Tag Archives: Work-in-Progress

Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #76

Standard
Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #76

Every Sunday, the Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday participants share 8-10-sentence snippets from their works-in-progress on their blogs for others to read and comment on. Join the fun! Click on the links to see the full lists.

Today I’m sharing the opening of the Middle Grades novel I outlined at the writers’ retreat I went on the other weekend. Titled Amanda in Chief, it’s about a girl starting the year at her sixth school in six years. Her strategy for making friends will be running for class president.

As the story opens, Amanda Fanta’s older brother, Jake, drives her to Anderson Elementary, where she will spend sixth grade. Amanda says:

“I don’t know how you can be so happy. It’s your senior year, and you’re starting over again.” wewriwa2

Jake glanced over from the driver’s seat. “Actually, I’m looking forward to it. It’s kind of fun. Nobody knows you, so you can be whoever you want to be. You can put on a new persona. Who do you want to be this year?”

“Someone popular. It sucks to be invisible and have no friends.”

I know it’s short (10-sentence limit), but what do you think of this snippet? Any suggestions on how I can make it better? Please comment below.

Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #75

Standard
Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #75

Every Sunday, the Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday participants share 8-10-sentence snippets from their works-in-progress on their blogs for others to read and comment on. Join the fun! Click on the links to see the full lists.

Lottie Loses the Lottery (picture book): Lottie has the worst luck. She didn’t win the lottery–but her next-door neighbor, Eva, did. How can Lottie shed her funky mood and be genuinely happy for Eva?

Money

Lottie just found out that Eva gave her friend Greta a new sewing machine, and she’s even more jealous than before. (Please excuse the run-on sentence. I’ve “creatively” edited so that I can squeeze as much content as possible into the 10-sentence limit.)

Lottie went to the bathroom and glanced at the mirror. A bitter face scowled back at her.

“What are you looking at?” Lottie asked her reflection.

“An ungrateful friend,” said the face in the mirror.

“What do I have to be grateful for? I lost the lottery,” said Lottie.

“So did a lot of people. But Eva won, and you didn’t congratulate her; she invited you to her party, and you didn’t go; she gave you an expensive present, and you didn’t even thank her for it.”

“She’s a bazillionaire–she can afford it.”

“And you can afford to be happy for her,” said the sulky reflection.

Let’s just say Lottie’s on the verge of a breakthrough that will help her get over her funk and congratulate Eva on her win.

This is the last snippet from Lottie Loses the Lottery. Next time I’ll share from the story I started on my recent writer’s retreat.

I know it’s short, but what do you think of this snippet? Any suggestions on how I can make it better? Please comment below.

First Page Blog Hop

Standard
First Page Blog Hop

This month-long blog hop is meant to answer one simple question for each participant. After reading your first 1,000 words, would a person continue reading it?

If you are so inclined, you can comment about why you would or wouldn’t continue reading–in fact, that would be wonderful.

Here are the first 997 words of my work-in-progress, The Unicornologist.7. The Unicorn in Captivity

After her father dropped her off at school on the morning of the day that would change her life forever, Hillary scanned the students assembled next to the charter bus. Her eyes zeroed in on her best friend’s newly shorn blond hair.

“Allie, your hair looks so cute. You look just like a model.”

“Just like Twiggy, to be precise.” Allie struck a pose as if on a photo shoot, showing off her apple green A-line dress with a white stripe down the front, and white go-go boots. Then she gave her friend the once over, nodding her approval of Hillary’s new floral print dress, but frowning at her sneakers. “What the heck, Hill? Keds?”

“Hey, we’re going to be doing a lot of walking at the museum—”

Allie shook her head. “It’s just like you to wear sensible shoes on a field trip. We’re going to New York City, for goodness’ sake. You could’ve upped your style for one day.”

“I think Hillary looks great,” interrupted Robin, the new boy in their class.

Hillary shot Robin a smile and then looked down, her cheeks glowing like a neon sign. She knew Allie had a crush on Robin, and out of loyalty, she tried to remain in her pretty friend’s shadow.

“And what about me?” asked Allie, batting her eyelashes.

“Spectacular, as always,” said Robin.

Their western civilizations teacher, Mr. Petersen, strode up to the door of the bus with his clipboard and began to explain the procedure for getting on board.

“He’s going alphabetically,” Allie whispered to her friends. “Since Fletcher comes before Graziano and Noone, I’ll save seats for you guys.”

