The Boy Who Cried…

I’m still working on Chapter 24 but I’ve decided to post an excerpt from the book. This is from early in the book and is the first appearance of the main protagonist. Comments are always welcome.

A key hung from a shoestring, and the shoestring hung loosely from the neck of a small boy. He fiddled with it, struggling to pull it from underneath his shirt and place it into the front door. He was sniveling; remnants of tears could be seen along either side of his face, along with a large welt stained across his right cheek, it would turn dark purple by tomorrow. A school yard fight, with a school yard bully was the source behind his unusually frantic disposition. He was usually a happy and joyful child, but this had been his first fight, ever. He was eight.
            He knew his mother would be upset that he had been fighting, but truthfully it wasn’t his fault. Nick Abernathy had followed him half-way home from school, teasing him about his father. He was dead. But Nick said he was probably just a “dead beat” who ran out on him and his mother, and she probably just made up the story about him being dead because it was better than admitting he and abandoned them. He tried explaining to Nick – along with the small group that had gathered to watch his persecution – that his father was a hero who had died bravely as a U.S. soldier. A hero who had died protecting everyone and everything that he loved. A hero like in his comic books, a hero like Powerman, or the Olympian. Nick and the other kids laughed at this explanation, then Nick pushed him… so he punched Nick, and our small boy fought for the first time, and he lost.
            The key served its purpose, there was a catch and a loud click as the door unlocked, and the sobbing young fighter made his way inside.
            “Mom!” he called out, but received no response. The house was dark, the curtains drawn over the windows, blocking out the afternoon sun. He darted to the bathroom, making a futile attempt to clean himself up. He splashed water on his face, ran a cold towel across his eyes and took a deep breath, all in the hopes the he could wipe away the smell, look and shaky nerves of a fresh fight. None of it worked, not even in the slightest.
            He crept slowly into his mother’s room, opting to get a jump on explaining himself first, before she found out what happened by some other ‘unscrupulous’ means. Her room was just as dark as the rest of the house, perhaps even more so.
            “Mom?” he called out again, his voice already prepped for pity. She still didn’t answer. She lay in her bed, her back to him, apparently sound asleep. It was odd, she never slept during the middle of the day, and her room – which usually carried the delicately sweet scent of roses and wildflowers – filled his small nose with the strong and pungent odor of what he thought to be rotten eggs, in actuality it was sulfur; specifically it was brimstone. He stepped forward, and at that moment a bright yellow butterfly fluttered from his mother’s bed, landed on his open, awaiting hand then floated silently out of the room. His heart sank and immediately he knew something was wrong. He ran to his mother’s side.
            “Mom? Mom wake up!” she didn’t respond.
            “Mom!” he shook her shoulder. “Mom wake up please!”
            Nothing.
            “Mom you have to wake up now! Please mom, wake up!” Hot, wet tears began to streak down his face once again. “Mom please wake up! Don’t – please I’m sorry, don’t leave me!” by now he was screaming his face wet with tears, his nose runny and red; he struggled to catch his breath between pleas of desperation.
            “Mom please, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m… so, so sorry.” He buried his face into her chest and neck, she was still warm, she stilled smelled of roses and wildflowers. He inhaled the sweet aroma, taking in long lungfuls, desperate to breathe in as much of her as he could before the rotten stench of sulfur and pain pushed her out of his memories.
            “Mom?” he called out again, this time more gently, less hysterically as if his overactive emotions were what kept her quite. But still she didn’t reply, she simply lay motionless, lifeless, her beautiful brown face frozen in the last expression she would ever wear, a peaceful and serene smile, now stained with his tears and phlegm.
            Nate,” whispered a hushed little voice from out of the darkness of the room. It sounded slightly like a small child, probably no older than the boy himself.Nate can you hear me?
            “Wh-Who is that, who’s there?” he sobbed.
           It’s ok, I’m a friend.”The voice replied.
            “Why can’t I see you?! Where are you?”
           There’s no need for you to see me, at least not right now, but I’m here, I’m with you now, that’s all that matter.
            “Well if you’re a friend then help me, my mom is hurt, o-o-or she’s sick, she needs to go to the hospital.”
           No Nate… she doesn’t, I’m sorry but it’s too late. She’s gone.
            “NO! You’re lying! She’s not gone, she’s not! She wouldn’t leave me here, she wouldn’t leave alone like this, she wouldn’t  I know she wouldn’t ..” Nate clenched tightly to his mother, crying frantically into her shoulder.
            Nate I’m sorry, it’s true. But you don’t have to be afraid, you’re not alone, you’ll never be alone. I’m here –
            “Shut up! Get away from me! Leave me alone! I don’t need you! I don’t need anybody… WE don’t need anybody, get away… get away.” Nate held on, sobbing and panting, determined not to let anyone pull him away.
            Nate… you have to leave… it’s time – it’s time for us to go.
            “No!” he sobbed.
           It’s too late, I’m sorry… we’re already gone… its already over… besides, you have a job interview in 3 hours.
            “What?!”
            Nate awoke covered in a cold damp sweat. Sunlight peered in through his bedroom window. He checked his alarm clock. 6:58 a.m. It was scheduled to go off in 2 minutes. He had his first job interview since graduating college at 10 a.m.
            “It’s going to be a long f***ing day.” He mumbled to himself, no one replied.
***
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Books on Writing Books 2

