July Status and Ideas

Status?  Well, I still haven’t met my goal of 10 hours a week writing.

But, I’ve reached my 50 post goal on Absolute Write, so I can now submit stories for critique!  Wahoo!

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Nebraska Fireworks

It’s hard describe Independence Day in the heartland.  Here, fireworks are allowed on the 3rd and 4th of July.  Yes, our small city has a big fireworks show over a lake near downtown.  Yes, other organizations will put on shows as well.

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Rain fell in a heavy cascade onto the windshield, a veritable waterfall that wipers battled in a futile effort. She peered cautiously ahead. Even at this slow speed, the wind still buffeted the car and shook it constantly. Her hands gripped the steering wheel tightly as she jerked the wheel back and forth in small, tight motions in a fight to keep the car in a relatively straight line.
“Just a little rain,” she said out loud. “What an idiot!” Her sarcasm echoed oddly, competing against the sounds of the beating rain in the otherwise empty SUV. “The idiot formerly known as my manager,” she added.

Her manager had seemed a decent enough guy when she had hired on last month, but in the last few hours her respect for him had plunged.

A stronger gust slammed into the car, causing it to shudder. She winced and gripped the steering wheel tighter, thankful for the bigger mass of the SUV rental.

Her whitened knuckles were a testament not only to the fury of the storm but also her fear barely held at bay.

Departing hotel employees, the latest weather report, and a late burst of sanity had finally prompted her departure, but drunk co-workers celebrating the hurricane waylaid her in the lobby. It took precious minutes to extricate herself and drive away.

Now the storm was almost on top of them all.

Novel’s First Four Chapters Ready for Beta-Read

When I say “ready,” I don’t mean I actually think my chapters are ready.  I like to keep going over and over the same scenes, tweaking them and making them better.  But, one does finally reach a point of diminishing returns.  One does reach a point when one shows one’s baby to the world.

So, I’m ready for an avid reader or two to read the first four chapters of Sifa and Peter and tell me what he or she thinks.  Researching beta-reading and identifying readers will occupy much of my administrative overhead this month.

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The two cousins completed their cooldown and headed back to Peter’s car.  She breathed in the crisp air, craning her head to look up at the vibrant autumn light shining through the leaves.  Far overhead in the blue sky a V of ducks headed southwest, honking faintly in the distance.

She suddenly pitched forward.  Peter grabbed her arm to steady her just in time.  “Careful!” he chuckled. “That sidewalk crack just attacked your foot.”

She ducked her head and blushed beet-red as her phone rang.

“Hi, Mom!” In the next instant, she collapsed onto a nearby bench, her face now unnervingly pale.

Personal Note: Unusual Things About Me

Sometimes I’m in a new group of some sort when some variant of this icebreaker question is asked: “What is something most people don’t know about you?”

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Writing Excerpt: Sifa and Peter

The two cousins ran in silence born of long familiarity, finishing the last leg of their usual route as the sunrise glinted across the lake.  Neither spoke until they were back in Peter’s car.  Sifa leaned back against the headrest with her eyes closed as Peter started the car.  After a moment, she looked over at her cousin in the driver’s seat.

“Thanks.”

“No problem.” He paused with one hand on the keys in the ignition.  “What for?”

“I’m just really glad you’re you.”

Peter ducked his head in a short nod, then he whirled a hand in the air with a flourish as he said, “Well, I’m awesome. See, I put up with you.”

Sifa punched him lightly in the upper arm.

“Ow! No hitting the driver.”

“The car hasn’t even started yet, you doofus,” she laughed.

Writing News: Zeddy and Bubba

I finished a draft of a Zeddy and Bubba story!

My concept for the Zeddy and Bubba series is becoming more robust.  It will consist of travel adventure stories, introducing the reader (or the listener) to a wide range of experiences and locations in this world.

The next thing?  Besides revising the draft?  Deciding how much conflict needs to be in each story.  Right now, the stories are without much conflict, if that makes sense — almost like a travel report.

On a Personal Note: Celtic Music and Kitchen Chemistry

During my writing sessions I’ve started listening to Celtic instrumental, in addition to classical music. It adds something to the experience (and it drowns out in part the sounds of my family in this old creaky house).
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Writing Status: S&P Progress

The first part, of three parts, of my novel about Sifa and Peter, is shaping up nicely.  I feel like the section now builds the characters and builds up tensions for the upcoming conflicts in a decent way.  I’m still struggling a bit with Laura’s story — how much to reveal about her personal tragedy in the first part.  How much allusion versus specific detail should be included?  How much should I unravel, or unveil, about her problems?  After all, her story is not as prominent as Sifa’s, or Peter’s.

I may have finally found someone to review Peter’s work scene, someone who knows of the profession Peter has in the book.  We’ll see!