By the time Hillary climbed into the bus, Robin had already taken the seat next to Allie. Hillary had to sit across the aisle from her. Just as well, thought Hillary. I’ll be able to read my book.

The bus driver turned on the radio. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me… Teenage voices joined in.

“I love that song,” Allie said to Robin.

Hillary pulled her copy of The Outsiders out of her fringed suede shoulder bag and immersed herself in Ponyboy’s world.

~~~

Much later, Hillary sensed the bus climbing up an incline. Curious, she looked up from her book. The tree-lined road seemed rural, yet she knew their destination lay near the northern tip of Manhattan, in Fort Tryon Park.

Winding ever upward, the bus rounded the final curve and pulled into a parking lot. Hillary caught her breath at her first glimpse of The Cloisters, its stone and block walls and tower rising above terraced gardens like a fairy tale castle.

“Where the heck are we?” Allie asked from across the aisle.

“I’d say medieval Europe,” Hillary replied.

The bus’s doors screeched open and Allie squeezed her way down the aisle.

“Allie, wait up,” called Robin. Hillary chuckled and shook her head. Allie loves to be first.

Once outside, Hillary savored the sweet, moist air on her skin, the first freshness she’d felt in nearly two hours. The drive from New Jersey had been a cacophony of teenage voices and snatches of rock and roll from transistor radios. Now the voices were muffled, their sound absorbed by the trees, an insignificant harmony to the symphony of birdsong. The towering trees screened the museum and blocked out the city. Except for the distant purr of New York City traffic, the students could almost be lost in virgin forest. Indeed, except for the cars and busses parked in the asphalt lot, it could be a time long past.

Worksheet and pen clutched in her hand, Hillary straggled after her classmates as they entered The Cloisters. “A treasure,” Mr. Petersen proclaimed. “You couldn’t build something like this today. It would be outrageously expensive, and this level of craftsmanship is rare anymore.”

Hillary read the introduction on her purple-printed worksheet:

The Cloisters is a collection of rooms and gardens that suggest, rather than duplicate, actual European medieval structures. The building was assembled from twelfth through fifteenth century architectural elements collected by American sculptor George Gray Barnard before 1914, when he lived in France. In western European monasteries the most important buildings were grouped around a central cloister, an open courtyard with a covered and arcaded passageway along the sides. . .*

Hillary traveled from room to room, taking her time along the route mapped out on her worksheet. Each was more beautiful than the last, with wonderful surprises to discover: paintings, carvings, stained glass windows, enclosed gardens with fountains. She wished she could have devoted the entire day just to studying the columns, each topped with its uniquely carved capital. She answered the questions on her sheet as completely as she could, sketching what she saw so she wouldn’t forget.

Apparently, her classmates didn’t find this assignment nearly as compelling as she did. Even artistic Allie had already wandered on after making fun of headless statues and frayed wall hangings.

Alone in the Hall of the Nine Heroes, Hillary glimpsed a flash of color through a doorway. She stepped closer, and spotted a tapestry of a unicorn goring a dog with its horn. Wanting to examine it, she entered the room filled with tapestries of unicorn scenes. She turned slowly in a circle, perusing the four walls. The tapestries apparently told a story, and she struggled to make sense of it.

Unicorn 1

1. The Start of the Hunt

In the first tapestry, a group of men assembled, carrying spears and restraining dogs on leashes. They appeared to be a hunting party.

The second tapestry showed a stream flowing from a fountain. Wild animals waited to drink from it. A unicorn lowered its horn into the water. Why? The hunters approached. One pointed at the unicorn. Another blew his horn.

In the next tapestry, the unicorn attempted to leap out of the spring, hunters waiting on the shore with their spears drawn.

Next, the unicorn managed to get on land. Yapping dogs surrounded it.

Sorry to end so abruptly.

*The description of The Cloisters from Hillary’s worksheet is from A Walk through the Cloisters by Bonnie Young, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1978, 1988.

So, what do you think? Would you read further? Why or why not? Please comment below. And if you liked it, please click the Like button. Thanks!

Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #74

Standard
Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #74

Every Sunday, the Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday participants share 8-10-sentence snippets from their works-in-progress on their blogs for others to read and comment on. Join the fun! Click on the links to see the full lists.

