alone, so long as they weren’t damaging anything. But the chances of them being out of trouble from one day to the next were slim.
            Nick and Rick Hickston strode into the store. As usual, their attitudes held that they owned the ground they walked on. Sam bent over and swept, hoping they would be in and out. They were murmuring to themselves. Sam heard one snickering. He glanced up to see Rick pointing at the girl. The hair on the back of his neck stood on end. He took a breath, as his dad’s voice floated through his mind. Keep your business yours, and their business theirs.

            She heard the door and didn’t bother to look up. Continuing to browse the various snack-food, she was dimly aware of voices across the room, and a snort. Pigs.
            Grabbing a Mr. Goodbar, she turned to find herself nose-to-nose with a young man a good three inches taller than her.
            “Y’know,” he said, giving her a once-over, “I don’t care too much for chocolate-” waving at the bar in her hand, “- but here, on the other hand…” he gestured to her, looking over her shoulder. With a start, she turned to find the other man cutting off her only other exit. “…here’s a fine spe-ci-men indeed.” He sounded out the word slowly, as though he had spent much effort mastering the word.
She tensed, and he saw it.
“Now don’t you worry your little self. I was just going to suggest that we might get to know one another.” He moved closer into the little space she already had. “I was thinking…” His hand moved slowly down towards her hair. Whap! Suddenly it was caught in a vice grip.
“The one thing you’ve got to know about trying to hustle somebody, sweetie…” She began to bend his arm backwards. He resisted at first, grunting as it began to move away from his body. “…is that you’ve got to be sure…” He was struggling, whimpering, as his arm bent back at a more unnatural angle. “…that your mark hasn’t spent years…” She gave a twist, there was a pop! and he fell to his knees, mouth agape, soundless. “…fending off jerks like you.” She turned back to his brother.
With a nervous shuffle, he slipped around her, pulling his brother up by the bad arm (he howled at that). With a mumbling, rushed conversation going between them, they hightailed it to the entrance, sliding out the door. She gave a huff and started for the counter.
 With a jump, Sam grabbed his broom, heading for the counter. He turned, going back to retrieve the dustpan, bringing both with him. The girl was at the counter already, watching him blandly.
            “I, uh-” he fumbled the broom, dropping the aluminum pan with a CLANG! on the floor. “I- I-” he bent over, picked up the dustpan, setting the broom in the corner, and the dustpan on a shelf. “I just-” He leapt back to catch the now-falling broom, knocking down the dustpan and tripping over his own legs in the process. There was another CLANG!, followed by a dull thud as first the pan and then he made contact with the floor.
            After scrambling back up and arranging the broom and dustpan in the corner once more, he straightened his apron, and looked up to her with a smile.
            “Hi.” She was not impressed. “Oh, yeah, let me, uh-” he grabbed the Mr. Goodbar and rang it up, followed by a bottled sweet tea. “That’ll be two dollars and eighty-eight cents.” After exchanging the three dollar bills for a dime and two pennies, she collected her things and headed for the door.
            “By the way-” he blurted. She stopped and turned to look at him. He gave a little wave. “I’m Sam, by the way. Sam Murray.” She gave a sigh.
            “Well, Sam, it’s nice to meet you. I’m Robin.”

Sunday, September 11, 2016

New Project

     Well, I know it's been a long time since I've posted here, but things have been pretty busy for me. Just recently I've been writing more, and I now find myself working towards a full-length novel. I've done a few projects with this idea in mind, but now I've got something with a fairly clear outline for the entire project. I think that will help.
     Even with my busy schedule, I've now kept up a fairly steady pace of writing for the past few days, writing in my spare time. So, who knows how far this will go? Hopefully I'll eventually be talking about publication for this, but that's a long way off, so we'll just have to see how this goes.
In the meantime keep your eyes peeled - I may just have to put an except up here for you! :)