Here are the list of Books on writing books that I have added to my library so far…

Gotham Writer’s Workshop: Writing Fiction
The Write Brain – Bonnie Neubauer
Sin and Syntax –  Constance Hale
The Little Red Writing Book –  Brandon Royal
The Daily Writer – Fred White
Sparknotes: How to Write a Short Story
Spunk and Bite – Arthur Plotnik
The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing – Editors of Writer’s Digest

I’m a novice,  perhaps a journeyman at best, and I know in a previous post I stated that most books on writing books are a complete waste of time and paper, and most are, to be honest, my opinion on that hasn’t changed in the slightest. But that’s not to say I know everything there is to know about writing, or that I don’t seek out and or need help, because I don’t know everything and I do need help. I am but a mere Padawan Learner, a Jedi Apprentice with no Master to guide me. So, I’ve began an compulsive search to find fruitful and beneficial material that will help me grow and develop as a writer. and thus far these are the books I found informative enough to add to my Library of study.

To these books and the rules set within I have taken a Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do, styled of academic learning approach, meaning, I read through and “Absorb what is useful, disregard that which is useless.” Not one of these works, I feel could stand alone as the premier and essential guide to writing, but together, with a bit from this one and a thought from that one, I have found myself becoming a more confident and competent writer.

Books on Writing Books

I tend to obsess. A lot. Especially when I’m embarking on a new endeavor our starting an journey that’s new territory for me. And though I’ve been a storyteller for most of my life (mostly in the form of random and unnecessary lies)  novel writing is still very much uncharted territory for me, so I did what I always do when I’m not sure about something, I research it until my eyes bleed. This lead me to purchasing a lot of books about writing books.
Now most bookstores have a full section for books on writing books, usually it just marked as reference though. Now essentially the books all say the same thing and most of them don’t even do that well. In my opinion most books on writing books aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on, and that’s saying a lot, because I don’t usually say such things, but I feel it has to be said. Now there are a few good writing reference books out there, but those are usually the one that offer insight into the writing process of already established authors, the books that offer and step by step instructional on how to write a book are worthless, because in the end you’re not actually writing a book you’re feeling in a worksheet with some fancy details.
There is no formula for writing a successful novel and there is no magic book out there that’s going to show you how to do it, the only thing you can really do is write. One of the biggest obstacles of writing a novel is the pursuit of publishing, and unfortunately most books on writing books are just someone else’s successful attempt to get published, but just because it was put in print doesn’t always make it helpful or even relevant in most cases its just an attempt to get 20 bucks out of an over enthusiastic aspiring writer.
Now there are some great books on writing books out there, but they are the exception rather than the norm. As a matter of fact everything I come across a good one I’ll come back here and let you guys know about it (since we’re pals and all)
Till next time,
Lefty