Tag Archives: Excerpt

Plot Lesson

Part lesson, part excerpt. Two birds with one stone.

I got an idea about a year ago, a person in a car accident and a horn blaring loud in the background. However, I had nowhere to put it so I wrote it down and stored it away. Then, about a week after my birthday this year, I walked around school unable to get it out of my head. Suddenly I knew what I wanted to use it for – a new novel, completely separate from my other ideas.

So I typed it up in Scrivener and decided to make the novel have parts, one each for different stages of life, beginning with childhood. I wrote the first scene, with the car horn, and the first meeting of two small child who will be my protagonists.

I stopped.

Why did I stop? Because beyond these two small scenes, I honestly have no clue where I’m going with this. I know a scene in the middle and a scene near the end and I know I want it to be one of those great romance novels up there with Nicholas Sparks’ work. Unlike most of my work, there won’t be any magical elements or fantastical things happening. It’s just going to be normal. I only have one other book planned like that, but while the ideas could be merged, I don’t plan to do that. I want this one to be something fresh. The issue is finding out what exactly I want to happen.

The great thing about a plot is that it usually changes two or three times while writing a novel. The idea stays the same, but how it happens tends to change. I once read the beginning of a guide on how to write a novel in 100 days. One of the things the guide says to do is to write the ending of the book on a note card or  spare paper. Write it as detailed as you want it, stick it in a drawer, and forget about it. Then, once you’ve written the novel, you’ll take out the paper and see just how much it changed.

The exact quote is from Day 21:

Write down the last paragraph of your novel and put it in the drawer. At the end of a hundred days, lets see how close you came to following your imagination.

The guide is more of a how to begin and how to keep motivated up to a good way through, but it’s all good knowledge for a writer. I may even use it late for a ‘In the Words of’ blog. Something else the guide says is to always know how the story is going to end. It may not be specifics, since the last scene will undoubtedly change, but it’s good to know who lives and who dies and what goal is accomplished inevitably.

Right now I’m working on the overall goal and the specifics of my characters. It’s time to figure out what makes them tick so that I can really sit down and write their story – after maybe reading some Nicholas Sparks or David Nicholls or something to really get in the mood.

Are you having trouble with a plot in your novel? I do suggest reading some of the guide up there. Each day up to where I read is about a paragraph long and really shouldn’t take a whole day (things like ‘decide on a schedule of when to write’ or ‘stay confident’ are entire days). One thing it says that I completely agree with is to make your characters and your plot simultaneously, as neither can survive without the other. I’ve got the start of my characters and I’m moving on to decide their pasts, their futures, and their personalities. My plot will grow with them. Yours will grow with your characters as well.

And now, because I’m really kind of proud of it – the first scene with the car horn. Let me know what you think:

The loud tone rang through the evening air like a pathetic alarm clock, one that had lost its purpose and no longer understood it was meant to stop eventually. Several years passed in the slow moment between the first notice of it and the realization of its identity as the horn of a car. It seemed another month passed before all sense of sound disappeared so as to give space to the other sensations. In the place where ears used to work, the other senses flared up. The air was static charged over a turbine, vibrating around the space. Its warmth was a brilliant contrast to the coolness of the round object pressed against her cheek. On the other hand, her cheek was about the only part of her body that didn’t ache in the aftermath of the accident that put her here.

With great difficulty, memories floated in circles around her head like birds in a cartoon. She tried to grab them, piece together why her eyes wouldn’t open and why everything hurt. How long had she been here? How long had she been trying to figure out these answers? Each moment, each passing second felt like a lifetime… or, she believed it must be seconds. She couldn’t have been sitting here as long as she felt she was. The horn was still blaring, although she felt it more than heard it now. It filled her with the immediacy of needing to know. Why was the horn blaring? Why did it not stop? Why couldn’t she remember?

A breeze pushed by her, warm and tingling and smelling of gasoline and air conditioners. She tried to piece the smells together, but the warmth touched her heart and she thought of him before all other things. She couldn’t remember how she got here, but she knew one thing – she hadn’t been alone. Who had been with her, she couldn’t place. Where or why were blurs, but she knew there had been a man with her, and the horn told her to be afraid.

The breeze pushed harder past her face, bringing with it only warmth and no specific smells. She felt her whole body convulse in the effort to remember the last few days, the last few minutes – for she was sure it was minutes and not years that brought her to this place. Then the warmth of the breeze brought to her mind the clearest memory of a green lawn and a summer day. She knew without knowing how she knew that he was nearby, somewhere under the hot July sun that made her brow sweat and her heart die in her chest.

 

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Rain – Delving into the Past to Find an Old Poem

Alright, by request of deshipley, I’m posting up a poem I wrote based on a men’s cologne commercial, which I actually managed to find after an hour of searching so I could link it. Written back in 2008 – it may not be Shakespeare or Dickinson, but I liked it enough to keep it. This version is slightly edited, because I looked over it when I found it and saw some instant revisions I could make. It still needs work, but here it is.

— — — —

The sky fills up with gray

The world isn’t sad.

The sound falls around you

Falling to the ground with feeling

Pounding down to the dirt with anger

Enveloping it with love

Holding it while it cries

Running along it in excitement.

Are you alive?

Can you feel it?

The world moves around you.

You’re numb.

You’re splashing down my face.

The world never looked so bright.

I love the way it sings.

The world, draping itself upon me

A cloak of invincibility.

Are you alive?

Can you hear it?

The sound the Earth makes

When little lives crash into it.

You’re numb.

Standing high, above the people,

little ants of disarray.

You feel the thunder in you

As if your own excitement.

You see the lighting in the distance.

Unimportant roads to travel.

Through the sky?

I see them.

Are you alive?

