Writers 911

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I need some HELP!!!!

I'm working on, like, eight different WIPs right now. Seriously. And I really want to single out and focus all my attention on writing just one story. But I can't make up my mind which one to chose.

I've heard if you can't capture the reader’s attention in the first 250 words--or maybe it's the first five pages, I dunno--then they'll probably give up on it completely.

So...here are the first 250-ish words of each story I'm working on in alphabetical order by their working titles.

Be honest. Which one captures your attention the most?

If you're not curious about reading further on any of them, that's perfectly okay. Better to know a thing like that before I finish the story, huh?! And if you're one of those blog skimmers and don't want to plod through ALL eight entries, no biggie, I totally understand. I just wanted a little outside input if I could get some.

Oh, and please excuse all the errors; these are only rough drafts, after all.


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#1 - CRAZY LITTLE THING (adult)

Breaking up with a woman took a certain talent, a gift in which Parker Grant had never finessed.

Closing his eyes as he dunked his head under the hot spray of his showerhead, he let out a single groan. Probably shouldn’t have let her in last night when she’d appeared on his doorstep, flashing a hopeful smile and a bag of his favorite Chinese takeout. Definitely shouldn’t have slept with her again.

But she’d come on strong, done everything she knew he liked, even modeled the new teddy she’d bought, just for him.

Sneaky woman must’ve known he’d lost interest, must’ve sensed he was trying to figure out how to drop her without making a sticky mess of everything.

He was such an idiot.

Eyes bulging when he heard a sound behind him, he glanced over his shoulder and through the glass wall of his corner shower, but the door to the bathroom remained shut. He breathed out a sigh of relief.

Thank God. Having her join him right now would only make him feel more trapped and smothered than he already did.

Too bad he couldn’t just drop off the face of the earth. She was the obsessive, clinging type who was going to take it hard, something he’d unfortunately discovered after hhe’d started dating her. But she worked for him, so…simply forgetting to call her back—ever again—was out of the question.

Parker shut off the shower. He stood passively a moment, letting the last of the water sluice down his body. After using both hands to wipe a few remaining droplets off his face, he once again glanced toward the bathroom door, stalling until he had to face her once more.

Barely 4K complete.


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#2 - FARM BOYS HAVE ALL THE FUN (adult)

On a typical night around the shores of Bose Eden’s watering hole, a symphony of bullfrogs and crickets serenaded the quiet pool. Willow limbs brushed the liquid surface, lending a serene ambiance to the area, while a full moon decorated the cleared picnic spot with a dim, quixotic glow.

But the night Cooper Gerhardt’s life changed forever was anything but typical.

During this particular evening, fifty-plus teens flooded the muddy banks, drowning out the tranquil echo of nature with boisterous conversation, screams of rowdy laughter, and the new subs Milo Hendricks had recently installed in his Chevy Silverado.

Over the hubbub of a lively Keith Urban song, Cooper barely heard his name called. Frowning, he cocked his ear until it came again.

“Coop! Yo, Coop.”

After he pushed his shaggy blonde bangs out of his eyes and squinted through the beam of car headlights and people, he found the source.

Emma Leigh Rawlings grinned and waved as she lifted her longneck bottle above her head and turned sideways in order to squeeze through the horde and reach him.

“Coop!” she yelled again once she was a foot away. Beaming up at him, she swayed a moment then grasped his arm, steadying herself. Though she did nothing to soften her tone, he still had trouble hearing her over the roar as she added on a near shout, “Wild party, huh?”

He filched her beer and tipped it up for a hearty slug. “Kinda boring,” he answered on a teasing grin and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

“Hey,” Emma muttered, scowling and stealing her bottle back, though in doing so, she sloshed foam out the top, making it run over her fingers and dribble down her arm. “Go find your own. I had to pay Bose three bucks for this stuff.” Contorting her arm, she licked the dribbles of beer off her elbow, hoping to taste every penny’s worth, no doubt.

Approximately 33K complete.


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#3 - A FATHER'S SACRIFICE (adult)

Rory Michaels loved tending bar.

In her opinion, the kind of alcohol a person ordered said more about their character than anything they wore or drove. She’d made an art of studying drinking habits and comparing them to personalities. She liked to pick a person’s brain and find out what made them tick.

There wasn’t a lot of picking going on today though. The place was near dead. Okay, it was completely dead. So maybe only hard-core alcoholics would frequent a bar at three on a Monday afternoon.

Today, even those were suspiciously absent.

Rory could only blame it on the new sports bar at the end of the block. She’d never stepped foot inside the place herself, but it boasted a flat screen television that covered an entire wall.

She snorted. There was nothing wrong with Mikey’s. She liked the ambiance here. It reminded her of Cheers.

“Norm never would’ve gone to Sports Town to get a drink,” she muttered to herself as she wiped the counter down.

At the end, a tired-looking old man stirred. “What’s that, Rory?”

