Dubious Allies (Sunday Photo Fiction)

Dubious Allies (Sunday Photo Fiction)

The scene below was taken from my NanoWriMo novel Deadly Heirlooms, still in bad need of editing. The original scene was approximately 530 words, now cut down to 200. It goes without saying a lot of background story has been cut away, which leaves an entirely different story.  Writing for Nano is an explosion of words; flash fiction is what is left after the dust settles.

Photo Prompt: Al Forbes (A Mixed Bag)

The Chevy pulled into town just as the shops were closing for the day. The driver, Connor Riley, halted at the corner. Up ahead, stood the police chief. He looked to be waiting for someone.

“Mind walking from here, Mattie?” Connor asked. “Kauffman hates me, and I’m in no mood to be grilled.” Neither am I, thought Mattie. She had barely shut the door before Connor swung the car around, leaving her to face Kauffman alone.

“Your car has been parked here all day. I thought you were working.”  Behind the accusation, Mattie caught a hint of concern in Kauffman’s voice.

“Change of plans.” Mattie noticed the sign in front of her car. 2-hour parking only. “Do I get a ticket for overstaying my welcome?”

“Just a warning.” Kauffman paused, then added, “this time.”

Wanting to avoid questions about her afternoon, Mattie changed the subject. “Any news on the hit-and-run?”

“A witness saw a blue sports car.” Kauffman glanced down the street to where Connor had stopped moments before. “Ring any bells?”

Lots of bells. Mattie had seen Connor driving a blue Fiat earlier that week. A troubling question popped into her head.

What exactly did she know about Conner?

word count = 200

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. Thanks to Al Forbes (A Mixed Bag) for providing this week’s challenging photo. 


Crossing the finish line

Crossing the finish line

Today I crossed the 50,000 word mark. I really have nothing to say about it except I am happy that part is over. My story ended 12,000 words ago and I have been struggling to add additional words without editing. I did manage to come up with some tricks, all legal, and in some of my more chaotic moments of writing, I think I actually improved the story. Now comes the fun and hard part , turning this story into something worth reading. NaNo-2017-Winner-Badge

Nano Day 6 – Weekend Update and More

Nano Day 6 – Weekend Update and More

For the past few days I have Nano’d like there is no tomorrow.  My word average is 2,071, thanks to some marathon writing over the weekend. I am slowly getting past the need to edit. I tell myself that it’s all about the word count, baby. Who cares if you repeated yourself a few times? I did run spell/grammar check.  Bad.. I know, but I was selective in what I changed. I found I used the word ‘Maybe’ a lot. As in ‘Not much of a weapon but maybe she could fake it to look like a knife.’ When it worked, I rewrote the sentence and added more words. I also found changing contractions increased my word count. The story now sounds like it was written in the Queen’s English.

At just over 12,000 words, however, I am finding myself running out of plot. I’ve added a possible love interest and a mysterious man who has a secret that is not related to murder. I just need some red herrings to chase.

Here is a small exert from my story:

When no one answered, Mattie got up from the ground  and walked back down the path. As she did, the sound of footsteps resumed.

Mattie called again. “Is anyone out there?” She was beginning to get a little unnerved. The woods seemed eerily quiet. Even the birds had stopped their chirping. Suddenly, Mattie heard a noise behind her. There was definately someone else in the woods besides her. She picked up the brush she was using to clean the headstone. Not much of a weapon, but maybe she could make it look like she had a knife.

“This is your last chance to identify yourself. Or I’m going to….”

Before she could finish the sentence a deep voice behind her said, “or you are going to do what?”

Mattie turned to see a tall man with chestnut brown hair and deep-set eyes. He looked to be about 45 years old and given the trimness of his build, he was in good shape. Her eyes at once were drawn to the gun on the side of his hip.

An instant later she noticed the badge on his chest.

“Mine telling me what you are doing out here Miss?”

At least he was a polite police officer.


NaNo Day 2 – Stuck? Take a Drive

NaNo Day 2 – Stuck? Take a Drive

Another successful day although I had my doubts.  I had an early morning meeting at work today so I was unable to write first thing. Instead I found a little time this afternoon and started on my second chapter. I had a time and a place but not much else.  My heroine was in a cemetery, all alone or so she thought.  About 400 words in, she heard footsteps and I didn’t have a clue as to how this fit into the story. Stuck, I decided to take a drive to the grocery store, all the while thinking about what to do.  I had just about decided that maybe this chapter should come after the murder when I saw my answer – a police car. Without giving anything away, I immediately knew what was going to happen. I played the scene in my head, working out the details, hoping I would remember them until I got home. As soon as I could I began to write and by the end of the chapter, I had met my daily word count.  This is what gives me hope that may I can do this.

Total word count = 3709.  Still a little ahead.


NaNo Day 1 – The Beginning

NaNo Day 1 – The Beginning

Today was the first day of NaNoWriMo and I am glad to say I successfully managed to write 2025 words toward my novel Arsenic and Old Letters. Most of my word count came before 7:00 am this morning. Although I had been mentally preparing for this for weeks, writing and rewriting in my head, the first few words seem to be the hardest to put down on paper. Almost immediately my internal editor kicked in with her negative spiel, and no matter how much I tried to ignore her, she would not relent. By the time I had written everything I planned for my first chapter, I was still short of words and I could not think of anything new to add. Hoping to get a bit of a lead, I added details. Some enhanced the story and some was pure nonsense. Through the process, however, I started learning about my characters as they revealed themselves. No matter how well you plan your characters, they will surprise you if you let them.

I hope tomorrow goes a little smoother and I am able to get into a writing groove. If you are participating in NaNoWri, leave a comment and tell me how your first day went. I would love to hear from you.

I am a Writer and So are You

I am a Writer and So are You

ImageI am a writer.  For most of us who have never been published or recognized in any way, those words are difficult to admit. What exactly qualifies someone as a writer? Everyone writes something; emails, Facebook posts, shopping lists, blogs. Does the act of writing make someone a writer? Maybe. Some people have very creative shopping lists. The key to calling yourself a writer hinges on the word “creative”. Writing is an act of creation. Maybe the title “Literary Artist” is more appropriate.  So, because I have created a story from nothing but my imagination, and have committed it to paper, I think that qualifies me as a writer.  Not necessarily a good one. Heaven knows I wouldn’t share what I wrote for NaNoWrimo with anyone. Its pretty hideous in its present state. But it doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.  Drafting is just the first step.

For all the rest of you who participated in Camp NaNoWrimo this past month – congratulations. You are officially writers, and don’t let anyone tell you you’re not.