This is Chapter one of my book…  A few days ago, I posted a blog titled: Would You Read This? 

It was the introduction  to a book I have been writing for the last 3 years. This is the next chapter.

I would love feedback. I KNOW I need a lot of editing but would love people who like to read to give me there honest opinion…  And from professionals who could tell me…if I have something that publishers are even looking for.

Chapter Two begins with the sixteen year old girl… I am stuck  at the ending… the place where Keri is older and has been found again but for now here is chapter one…

 

Chapter One

It was a rainy Saturday afternoon; the kind that seems to still have one foot in winter and the other, in spring, the kind Keri knew made her fifteen year old daughter Brynne very lazy. But affected Keri in a totally different way…Keri’s husband Tim was away at work and so she decided that it was the perfect day to talk her daughter, into getting a head start on some spring cleaning. She had spoken to Tim about cleaning out the attic and making it into a study to write in. She had decided to revive her dream to write. An aspiration she had put on the back burner for a very long time. Tim had thought that it was a wonderful idea and told her that he could even build a little loft in their garage to store the boxes that were left after cleaning out the attic.

Inspired by the thought of moving closer to her dream, Keri put a roast in the oven and headed up to Brynne’s room, after a little coaxing, Brynne reluctantly crawled out from under her warm down comforter and followed her mom up the attic stairs. Soon they were laughing and chatting as the rain tapped against the roof above them as they got caught up in all the memories.

Brynne began pulling out old toys and clothes and books from trunks and boxes that had since been long forgotten. She had gotten caught up in looking at some old color forms and books when Keri had reached down into the bottom of one of the trunks and found the little diary. She recognized it at once. The lock still latched, she clicked the little button and felt for its release. It unlocked easily but for some reason she froze. She did not immediately open it. Keri stood up and frowned as she looked out the large picture window at the top of the trees swaying in the storm. The rain had started the night before and remained steady. She could see the little brook below and saw that it had filled. She felt warm and cozy and comfortable inside the warmth of the attic and imagined herself looking out the same window someday, as she sat at her desk and wrote.

The smell of the roast wafted up the stairs prompting Keri to go check on it. Promising a quick return, she left her daughter still sorting through boxes. She had fully intended to just check the roast and go right back up to encourage Brynne into getting rid of half the treasures she had stored up there over the years but Brynne had gotten caught up in her own little journey down memory lane and the whole project seemed to have turned into an all day event. Keri smiled; picturing Brynne in the pile she had left her in as she gently closed the oven door and wiped her hands on the kitchen towel. She turned to go back up and then remembered that she had brought down the diary she had found, and went over and picked it up from the counter feeling slightly unsettled.

She walked into the living room and poked at the fire in the fireplace, and then sitting down, she opened the book. Things that she had not thought about for a long time consumed her in an instant. Every word on every page snapped her back to another time in her life. She felt as if she had been given a time capsule, opening up such sweet but sometimes painful memories immobilized her as she turned each page. She remembered writing the words and the way she felt when she had written them.  The memory of that young girl seemed to take on a life all of its own, as if she were reading about a fictional character and yet the memories those words triggered within her caused her to want to go and find that girl again, to somehow get her and bring her home.

Keri pulled a fuzzy throw over her legs as she read. Every page she turned seemed like opening up an old door and peeking inside. The love and pain and memories consumed her as the glow of the fire filled the room and the sound of the rain hitting the roof seemed to be lost in the background as she continued to read the words she had written a lifetime ago.

She hadn’t noticed how much time had gone by until she heard her daughter padding down the attic stairs. “What’s that?” Her daughter asked walking into the room, finding her mother deep into whatever it was that she was reading. Keri looked up and smiled. Brynne was puzzled. She had been lost herself in a magical mood of her own as she had pulled out old dolls and stuffed animals that had sent her back to another time. Brynne had fully expected to find her mom in the kitchen or watching T. Her mom always had the TV on for background company, even if she wasn’t watching it. But today, she sat by the fire in silence with a book. “Have you been crying?” Brynne frowned, sounding slightly concerned as she sat down next to her mom eyeing her with a look of uncertainty. She wondered what had caught her interest in such a way to have stopped her day like this. Looking amused at catching her daughter’s interest, Keri wiped a tear away and smiled. She was a little surprised with herself, crying over an old diary but the only way she knew how to explain it was to be honest.