Oh, right. There was her Norm. “Nothing, Milt. How’s the Stock Market today?”

A fanatic about watching the Stock Market every day, Milton Greely made sure the channel was turned to his station whenever he came in; didn’t matter what was on or who was watching the tube. “Looking, good, Rory,” he said on a nod. “Looking good. Up a hundred points from yesterday.”

She nodded and, seeing that his draft was nearly empty, poured him another. Milt always drank three mugs of Coors Light when he came in. Not two, not four. Always three.

6K complete.



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#4 - FORGET HAPPILY EVER AFTER (adult)

Prologue

The gossip columns predicted this wedding would be the event of the year. With an enthusiastic performance of Pachelbel, a small orchestra of various stringed instruments was already captivating the three hundred and fifty guests seated in the chapel’s sanctuary.

Decked out in a distinguished tuxedo, father of the bride, Spencer Farris, lingered in the reception hall by the chocolate fountain and snuck a strawberry under the fudgy stream for a quick taste. Careful not to get caught, he studiously watched the dozens of waiters and workers rush around, preparing last minute details like slipping silk covers over chairs and setting swan ice sculptures on tables.

Under the direction of the mother of the groom, four men carried a five-foot tall wedding cake from one table to the next because Mummy dearest didn’t like it in its current lighting. Spence grimaced as he watched Florence Leona waddle after the moving cake, flapping her hands in an urgent gesture and giving a winded instruction to the men.

He couldn’t say he was looking forward to sharing his daughter with her soon-to-be in-laws. But Preston Leona had been her groom of choice and Spence would’ve moved heaven and earth to get anything his baby girl desired. So if that meant putting up with Florence for the day, he’d do it and paste a fake pleasant smile to his face as he did.

For his only daughter, Spence had dished out nearly two hundred grand for today’s festivities. To witness the beaming expression he’d seen on the girl’s face almost ten minutes ago when he’d taken a picture with her and his wife, though, he had to say it was worth it. Now, his two ladies were alone in the changing room, having their final mother-daughter moment before the big I do’s.

24K in a big jumbled mess complete.


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#5 - GRANDMA'S SECRETS (YA)

As Jessica Bishop’s aunt took down the curtain in the back bedroom of the house that had been her grandparents’ place until yesterday, daylight flooded the dim interior. The walls instantly brightened from a grayish, muggy brown to a cheerful pastel green.

“There,” Aunt CeCe said, her smile satisfied as she folded the old curtain and crammed the faded cloth into an already-full cardboard box. “At least we can see what we’re doing now.”

Jessie didn’t bother to answer and neither did her mother. The three of them had been working nonstop for five hours, and Jessie’s communication skills along with her good humor had melted away about three gallons of sweat ago. Glad they’d finally made it to the last room, Jessie busied herself by dragging out dusty treasures from under the bed while her mother cleared the closet.

From the front of the house, the door banged opened.

“Hey, Mom,” an all-too familiar male voice called. Heavy and hurried footsteps followed until the tall, gangly teen appeared in the doorway.

He grinned, his blue eyes--or what could be seen of them under his long, shaggy brown bangs--were alive with excitement as he held up a keychain with a single key dangling from the silver loop.

“Look what I found. The key to Grandpa’s old Impala.” He wiggled his eyebrows and his grin grew. “So… can I have the car? Please, please, please.”

Jessie’s mom let out a long, exhausted sigh. She paused to push her own sweat-damp hair behind her ear. “Well, I don’t see why not. He certainly doesn’t need it anymore.”

Jessie jerked her head up. Jaw dropping, she let out a cry of disgust. “What? No way. Why does he get Grandpa’s car?”

Less than 2K complete.


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#6 - MILLIONAIRE OF MINE (Adult)

She’d go down in the history books for this, she was sure.

She could see the headlines now. Deri Crandall, first woman to be squished to death by printer paper. A noteworthy event indeed.

Deri gulped as she paused to watch the six-tiered metal shelf sway and groan after she hauled another five reams onto the second-to-top rung. Working as an intern in Harrety International for three weeks now, Deri calculated that on an average, the entire building used two hundred reams of paper each month. And it sat, stored right here on this shelf in this tiny supply closet.

Figuring as she worked, she concluded at five pounds per ream, two hundred of these suckers would put her up there at a thousand pounds. The rickety old shelf she stocked didn’t look like it could hold ten pounds much less a whole thousand.

A thousand pounds of paper. That’d be like having a half-ton truck fall on her if this baby went down. Deri lurched back and eyed the shelf anew.

There was no way this shelf could support an entire truck. She glanced at the five boxes still on the floor, waiting to be put away. Patrick hadn’t said anything about over-piling the shelves when he’d told her to stock the paper. Still, she had her doubts. With a longing look toward the doorway leading from the supply closet, she bit her lip. Temptation to flee seized her, but she remained rooted in her cheap, Payless flats, determined to proceed.

