Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An Excerpt in the Editing Stage

My Winner Certificate

I haven't named my novel yet.  For now, I'm the author of NaNoWriMo 2010.


Below is an excerpt from my NaNoWriMo 2010 novel.  Scene setup:  Rogelio is a mentally challenged man and Maria is his sister.  Their neighbors, Billy and Monica, are unable to have children of their own. 
“What are you doing?” screamed Maria.  “Who is that!”
“Just go, Maria.  Hurry up and go!” yelled Rogelio.
“Who's baby is that?” asked Maria.  “What the hell’s going on?”
“Just get us home,” Rogelio growled through gritted teeth.  Maria cowered.  Rogelio was a big man.  For the first time, she was afraid of him.  She stomped on the accelerator and the tires of her red Pinto squealed as she tore out of the parking lot.
“Mommy, Mommy, I want my mommy,” Cassie sobbed.
Rogelio turned his attention to the little girl on his lap.  He relaxed.  “Don’t cry,” he said softly.  “I won’t hurt you.”  Cassie turned and looked into Rogelio’s face.  His big brown eyes were warm and friendly and his voice calmed her.  She stopped crying.
“I don’t know what you think you’re doing, but we’re gonna be in jail before the day’s over.  The cops will be looking for her, you know,” Maria said.  “I bet they'll think this was my idea, but it damned well wasn’t.”  Three blocks from the grocery store, Maria turned in the driveway and parked in the attached garage.  Rogelio reached up and pushed a button.  The garage door closed.
Maria jerked the car door open.  Her vomit splattered on the cement floor.  “Damn.  This is nuts.”  She pressed her forehead to the steering wheel.  Her body trembled.  She forced her head back and stared at Rogelio.  “Talk to me.  Tell me why this little girl is here in our car.  You went in the store for milk and bread.  I know you’re stupid, but this is crazy.”
Rogelio shrank from Maria’s harsh words.  “She’s pretty, isn’t she?” he said.  “I got her for Billy and Monica.”

(Every single time I take a peek at this excerpt, I change something.  Nothing major, but I delete or change a word or two.  It's hard to know when to stop!  I'll probably keep revising until I don't know how to write it better.  To edit the entire novel, I suspect I'll be at it for a long, long time).   

16 comments:

Gullible said...

Whoa. You're onto something with this scene. Good going, Shaddy.

Natasha said...

Wow, Shaddy. I think you've got something here....

Parrot Writes said...

Wow - an attention getter! Good job!

Walk said...

First congrats on making your goal. Second, ditto all previously posted posts. You sure left us wondering and wanting more. Good work.

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

GULLY, NATASHA, PARROT AND WALK: Thank you bunches for the positive feedback. Your comments encourage me to get on with the editing. I'm hoping I won't procrastinate like I did last year. I surprised myself yesterday by editing the first three pages.

I know it's a good idea to let a novel sit for a while before going back to it. January would be a great month to go over it with a fine tooth comb.

The editing process is hellish. For instance, I get dizzy from standing on my head when I analyze my work from that angle. Another thing, I suspect I'll wish I'd left the wine alone on those long November evenings.

I know the editing process will drive me to drink. I'll lock up the wine and liquor until my novel is as good as it's gonna get. By then, I'll need every drop I can get!

(Why do I make up this stuff? A small glass of wine is normally my daily max!)

sarahowens said...

Oh. My. Gawd. Absolutely incredible. What a teaser!! Right away I want to order this to see what's going on next. Brilliant Shaddy!! Wow!!

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

SARIE: The editing process is incredible. I can't get over how many times I have to go over my writing to get it right. I'll miss crazy bad stuff during several readings of a few paragraphs. Then all of the sudden I'll see a mistake the next time I read it.

Mostly, I'm finding lots of words that are excess baggage, not needed at all. But then, in November, I was focusing on raising my word count every day AND in telling my story.

Now I'm looking at it quite differently. Presently, it's kind of fun. I returned to this post several times today and made at least one more change every time I reread it.

I sure as hell hope I'm changing it for the better!!!

Gullible said...

Can't go wrong tightening your work, Shaddy, even if it reduces the word count, which is not a consideration now. The only question I have now is your first few sentences: think about whether or not this is the way someone would really react. Without knowledge of what came prior to this scene, it's hard for me to determine.

I'm just thinking that at first she would question her brother, thinking maybe he was offering the girl a ride. Then, her reaction would grow through a range of emotions until it reaches horror and fear. But, as I said, with the intro to this scene.... Just sayin'. Just my take. But, I think you have a good plot to work with, what I know of it now.

If you haven't already, I'd suggest you go to ed2go and take a look at the various courses Steve Alcorn teaches there, especially How to Write Mysteries Like a Pro and How to Write Fiction like a Pro. They are essentially the same, except for some lessons particular to mysteries, and he gives honest, exceptional feedback. On the other hand, if you've already taken one of those two classes, go back and outline it as he teaches. Don't give up on this one, though. Atta girl! Sorry if I'm getting pedantic. I mean well.

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

GULLY: Tightening is what I'm doing alright. Words are wonderful but too many are just, well, too many!

In my mind, Maria's reactions are realistic. I've put myself in her shoes many times and her responses make sense to me. (Little Cassie is two and a half years old).

I can't develop a story from an outline or an outline from a story. I just can't or, more accurately, I don't want to. My stories come from within as I sit down and begin the process of writing. I often don't know a thing about where I'm going with a story until I sit down and begin to think, imagine and write.

If I can't do it my way and be successful, then I'll just continue to write unsuccessfully.

If I'm successful in my own eyes and the eyes of a few others, I'm a happy writer.

I know you mean well and I appreciate your input. I did take one of the classes you mentioned but I found I don't enjoy writing when I'm concerned about all the stuff that Steve taught. I can't recall much about the class but I know his fiction writing ideas turned me off.

Gullible said...

I know what you mean about those classes, but I think the "formula" he teaches is important. Also understand about the outline. I think I didn't mean "outline" as commonly understood. I meant it to include the premise, theme, crisis, epiphany, solution, etc.

Again, as I said, without the action prior to the scene above, it's hard to understand how Maria would have reacted. That's just my impression about two unknown characters from what I read. Perhaps there is something about just seeing her "different" brother with a young girl that freaks her out? Keep at it, Shaddy. Would love to read more, and again I apologize if I've overstepped in offering feedback.

Gullible said...

Hey, Shaddy, do me a favor and help me pull both feet out of my mouth--delete these stupid posts of mine.

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

GULLY: Whenever I whine to Lon that when I was in school, sports for girls were non-existent, he tells me I probably wouldn't have made any teams anyway. He says I'm uncoachable!! Do you think!!??

As I consider my past experiences, I must admit that I learn best only when I learn the hard way. I've become addicted to my self-prescribed, daily doses of beating my head against the wall, any wall will do.

I venture to say: I'll never be too old to screw things up.

(Uncoachable! How dare that man of mine label me as such!! Yeah, I hold grudges too).

Natasha said...

I think, Shaddy, you should continue to follow your bliss and write what makes you happy...

Oh, wow:
ABSOLUTELY YOU SHOULD -- THE WORD VERIFICATION JUST PICKED 'BLESS' FOR ME TO TYPE IN.

Yeah, so follow your bliss. or your bless.

Whatever.

Elizabeth Westmark said...

Way to go!

Stephanie said...

Love it so far! I think you should come up with a series. Maybe next year you can do a continuation story or one that is similar. I think a lot of people would be hooked! Glad to see you are using your talent to your full potential!

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

NATASHA, BETH AND STEPH: Thank you for reading my excerpt and for your positive feedback.