What’s it like writing over the holidays, you asked? No? You didn’t ask? Well, I’m sure that you meant to ask, since my life is so terribly fascinating. Here’s a quick writing recap of the past three days, which I’ve spent visiting my mother.
“Okay, I’m going to write,” I say. “I’m shooting for at least 2,500 words, so it’s going to take a few hours.”
“That sounds great, sweetie,” mom answers.
Setting up laptop and work zone, opening manuscript, pondering, muttering, typing furiously, scowling at my laptop for a few moments
NOVEL EXCERPT: (Please note: ALL character names have been changed to protect their anonymity . . . and this is a ROUGH and obviously UNEDITED sample from a FIRST DRAFT)
Instead, he grabbed a handle at her combat belt and pulled out one of her largest knives, swiping it up immediately towards her face, catching the edge of her cheek and chin, leaving behind a streak of crimson.
“Crink!” Jane cursed at him, stepping back and immediately pulling her butterfly swords out, ready for serious battle. “You don’t get an offer of amnesty, you murderous, rakking bastard,” she spat at him, taking several vicious swipes at his chest, cutting through his uniform and causing him to jump back with a look of panic on his face. “You run, and I’ll. . .
“Are you warm enough?” mom interrupts.
“I’m fine,” I reply and keep typing.
(“You run, and I’ll) hunt you down,” she threatened with. . .
“I can turn it up, if you’re too cold,” she interrupts again. “Do you want me to get you a blanket?”
“No, mom. Really, I’m fine. I’m just going to write,” I gently remind her.
“We’ll it’s so cold out today. Do you want me to make you a hot drink? Are you sure you don’t want me to turn up the heat? You look like you might be cold,” she continues.
“Sure, mom. That would be great,” I agree, hoping it will end the discussion.
(“You run, and I’ll hunt you down,” she threatened with) wild eyes, and
Smith felt a bit of fear creep in under
“Do you mean the heat or the hot drink?” she wonders.
“Both,” I vote, hoping to shut her up, then immediately feel guilty. “Do you need help?” I ask.
“No, no. You have writing to do. I don’t want to interrupt you,” she says.
“Um . . . okay.”
Shakes head and refocuses on laptop, rereading what was previously written
(and Smith felt a bit of fear creep in under) his normally unwavering confidence.
“Bec,” a voice wafts to me from the kitchen, and I continue typing.
He brought the knife up to fend off her blows, leaping . . .
“Did you say you wanted coffee or tea?” she asks, suddenly by my chair, “or I could make hot chocolate or hot cider.”
“Tea is fine, mom,” I respond, without even thinking about it. “Thanks,” I tack on.
(leaping) back again.
“I’m only doing my job,” he spat back at her, “just like your
“Are you sure?” mom persists. “I have a really good holiday coffee, if you want to try that.
“Okay,” I agreed out of desperation. “Coffee sounds great.”
“Well, don’t choose coffee, if you would rather have tea,” mom immediately answers.
“No, I definitely want coffee. Yum!” I try to sound enthusiastic, and she finally turns back to the kitchen, as I start to reread and refocus.
(“just like your) pathetic, dead boyfriend used to do.”
“Oh, and which boyfriend would that be?” Jane countered, swinging one sword down and across to cut him along his left thigh and bringing the other over, ripping a cut down his right shoulder.
Smith tried to defend himself with the large knife, but it was no match for Jane’s butterfly swords and vengeance.
“Would it happen to be George, who you . . .
“Did you remember to feed Oscar today?” mom asks worriedly at my side again.
“Yes, mom. He’s fine. The dog eats more than I do, and he’s already had his weight in treats,” I reply, looking up for a moment.
“Well, he still looks hungry,” she tells me, questioning my parenting decisions.
“He always looks hungry. He’d eat you out of house and home, if you let him,” I answer. That’s why he’s 15 pounds overweight.”
“Well, okay,” mom says. “If you’re sure. . . It’s just that he looks so hungry.”
“Fine, mom. Go ahead and feed him,” I huff, and turn back to my laptop.
“No, I don’t want to feed him, if you don’t want me to,” she answers, clearly needing my full approval.
“It’s fine. It’s the holidays. He can have an extra meal. It’s not going to kill him,” I begrudgingly reply, and she calls the dog and wanders back towards the kitchen.
(“Would it happen to be George, who you) shot in cold blood,” Jane countered, as their weapons banged together with a loud clank and Smith jumped back again. She was relentless though and kept advancing, forcing him back, each lunge and swipe ripping at her side, but she didn’t care. “Or was it Fred, who you also shot and then threw a grenade at?” she asked, as if she were inquiring about the weather, her voice having settled into a deadly calm that Adam knew meant trouble.
“How would you know that?” Smith spat, not even trying to deny it. Then he lunged back, throwing the blunt end of the knife at…
“Well, he didn’t eat the food I put out. I wonder if he’s not feeling well,” Mom says worriedly
“Uh-huh,” I answer, not even listening.
“Does he seem puny to you?” she persists.
“What?” I ask, finally looking up, completely confused.
“Oscar didn’t eat his food,” she reminds me. “I’m worried that he’s not feeling well.”
“He’s fine, mom. He’s eaten so many treats that he probably isn’t hungry now,” I immediately answer. “Come here, buddy,” I call to Oscar then, suddenly doing the worried mom bit. “Are you okay, sugar?” I ask, snuggling my boy for a moment, but he seems perfectly fine. “I think he’s fine mom. Don’t sweat it.”
“Okay, as long as you’re sure,” she implies that I’m not.
“I’m sure. I have no doubts or concerns at all. Weren’t you making a hot drink?” I redirect her.
“Oh, yes, I’m doing that now. Did you say you wanted tea?” she asks.
“Whatever you’re having, I’ll have,” I say, shaking my head and turning back to my laptop.
(throwing the blunt end of the knife at) her face, while diving to the ground. Jane jumped sideways to avoid the knife, but by the time she recovered, Smith was already pointing the gun at her face.
She froze on the spot, staring straight into his eyes, already knowing he’d shoot her without hesitation.
“Drop your swords,” he ordered Jane, and she let them fall. “Don’t move, Adam, unless you want to bury your sister,” he barked, not even taking . . .
“Bec,” mom interrupts again. “Did you say you wanted sugar or sweetener?”
“For your coffee,” mom prompts, as if I’ve lost my mind.
“Oh, weren’t we having tea?” I stupidly reply.
“I thought you wanted coffee,” mom counters. “I can go put on tea though, if you would rather have that. I just thought you wanted coffee.”
“Coffee is fine,” I answer, quickly. “I’ll come fix my own,” I decide, shutting my laptop with a sigh.
Only 396 words, and yet somehow,
I’m relieved to have gotten that many.