Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Word Count Wednesday and Sharing Your Favorite Page

I've noticed something since I've made an extra effort in my writing this past week.  When I'm excited about a scene, the words just seem to flow onto the page.  Also, when I'm writing late at night, my words seem really silly when I read them the next morning.  (note to self:  do not write description scenes after midnight).

So, today, since I'm so excited about my writing and the progress I've made, I thought it would be fun if we all posted our favorite page that we've written (double-spaced 12 point font) for everyone to read and comment on if they feel like giving feedback.  I'll post mine here, and you can post yours in the comments because if you do a double-spaced page it fits quite nicely.  I know it will take some courage to put yourself out there, but if I can do it, you can, too!  Believe in yourself and in your writing friends who want to help you.  Including me!

This is my current favorite page (it will change tomorrow, I know, but for right now, this is it.)

All of Rafe’s military training kicked in and he got down, looking for cover, reaching toward Claire as he did so.  He tried to make himself as small of a target as possible, but it felt like the bullets raining down on them were getting closer and closer.  He wanted to run, but his knee gave out.  Pulling himself toward the exit, he looked up just as Gary moved in front of him, his throat caving in right before his eyes with a small rush of air sailing by.  Gary staggered toward Rafe, the front of his blue shirt starting to stain dark as he fell to the ground.  “Too late,” he gasped.
His eyes stared at Rafe as he hit the concrete and it was easy to see he was dead.  Rafe stared in horror.  It was déjà vu all over again.  Time seemed to stand still, Rafe’s heartbeat the only signal that seconds were still passing.  Blood was everywhere and his friend was dead. 
“Stay down,” Claire shouted to Rafe, grabbing his arm with one hand as she grasped her neck with the other before a bullet hit her square in the chest.  She fell to the ground and Rafe reached for her, curling his arm around her shoulders and pulling her into his arms as he pushed through the pain in his leg.  Picking her up, he started to run for the door.  Not again, he said, as he ran.  Please, God, don’t let this happen to me again.
“The bomb,” he gasped, as he staggered a bit toward the stairs. 
His words were lost in the explosion behind them and Rafe did his best to cover Claire’s body with his own.  He tried to shield her as a steel ball ricocheted off the concrete and hit him in the back, the trajectory making him stumble and fall flat on top of her.  The pain knocked the breath out of him, but he knew he had to get them both out of there before the gunman finished his job. 

What do you think?  *bites nails*

As for word count this week, since I'm revising it wasn't great, but I've gotten six chapters revised so far, so I'm feeling good  How did you do this week?


Gina said...

I'm drafting this week, and it's in a new genre with a lot of history/culture research, so I have nothing to share. I've written a lot of words (14,000 or so), but none of them are ready for public consumption yet!

Janice Sperry said...

I like your action scene. I remember those characters from somewhere. Is this a sequel?

I keep going back and forth between story ideas so I'm posting this as a sign of commitment. I will stick with this one. Tomorrow I will actually have a word count.

One missing girl from a nearby town and bam, there went Krystal’s freedom.

Krystal held her phone up for her mom to see the girl’s picture. “She looks a little sketchy. I mean, she has tattoos on her fingers. She must have run away or . . .” She paused to think of something that would convince her mom that the world was safe for solitary joggers.

“Or she was kidnapped and murdered.” Her mom folded her arms.

Krystal was amazed more kids hadn’t disappeared from their rural town. The main source of entertainment was cow tipping. This was by far the worst town they’d ever lived in. The last place at least had a movie theatre. It only played old westerns, but it was something.

“Mitch is only twelve and . . .” Krystal let her sentence end there because there is no nice way to say her foster brother was useless.

“And?” Pictures of boring farm land popped up on her mother’s computer screen. The magazine her mom worked for had great potential for curing insomnia one day.

“And no one can hurt me.”

Her mom deleted a blurry picture of a bug eating a potato plant before looking up at her daughter. “You could lose control.”

Krystal shook her head. “It’s been six months since I lost control and that was the horses fault.”

“What if someone saw?”

“I doubt the water snakes will care.”

Her mom shuddered. “What if you were kidnapped by someone with a gun?”