Keri had not mentioned the diary when she found it at the bottom of one of her old trunks. She had set it aside with a slight feeling of unease. Not really hiding the little book from her daughter but not really knowing if she even wanted to go there herself.  She thought that she had put all of those feelings away but over the years she had realized that they were not as easily packed away as old things in a trunk might be. Like this diary, they would show up when she least expected, like today. Keri tested the waters by reading a few of the pages aloud to Brynne. After a few minutes, she stopped and looked up to make sure that she had not completely lost her daughter’s interest but noticed that Brynne looked quite captivated.

Inspired by the attention she seemed to have captured, Keri, explained to her daughter…”I started writing this when I was about your age.” Brynne listened interested.

“I was so smitten with the idea of being in love and so boy crazy back then, even though I really was not allowed to officially date until I was sixteen. I hung out with a few boys and then the summer after my birthday I met someone.” Brynne’s interest peaked and she asked, “A boy that was not daddy?” Currently Keri and her husband Tim had been negotiating curfew and dating rules with their daughter and she found this all very interesting to say the least. Picturing her mother with boys when she was her age was a concept Brynne hadn’t broached.  “Yes.” Keri answered, “I met a boy who was not daddy, a boy who changed my life forever.”

A look passed over her mother’s face that Brynne could not read. They had shared a mother and daughter bond that few can boast about, they finished each other’s sentences and usually knew what the other was thinking with very few words. Both Keri’s and Brynne’s friends envied their relationship. And without ever giving it a name, they had been best friends from as far back as either one of them could remember and Brynne felt as if she knew everything about her mom until today. Brynne listened with interest.

Keri wanted her daughter to admire her. She felt as if she had made so many mistakes in her life but had managed to rise above most of them. Brynne had always been so level headed and unaffected by the silliness of young love. When her friends would seem unusually boy crazy, Brynne had always been the one in control. She was a dancer and she would not let anything get in the way of her dream. Least of all, what she called silly romantic drama. Brynne felt she had plenty of time to find the right one and seemed in less of a hurry than her other friends. But even as level headed as her daughter was, she knew that it was only a matter of  time, and it only took one boy to turn her heart upside down. And so she decided to share what she had written.

Keri scanned the pages, realizing that she had not shared any of it with anyone, ever. Her pain had been confined to the privacy of her journals, late at night in her room.  The idea of sharing this part of her life panicked her.  However Keri had always  felt that everyone’s story, good or bad, was worth telling if it could help someone else not make the same mistakes. Especially her daughter. Keri  thoughtfully considered her story and wondered if today might be the day she would share it . Maybe telling Brynne her story would help guide her.

Long before Brynne had even been interested in boys her mother had encouraged her to make a wish list that included the top ten things she would wish for in a husband.  Keri had read the list and then added one more…she told her daughter that if any boy  ever showed any sign of a temper that, that was her cue to run like the wind! Brynne never quite understood why her mom had always been so adamant about that rule but had added it to her list.

Sitting there with her book in her hands, her life’s story literally tucked inside the pages, and her daughter a willing audience  she considered everything. She held the book tight against her chest and looked into her daughter’s eyes filled with questions, with the crackling and popping of the fire raging, she opened the book and said

“I never told you about this part of my life she said.” Maybe it’s time I tell it to you now.

 

Brynne, who was always in a hurry curled her feet up under her and grabbed another throw as she settled in to listen to her mom read. Keri began reading, she read a page and then the next one and paused thinking that Brynne would be bored but Brynne motioned her mom to continue. By the time she was done, the fire had died down to a flicker and more than two hours, maybe more had passed.

Keri closed the book and she looked up and noticed that Brynne was in tears. “Oh mama” she cried, “It is all just so sad.”

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40 thoughts on “Would Anyone Read This? Chapter One….

  1. I was captivated, too. This is a great story. I Ioved this part and identified with it.

    “The memory of that young girl seemed to take on a life all of its own, as if she were reading about a fictional character and yet the memories those words triggered within her caused her to want to go and find that girl again, to somehow get her and bring her home.”

    1. Wow. Thank you!!!!! That means so much! This book is one of those bookmarked folded pages that I was talking about! Shelved for a while to come back down and finished for once and for all! 🙂
      Thanks for the inspirations!
      xoxo

  2. There is something brilliant here, telling an entire story by a mother reading her diary to her daughter. Like a framework through which a story is told. I like that notion a lot and I’m wondering if you are doing that. Genius!

    There are some incomplete sentences and a few word choices that I stumbled on that I couldn’t skip over until I replaced with one that better suited the flow — to me. I see this chapter repeated in your most recent 50 posts in the right-hand margin of this blog. Is that a rewrite? I don’t want to invest time criticizing or suggesting things when I suspect this is not the “real” presumed finished work.

