One woman’s journey to prove that everyone deserves a second chance may be her biggest restoration project ever.
#womensfiction #fiction #books
Today marks the first day of #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The goal is to write a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 on November 30th.
So, here we go…
The Either Or Bookstore was a twisty maze of shelves that went from floor to ceiling. It was only about twenty foot wide but about fifty foot deep. There were a few new books, mostly from independent authors, but it was comprised mostly of used books. There were books piled on the floor in front of the shelves and boxes of books that hadn’t been gone through yet. Audra wasn’t sure how Roy made any money being so disorganized. But somehow, he’d managed to keep the store open for about thirty years, from what she understood.
She walked past the fantasy section and grimaced. She didn’t see how anyone could read that drivel. She stopped in the self-help section and looked around to make sure she was alone. She sat down in the ‘relationship’ section. There were books about catching a man, saving a marriage, taming a woman, etc. One with a bright blue cover caught her eye: “When You Don’t Have Time for a Man.” She sat down against the shelves, pulled it out, and began to thumb through it.
It was as though she was reading her own life right there in black and white. All her excuses were there in the chapter titles: No Time No Way, Let Go of Your Past, Putting Your Career Ahead of Him, When He Doesn’t Show Up…
Someone appeared at the edge of the tiny aisle, and it startled her.
“Oh!” she said and dropped the book.
The tall stranger bent down to pick it up. She was mortified as he read the title.
“Do you recommend this one?” he asked and smiled.
She stood awkwardly and reached for the book. “Oh, uh…I’m not…I just…I haven’t read it.” She was sure she was bright red.
He laughed a little.
“I didn’t mean to startle you,” he said.
The guy was handsome, and she tried desperately to cover the smear of red strawberry jam on her tank top. She also fumbled with her hair and tucked a strand behind her ear, hoping to look a little better. But she knew there was no hope.
“Ethan! Are you here?!” a woman called.
“Back here mom!” he said, his tall, lean stature stepping back to wave to the woman.
Dotty ran up and hugged his waist tightly. She was only as tall as his shoulder.
Mom? Dotty’s your Mom? Audra thought to herself.
“Oh, Audra! I see you met my Ethan!” Dotty said. “Isn’t it wonderful? He’s home!” she squealed and hugged him tighter.
He pried himself away from her grip and reached for Audra’s hand.
“It’s nice to meet you…Audra, was it?” he asked.
Audra smiled and shook his hand. “Yes.”
Dotty pushed her way between them. “Audra, this is my Ethan! Isn’t he handsome?” Then Dotty turned back to Ethan, “Oh, I just can’t believe you’re home! And for good!”
“Now, Mom. I’m not sure for how long, okay?” Ethan corrected.
“Yes, well. Look at you! You’re so skinny! First thing you need is a home-cooked meal. Come on!” she said and dragged him out of the store by the hand.
He looked over his shoulder. “See you again?” he called to Audra.
She waved. “Maybe!” she said.
When they left the store, Audra said to herself, “He belongs to Roy and Dotty? But how?”
She also realized how homely she looked and knew he was way out of her league. Why did she always meet the good ones when she was a mess?
to be continued…
If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, best of luck! Happy writing!
In certain writer’s circles, “happily ever after” is frowned upon. It’s “predictable,” it “isn’t real life,” things don’t always turn out the way you want them to.
I may get thrown out of the Indie Writer’s Club (not a real thing) but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that there is nothing wrong with “happily ever after.” Hallmark has made a million dollar industry off predictable, simple, and formulaic scripts. Do you know why? Because people like happily ever after. That’s it. It’s just that simple.
Spoiler alert: my novels have happily ever after endings. Why? Because I like happily ever after. I was one of those girls who believed my prince would come (and he did). Sure, he was a D&D playing nerd in a bar, but he’s my prince nonetheless.
I have to tell you that I loathe stories that don’t resolve themselves, or movies that I invest two or more hours of my time in, only to find out that the hero dies senselessly, or worse, to find out the murderer gets away with it. Can I tell you that the end of “Gone Girl” (the movie) made me absolutely insane?!
