Writer In Motion – edits

When I started this project with the other authors of Writer In Motion I thought it would be a great way to do a writing project, make new friends, and learn a few things about myself and my writing. I wasn’t wrong, and I wasn’t right.

A refresher for all of you who are joining this a little late. There were 23 of us who decided to join together and working with a single prompt (see picture above) we were asked to write the story (no more than 1000 words) and then over the course of 6 weeks we were to share the story, edit the story ourselves, work with two CPs (critique partners) and make corrections based on their evaluations, and finally have a professional editor read and edit our stories and make those corrections.

None of this was easy. But we all perservered. Our stories varied. Some decided to make their little short story a novel. Some were happy just to keep the story as a short story. But all of us learned a lot about ourselves as writers and our ability to accept criticism and see the whole picture.

I think this part was the hardest. I was blessed to have Maria Tureaud as my editor. If you ever have the chance to work with her don’t hesitate. She is amazing. She cuts through all the fluff and gives you what you need while gently making sure you tell the best story you can tell. I cannot say thank you enough to Maria for her kindness in treating my story like I would. Although, she won’t pull any punches when it matters.

The next step after these edits are done is to detail what we learned. In the meantime, enjoy this version of The Folly of Youth. I still consider this story a WIP (Work in Progress) as several points Maria made still need tweaking. Without further ado here is the story.

Thank you for reading and following along on this journey.

The Folly of Youth

A dare soon became a test of courage and folly—two equal sides of the same coin. Heads for courage and victory. Tails for folly and loss. Dramatic? Yes. But all over-thought do-overs are dramatic, and hindsight is pretty much useless.

Sherry suggested the dare.

She sat on the rough stone barrier that separated the walkway into Grayson’s Cove from the beach. She was enjoying every bite of the best mint chocolate chip ice cream this side of the ocean. I reached out, wanting to tuck her long blonde hair behind her ear, but resisted the urge. Her blue eyes watched my every move, a smirk tugging the edges of her perfect mouth upward–as if she knew what I was thinking. I blushed and turned away.

“So, what’s the boat’s story anyway?” She nodded at the half-sunken ship down the beach, leaning forward eyes wide with curiosity. Sand dunes, carved by nature’s artistic hand into rough hills topped with stiff tufts of grass separated us from the boat’s view–just the weathered roof was visible from where we sat.

I followed her slender arm—soft peach colored skin was dusted with sand from our earlier sunbathing. Sherry was a Summerling—a tourist visiting Grayson’s Cove for the season—and I think I loved her at first sight

“Here’s your cone, Janie. Happy thirteenth birthday.” Lucy handed me my favorite –a strawberry double-scoop with rainbow sprinkles.

I smiled at Sherry’s giggle when some of the melting ice cream landed on my shorts. Lucy snorted. I frowned and Lucy avoided my eyes, looking down instead at the hem of her shorts where she tugged as if a string were loose. Her ice cream was long gone, the only clue to what she’d had was a small blue stain etched around her lips from the blueberry icee she’d had earlier.

“Oh, just kiss already.” Lucy said under her breath. She shifted and looked away from me. Best friends since second grade, I hated that she felt left out, but couldn’t stop how I felt even if it meant Lucy was mad at me.

“Why all the signs to stay away from the boat?” Sherry asked ignoring her cousin’s discomfort and instead looking at me for an answer.

Lucy and I said at the same time, “A boy died playing there last summer.”

“Really? Let’s check it out.” Sherry leaped from the wall, halfway down the beach before Lucy and I realized she meant it.

I hesitated, warnings to avoid the tilting hulk racing through my mind, memories of the boy they’d found last year clouding my thoughts. Caught up in Sherry’s enthusiasm I stood, heart racing, ice cream and Lucy forgotten as I watched Sherry race, gazelle-like in her gracefulness and I shifted my body, preparing to follow her.

“Hurry up, last one there has to jump off the roof,” she called over her shoulder laughing.

