Monday, April 03, 2006

Novel Update--Stalled

I seem to be stalled out at Chapter 12. I have left off working on it for a couple of weeks, thinking that I just needed a rest. I fear I may have lost interest, but today when I opened the files, the story hooked me back in. I just need more details than I have. One of these days I am going to take a day trip down to Linden and sit on the court square. I know it will all come to me then. Right now, the cares of the daily grind are priority. Still, eleven chapters in three months is nothing to sneeze at. I know I can finish this before the end of the year. That's my goal. To have my novel written this year.

For those of you interested in the plot, I will post a brief sampling:

The old truck rattled as it hit a pot hole here and there on the gravel side road they had turned onto from the paved road that they had traveled for maybe ten minutes. Once they had cleared town, Catfish had allowed Beth back into her seat. She had finally summoned the courage to ask where they were headed, but he had ignored her request. She could not wait to get wherever it was; she had needed go the restroom ever since they had stopped at the river. Her head ached, and the nausea was still threatening to turn into vomiting. By this time, she did not care where he was taking her; she was just thankful to be alive still. She had a notion that if he really intended to kill her, he would have done so back at the river. So maybe she still had a chance to get away with her life. She hoped and prayed that she did. Whatever was awaiting her back home would be a picnic compared to this.

The were travelling a gravel road that paralleled the Buffalo River. Beth could see it below between the trees and brush beyond the valley on the driver’s side. The were climbing a steep embankment, and Catfish had to put the truck into low gear to make the hill. When they reached the top, the land flattened out somewhat, the trees parted, and before them lay the kingdom of Phineas Jones. Directly ahead Beth saw what appeared to be a mobile home, although it was so rough and weathered that it could easily be mistaken for abandoned. It was small, maybe fourteen feet by seventy, and a faded salmon color with faded black shutters. The underpinning had been torn off around most of the foundation, and a few chickens ran out from under while being chased by a mangy looking half-breed dog, who upon seeing Catfish’s truck pull in, ran to greet him with his tail wagging. The front storm door was missing, and there were concrete blocks for steps.

There were old vehicle parts strewn about the yard along with tires and tools and garbage. A fifty-five gallon blue drum sat beside the front door, and was full of briny water. A crude clothes line hung out beside the trailer and was strung between two trees. Beyond that was the remains of a garden plot trodden down with the tomato sticks still sticking up from the ground, and rags hanging from the dead vines.The grass was brown and patchy with muddy spots in odd places. Plastic covered the windows, but had been blown loose by the wind on the end and was flapping in the January wind. Set against the backdrop of the grey skies of winter, the scene was bleak and cheerless.

"Well, missy, I reckon we’uns is home. Now ain’t no use’n hollerin’. Ain’t nobody around for miles this time of year. I’m still good fer my promise of throwin’ ya in the river yonder if’n you’ns don’t behave."

Beth nodded weakly. "Is there a bathroom in there? I have to pee really bad."

"Of course there’s a bathroom in there. What do you think this is, the Stone Age. To yer right inside the door, and first left. And no funny business."

They made their way up the concrete steps. Beth entered slowly, not sure of what she might encounter. The stench hit her nostrils before she was two steps inside, the smell of animal waste, human waste, and stale smoke--spoiled food and rotten garbage. She felt her stomach lurch as she hurried down the hall. She flipped the switch for the bathroom and heaved into the toilet, which was black and yellowed and unspeakably nasty. When she was finished, she tried to flush, but nothing happened. She lifted the back off the toilet. No water was running. She turned the faucet in the sink, nothing came out.

"You don’t have any water," she yelled to Catfish.

"Course there’s water. Look in the five gallon bucket in the shower."

Beth pulled back the nasty shower curtain and there sat a five gallon bucket half full of the briny water. She lifted it out of the tub and poured it into the back of the toilet and flushed. She then urinated, and found no paper.

"There’s no paper," she shouted.

"I know. I’ll have to make a trip into town tomorrow. Use the catalog or drip dry. Best I can do."

Elizabeth’s mind was reeling. How could a human live in these conditions. She felt dirty and grimy, and now she had to drip dry. She longed for a shower and clean clothes, and then she remembered that she was wearing the only clean outfit she had brought with her. Her dirty clothes were in the truck. She cleaned up the best she could and went back to the living room.

"What am I supposed to do for clean clothes?"

"I got a flannel shirt you can sleep in. Tomorrow you can haul some river water up here to wash your dirty clothes with. I’ll make a fire and heat some water in the kettle. Then you can boil ‘em and scrub ‘em and hang ‘em on the line to dry. And unless you’re fond of wading in a cold river in January, I suggest you learn to wear ‘em a few days, seeing how you only got two changes. You musta’ left home in a hurry. And where’d you get all this here cash, get caught stealin’?"

"I’m not a thief. Or a liar and kidnapper," she spat back. "What are you going to do with me, just keep me out here in the wilderness for some kind of slave?"

"I ain’t decided jest yet. You best be watchin’ that sharp tongue. Old Catfish might jest cut it out with this here bowie knife." He took a long-bladed knife off the bar and pointed it toward her. "This here will skin a buck quicker than you can say ‘Jack Rabbit."

7 comments:

Mom101 said...

Thanks for the nice comment over at my place. Always nice to "meet" a fellow real writer in the blogosphere. I wish you the best of luck with chapters 12, 13, 14, 15 and beyond.

Praying for your Prodigal said...

You go girl! I am impressed! Your dialogue is fantastic! I have always been afraid of dialogue--you make it seem effortless. I felt right there with your characters. You have peaked my interest!

Can't wait for Chapters 13, 14, 1, 2, 3,..........!!!!!

Diane

Praying for your Prodigal said...

P.S.....I miss "dialoguing" with you! Stop by!

Diane

Lisa said...

Hey girl!

Hang in there!! You're doing great...just keep writing. Keep going while everything is fresh in your mind-don't let the little things stop you. Just keep going...write until the words won't come out any more.

I had an idea. You have created interesting characters-now pump them up. Ask yourself: How can I make my main character (MC) more interesting and bold. Make them do even bolder things than you ever thought possible, something even out of character for them. When you create bolder characters, more ideas will come to you. Once you make them bolder, then make them more vulnerable. Easy right? But it helps to create with character development and more importantly, helps to move the story along.

I recommend Donald Maas writing workbook for sprucing up characters to help the story along. I'll look up the name for ya.

I'm not saying this because I think you need to improve your characters, but because when I needed to get my story going, using these simple ideas helped me tremendously.

Remember, the editing can wait until after it's done. If you start editing as you go along, it is a tougher process and frustration sets in easier.

You can do it!!!

Chris said...

Thanks for visiting and the nice comments! Enjoyed your writing. I love to write (one of those secret passions), or I think it is words I like more. Words are powerful! The Word of God is life changing! Thank you Lord!

Keep writing! I'll be back to visit.

C. H. Green said...

Thanks for stopping in, everyone.

nyasha said...

thanks for stopping by. the Thursday 13 idea is that every thursday you make a list of 13 things, any topic anything you feel like sharing. And then you add a Mr. Linky, so that other people that have their list up can let you know who they are and then in turn you go visit their pages. It is fun, this way i came across new blogs i did not know about and we get to know a bit more about that blogger this way. You can also join in the Wordless Wednesday, or Monday Memories. I only started last week, so i am pretty new myself! ;)
Have a good day!