Lottie Loses the Lottery (picture book): Lottie has the worst luck. She didn’t win the lottery–but her next-door neighbor, Eva, did. How can Lottie shed her funky mood and be genuinely happy for Eva?

Money

The morning after the party in last week’s snippet, Lottie’s doorbell rings. (Please excuse the run-on sentences. They’ve been creatively edited so that I can squeeze as much content as possible into the 10-sentence limit.)

An enormous package wrapped in colorful paper stood on her front porch. Lottie slid it into the house and closed the door.

Attached to the package with a ribbon was an envelope with Lottie written on it. She opened it and found a card. Because you’re you, said the front; inside, scrawled in Eva’s handwriting, was a note: I know you love your shows–when you watch, think of me.

When Lottie pulled the paper off the box, she found a television, a big one, nicer than the one she already had. “Humph,” she sniffed, and pushed the box into a corner.

Greta called. “I’m sorry you missed the party last night,” she said. “Guess what Eva gave me–a new sewing machine–isn’t it wonderful!?”

I know it’s short (10-sentence limit), but what do you think of this snippet? Any suggestions on how I can make it better? Please comment below.

Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #73

Standard
Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #73

Every Sunday, the Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday participants share 8-10-sentence snippets from their works-in-progress on their blogs for others to read and comment on. Join the fun! Click on the links to see the full lists.

Lottie Loses the Lottery (picture book): Lottie has the worst luck. She didn’t win the lottery–but her next-door neighbor, Eva, did. How can Lottie shed her funky mood and be genuinely happy for Eva?

Money

After declining Eva’s party invitation in last week’s snippet, Lottie soothes her resentful soul by watching tv and stuffing herself with chocolate chip cookies. Then…

Hearing sounds of activity in the neighborhood, she carefully parted her window curtains just far enough to accommodate her binoculars.

Cars lined both sides of the street. Smiling and laughing, the partygoers walked to Eva’s front door.

Lottie could hear snatches of conversations. The cheerful congratulations and laughter made her stomach ache (or maybe it was all those chocolate chip cookies crammed into her gut).

Lottie wandered to the back of the house and directed her binoculars out another window. Just as she suspected, guests spilled out Eva’s kitchen door and into her backyard. Twinkle lights glittered festively in the trees, and candles gleamed inside jars on tables scattered around the yard. Upbeat music played softly, and Eva circulated among her friends, carrying a tray loaded with tasty-looking desserts. All those happy celebrators enjoying Eva’s hospitality annoyed Lottie deep down to her core.

I know it’s short (10-sentence limit), but what do you think of this snippet? Any suggestions on how I can make it better? Please comment below.

Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #72

Standard
Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #72

Every Sunday, the Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday participants share 8-10-sentence snippets from their works-in-progress on their blogs for others to read and comment on. Join the fun! Click on the links to see the full lists.

Lottie Loses the Lottery (picture book): Lottie has the worst luck. She didn’t win the lottery–but her next-door neighbor, Eva, did. How can Lottie shed her funky mood and be genuinely happy for Eva?

Money

After last week’s snippet, when Lottie was tormented by a nightmare of currency blowing around her, just out of reach, she’s woken by a phone call from another friend, telling her about Eva’s good fortune. Lottie hangs up, and the phone rings again:

“Lottie, it’s Eva next door. I just wanted to invite you to my lottery celebration, tonight at six o’clock.”wewriwa2

“Sorry, I have to wash my hair.”

“Oh, come on, Lottie. You have all day to wash your hair. Please come to my party. I want to celebrate with all my dear friends—it wouldn’t be the same without you. Please, pretty please?”

“Oops, the teakettle’s whistling, got to go.” Lottie put down the phone.

I know it’s short (10-sentence limit), but what do you think of this snippet? Any suggestions on how I can make it better? Please comment below.

SaveSave

Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #71

Standard
Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #71

Every Sunday, the Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday participants share 8-10-sentence snippets from their works-in-progress on their blogs for others to read and comment on. Join the fun! Click on the links to see the full lists.

Lottie Loses the Lottery (picture book): Lottie has the worst luck. She didn’t win the lottery–but her next-door neighbor, Eva, did. How can Lottie shed her funky mood and be genuinely happy for Eva?

Money

Eva has just called Lottie to tell her the wonderful news–she won the big jackpot!

“Yeah,” said Lottie, tears burning her eyes like acid. “And you’re calling me because you want to split it with me, your best friend, right?”

