Monday, November 23, 2009

Another excerpt

My book has a tentative title:  An Unexpected Life.

Here is another installment.  I am bout 42000 words into it.  We're only about 3/4 of the way through the story, if even that far.

Please keep in mind, I am NOT EDITING ANYTHING until at least December.  November is for writing.  December is for fixing any messes I may have left behind.

They reached the oxen, who had been, thankfully, left where Anna and Issy parked them the day before.  They had been watered and fed by the local tavern owner, for a nominal fee.  Bryce looked them over, and over again.  He took each one out, watched it move to check for signs of lameness, tested it to see how well it would respond to commands.  He must have taken at least an hour looking over the oxen.  Victoria had had enough after about ten minutes and went to the tavern to sit and wait.  Anna and Issy stayed behind as if their presence would make the oxen perform better.
    "Ok, I like them.  I will offer you one-hundred-fifty for the pair, and the yokes."
    "No deal," Issy responded, to the shock and amazement of Bryce, Anna and even herself.  "No, these are young oxen, they are healthy, and as you can see for yourself, they are responsive.  We paid dearly for them, and will not accept anything less than two hundred fifty for the pair. I believe you would agree that is a fair price for this pair, plus the yokes."
    Anna stood, speechless, at the boldness with which her friend took on this adversary.  She would have been delighted with the one-fifty, but clearly Issy had other plans.
    "I am sure you are not the only person in this city to have use of a team of oxen.  If that is the best you can do, sir, we will gladly take our business elsewhere."
    Bryce was likewise stunned, but also exhilarated.  It was the chase of the deal that excited him most, and the thought that he could help out this woman made him more likely to relent to her demands than he would have otherwise.  He would negotiate with her, but knew in the end he would give her nearly all she asked for.  There had to be a little 'win' on his end, he thought.
    "Well, now, let's not be hasty.  I'll make it one-seventy-five."
    "Two twenty five."
    "Two hundred even, and not a penny more."
    "Deal."  Issy extended her hand to shake on the deal, as she had seen Thomas to on so many occasions.  Mr. Milner took her hand in his, and was shocked at what a firm grasp she had, especially for such a small and smooth hand.  He held on to her hand for perhaps a moment longer than was necessary, and forced himself to look her straight in the eye, despite the fluttering he felt under his own skin as her hand rested in his.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A sample of the novel. Be kind with your critques!

This feels sort of like putting out a photo without being able to retouch it first.  As you read this, if you are so inclined to do so, remember I am NOT EDITING until DECEMBER!  November is about WRITING, regardless of whether the writing is SOLID or not... So bear with me...

  She made her makeshift bed in the middle of the wagon.  Thomas had said something about needing to keep everything balanced in the wagon while it was moving, so there were things packed in the front as well as the back, leaving a space nicely nestled in the middle where she and Thomas could sleep.  As she lay there, hoping for sleep to come, she thought about her own bed back home, and how soft it was.  She had never before gotten a splinter from her mattress, and she missed little things like being able to allow her foot to dangle off the edge of her bed.  But then she forced herself to think forward, to begin daydreaming about her new life.
    She still had the idea and hope that she and Thomas would be able to go into some sort of business together.  Without children to raise, she felt as if she had little purpose in her life and this thought bothered her tremendously.  She wanted to do something, something for the betterment of society or at least for her own little corner of the world, wherever that turned out to be.  Free of the societal confines of Philadelphia, Elizabeth felt as if a whole new world would open up for her. She could finally do something with the mind that God had graced her with, and not feel like she was just wasting her life away.  She fell asleep with dreams of owning a very successful business, being a full partner for her husband, flowing through her head.
     At day break, Issy got a very welcomed surprise; there, laying next to her, was Thomas! He and the other scouts had come back in the dark of night, and evidently he had snuck in without waking her.  Wanting to return the favor, and not wake her sleeping husband, Elizabeth gingerly kissed him on the cheek, and tiptoed as carefully as she could out of the wagon.

A drive by group of observations

None of them necessarily related. Welcome to Stream Of Consciousness ala Sam.

1) I've noticed that my boys all have their own unique talent when it comes to dealing with each other. Parker can out-run, Matthew can out-smart. I was worried about how Christopher will learn to hold his own with these two, the athlete and the brainaic. But I needn't worry.... Christopher just out-screams them when he needs to be heard. Brilliant. Pass the Advil, please.

2) This week, I read The Lottery by Shirley Jackson to my class to teach them about Irony. If you have not read the story, or it has been a while and you need a refresher, here you go: It takes place in a small farming village. Every year, they hold the Lottery - "Lottery in June, Corn be heavy Soon" is the addage. However, the irony comes in when the "winner" of the lottery is stoned to death by her family and friends. It got me thinking... in their infinate wisdom, our Legislature here in Arizona has done away with the current practice of culling teachers when the need arises - for years it has been by seniority. But that method is now illegal. Guess Arizona teachers will be living our own slightly more humane (but questionable on that front) version of The Lottery. Excellent.

3) After years and years of diligently applying conditioner to my hair, one day a few weeks ago I got lazy and skipped that part. Not only did the world NOT EXPLODE by my omission, but my hair has never looked better. I finally am having consistent 'good hair days'. Who knew??

4) I have surpassed 32000 words for NaNoWriMo, and it is funny how my experiences and my character's experiences are paralleling each other. I was getting really sick and tired of writing about her on the California Trail, and behold... SHE was getting sick and tired of BEING in the trail. 32000 words is roughly 160 pages, give or take a bit, and my goal for this project is 50000 words, or a novel that will be about 200 'book' pages. Then, to EDIT!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Under way

I have over 4200 words written toward my novel right now, but what I lack is a title. I have absolutely no idea what to call this project other than "the project" or "the novel". Here's hoping that something will come to me as I get further into the process.

The goal for NaNoWriMo is to complete 50K words by Nov 30th. That averages to just over 1660 words per day, which means that I am already behind the 8-ball by 800 words, and here I was, thinking I was doing so well so far!

At least I am getting started. That's more than I have gotten accomplished for nearly 15 years.