    Do let me know what kind of comments/help/criticism/suggestions you might want going forward with this. I could imagine copying and pasting this into a word processor and making corrections and comments in red. What is your pleasure?

    1. As always… first…. whether good or bad… I am open… I know that once I have completed the framework of the entire book…. I need to edit and re-edit and then the rejection starts! I know because I have gone this route once before with my Did You Imagine Me Book that I finally ended up producing myself….
      One rejection letter had to have come from a summer intern… at least hopefully…it wasn’t “not a kid” I sent it in book form with a cover letter that read it was my version of a storyboard which is what a lot of publishers require…the rejection letter with spelling errors to boot…. told me that they liked the story but the font was hard to read!!!!! OH my gosh… seriously??? YOU are the publisher… change the font! But I learned long ago to never argue with a rejcection letter. But eeeeew how I wanted to at least point out his errors to his boss or at least to him! Argggh. How many years ago was that? And it still bugs me! Sooo… I have to learn to take constructive criticism but it has to be reasonable… kapeesh?
      The story is about how a young girl raised in a pretty privileged and Polly Annish like childhood though not without some flaws of it’s own…( her dad is an alcoholic but a very successful businessman.. so she has the co-dependent issues that could make her fall into an unhealthy relationship) gets involved with a boy who has many demons from his own childhood and how the relationship becomes abusive.

      The deal is… I want to really show the dance of codepency in the story… the subtle way it weaves throughout our lives…. the decisions it causes, the excuses and finally the damage thoughout that person’s life.

      I also don’t want to make the abuser the villian but rather to show the background of what caused the abuse. Not to excuse it but perhaps to explain it…

      And then weave it through “Keri’s” life into adulthood.

      I already have 23 chapters written in outline form. I am on Chapter 12 right now rewrting and editing myself and then I am going to need editing by someone else other than me. Paul has been amazing in taking time in helping me with punctuation (which I am terrible at) and the use of too many of the same words… such as had… I tend to use that a lot…. he pointed out…
      As for the content. That is my story. I don’t want to change it. Though I am open for things such as what I am doing now… taking out unecesarry chunks of information that don’t really need to be there… it doesn’t make the story and isn’t missed by taking it away… and I am finding places where I need to explain a little more to make it read better…
      I know you are busy and your time is valuable and I appreciate anything you want to help me with. I have loved your friendship in reading my ramblings… it is very validating. I probably would rather have what you have been doing for me, than any jewelry or gift in the world… It is a funny thingl I look forward to reading what you think. And to be called Genius when referring to Chapter One well, that is pure gold.

      1. OK, this Paul person appears to be doing the sorts of things I would be offering. And I’m still way behind. You do repeat certain words too often, there is the occasional incomplete sentence, and there are bits where you need to elaborate as if you assume the reader knows what you are talking about. In every blog where I reference my wife I always mention her the first time as, “my wife Cathy” in case the reader just walked in and doesn’t know the world I have created here. So that is my biggest overall comment, to recognize that the person knows absolutely nothing except for what you tell them. Sure, you can lead people to make certain conclusions, but assume they know absolutely nothing coming in. That is tantamount!

        I leave you to the tender mercies of Paul. If I were to step in, knowing the process already in place, you would need to send me the manuscript as if ready to send to a publisher and then I would pour through it and make little corrections throughout going no further than rewording a phrase here and there.

        Once I read through I will be less willing to go through it all again and I am going to read the chapters as I progress through your blog.

        Each chapter being another reading from mother’s diary to her daughter, that is a powerful and fun way to present the meat of a book.

        1. Thank you. I guess the only way to describe this is the way that someone may put all of their life’s work in searching for a treasure at the bottom of the sea… It may not be their only project and like with me… I have more books inside of me but this is the treasure I am diving for now. Though I want the story to have redeeming value. Not just a story but something that makes you think and see what motivates Keri to put up with things…. The common question is why did you keep going back?! With so much jugment and condemnation when the truth is… you really don’t know. Everyone’s story is different. There is no pat answer. As in this story, it is just another story but it is like a peek into a horrible situation not without the love and joy and not overlooking the pain and grief either.
          I think that I have been waiting for you to get to this place Kind of like Dorothy said to the scarecrow… I will miss you most of all as she started saying goodbye to the tin man and the lion and then to the scarecrow… I really do want you to read what I have offered here. I care what you think. I know it is still very rough. I have changed some of it in my word file so I have edited some since I have posted and still have to finish what Paul gave me from Chapter Two… (he just sent me the second half of his edit and I have not gotten there yet because I was on twelve for a few weeks…. trying to work on it around my work schedule.) But I am getting to a place where I need to take a blog break or just come on here once a week to get the rest finished. But I am fortunate to have you and Paul read from a man’s perspective though I was writing it as something for young and older “women” I think it is very worthwhile to have your opinions.
          Like I said the grammar (run on sentences) spelling and punctuation is what I totally know I need help on. Though spelling is easier with spell check I do need the feedback and appreciate anyone who would like to take a chunk and offer a critque. That is exactly what I have been asking for! I would never dream to expect Paul or you to actually edit my whole book but I am grateful for what you guys have done for me or in the future!
          Could you give me an example of where I leave you to assume and you feel I need to tell you? That might be helpful for me to understand… I am not sure if it is my style of writing that I need to fix or I just missed it and need to insert more info! Thanks Jim!!!!