“Mitch can’t protect me from a gun either.”

Sonia said...

Here is the start to a short story using a prompt from Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine. I thought it was fun.

The ghost was eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I watched as the bread, jelly, and peanut butter all smushed around in the area where his mouth would have been. It oozed down his would-be throat slowly, inch by inch as he kept eating. I was amazed that he could even partake of such physical food, but even more so that I could see it happening. Little by little the sandwich disappeared from his insubstantial hands into and through his insubstantial body. I knew it was insubstantial because a few days ago, when I had first encountered him, I had actually run through him. Then after I realized what he was, I tried to hit him with a broom; just to see what would happen. He just laughed. And yet, here I was watching food, physical food, go through him like it would me, but without all the bodily fluids that digest the food we intake.
How is it possible, I thought. And what will happen when it gets to the bottom? I snickered at my own joke. Only one way to find out - watch.
As I watched, I thought about the last three days. Three days ago we had moved into a new house, a new neighborhood, and a new city. My parents both worked so I was pretty much left to myself during the day. I had never seen a ghost, met a ghost, or heard a ghost before then. Heck, I didn’t even believe in ghosts before then. That all changed. My parents had left after breakfast with the usual admonitions to stay out of trouble, don’t go anywhere without first letting them know what I was doing, no visitors, and no junk food. I rolled my eyes as usual a the last one. Didn’t they know that junk food was a main food category in the life of a teenager.

Melanie Goldmund said...

Wow, Julie, that was intense! Is Claire still alive? Will Rafe make it out?

I've been doing really well this week, thinking of lots of scenarios that won't actually fit in this particular story, so I might do a sequel. I also know the ending, which is a rarity for me. Here's my snippet:

I don't bother to ask my handler for privacy, but I do turn away as I get undressed. I'm already shivering from the flight, and I'd like nothing more than to cuddle up in the duvet, but there's no time. I can already feel the pull of the battlefield, and anyway, I'll be warm again soon enough. I get onto the bed and turn on my side, reaching over to touch my nose to that of the man's. When our faces touch for a moment, I can feel his skin, hot and dry, stubbly from not having shaved since he fell ill, and then I'm shrinking into battle mode.

For me, there is a kind of a whoosh as I reduce myself to about the size of a blood cell, and then I’m falling. Skydiving must feel a bit like this, I think as the man inhales me through his nose, but the blue of the sky would surround me, not the reddish blur of nasal passages and the yellowy-pink of lung tissue. I bounce off the bronchi several times on my way down, which is a bit like hitting a thick, wet, squashy mat. For a moment, it seems I've hit a dead end in the alveolus, but then I get closer to its walls and I can see gaps in the membrane that coats it. I land between two of the gaps and hang there for a moment, but then I'm swept along and squeezed through into the capillary.

The bloodstream is as hot as a sauna, though infinitely busier, and I make a grab for one of the tiny viruses bobbing around in it. Catching the first virus is like trying to snag a single goldfish in an aquarium the size of a swimming pool, but I finally manage to trap one against the wall of the artery and press myself against it. I suppose if anybody could see me under a microscope when I'm in the bloodstream, I might look more like a blob than a human, but then my superpower kicks in, and I'm not even a blob anymore.

As soon as my body has identified the virus and manufactured a toxin that will affect it, I start to dissolve into individual particles, each one twice the size of a virus, and each one on a mission to search and destroy. I still retain my awareness, though, and I'm vaguely aware of all of the particles in the same way that I’m vaguely aware of each of my toes back in the Big World. I can concentrate on any one of them if I want, otherwise, I just pick up the general signals. I know that they're all approaching viruses, now that they are capable of attracting them like a magnet attracts paper clips, I know they're producing the correct toxin, and I know that the viruses are dying, or at least being rendered incapable of reproducing, which is pretty much the same thing.

Debra Erfert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debra Erfert said...

Julie, your excerpt is chillingly exciting. Thrilling! I hope Claire wore body armor. Heck, I hope Rafe did too, or he's in big trouble. Yeah, that's the kind of adrenaline-pumping action-filled writing you get with your books. Mine? I'm writing a mystery, and I have to carefully build my story with every scene. Not exactly exciting, but then I'm only 60 pages into it.

