Would You Keep Reading?

I’m moving right along for Camp NaNoWriMo with editing Love, Lies, & Clones.  One of the first items on my novel editing checklist is to share the first page with someone to see if they would continue to read the story.  If not, then I need to rewrite it.  So…  Here’s the first page, if you could help me by giving me your feedback, I’d really appreciate it.

There is a poll on the bottom of the page, please vote and fell free to offer me any suggestions you have.  Thanks in advance!

I almost spilled my second cup of coffee when Thursday sprang off my bed and rushed to the front door with his tail wagging.

I put the coffee down and followed him. “What is it?” I asked, trying to further excite him. I loved seeing his energy. His entire hind end swayed in rhythm to his tail and his ears perked up. I watched the man approach my door though he digital intercom display while I wondered who would visit me. Someone must be looking for my neighbor.

Crap! The chocolate brown eyes and round face gave him away. My father found me. I fought my instinct to crawl back in bed and bury myself under the covers and go back to sleep.

Instead, I took a minute and gathered my courage while Thursday bounded beside me with his tail wagging and letting out a few excited barks.

I cracked the old wooden door open. “What do you want?” the words were harsher than I expected. “It’s been three years.”

“Can I come in?” He was polite, yet his voice held an edge to it I didn’t remember.

“This is not a good time.” It will never be a good time for him to visit. “I have to go to work in an hour and I still need to get ready.” I didn’t back away from the door, but Thursday tried to push his nose through the gap to get a good sniff of the guest.

My father looked at me, one eyebrow raised and head cocked – the way only a father could do. I let out a heavy sigh and stepped away from the door, allowing him to enter. He strolled across my living room and into my kitchen, finally sitting down at the round pine table. Nothing like making yourself at home.

He looked younger than I remember. Sure, he may have a few more gray hairs and a couple extra crow’s feet wrinkles, but he looked good. Maybe it was because the last time I saw him he was drowning in a bottle of cheap whisky. I examined him for bloodshot eyes, glazed expression, and thought back to our interactions so far. No signs of intoxication.

I didn’t join him at the table. Instead, I distanced myself as much as I could from him, tucking my body in the corner of the kitchen. The lower unit of the duplex I rented was small and despite my attempt, I was still too close to him.

I rubbed my finger on a wear spot on the laminate countertops, waiting for him to speak. Eventually, I gave in to the silence, hoping to get him out of here. “How did you find me?”

“I have my ways,” he said with a sly smile.

“You called James, didn’t you?” Of course he’d call my ex. I had changed all my contact information when I left James, trying to avoid his apologies and pleas, but I ended up giving him my information anyway because we had a house to sell.

Thursday had laid his head on my father’s lap. He avoided my question. “Who’s this?” he said ruffling the light reddish brown fur behind his ears.

I also ignored his question. “Let’s just get to the point. Why are you here?”

“There’s no easy way to say this.” He wrung his hands together. “You need to get out of town.”

I laughed. “You can’t be serious?” Though, he had always been a serious man. “What’s going on?”

“Sit down,” he said eyeing up the kitchen chair across from him.

“Really dad, I don’t have time for this right now. Can you just call me later? I’m sure James gave you all my contact information.”

“Yeah, I have all of it, but this is too important to do over a call.” His voice was firm and, like always, his gaze averted my face. “Sit down.”

I felt like a child again, obeying his command by pulling out a kitchen chair to plop myself down on the blue checkered cushion.

He still looked at his hands. “I’ve been asked to help with another cloning project.”

“And why does this make me need to leave town?”

“I turned them down and am afraid of what they’ll do to make me help them.”

 

Clone Cover

(Version 2 of the cover is above.  I’m happy my daughter posed for the photo.)

I’ll Never Write Another Novel! (I thought)

So, I said I’d never write a novel again. I said I’d never put myself through those hours of pouring out my thoughts only to be left with a 100,000 word piece of crap that I couldn’t even show to anyone because it stunk. At least that’s what I have been telling myself for the past 10 years since finishing my first (and only) novel. (And I have confirmation it stunk. I sucked up as much bravery as I could and put the first few chapters through an online critique forum. The reviewers confirmed I didn’t know how to write – I was crushed and completely gave up on writing for years.)

Well, now, I find those thoughts changing. Ten years is enough to make you forget, right? In January, I wrote a short story that I struggled to keep as short as possible – and it still turned into 10,000 words! I again pulled my courage and submitted it for review the same online critique forum. This time though, I had generally positive feedback with multiple people telling me I should expand it into a novel.

So there lies the dilemma. I have an idea that people would like to see expanded. I do have more story in my head that I could expand it… But struggle with putting the time and effort in to creating something that is terrible again. Writing is fun though, right?  I love the way a story comes together, and when I get an ending that works – the feeling of accomplishment makes me keep going.

Despite my dread of the longer piece of fiction, In February I still found myself plotting out scenes, conflict, and characters.  Almost as if the story wanted to be told.

And now, I can’t help but write a scene a day from the story… Perhaps in 100 days, I’ll have a novel on my hands.

I’m up to scene 11 today. We’ll see what it turns into.

Thanks for reading!

-Joy

Photo from www.morguefile.com

file7391308350582