I tossed my cone and ran as fast as I could up the beach behind her, admiring how her legs sparkled in the sun as she ran. I loved the air on my face, the shoosh-shoosh of sand kicking up under my bare feet as I closed in the distance between us. All thoughts of the boy from last year shoved to the back of my thoughts, niggling and slowing my steps for just a second as I remembered the drama that had surrounded his death. I shivered even as I picked up my pace. Tossing my blonde curls out of my eyes, I caught up to her at the boat.

“To the top. We’re pirates!” Sherry climbed up the rickety ladder on the side of the tilting wooden structure. I was steps behind her as she kicked off her flip flops, scrambling up the side of the cabin, her body bathed in the fading light of the sun. She glanced back at me, triumphant, hands raised in victory. In that moment I saw the beauty of living for the moment, taking what you can, holding it close and then sharing it with those who matter to you. All that in seconds of her smile, the way she reached out to me inviting me to join her in her space, and I reached for her.

She laughed again and I felt my heart skip a beat. Intent on joining her on her perch I ignored the splinters from the weathered boards of the cabin as I climbed.

She turned, moving to make room for me. I watched as she threw her arms skyward as if worshipping the setting sun. Pacing in the small space I was once more in awe of her grace.

Then the inevitable happened.

She fell.

I pulled myself onto the top of the boat, grabbing for her, hoping somehow to stop the inevitable from happening, but the coin was tossed, and it fell on tails.

She landed awkwardly, her beautiful neck broken.

I remember Lucy screaming, then sirens. I jumped down, clinging onto Sherry even as they tried to separate us. The stars twinkled overhead as the Summerling—my first love—left this world for another adventure.

Writer In Motion week 4 (suggestions and changes)

Here we are in week 4 of the writer in motion project (#writerinmotion) and I am getting the feeling that my characters need a little fleshing out. Both of my awesome Critique Partners in the project have mentioned not really knowing what my characters look like.

A legitimate complaint, and actually one I hear a lot from people who read my work. I have a tendency to lose the physicality of my characters as I strive to give more about their inner character rather than outward appearance.

Time to change that. Did you wonder if Sherry was blonde or brunette? White or not white? Tall? Thin? What about Lucy, the cousin, or Janie, the MC? I mean, I know what they look like so that should be enough, right?

Of course not, and I know that. I am restricted by my goal of 500 words, which means every word has a special purpose and wasting words on fleshing out my character was something I sacrificed to give a better view of their motivations and the world they were living in for this scene.

But… they are right, my awesome critique partners are right – we do need to know this. Our connections to characters we read about are based on a lot of factors – some of which include our idea of how they look based on what the author tells them the characters look like.

So, this week I am taking their suggestions under advisement and added a few tweaks to the descriptions of the characters. I hope this helps you see them better.

The Folly of Youth (version 4)

A dare soon became a test of courage and folly. The two are like equal sides of the same coin. Heads for courage and you win; tails for folly and you lose; I know that sounds dramatic, but aren’t all those things you wish you could do over from the safety of hindsight a bit dramatic?

Stars twinkled overhead now. Hard to believe only three hours earlier we’d been laughing and daring each other to try things we’d never done before. The coin was a lure, a promise of adventure; but its truth was a greater lie than a cloudy summer day.

Sherry suggested the game. She sat on the rough stone barrier separating the walkway into Grayson’s Cove from the beach licking her ice cream. I wanted to reach out and tuck her dark hair behind her ear, but resisted the urge. Her brown eyes watched my every move, a smirk turning the edges of her mouth upward as if she knew what I wanted from her.

“So, what’s the boat’s story anyway?” she nodded at the half-sunken ship down the beach.

I followed her slender arm; soft peach colored skin was dusted with sand from our earlier sunbathing. Sherry was a Summerling – a tourist visiting Grayson’s Cove for the season. That summer we all turned thirteen I loved Sherry at first sight.

“Here’s your cone, Janie,” Lucy handed me my favorite – strawberry double scoop.

I smiled at Sherry’s giggle when some of the melting ice cream landed on my shorts. Lucy snorted.