This is a little long, but if I cut it any shorter, then it will be even more confusing that it already is.

* * * * * *

“Candice Shane—”

I sighed. “Detective Daniel.” He sauntered into the security office and leaned his shoulder against the door jam. “Where is Alex?” I asked.

I’d been sitting on a plastic chair waiting for him to come and vouch for me that I wasn’t a kleptomaniac. My handbag was emptied on the big desk. My private investigator’s ID was lying quietly in my wallet next to my driver’s license. I was so mortified.

“He’s parking the car,” Daniel said, grinning.

“You can wipe that smile off you face.” My pulse quickened. “I think I saw the Silk Strangler.”

Daniel stood up straight. “What?” He stepped inside the office.

I nodded and pointed at the desk. “I was researching paisley scarves, and I found that last one . . .”

The security officer stood up from behind his desk. “We caught Miss Shane walking out the rear doors taking that scarf without paying for it.”

I shook my head. “Technically, I never made it to the door.” I looked at Daniel. “I was trying to see what kind of a car that man was driving—that’s all.”

Daniel picked up the scarf. “This is paisley?”


He held it up and studied it. “How did you know who to look for?” he asked.

“I . . .” Alex stepped through the doorway. He didn’t look happy. “I, uh—oh shoot!” I looked down at my fingers. My engagement ring caught the light just right and it sparkled. “I interviewed Patricia Reinhardt before you two got to San Dias Publishing.”

“We know, Candice,” Alex said. “I saw your car.” He let out a fast breath. “Why didn’t you answer your phone when I called?”

“You . . . you didn’t call me.” I looked over at the desk again. My phone sat next to my handbag.

“I did.” Alex picked up the phone and clicked it a couple of times. “It’s on silent.” He dropped it back on the desk. “Do you do that on purpose?”

I shook my head. “No . . .”

“Candice says she can ID the strangler,” Daniel said as he passed the scarf to Alex.


“That’s what I asked,” Daniel said.

“Who’s the strangler?” the security guy asked. “Are you talking about the three dead women?”

Daniel sat on the edge of the desk. “Yeah, Roger. The women were strangled with scarves.”

“From our store?”

“Possibly,” I said. “Do you remember Patty’s description of the man Ronnie spent the night with?”

Daniel took out his little notebook from his shirt pocket, but Alex spoke first. “Yeah, he fit your profile perfectly.”

“Brown hair and eyes, tall, white, good looking . . .” Daniel lifted his gaze to me.

“That’s exactly what he looked like. I, uh, I went up to him, and when he saw that I had that paisley scarf, he looked . . . angry. He didn’t say a thing to me before he rushed out the doors.”

Alex sucked in a fast breath. “You talked to him?”

I nodded.

“Candice Shane, are you insane?” Alex shoved his fingers though his hair and paced across the small room with the scarf still in his hand. “If this man is who you think he is, then you just talked to a killer!”

“And I can identify him better than Patty can.”

“And he knows it!” Alex stopped his pacing and stared hard at me, sending chills down my neck. “Candice, Patricia saw you on the newscast this afternoon, standing behind me. If that man did too, then . . .”

“Then he might suspect that she suspects him, and she could be targeted,” Daniel said quietly.

~T~ said...

2593 words this week, after zero last week. Gotta keep the motor running after a jump start! Here's a sample:

A scream made everyone jump. Melanie followed the sound and looked with dismay at Fiona and the tent they shared. The former tent. It had been gashed from top to bottom. Shreds of polyester and wads of stuffing were all that was left of Fiona’s sleeping bag. Their other belongings had been knocked over and scattered.

“What on earth?” Miss Diane appeared by Melanie’s shoulder, and Miss Linda came huffing behind. The campers swarmed around.

Miss Nancy put an arm around Fiona and gave her a little shake. “All right, is anything missing?”

Fiona blinked. She and Melanie ventured into the tattered tent. Melanie checked her gear and stacked it up again. “My things are all here,” Melanie said. “Fiona?”

“Um, mostly.” Fiona turned pink and bit her lip. Everyone waited to hear what she had lost, but she said nothing.