I live for it.

The rush,

The caress,

The love,

It’s the rain.

— — — —

Right, so don’t be too harsh. This was an earlier work of mine, and I don’t claim to be a poet. Just things to remember – but I’m still in shock I managed to find the commercial it went with, so I’m rather pleased with myself. I’m not imagining any negative comments to the poem will take that away.

Ciao tutti!

RM

The Rose Chateau – Chapter 20 Excerpt

“Are you sure you should be in here?” Alexander asked. Corinna groaned and sighed. She looked up from the book she was reading and over at Alexander. The prince was holding Corinna’s magic mirror and staring into it, tilting his head every few moments to get a different angle on whatever he was staring at. The curtains were drawn for the night, but the chandelier was bright and illuminating enough to be its own star. A fire burned and licked fog up the windows.

“I’m honestly getting tired of that question,” Corinna said. She tapped the cover of her book contemplatively and then nodded. “Yes. I feel fine.”

“You can’t blame us all for being worried,” Alexander said. He let out a grunt of a noise that Corinna thought was meant to be the prince clearing his throat. “You’ve been doing a horrible amount of coughing these last few days.”

“You’re exaggerating,” Corinna assured him and looked back at her book.

“You coughed once at both lunch and dinner yesterday, and the day before, and your fit in the snow the day before that. You didn’t cough at all a month ago. Is there something you’re not telling me?” Alexander asked.

The way he said ‘me’ instead of ‘us’ caused Corinna some slight joy. Alexander wasn’t the type to make things personal, but he was specifying himself in the question. Corinna almost wished she was hiding something so she could reward Alexander for the pronoun usage. Sadly, she had nothing. Alexander was right in the fact that Corinna had been coughing more often, but since that day in the snow, she had not coughed up even the slightest amount of blood. It must have been Morgana after all. And coughing wasn’t a secret. Corinna really had no clues to the cause.

“No. It’s probably just a raw throat,” Corinna said. She was tired of needing to defend her body’s automatic actions. “What are you looking at in there? You’ve been doing it for almost an hour.”

“Nothing,” Alexander grunted.

“Now who’s hiding things?” Corinna teased. She held her book up to her face so her eyes were the only things peeking over the top and grinned.  “Who is Prince Alexander looking at?”

“No one,” the blonde replied a bit too hastily for Corinna to accept it as true. “I was just checking on my father.”

“Oh?” Corinna lowered her book but was not convinced. She still let her lips tug upward at their own whim. “And how is he?”

“Recovering. Whatever Michael is giving him seems to be working. Today he was back in his throne to meet the people and hear their needs. He didn’t move much, but the color has returned to his features, at least,” Alexander said, setting the mirror down.

Corinna caught sight of a bright blonde figure in the glass before Alexander’s fingers moved off the handle and it returned to being normal glass.

“That’s good,” she said. “I suppose the court won’t be calling on you, though.”

“I suppose not,” Alexander agreed. “That’s alright, though. I’m happy enough here.”

“Hmm. I feel sorry for the people of Paesaggia,” Corinna said. “You would make a wonderful king.”

Alexander sat unmoving for a moment in which the clock on the mantle seemed to stop ticking, and then he snorted. “How would you know what a good king is or that I’d make one? We never discuss politics.”

“I read one of the books in the library,” Corinna said.

“One?” Alexander slapped his knee and a rumble moved in his throat. “I’ve read them all.”

“See? You’ll make a great king. I bet you’ve read every single one of the books in that library.” Corinna closed her book and set it to the side. She smiled, but Alexander’s grin evaporated. He looked as though Corinna had stabbed an old wound, insulted him rather than complimented him.

“I have,” he answered truthfully, “But there is a great difference between reading how to run an economy and a kingdom and actually performing the task. I haven’t met my people since I was fifteen, Corinna. My hopes for their loyalty are not high.”

“Nonsense,” Corinna said, shaking her head. “You are their prince. They will welcome you back with a party so large, you won’t know who to talk to first. All the beautiful girls will be dying to dance with you, and all the nobles will want to get close to you and show their eternal support.”

“Right. They’ll show their support so long as I’m cured of my curse first,” Alexander said. “And the girls will dance with me so long as I don’t have huge bear feet.”

“And you won’t,” Corinna assured. She stood from her couch and walked calmly to Alexander’s. Her fingers found the handle of the mirror and lifted it up to her chest, where she held it like a treasure. “You have someone special in your heart, Alexander, and they will break this curse for you.”

The blonde in the mirror… It could only be two people. Either Alexander had reverted back to looking into mirrors to remember his past glory, or he was checking up on the one he cared for. Corinna didn’t want Alexander to return to his old narcissistic ways, but the idea of Alexander looking in on someone he cared for deeply didn’t feel right either in Corinna’s chest.

She should be happy for Alexander. The prince had mentioned once before that he cared for someone. That person could break Alexander’s curse, could free him from the coat of fur and the loneliness. That person could be everything Alexander needed and wanted. And yet Corinna felt a cold throb deep in her chest. Why did it feel like losing Alexander? Why did it feel like losing someone dear all over again?

Corinna had left her home to come and live in this manor. She had left her friends, her best friend, her uncle, and her mother. She had left them all and come to live in a cage with strangers poking sticks in at her. She had broken her own heart to come here, but a lot changes in five months. Five months ago, Corinna didn’t think she would be friends with the servants. She didn’t know she would have a central role in helping to break a curse or be on friendly terms with a witch.  Five months ago, Corinna would have loved for Alexander to return home and let them all leave to go their separate ways.

This was not five months ago. Corinna didn’t want to lose Alexander anymore than her uncle or Alastar. But what was she to do but let Alexander find true love and get his proper life back?