          1. When I get to Chapter 1 in your blog I will copy it into a word processor and everything I suggest changes to or make comments on I will make very easy to find. I need to look at the text first to see what characters you don’t use. If I make a change I will, say, put it in [square brackets] and if I comment it will be in {curly brackets} and everything from me in red. So you could search on the open square bracket “[” to find a suggested correction and an open curly bracket “{” to find all my comments interspersed throughout the text. I’ll create some kind of easy to follow mechanism — I’m a teacher after all.

            Microsoft Word!?!?! You know there are specialized apps for book writers, don’t you? I have something called Scrivener on the Mac and it is for the PC as well. Yes, the following link is what the cool book writers use. You are too late in the process but for future projects you might explore this:

            http://bit.ly/VeS0IM

      1. I got burned out on the whole blogging thing. Recently I submitted a project for consideration to National Geographic (see my blog). Now I think I have the mindset to go through Keri’s Journal from the beginning, start over, and give candid remarks. I’ll start in sometime today.

        1. I can understand getting burned out. You invest a lot when you read and comment and what you do is time consuming when you do it. And I know you weren’t just doing it for me so I can imagine it took a big chunk of your days I don’t expect you to do THAT again lol.
          But I’d be interested in your feedback when you have the time. 🙂

  3. I would like to thnkx for the efforts you have put in writing this website. I’m hoping the same high-grade website post from you in the upcoming as well. In fact your creative writing skills has encouraged me to get my own site now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your write up is a good example of it.

  4. I really enjoyed chapter one; look forward to reading more and applaud you for making your work public. Great comments above. Bless you as you allow Him to write through you…that Holy Spirit download is always the best:) xo

  5. Hey really am glad I posted this! I totally see where I use too many of the same names in the same sentence etc…
    It is amazing how you can read and reread something and it is fine to you and then you read it from the point of view from the other guys perspective and you see all the mistakes!
    Thanks guys, I have already rewritten this 3 times since posting it.

  6. I finally had time to sit and really read this! First of all, I commend you for your bravery in putting this out in cyberspace and opening it up for criticism, compliments, and edits. I had already gathered you were one tough cookie! 😉

    So…I like what you’ve written and this is just my humble opinion as I have no right to critique anyone’s writing. In the part where you say she read a few pages of the diary, then looked up for her daughter’s reaction, I would like it if you actually went back in time and teased the reader with a little bit of that story then came back to the present. I think your overall story lends itself to doing just that, and the reader will immediately be drawn in and want to continue reading to discover what else is in that diary.

    Congratulations on your hard work! Maybe someday I’ll follow your brave lead and have something for you to critique too! 🙂

    1. That is a great idea! The story actually is about how Keri dated a boy who was so horribly abused in his childhood (similar to the lyrics in JJ. Heller’s song… Love me) about the boy with the life you wouldn’t believe… and how his pain spilled over on his relationship with Keri in way of abuse that interrupted her cookie cutter little life, in a time when there was no self help Oprah type shows out there and how she dealt with it herself not sharing it while it was happening… In the scene you mention…Keri is sharing things she never wanted her to daughter to ever experience in way of reading her the diary… the book (I am writing) is kind of like a story of the different times his rage took over and how it effected her, along with the joy and passion and crazy making times that Keri was trying to save her daughter from by finally sharing. My hope is to make young girls aware to never subject themselves to the abuse that can sneak into our lives so innocently like an accident that becomes a nightmare. If you can think of a way to incorporate any of that into the part you are suggesting I share more… I am very open!!! Thank you for taking the time to read! It means so much and I love your ideas!

  7. What a start – I really hope you finish your book and go for your dream. Love the beginning here – maybe it’s because I was never close to mum when I was young .. things has become a bit better those days. We are very good friends, but I don’t know if the real daughter and mother connection is there … but good friends is good enough for us both.