A deeper voice broke the silence. “Ladies, will you be swimming this afternoon?”

All eyes turned toward the lifeguard. “Yes, it’s time now,” Miss Linda said. “Go get ready, girls.” The girls scampered to their tents to change.

Dwayne stepped forward, frowning. “What happened here?” He looked with concern at Fiona and Melanie. “Are you all right?”

Fiona gave him a small nod.

"We’re not sure what happened,” Miss Diane responded. “We were all out doing a service project, and came back to find this.”

“The tent and bedding were destroyed,” Miss Nancy explained, “but the only thing that is missing is . . .” She looked expectantly at Fiona.

Fiona sighed. “My stash of chocolate.”

Miss Linda raised her eyebrows. “You were keeping chocolate in your tent when there are raccoons and bears out here?”

“I–I’m sorry.”

Miss Nancy steered Fiona toward the center of camp. “Come get another garbage bag and let’s clean this up before the truck arrives.” The other adults followed.

Melanie sat on her sleeping bag and watched Dwayne. He crouched and studied the ground. She thought she heard him sniffing as he circled the tent. Finally he looked at her. “It’s a good thing you were not here.”

Melanie nodded and shivered, despite the heat. “Do you think it was a bear?”

Dwayne shook his head. “No tracks,” he said, and strode off toward the pool.

Jordan McCollum said...

Such fun scenes! I like your revisions, Julie. I'm especially drawn into your page, Deb—sounds like just my kind of book!

Some revisions from last night, though I'm still fiddling with the end:

We’re clear. It’s over. I can finally breathe easy as I hop in the back of the van. The satisfaction of a job well done—or at least survived—doesn’t hit until I’ve scrubbed off the make-up and we make the first stop on our surveillance detection route, a 24-hour Tim Hortons (like a Dunkin Donuts).

We did it. It was close, but now we’re that much closer to stopping Lashkar-e-Omar, that much safer, even if no one can ever know about it. But the smile and sigh of relief I’m waiting for don’t come as I casually scan the late-night crowd.

“Two medium double doubles, please.” Elliott flashes his I’m-so-charming-you-should-throw-in-something-for-free smile.

“You pulling an all-nighter?” My question’s more of a challenge.

He turns that smile on me. “No, no, I wanted to get you something.”

I just stare at him. I don’t do coffee (Mormon), and even if I did, does he really think sixteen ounces of caffeine would make everything all better?

He gives me elaborately casual elbow-nudge. I’m taken and Elliott’s married, but the guy’s got tall, dark and handsome down to a T, with broad shoulders and blue eyes to match—and he knows it. He bats those baby blues at me. “You know you can’t say no to these eyes.”

Again, I give him a cool glare. Normally, my deadpan response would be part of our banter, but tonight I’m not joking.

“Okay.” Elliott turns back to the clerk. “One medium double double and a muffin.” He winks at me even though we both know I won’t eat it.

Against my will, I take the cranberry blueberry bran muffin. I had to leave before dinner with my boyfriend for this op, but now I’m not hungry. If there’s anyone I can rely on at work, it’s Elliott. We’ve worked together so much, we anticipate one another’s moves and strategies and even sentences. Despite the coy kidding, sometimes I wonder if he remembers I’m a woman, I’ve been in the boys’ club so long—but now I remember how much he looks the part of a superspy.

And tonight he didn’t act it. Once we’re back in the van, I pick at the muffin wrapper. “There are five seconds missing in my timeline.”

C. Michelle Jefferies said...

I wrote 1,892 words today on the third book in my series.

This is the last 250 or so words.