“Oh, just kiss and get it over with already,” Lucy said in disgust at my amateur attempts to hide my growing feelings.

“Why all the signs to stay away from the boat?” Sherry asked ignoring her cousin’s ill humor.

Lucy and I said at the same time, “Boy died playing there last summer.”

“Really? Let’s check it out.” Sherry leaped from the wall, halfway down the beach before Lucy and I realized she meant it.

“Hurry up, last one there has to jump off the roof,” she called over her shoulder laughing.

I tossed my cone and ran as fast as I could up the beach behind her, admiring how her legs sparkled in the sun as she ran. I felt so free, so happy. Tossing my blonde curls out of my eyes, I caught up to her at the boat.

“To the roof. We’re pirates!” Sherry climbed up the rickety ladder on the side of the tilting wooden structure. I was steps behind her.

Standing on the roof she crowed with glee.

Then the impossible happened.

She fell.

I jumped after her, hoping somehow to stop the inevitable from happening, but the coin was tossed, and it fell on tails.

She landed awkwardly, her beautiful neck broken.

I remember Lucy screaming, then sirens. I clung onto Sherry even as they tried to separate us. The stars twinkled overhead as the Summerling – my first love, left this world for another adventure.

#Writerinmotion Week 3 self-edits

Once again we are back in the story. This week we are going to work on our own revisions. So this process is the part I hate the most. I love writing the story: the research, the excitement of meeting new characters and developing their stories, setting up the world they will populate – all that is fun. It is like playing in a dollhouse and rearranging the furniture, putting pictures on the wall, blankets on the bed – setting the scene. The fun stuff.

Edits suck, I won’t lie. I HATE going back over and over a story I thought I’d finished. I want to revel in the finished product. I want the commas in the right place (yes, in my case that really would be magic because I love commas waaaay too much), and the characters to have done everything they were supposed to do to make the story click. I usually spend a lot of time staring blankly at the manuscript/story at this time. I move words around, then move them back. I spell check what is already spelled correctly. I check to make sure the names are all correct, and the story starts and ends where it is supposed to.

I purposely kept The Folly of Youth short because I did not want to impose too much on my fellow authors, CPs, and editors that are helping us with this project – but I worry it is too short. The doubts creep in – the imposter syndrome everyone talks about begins to take over. Does this story tell the story I want to tell? Are my characters real enough to be liked or hated? Are people going to be mad that it is sad? Will they get what my theme is? I don’t know.

In the end I decided to write the story that spoke to me. Here are my self-edits on The Folly of Youth. The picture is our prompt.

The Folly of Youth

What started as a dare soon became a test of courage and folly. The two are like sides of the same coin. Heads like courage and you win; tails like folly and you lose; a coin tossed in a contest to determine who throws the ball first, or… well, I know that all sounds a bit dramatic, but aren’t all those things you wish you could do over from the safety of hindsight a bit dramatic?

Looking up I was surprised to see stars. I found it hard to believe only three hours earlier we’d been laughing, daring each other to try things we’d never done before. The coin was a lure, a promise of adventure; but its truth was a greater lie than a cloudy summer day.

Sherry suggested the game. She licked her ice cream while sitting cross-legged Indian style on the rough stone wall separating the walkway into Grayson’s Cove from the beach.

“So, what’s the boat’s story anyway?” she nodded at the half-sunken ship down the beach.

I followed her slender arm; soft peach colored skin was dusted with sand from our earlier sunbathing. Sherry was a Summerling – a tourist visiting for the season who then returned to their lives in places more exciting than Grayson’s Cove. She was the cousin of my best friend Lucy.

That summer we all turned thirteen I loved her at first sight.

“Here’s your cone, Janie,” Lucy handed me my favorite – strawberry double scoop.

I smiled at Sherry’s giggle when some of the already melting ice cream landed on my shorts. Lucy snorted.

“Oh, just kiss and get it over with already,” she said, disgusted at my amateur attempts to hide my growing feelings.

“The boat?” Sherry reminded us.

“Oh, that’s nothing special.” Lucy said.