  8. You’ve got something, just keep working it. As for the ending, I found that I had to let the end of my book sit for quite awhile. I couldn’t force it. It came to me in a flash and fit the rest perfectly. Writing is such a balance between those jolts of inspiration and those tedious hours reworking and editing. Best of luck:)

    1. Thank you for taking the time to stop in and read! I have had a few of those moments for other things but I am waiting for the flash in regard to my book! But you are right! When it does come it all falls into place! Thanks for the reminder!!! I love your comment about the balance!!!! That is what I have been working on lately… Going over all the boring editing and doing the Dr. Suess editing by reading it aloud over and over again and seeing where it doesn’t sound right or there is one too many of the same word… but love your feedback!! Thanks sooo much!

  9. The story starts off slow but it picked up and peaked my interest. Beside some transitional things, I enjoyed the read. I’m sure many readers can relate to this book because they have pasts and daughters approaching that age where they are interested in the person their mother were before being their mother. I agree with Knowledgeknut about using more imaginative words. As writers we tend to think our audience wouldn’t be able to process concepts, so we spell it out. Anybody that picks up a book to read wants to be challenged to use their imagination; they want to escape. They want to sip on your words like a shot of alcohol. With that beginning said the talent is there….don’t over think it because I was still engrossed in the storyline. I am a man who loves watching Love stories, so I loved the connection but I do want to feel it more!!!!

    1. I have actually gone back and started reworking it with the theme of SHOWING more and telling less so glad I asked before I finished it all forgetting that rule.
      Thanks you guys!

      1. It is a beautiful story about mom and daughter. I too want to be a writer (surprise!) and took many creative fiction writing classes. One of the things that was pounded into us was to SHOW, don’t TELL. Or, in other words, use imagery words to show us more of what is going on then telling the reader. This makes the reader imagine things and involves them in the story in a way that simply telling them can never do. Using the imagination is active participation, being told is passive. You have a great opportunity here – for example: “Keri wanted her daughter to admire her”. Show the reader how Keri went about doing this. The paragraph that follows talks about Brynne and how level headed she is, but does not go into how or why Keri wants her daughter to admire her. You could make it two paragraphs, the first showing us what Keri has done to gain the admiration and then segue into the one that shows the level headed Brynne.

        Because we are telling a story it is hard not to “tell” all things. Sometimes I have to sit back from a paragraph and re-read it to make sure that I have done enough showing to keep the reader actively engaged. Not always easy to do!

        Hope that makes sense!

        KK

      2. It is a beautiful story about mom and daughter. I too want to be a writer (surprise!) and took many creative fiction writing classes. One of the things that was pounded into us was to SHOW, don’t TELL. Or, in other words, use imagery words to show us more of what is going on then telling the reader. This makes the reader imagine things and involves them in the story in a way that simply telling them can never do. Using the imagination is active participation, being told is passive. You have a great opportunity here – for example: “Keri wanted her daughter to admire her”. Show the reader how Keri went about doing this. The paragraph that follows talks about Brynne and how level headed she is, but does not go into how or why Keri wants her daughter to admire her. You could make it two paragraphs, the first showing us what Keri has done to gain the admiration and then segue into the one that shows the level headed Byrnne.

        Because we are telling a story it is hard not to “tell” all things. Sometimes I have to sit back from a paragraph and re-read it to make sure that I have done enough showing to keep the reader actively engaged. Not always easy to do!

        Hope that makes sense!

        KK

        1. KK Thank you!
          I have that book Show Don’t Tell… I think in the story that follows… the true story… I have penned… I use that technique more than in the intro and the first chapter~ (there is a lot of abuse that happens in the story where I try to make the reader feel what the characters are feeling but I will definitely go back and re-look at your suggestions! Thank you!

  10. You have a great story here. Really! Lots of work ahead but the important thing is you started it! Write, write and write. Check the grammar, typos, spelling, etc. And when you’re done, edit again. Words do get in the way sometimes.

    Blessings, you have a book on the way! 🙂

    1. Jeanne, I do… have about 11 more chapters already written… Been working on it about 3 years. I had an idea and it has been a work in progress. A lot of the writing was done in a short period and I have gone back over and over again to change. Now I am almost done minus the editing and stuck on how to finish… happy ending… message ending… unexpected, contrived.. sad… I’m just so not even close but I was just trying to get a feel to see how many people actually read the whole thing and if they would read more…. I get so much great feedback here… I think I just need to pray about it.
      Thanks for your time!!!

  11. I got the hot chocolate.. you provide the blankets.. I am ready.. I wanna curl an read more.. Really.. you know it is not nice to tease people like that…. LOL 😀

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