“Don’t leave me lady. I can’t live without you.”
Air flooded her lungs and she gasped as she opened her eyes. “Noble.”
“Oh Lyr, you gave me a scare.”
“I’m not dead?”
“You’re alive, thank the heavens above.”
“What happened?”
“You took by accident what would have been offered to you later.” Quelix said as he padded into the office. “You touched the Book of Light and lived. That means you are now a High Elderess.”
“But I’m not worthy or prophet material.” She looked between the cat and Noble. “He’s joking right?” she asked her husband.
“I don’t joke my lady.” The cat said. “You are a High Elderess.”
“What would happen if I was pregnant and touched the book?” She asked.
“You’re what?” Noble asked. The cat sat and preened his paw.
“It shouldn’t happen; the book knows what it’s doing. That much power would surely kill a baby in utero. Are you expecting?”
“I took a test last night.” The other reason she hadn’t been able to sleep until early morning. “I’m pregnant.”
“I hate to say it but you’ll probably lose the pregnancy. I’m sorry.” The cat looked truly concerned. Maybe she was still feeling loopy from touching the book.
“But if she doesn’t lose it?” Noble asked Quelix.
“There’s an old prophecy called the red light prophecy. It was given a long time ago. It told of a man with a mark.” Noble looked at his ankle. “That he would father a child that would have the ability before she was grown to open the pathways between worlds and free our home planet from captivity. It was said that her hair shown like fire and she would burn fast and bright. So bright that she intimidated even the strongest warrior.”
“Free the home world? You mean Caledonia? Are we supposed to go back there?”
“I don’t know Head Elder. Although my lady, your real mother was the one who sealed them and prevented Gargach from conquering another galaxy. It would make sense that the power to seal and open pathways would run in your family. This is completely unexpected. I need to go and talk with the higher council and get back to you two. Oh, I am not sure if I will be assigned to train you or you will be given your own Tantra. I will ask the council while I am there.”
“Meanwhile Head Elder, take your new prophetess upstairs and make her rest. If she is to keep the babe, and she is the mother of the red light it is also said that all hell will gather against your family and try to destroy you, while all heaven descends to protect you in an epic war.”

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Gina, 14,000 words is awesome! Can't wait to read some of your stuff.

Janice, sadly, this is the same book I've been working on for forever. LOL I liked your intro, there is a ton of potential for that story. A few things that confused me, though, is why would she have a picture of the missing girl on her phone? And we are told she wants to go jogging, but her mom says she might lose control. Of a car? I was confused there. But I loved the voice and the setting anchors. Great job with those! I can't wait to hear where you're going with this one.

Sonia, that is a fun prompt! Sounds like the beginning of a YA paranormal to me. :)

Melanie, WOW! That was intense! And so original. I was completely drawn into that and when it ended I really wanted more. The anchor settings, the voice, it all really came together. Loved it!

Debra, talk about thrilling and exciting! I love a good mystery. There's a few spelling mistakes that the editor in me spotted, but I think you're doing a terrific job. I love your main character already! :)

T, what an interesting beginning. I have so many questions! Are they a family? Is it a co-ed camp? Why does Dwayne speak so formally and sniff things? Is it paranormal activity? Very interesting . . .

Jordan, I really like your revisions, too. Elliot has risen a notch for me. :) Although I do wonder if he knows her so well why he would even attempt to buy her coffee. Is it a sort of peer pressure thing, try it just this once? I'm so excited to read the end!

Michelle, wow! Although I'm sort of sad I spoiled myself to the end, now. We need to get together and read for each other again so I can see the rest of the epic. :)

Thank you everyone for participating. I had so much fun reading all your stuff!

Debra Erfert said...

Okay, I found doorjamb, *blushes* but I couldn't find anything else. Am I totally blind? (this is why I need an editor)

Julie Coulter Bellon said...


When it says, "you can wipe that smile off you face," I think you mean "your" face. It should be good-looking, and just as an aside, you use a lot of ellipses in this excerpt. Also, I thought it was odd that she describes her PI ID as lying quietly, as if it could be loud or something. (And I think it should be laying. Things lay people lie) It threw me off a little bit with the quietly thing.

I just don't want you to think I don't love your story, because I do. I know we're all working hard on our pieces. I think you have a great story. You know I love to read your stuff, so don't be mad at me, okay?! It's the editor in me. I can't make it stop! :)

Debra Erfert said...

I do use a lot of ellipses, and not only in this excerpt. And lying bugged me, but I didn't want to use setting because it was used already in the paragraph, but laying is perfect. "Your" is something that my eye just didn't see. This is why we need another set of eyes looking over our work. Thanks!!!!! I'm making those corrections right now. And never stop being an editor, and stop apologizing for your gift! :)