Almost 8K complete.


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#7 - THE NEIGHBOR WARS (Adult)

Samantha Hardin discovered just how impossible it was to sprint in flip-flops the morning she walked outside to retrieve her paper and the neighbor’s dog decided she looked more appetizing than his breakfast of Kibbles and Bits.

“Those were my favorite pair too,” she whined, opening a small gap in the window blinds with two fingers so she could scowl out at the enormous Rottweiler. It lounged in her front yard, looking completely at home while it pinned her shoe to the ground with an equally enormous paw and ripped the strap from the sole with its teeth.

Letting out a growl of frustration, Samantha jerked from the sight, letting go of the blinds so quickly they snapped closed and bounced a few times in righteous indignation. She snatched her phone off the wall mount and dialed a number that had become all too familiar these past few weeks.

“’Lo,” her call was answered six rings later in a raspy, sleep-clogged morning voice.

“Get your…dog…off my lawn.”

There was a pause, then, “Sam?” On the other end of the line, the man yawned. He sounded sexy, warm and unbelievably male. A sudden urge to crawl through the phone and slip into bed with him to snuggle under soft covers against hard, muscled arms made Samantha want to purr. But thinking of anything of the kind, and with Tyler Bidwell at that, was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. So, she shuddered with longing—er, revulsion—instead.

Gritting her teeth against the unwanted craving, she flipped the shades open to once again watch his mongrel making a chew toy out of her flip-flops. Ire rising back to respectable levels of irritation, she said, “And you owe me a new pair of thongs.”

Close to 5K complete.


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#8 - ONE NIGHT STAND BABY (Adult)

“I know we haven’t known each other long, but since the first moment I laid eyes on you, I’ve felt it. And every time we’re together, it just grows stronger. So, I’m just going to say it, and I don’t care how clich├ęd I sound. I love you. I am so totally and irreversibly in love with you it’s crazy.”

In answer, the baby in Brooke Delanco’s arms yawned and passed gas, snuggling deeper into her warmth.

Brooke grinned, tears of new motherhood filling her eyes. “I knew you felt the same,” she whispered to the napping infant as she smoothed her fingers over the child’s tuft of blond hair.

The hair color made her shake her head. She was a brunette herself; everyone in her family possessed dark hair. She never imagined she’d have such a light-headed daughter. But there was no denying Ava Delanco’s hair was anything but pale blond. Even her eyebrows were so light, they made her look like she didn’t have any.

Skimming her thumb over the tiny baby brows, Brooke awed over the child for about the hundredth time in the past two days since she’d been born.

When the hospital room’s door opened, she glanced up and smiled at the nurse that entered.

Pretty much what I just wrote is what I have completed, but the idea’s percolating.


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#9 - NONE OF THE ABOVE. Scrap all this junk and move on, Linda!

12 comments:

  1. 5, 6 or 7 are my favs. Good luck in choosing! :O)

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  2. Thank you so much, Diane. My sister is a big fan of 7 too!

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  3. First of all, I'm glad to see you have the same problem as me, Linda (well not glad for you, but you know what I mean)!

    Think I like: Grandma's Secrets and The Neighbour Wars best.

    I've given you a Versatile Blogger Award, cause I love the variety on your blog - you can pick it up at: http://romygemmell.blogspot.com/

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  4. Ooh, thanks Romy! I love awards. You're too sweet.

    Good to know I'm not the only one with stories crowding my head!

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  5. I like the one with Rory the best because she's interesting, the voice is strong, and you hint at some good conflict with the bar down the street, which makes me wonder what'll happen with that. :-)

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  6. #4 - Happily Ever After
    #7 - The Neighbor Wars
    Those are the ones I like most. #7 sounds more one-on-one, but Happily Ever After sounds more complex, so I like that :)

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  7. Sorry to be no help at all: You know I'll read whatever you write:)

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  8. Look, it's my two cents!
    #1's hero needs to be more likable if you want to pursue this one.

    I really like 6 and 7 - Stories with determined heroines rock my world. :)

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  9. Wow, thanks for the helpful comments.

    Jessica - Now I'm going to have to think up a conflict for Rory to have with the bar down the street!!!

    Carol - #4 really does have such a complex plot it confuses me a lot; maybe it's a bit too convuluted!

    Thanks, Molly. You really did help. You didn't pick 9!

    And thanks to you to, Linda. I have to keep going back up the list and checking, which one was #1 and 6 and 7!

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  10. I really like number 6! I went to a workshop recently where the author was discussing openings. She explained that the best openings were "action" openings. They catch the readers attention right away. Like Molly, I will read anything by you. Even YA in first person! ;)

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  11. I think you're just being too kind, MRD! But thank you anyway!!

    I'm definitely getting an idea of what not to start on first and narrowing things down. Thank you everyone.

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