“No? Then why all the signs to stay away from it?”

“Hazard.” Lucy and I said at the same time. “Boy died last summer playing there.” I continued.

“Really? Let’s check it out.” Sherry leapt from the wall, halfway down the beach before Lucy and I realized she meant it.

“Hurry up, last one there has to jump off the roof,” she called over her shoulder laughing.

I tossed my cone. Running as fast as I could up the beach behind her I admired how her legs sparkled in the sun as she ran.

We reached the boat at the same time.

“To the roof. We’re pirates!” Sherry clambered up the wooden structure. I was steps behind her.

Standing on top of the tilted roof she crowed with glee at her triumph. Then the impossible happened. She fell.

I jumped after her, hoping somehow to stop the inevitable from happening but the coin was tossed, and it fell on tails.

She landed awkwardly, her beautiful neck broken.

I remember Lucy screaming, then sirens. I clung onto Sherry even as they tried to separate us. The stars twinkled overhead as the Summerling – my first love, left this world for another adventure.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Writer In Motion

Gorgeous picture isn’t it? This is part of the #Writerinmotion project I am part of. The brainchild of the brilliant Jeni Chappelle, we are using this pictoral writing prompt to craft a story of 500 words which we will take on a journey of several steps to create an amazing story. Your feedback is welcome for my story. Keep in mind this is the FIRST DRAFT and not a finished piece.

Read, enoy, and comment. I welcome your thoughts.

And now… for the main event (I apologize for the bareness of this site, I am new to blogging, and am sure I will get better as we go on).

The Folly of Youth

What started out as a dare between us soon became a test of courage and folly. The two are like equal sides of the same coin. Heads like courage and you win; tails like folly and you lose; like a coin tossed in a contest to determine who throws the ball first, or… well, I know that all sounds a bit dramatic, but aren’t all those things you wish you could do over from the safety of hindsight a bit dramatic?

It was night now, hard to believe only three hours earlier we’d been laughing and daring each other to try things we’d never done before. The coin was a lure, a promise of adventure; but its truth was a greater lie than a cloudy summer day.

Sherry was the first to suggest the game. Sitting on the rough stone barrier separating the walkway into Grayson’s Cove from the beach she licked her melting ice cream.

“So, what’s the boat’s story anyway?” she nodded at the half-sunken ship down the beach.

I followed her slender arm; soft peach colored skin was dusted with sand from our earlier sunbathing. Sherry was a Summerling – a tourist visiting for the season who then returned to their lives in places more exciting than Grayson’s Cove. She was the cousin of my best friend Lucy. That summer we turned thirteen I loved her at first sight.

“Here’s your cone, Janie,” Lucy handed me my favorite – strawberry double scoop.

I smiled at Sherry’s giggle when some of the already melting ice cream landed on my shorts. Lucy snorted.

“Oh, just kiss and get it over with already,” she said in disgust at my amateur attempts to hide my growing feelings.

“The boat?” Sherry reminded us.

“Oh, that’s nothing special.”

“No?” asked Sherry. “Then why all the signs to stay away from it?”

“Hazard.” Lucy and I said at the same time. “Boy died last summer playing there.” I continued.

“Really? Let’s check it out.” Sherry leaped from the wall, halfway down the beach before Lucy and I realized she meant it.

“Hurry up, last one there has to jump off the roof,” she called over her shoulder laughing.

I tossed my cone and ran as fast as I could up the beach behind her, admiring how her legs sparkled in the sun as she ran.

We reached the boat at the same time.

“To the roof. We’re pirates!” Sherry clambered up the wooden structure. I was steps behind her.

Standing on top of the tilted roof she crowed with glee at her triumph. Then the impossible happened. She fell.

I jumped after her, hoping somehow to stop the inevitable from happening, but the coin was tossed, and it fell on tails.

She landed awkwardly, her beautiful neck broken.

I remember Lucy screaming, then sirens. I clung onto Sherry even as they tried to separate us. The stars twinkled overhead as the Summerling – my first love, left this world for another adventure.