Friday, August 16, 2019

Throwback Thursday - Painful Fiction from the Early Years

Early efforts, huh?

Well okay. Just remember that someone (who wasn't me) asked for this. The following stilted and overly dramatic prose is from the first novel I ever managed to complete. It's so old, there are two spaces after every period. This book never met an adverb it didn't like. In fact, you know that meme about the overly attached girlfriend? Yeah. That's this book with adverbs. I love the fact that the characters go from 0 to 60 emotionally. It's a total soap opera and I keep it around because it so tickles me. The scene below is the first meeting of the hero and heroine. We're on maybe page 5 of the manuscript.

            Casey emerged from her shower feeling entirely refreshed.   Wrapped in her towel, she returned to her room  and toweled her hair dry.  She dressed in a leisurely fashion, listening to a song that had been running through her mind all day long.  Running her fingers through her hair to calm the curling copper strands, Casey unlatched her abused guitar case and seated herself on the bed to bend over it.  She plucked out a quiet melody, then altered it when it didn't quite match what she heard in her head.  She realized she wouldn't be able to blithely tuck her love of music out of the way for the convenience of Sonya's brother.  On the other hand, she didn't want to unduly antagonize anyone either.  Casey simply decided she'd have to be careful.  With a smile, she repeated the melodic line she'd just created and ventured to put some words to it.  Shaking her head, she decided her songwriting talent needed considerable polishing. 

            The door to Casey's room slammed open.  Startled, she jumped.  With a discordant twang, a string broke, snapping back to slash her hand.  "Damn it!"  She swore, glaring up at the door.  Her eyes widened.  The most alarmingly handsome man she'd ever seen stood glowering at her from the doorway.  She knew him instantly.  She'd seen Brennen James in concert once herself and owned more than one of his wildly successful albums.

            "Do you always slam into someone else's room without knocking?"  She charged, her voice clipped and short from the pounding of her heart.  "You made me break a string.  Thank you very much."

            "What are you doing here?"  He demanded, eyeing her with a cold, searching gaze.

            "Not that it's any of your business," she returned stung by his imperious tone, "I am here to help Sonya with her wedding.  Oh, damn," she swore again, catching sight of the bloody line along the back of her hand.  She grabbed her wrinkled tee shirt and blotted the blood away. 

            "Let me make something very clear to you, Miss..."

            "Casey Griffin."

            "Let me make something very clear to you Miss Griffin.  I am the only musician in this house.  I will not tolerate your musical pretensions..."  He began.

            Casey bristled, enraged.  Setting her precious guitar carefully aside, she stood and stalked up to meet him.  To her irritation, she found she had to look up to glare at him.  "Listen, you jerk," she shot back.  "You have no idea who I am or what I do.  My musical pretensions are none of your concern.  And until you know what type of musician I am, you'd probably feel less like an ass in the very near future if you kept your mouth shut now."

            She bit her lip, wondering at the wisdom of snapping at her friend's brother.  Besides, it wasn't as if she could hold a musical candle to the man.  With a sigh, Casey decided she should probably have kept her temper under better control.       

            "What amazing green eyes you have.  And that red hair," he observed, his tone amused, but still not terribly friendly.  "I assume that explains your frightful temper.  You look silly in purple," he observed.  "You should wear green."

            Casey stared at him, stupefied.  She wondered if he'd bothered to pay attention to anything she'd said.  It only irritated her all over again. 

"I look like a damn wood elf if I wear green," she groused.  "And no, my hand is fine.  Thank you for your concern.  Get out of my room."

            Brennen James, a man Casey had admired and adored since she'd purchased his first album, stood at her bedroom door and laughed at her.  Casey gritted her teeth and turned her back on him.  She returned to her guitar and carefully set about removing the broken string from its key.

The entire book is like this. So while I managed to write a complete novel, the story never saw the light of day. Editors rightly pointed out that this story has no actual conflict - it's all bickering. The great thing about those rejections was that I got actual REASONS for the rejection. Armed with those, I could learn what internal versus external conflict was. And then I could write a second novel that managed to get it wrong in even more spectacular fashion, but that's another post.

At least I can't offer up my very first attempt at fiction - the 15 year old heroine who was an expert horsewoman, an expert swordswoman, and a great tactician fighting pirates to preserve her father's reign. Oh. And she had a black panther named Scott as a pet. <shrug> Yeah, I dunno. I was twelve and it all sounded like a good idea at the time.

1 comment:

  1. Well, having hard facts/reasons is a plus! And my 15 yo self would've loved a pet panther! :)