Happily ever after offers the reader hope and then delivers. Happily ever after promises a smile from the reader as they read “The End.” Happily ever after doesn’t necessarily mean “romance” either. Happily ever after just means that all the characters find what they’re looking for, or at least get where they want to go.
So, if you’re a writer of sweet romance or family saga or just contemporary fiction that has happily ever after…embrace it. Write the story you want to write. There’s enough trouble in the real world, sometimes people want to escape for a while.
Here’s to “Happily Ever After”…may you continue to give readers all the hope and joy they can stand.
I Love Writing…Publishing? Not so much.
For so long as I can remember, I’ve been a writer in some aspect. In my younger years, it was poetry. In fact, my angsty poetry is what got me through puberty and high school. Thank goodness most of that is lost by now.
Like many authors, however, the marketing and business side of writing leaves us feeling less than adequate…and a little bored.
If only there was a “Fiction Underground.”
In the 80s, before self-publishing, and before computers were in every household, there were Underground Magazines (‘Zines, for short). If you were into punk rock, you probably remember them. These homemade magazines were handwritten, sometimes typed, compiled, then photocopied, folded and stapled, and distributed at clubs, record stores, or through local bands.
I’m not even sure who put them together, I just know they were easy to come by. You could find them at the local thrift store where punks and alternative music fans bought most of their clothes. Ahhh…to be able to rock a trench coat and a leather mini skirt again. But I digress.
The beauty of the Underground Magazine was that it didn’t have to find readers. It didn’t have to do market research, or social networking to find followers. Their readers flocked to them like liberty spikes to Murray’s Beeswax. You couldn’t wait to get the next issue to see what controversial subject was in it, or what bands had their lyrics listed, or where the newest underground club was meeting that week. It was a thing of beauty.
Which leads me back to self-publishing.
I wish there was a way to establish a “Fiction Underground ‘Zine.”
There are days when I want to hand out my books door-to-door, or just set them on the front counter of the local thrift shop, or set them by the door of the Mom’s Club meeting down the street and watch as people wait eagerly for the next chapter or book. How much simpler that would be than jumping through the hoops that self-publishing dangles in front of us.
Imagine if all self-published novelists had an “underground” way to reach their audience. Imagine if it didn’t cost a thing. Imagine if you could reach your audience without even trying. We spend so much time “building a platform” and “networking.” Imagine if we could spend that much time just writing good quality novels and let the ‘zine reach our audience.
So, who’s in? Anyone else want to join the “Fiction Underground?”
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I finished the first draft of my current WIP. Over 65,000 done…AND I HATE IT!
This idea for this manuscript came to be in a different fashion than how I normally write. Usually I start with a character, usually with a scene, and it sort of progresses from there. I’m a panster, and not an outliner. I’ve tried to outline, but I just can’t write that way. Usually my outline happens organically, as my characters are speaking to me. I know, it’s backwards, but it works for me.
But this WIP was different right from the beginning. I had a title first and wrote the forward (or the main character’s backstory) first. Then jumped ahead 10 years to begin the novel’s actual story. But it wasn’t flowing. I couldn’t get a grasp on my characters. I didn’t like them.
I usually write in a linear fashion (ie. Chapter 1, then Chapter 2, and so forth), but this manuscript wasn’t progressing. I kept thinking of all these scenes that I wanted to include, so I figured I try something different. I wrote “scene by scene” and thought I’d re-arrange and tie them all together in the editing phase. Boy, was that a mistake!
The problem? I was constantly editing and didn’t even realize it! Maybe it was because I was just getting ready to release Understanding Kasey, so editing was still fresh in my mind.
Burying a novel is always a painful decision. The printed manuscript (I always print out a hard copy) sat on my fireplace mantel for months taunting me. But, in the end, I think I made the right decision.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t destroy it. But I did put it in the box with other manuscripts that haven’t seen the light of day for a while. Maybe I’ll pick it back up one day, but it won’t be for a long time from now. Maybe a new spark will hit me in the middle of the night (that’s usually when they show up) and I’ll come up with the new idea that will tie it all together.
In the meantime, I’m working on a new Family Saga. I’m NOT editing as I go and I’m going to write my chapters in linear fashion. Let’s hope it works out better.
Fellow writers, have you ever buried a project? How did you feel? Was it freeing or depressing?