Monday, November 18, 2013

Week Two Blue, Week Three Glee

So I am not going to beat around the bush, but dive in and tell you that Week Two of National Novel Writing Month had me thinking I would never meet this crazy goal. I missed like three days of writing (which in NANO terms is like six thousand words) and I seriously didn't think I would get back on track.  I had submitted the first portion to my critique group, and Tuesday night I got their feedback.  And feedback creates mental changes to the manuscript, and changes transform me into a raging, raving edit-aholic.  I was fighting my inner editor so bad, it took all my will power not to start reading my manuscript from the beginning and rewrite, brutally thrashing the words I had already claimed.

Flash forward to Saturday.  I told myself it as time for a marathon. With my NANO support group and MLs, I pushed hard for 6000 words. I only made it to 3500, but that made me more determined to write on Sunday, which I did even though my entire family managed to contract some sort of bug that had us coughing and sniffling for our very sanity.

Then I awoke today.  Today was a big day. Not only did Week Three of NANO start with updates on the website, words of encouragement via the posts, but I finally wrote a scene so alive and clear in my mind, that I simply couldn't stop writing. Well, until my husband asked me to, begging for a respite together before the boob tube.

So now I am all caught up and reignited to pump out those words, jump start my creative juices, and breath life back into my story. And of course, I have to share a tidbit with you, my favorite scene in a while. So enjoy, and please don't be afraid to comment below!

             The tinkling of the bells on the door handle made Larry look up from the counter.  “Well, hello there Dominic! And how can I help you today?”
            “I need a birthday gift for a girl,” I stated with as much adult like posture as possible.
            Larry’s thick mustache arched into a grin, and he winked at me.  “What did you have in mind?  We have stuffed animals, some nice puzzles back there. Or maybe a doll?”
            I moved to the counter and said, “Actually, I have eighty dollars to spend.”  I smirked at his reaction, a wide-eyed response.  “I was thinking some jewelry, or maybe some CDs.”
            Larry ruffled himself back to normal, reminding me of an owl.  He held his hand out to the counter to his right and said, “Over here is most of our jewelry in that price range, and that case,” he pointed to a tall upright glass case at the front of one aisle, “Also has some nice pieces.  Just let me know if you want to see anything in particular.”
            I walked over to the taller case and looked at rows and rows of earrings, necklaces, pins, and rings.  A lot of them seemed like something Grandma would wear, big and bulky and flowery.  Nothing reminded me of Emma, not even a little bit.  I began to wonder if maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
I walked back toward the glass counter Larry had indicated and noticed a shelf in one aisle lined with rows and rows of little porcelain jewelry boxes.  One in particular caught my eye.  It was a heart shaped, lacy looking box topped with a couple daisies and a brightly painted purple and yellow butterfly with its wings spread.  And on a stand just behind it were five or six pairs of gold earrings, and one heart shaped pair with two small crystals on each screamed out to me to buy them.
“Perfect!” I muttered.
“I’m sorry, did you say something Dominic?” Larry asked as he rounded the corner, a shoe box in hand.
“Yes, I found the gift I want to buy. How much is this box and those earrings?” I asked, pointing to them.
“The earrings are twenty five, the box is fifteen, so somewhere around forty dollars all together.”
“Can you wrap them for me?”
“Sure can,” Larry replied, smiling.  He picked them up and headed behind the counter and to the far side where his wrapper and tape sat ready to do their jobs.  He dug through a pile of boxes, looking for one just about the right size and settle on a .22 shell box, which he lined with lots of tissue paper.  He placed the earrings in the butterfly box, then nestled the treasure into the ammo box.
I watched all this from the front counter by the cash register. I looked at all the little things hanging and stacked close by, and saw a King Size Cookies and Crème Hersey’s Bar.  And I remember Emma saying she wasn’t allowed to eat candy or drink soda.
“Excuse me, could you please put this in there too?” I asked Larry, holding the chocolate bar out.  He turned and took it, grinning at me in a knowing way.
“She’s a lucky girl!” he said, fishing hard for some tidbit of gossip.
“No, not lucky. I just gotta get out of the dog house,” I replied all serious and looked down at my shoes.
Larry started hooting really loud, making his mustache dance on his lip.  His shoulders synced with it and his eyes scrunched.  Before long he reminded me of a thinner, more familiar Santa Claus, jiggling and jolly.  He wiped tears from his eyes, and said, “Boy, you were so solemn when you said that, I may just have to give you a discount.”

