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.
***

A Writer’s Greatest Foe

Self-doubt is the greatest enemy of any writer, greater than any critic, any naysayer, any editor, any nit-picky reader, any grammar fanatic, any Nazi spellchecker, any publisher, literary agent, or pessimistic friend. Self-doubt will crush an author before an author can even become an author.

Self-doubt is the mind-killer. Self-doubt is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my Self-doubt. I will permit it to pass over and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the self-doubt has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Okay so that last part is actually “The Litany against Fear” from Dune. I just took out the word fear and replaced it with the word Self-doubt. I stole it, so what. My point remains.

The biggest thing for any writer to overcome are his/her own doubts, fears and self imposed limitations. I know for me personally this hindrance has at times seemed insurmountable. “What you’re writing is no good, your plot is weak (full of holes) and your characters flat (not to mention dumb), you’d be better off stopping now and saving what little dignity you have left.” And yep I know what you’re thinking, my voice of doubt is a real dick, and your right, but that’s how Self-doubt rolls. It gets under your skin and its hard to shake, but you have to shake it, because the truth of the matter is you have nothing to lose.

Self-doubt is a defense mechanism, intended to save you from embarrassment or rejection or whatever you’re afraid will or won’t happen once you’re done, but what you have to realize, and what I have to constantly remind myself  is that no matter what happens once you’ve written the last word or punctuated the last mark, the sun is still going to come up the next day. The world is not going to end. Time is not going to stop. You are not going to die if you don’t get published.

Worst case scenario is you don’t get published, you don’t get the hundred thousand dollar book deal, you don’t get picked up by some big shot Hollywood producer, and you never get that million dollar movie deal. So what, in the end, IF the worst case scenario does happen, you’re no worse off than you are now, but at least you can say you wrote a book.

So keep writing, show self-doubt who’s boss!

Till next time,

Lefty

Look what the cat blew in…

Well, well, well.
Look what the cat blew in…

Yep yep its me, and yes I did go missing for the entire month of February without a single post. But alas all is well and I have a doctor’s note, so no points will be deducted.

Anyway, Big news! I’ve been holding out on you guys but now the time has arrived for me to announce, I’m having a baby! Yes sir a bouncing baby boy, due in about three months. Cuban cigars for everyone!

Now that’s what’s written on my doctor’s excuse, but that’s not what’s has kept me from blogging, no the culprit is SWTOR, that’s (Star War: The Old Republic for those of you who don’t speak Geek) I’m a level 23 Sith Warrior Juggernaut on The Ebon Hawk server, in case anyone plays.

Alright now that I’ve thoroughly humiliated myself, back to business.

The writing is coming along, slowly but surely. Timeline has been pushed back, so I won’t finish in April as originally planned, and I hate that, but I don’t want to rush and lower the quality of the writing, while in the same breath I can’t let the project stretch out into forever, so I’m extending the deadline to May 29th.

Yeah, that works, May 29th, a date with Destiny…

Til next time,

Lefty

P.S.
About the title, the other night me and my wife argued for about 15 minutes about the old proverb
“You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.”
My wife was convinced that it was “you can catch more bees with honey”, primarily because she didn’t understand why anyone would want to catch flies, but my point was bees make honey, so why would they want yours if they have their own, and besides if no one wants flies I’m sure they don’t want bees either, heck, flies buzz, but bees buzz and sting. Most people would take a random fly in the house over a rouge bee any day of the week. When you see a fly, you just cover your food when you see a bee, you take cover.
Anyway, it goes without saying that I lost that argument, but still I thought the incorrect phrasing of “Look what the cat blew in”(should be Look what the cat dragged in, or Look what the wind blew in) would be a nice inside joke.

Congratulations, you’re inside.

Now catch that bee before it kills us all.

Lefty. Out.

The Completion of Chapter 16

Its 11:23 pm and I have just completed Chapter 16.
I stated that one of my original reasons for creating this blog was to chronicle my progress as I wrote my first novel. Ever word written, every paragraph punctuated, every chapter completed brings me just a bit closer to that end goal. Now since it would be very unproductive of me to write a post for every word and paragraph I put on paper, I’ve decided to post updates at the completion of every chapter. And so… here we are.

I have been working on chapter 16 for what seems like forever, and to be honest with you, I am very glad to be done. About half way through the chapter, the darn thing begin giving me a lot of trouble, and at a particular point I began to even doubt if this particular chapter was even relevant to the story in any wholly relevant way. I mean, yeah it offered considerably more insight into some of the personal aspects to a number of the stories characters, but I wasn’t absolutely sure that the chapter itself served any proper function. Still I decided to keep at it, I figured I could at least finish the chapter see where it goes and if it wasn’t doing anything special, I’d drop it in the revisions.

Well to my surprise it did turn out something special. As I continued to write and simply allow the story and characters to lead me through this particular portion of their adventure, an amazing  development occurred. In the end, the chapter turned out longer than I originally planned, but I think the additions lend to a much stronger experience for the novel, not to mention some nice action that I didn’t even see coming, plus some amazing secondary characters that ‘stepped up’ to even earn themselves some additional screen time (or page time rather) later in the book, no matter how short lived or painful that may be (for the character I mean).

Anyway, it just goes to show, when you keep the pen on the paper the story will unravel itself.

Writer’s block, smiter’s block!

Till next time.

Sincerely yours,

Lefty