“Very funny! No, but I’ll invite you to my celebration party. Goodbye–I’ve got to call my mother!”wewriwa2

Lottie set the phone down and shuffled to her bedroom.

She tossed and turned and finally fell asleep, dreaming of clouds of dollar bills swirling past her as if blown by the wind. She tried to catch some, but they always evaded her grasp. Thousands and thousands of dollars! Oh, why couldn’t they all be hers?

I know it’s short (10-sentence limit), but what do you think of this snippet? Any suggestions on how I can make it better? Please comment below.

Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #70

Standard
Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #70

Every Sunday, the Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday participants share 8-10-sentence snippets from their works-in-progress on their blogs for others to read and comment on. Join the fun! Click on the links to see the full lists.

Money

I’m excerpting from a new (old) picture book project, Lottie Loses the Lottery. Here’s the opening. Please forgive the run-on sentences. I’ve used inadequate punctuation to get around the 10-sentence limit.

 The lottery machine on the TV screen spit out numbered balls, and the smiling man announced, “The winning numbers are…one…nine thousand, nine hundred ninety-nine…forty-two…six hundred eighty-seven…three…two hundred fifty-six…nine thousand, nine hundred ninety-eight…eleven…and the bonus number is…seven!”

Lottie shuffled through the forty tickets in her hand. Drat! Not one winner.

Her phone quacked like a duck, and she answered it.

“Oh, Lottie–I just had to tell somebody–I won the lottery! The hundred-million-dollar jackpot!”wewriwa2

Lottie broke out in a cold sweat. “Who is this?”

“Lottie, it’s me, Eva, your next-door neighbor–isn’t it wonderful?”

I know it’s short, but what do you think of this snippet? Any suggestions on how I can make it better? Please comment below.

Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #68

Standard
Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #68

Every Sunday, the Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday participants share 8-10-sentence snippets from their works-in-progress on their blogs for others to read and comment on. Join the fun! Click on the links to see the full lists.

Mine! Six-year-old Buddy terrorizes the playground, appropriating everyone’s toys. How can the kids teach him a lesson and get their stuff back?

droneflyer-nick-161833

In last week’s snippet, Buddy appropriated a little girl’s doll and doll carriage. We pick up a few minutes later. Will his reign of terror never end? (Creative editing of punctuation due to the 10-sentence limit; not as many run-on sentences in the actual manuscript.)

Buddy sat in the grass and watched some kids play with a Frisbee.

They flipped it into the air toward one another. Sometimes they had to leap to catch it; sometimes their dog jumped up and caught it. They laughed and shouted and ran around.

Buddy wished he could throw the Frisbee.

One of the kids tossed the Frisbee way above his sister’s head. Though she jumped and stretched her arms, the disk sailed past her and landed at Buddy’s feet. Buddy picked it up and tossed it into the doll carriage.

“Hey, that’s ours–give it back!” the girl cried.

“Mine!” yelled Buddy, and ran away, dragging the doll buggy behind him.

Yeah, I know–he’s a brat. Justice is coming. Hang in there for one more week.

I know it’s short, but what do you think of this small excerpt? Any suggestions on how I can make it better? Please comment below.

 

Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #67

Standard
Weekend Writing Warriors: Snippet #67

Every Sunday, the Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday participants share 8-10-sentence snippets from their works-in-progress on their blogs for others to read and comment on. Join the fun! Click on the links to see the full lists.

Mine! Six-year-old Buddy terrorizes the playground, appropriating everyone’s toys. How can the kids teach him a lesson and get their stuff back?

droneflyer-nick-161833

We left Buddy at the water fountain last week.

Hot and panting, he took a long, cool drink, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, and looked around.

A little girl pushed a doll buggy along a path. Every so often, she’d stop walking and adjust her doll’s blanket or feed the dolly a bottle. She smiled as she sang a lullaby.

When a patch of dandelions distracted the little girl, Buddy flung the pail and shovel, the dump truck, and the basketball into the carriage on top of the doll. Then he took off with it as fast as he could run. One of the wheels hit a rock, and the whole carriage turned over, dumping the toys.

“My baby!” the little girl cried, trying to regain her pilfered possessions.

“Mine!” screamed Buddy. He threw the doll, the ball, the truck, the pail and the shovel back into the buggy and ran down a hill with them all.

I know it’s short (10-sentence limit), but what do you think of this small excerpt? Any suggestions on how I can make it better? Please comment below.