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What's my excuse now?

One of my current biggest hopes has come to pass.  At the same time, the hope dashed one of my biggest excuses to NOT write.

My two year old slept through the night in her own bed. I just got the best seven hours of long, deep, perpetual sleep of my life.  I am using my gift for theatrics a bit here.  But seriously, what will be my excuse now when I only manage to write a thousand words each day for NaNo?  I should be able to double my word count with this much energy and concentration. In fact, why am I even writing this blog?

Actually it's for you!

Somebody has to tell you about my story and the response it got from my critique group last night.  So real quick before I dive back into the manuscript, here are some highlights:

- Dom fights like a girl
- More slang or less for Dom's character
- Might not start with enough drama for the current generation of readers
- Plot/ story question not obvious or revealed soon enough

Now I am really fighting my inner editor, because all I want to do is backpedal and start correcting via these suggestions. But NANO is all about moving forward, so I am just going to jump back into the scene I am currently writing and make sure Rosie the dog doesn't die from her seizure.

In the mean time, consider this question: How mature enough is Dom to make the right decision when faced with guilt versus fear? Will he tell what he saw or let an innocent man go to prison?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Do you want to meet Dom Sanders?

Boy, oh boy has National Novel Writing Month been fun, despite the horrific news of a dear friend's death this past week.  My novel is right on track and I have attended two local write ins, one as a write-athon and completed over 3000 words in four hours.  My modern Tom Sawyer is coming to life rapidly and I am having fun tying in memories of both my sister and now, Kevin.

Here's a little excerpt for all my readers!

           The very thought of returning to Pathfinders after being rejected by Emma burned me like a hot marshmallow, that sticky tingle that takes a while to wipe away.  Who needs to learn to tie knots or sing psalms anyways?  I spent the hour before knocking rocks around the driveway with my aluminum bat, the way I always do when I am upset.  I have come up with some of my best ideas that way.  Mom’s enthusiasm for the meeting's approach, and child-free time too, just made me want to go even less.  And then Taylor and Jane climbed into the truck with us, and it was all I could do to not say a word.
            The heavy wooden doors of the church were propped open this time, spilling out the chaos it couldn’t contain.  As the others and me crammed into the space, we realized why. It was hot in there. A group of girls, including the one I was trying to avoid, were chasing each other in and out of the building, tagging and dancing away in a fit of giggles.  The group leaders seemed to be trying to get the attention of the few children gathered around them.  Taking advantage of the scene, I started hawking my wares to the boys I had met here last week: a new hot wheel, a pet toad, and two rubber balls I had traded Barry Boot for on Sunday.  And the money rolled in.
            A shrill whistle filled out ears, and for a moment the noise paused.  Then the wave of bodies made for the foyer where lines started forming.  But a certain girl and her friend continued to play tag, dodging between people.  Her hair slapped her face as she laughed and lunged by me to avoid being touched by Redhead, and she bumped into a life-sized statue of Jesus standing watch over all of us.  It swayed, tipped and crashed to the floor, littering the carpet with shards of ceramic.
            Dozens of children gasped.  Ms. MaryAnn shrieked in dismay, and dashed over to pick up a piece of it.
            “Who did this?” she demanded. “Tell me right now!” She glared at Emma and her friend, and if it had been possible, smoke would have poured from her ears.
            “I-I-I,” Emma stuttered.
            I thought serves her right, the way she snubbed me last week. I wanted to stay angry, but I felt bad for her, and suddenly I realized it was my opportunity to be her hero. And she would bat those beautiful eyes as me and tell me how wonderful I was, even if I can’t sing too good.
            “I did it!” I shot up my hand and shouted.
            “You, Dominic?” Ms. MaryAnn turned on me with a raised eyebrow.
            “Yes, I was angry and I shoved it over.” I said, glancing at Emma to see her reaction, content to see the fear relieved and admiration replace it.
            “Well,” Ms. MaryAnn said with uncertainty “What a wicked thing to do if you did!  The bible says everything is God’s, and here you have broken something of His with your temper.  How will I explain this to the Pastor when he comes to see our group tonight?”