Chapped Excerpt Second Week

During the month of November I am writing a novel called ‘Chapped’. With two weeks to go I am safely past the half way point and feeling very good about the flow. Current word count is 27,628 words of the final goal of 50,000 words.

To read the first excerpt you can click here: Chapped Excerpt First Week

Please bear in mind that this is a first draft and very rough. I value your input as I understand that the creative process is enriched by community. Feel free to comment below.

– o –

The Longburrows had long been known for their hard working contribution to the community. Industrious and of strong genes they were admired for being able to accomplish much. This tendency to work hard and work well ran strong in Brooke’s blood. Her pragmatism dictated that there must always be a project in her hands. Dexterity in sowing , knitting and crochet had been cultivated by her able mother. Brooke began to gather the items she would need for the projects she wanted to work on while at her Grandmother’s house for the coming months. The saying about idle hands being the Devil’s playground had crossed her mind a few times.

She mused wondering about her condition and the validity of that saying. She wondered if some might think that her idleness that night might have given the Devil a moment to play on her. She knew that might be what some might think. Then she wondered how something so miraculous and wonderful could be considered a work of the malicious evil of all evils. Then she mused that the act itself could not be described as idle in the least bit. Moreover it was an active act. Thus, she reasoned, that anyone who might assume this was a point of weakness that the Devil preyed upon was sorely mistaken. Still, there was that tinge of regret that had begun to sprout once again. She stared at it from all sides and had a hard time coming to understand why the goodness growing inside her could be the result of something that caused such a gnawing sense of guilt.

Once or twice the thoughtful girl tried to broach the subject with her mother. She was a good enough woman and had done the best she knew how to raise her little girl. Now when crisis had struck she went into survival mode. Everything was calculated and mechanical. Even her desire to avoid all appearances of evil required that much care be taken to act as if nothing was wrong around the help and especially around her husband. The smiles came at all the right times. The work did not slow in the house. There were no lapses in the routines of social calls and entertaining. It was life as normal, as far as anyone passing by could ascertain. So when her curious daughter came with well mulled over questions she was ready with a premeditated response designed to cut the conversation as quickly as possible without upsetting her daughter.

Brooke would start in with a simple, or at least what seemed simple to her, question.

“Mother, when I am at Grandmother’s house will you come to visit me from time to time?”

The mother and daughter had a cool relationship, yet spent much time together keeping their hands busy or fulfilling social duties. Brenda knew that her daughter would have an inclination to want her to be there with her for part of this ordeal, as she saw it. Yet, for her plan to succeed this could not happen. The situation must be handled in a sterile environment far away from the peaceful little home she had created. No, she could not participate.

“Brooke, dear, mother told you. You will be with your Grandmother Adelaide. She is a sweet lady who is easily agitated by much company. For the good of us all it is best if I not ruffle her nest any more than it has to be. In addition to that, we can’t leave your father alone, now can we? Who would keep this place running if the both of us were gone at the same time? I am handling it dear. I told you. Don’t you worry; you will be fine with your dear old Grandmother. I am handling it all, Brooke, dear. Now peal those last two apples and then you may go lie down. I am sure you are needing to rest by this time.”

The two would then stand silently side by side finishing their task. In this case the task was peeling some apples for a pie they were making. Brooke understood the dismissing tone in her mother’s voice. She had received her answer and knew that she must not bother any more. Though, other questions, deeper questions, had replaced the one first in line.

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(c) Angie Washington 2009

8 thoughts on “Chapped Excerpt Second Week

  1. Hmmmm…. curious about the mother-daughter relationship! Good characterization. “We can’t leave your father alone, now, can we?”

    Here’s an editing trick that will cost you some words but tighten up your writing. Eliminate almost all the “she thought/reasoned/mused” statements. Just say what she’s thinking without saying she’s thinking it. Makes the prose just a bit stronger.

    1. Oh, yes! Good tip, thank you. I was getting bored with how many times I included phrases like that, but I didn’t know how to fix it. I do think you are on to something. How exciting!

  2. Interesting! Way to go on your goal. I hope that you make it and are happy with the end result. It looks good so far. Just one question. Does the devil pray or does he prey? You may have meant prayed but maybe you meant preyed. Could have been a literay creative expression too and I just missed it.
    Congrats too on climbing your mountain. Which we had snow capped ones here in Turkana :).

    1. Hi Lynn! Thanks for the encouragement. That word looked so wrong to me but I didn’t want to take the time to figure out how to fix it. Now my problem is solved. Good eye, lady! :o)

  3. Angie, you’re doing great! Sounds like an interesting story.

    Great tip from Marti too. But save that editing for later. I admit that sometimes I purposely use more words than necessary during NaNoWriMo just to get my word count up!

    I haven’t put up any excerpts yet. Just a tiny blurb on my NaNo page.

    1. That is a very intriguing blurb you’ve got, Beck’. I love that we are doing this together. It adds a very cool dimension to the experience. I hear you on the word count thing. There have been so many sentences that I think are cheesy or repetitive, but I leave ’em just to keep my fingers moving. Scrutinizing comes later.

  4. Looks good! I’m so proud of ya…I can’t imagine writing that much on the same storyline. I think I’d run outta words…do you think that’s possible??!?

    Big hugs!

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