Wednesday, June 9, 2010

WIP Wednesday

As promised, I did add to my prologue (below) and I am presently filling out my first chapter. Something a little less skeletal and more meat. And I think I shall bypass editing for my own sanity, at least till I have the chapters cranking out a bit more steadily. I want to become a citizen of Mercy Corners first before I start red marking everything and with me that's a lot of red.

So below, I added to my unedited prologue. My concern is that it may read as confusing??? If so, 'comment' me. I am thick skinned about my rough drafts. It's only critique on finished works that put me in the fetal position. ;-D

And feel free to enter something of your own during my WIP Wednesdays. Share something to be critiqued or you're just so darn proud of! I am happy to give as much as receive.
Ghost Mountain: What Dreams Tell Us. (Prologue-Rough Draft)

He counted stars when he was afraid. Sometimes to twenty. Sometimes more. 81-82-83-84... Some nights he’d lose count when sleep finally took him whichever place he’d escaped to, away from one of his Dad’s ‘bad days’. The back porch roof just under the upstairs hall window when it was cold or out in the fields when it was warm enough not to frost.

But tonight-tonight he knew he wasn’t going to be able to hide from what had been done. And he was way past counting stars because the hurt and hate in him had become too much for him to let the fear go. All of thirteen and he was just too tired of staying. Besides, after tonight he had no home to stay.


The young man jerked his head away from the stars and sat rigid, like ice water had been tossed down his spine. He’d been found, just not by the man he feared.

“I had a thought you might be here. Sissy let me know what happened.” The old man was casual, if discussing the weather. That had always been Willis Paxton’s way.

The boy finally turned and was met by eyes much like his own, big and black, staring at him from the far edge of the empty bus terminal. He didnt answer, only stared.

The old man, a cowboy once—a lot of things once, continued to watch the silent boy. He inventoried the cut above the child’s dark brow and purpling shiner. The way he had favored his left arm when he’d jerked around to look, but made no indication of the obvious injury. And then the boys eyes.... That thousand yard stare this boy—his nephew, now wore sent a chill down his old arthritic spine.

Silvery brows drew further down, while the brim of a well worn Stetson became further mangled in the old man’s grip. God help him, Willis Paxton never thought he could hate this boy’s father—his own brother, more than he did tonight.

So carefully—cautiously like he was coming up on a cornered and injured animal, Old Willis stepped forward and sat on the bench behind the boy.

“So you’re going to Garretson.” It wasn’t a question. Wouldn’t have gotten an answer if it was. “Ya know Garretson isn’t much a place to look at. And it don’t have our mountain” Old Willis nodded to the quiet sentry below the stars and above Mercy Corners skyline. “I’ve told ya about our mountain haven’t I?”

He had and he was going to do it again. The clever old man knew not to handle embers till they could be cooled. He just hoped what was burnt up in his nephew cooled down enough with what he was about to offer the boy, before the bus pulled into the station. And whatever his ill tempered and abusive brother had burnt out of this child could be rebuilt…

‘Now Boy, let me tell you about that mountain…’

The old voice warbled out and faded into the world of waking dreams when he smelled the smoke. It woke the man abruptly from his troubled sleep, sending one foot out of his bed and his heart beating out of his chest. He felt cheated and relieved because it was just another dream. Another memory the universe had decided to put on replay in his mind these last few weeks.

The dark young man fisted at his damp dark eyes and then ran both hands over a marine standard close crop. Picking up his watch from the night stand, he groaned. He’d only got in a couple hours sleep since getting off his shift and he needed to be up to greet the day in another two hours time. Stretching long arms out and up, well used joints popped and old and lengthy scars elongated along the lean lines of his form. Placing his other foot to the hardwood he stood and remembered smelling the smoke.

He made short work of his jeans and shirt before making it out into the long hall. The smoke smelled thicker now, he could taste the acrid stench. Picking up at a run he made it down the back steps and out the kitchen door into the night.

And then he saw flames...

Out over the rolling hillside further into the valley an orange glow leapt up out of the trees casting an eerie glow into the star strewn sky. From the property where he stood it was clear whose house was up in flames and knowing only confused him more. For the house had already succumbed to fire nearly a year ago last month.

“It can’t be. The house is gone. There’s nothing left…”

‘Because you were late.’ The young man jerked around to look for the source of the cold whisper, towards the blackened woods around the far side of the house. ‘Because you’re a do nothing and do nothings do nothing right…’ Cruel and even, the familiar voice mocked from somewhere in the shadows, slithering out and hitting the startled young man soundly in the heart like a south bound freight.

“No-NO! You are not here! He is not here! The house-the house isn’t burning. I-It’s gone…”

Stepping back up onto the kitchen stoop, trying to grab onto what he knew to be true, he felt his taut body begin to shake.

‘Ya couldn’t do a goddamn thing, could ya kid. I told ya how you were gonna turn out. Useless—a ‘do nothing’...’

Photo: Took it in Ashtabula County, Ohio. Jim and I were out to take covered bridge pics and I saw this house. I found the scene eerie, sad and beautiful. I love old houses. I think it fits well into my image of what might remain of the burnt house Wyatt was making reference to. His Uncles house...


  1. That's a great scene - thanks for sharing it! I love how he's watching the fire and then he hears the "cold whisper" behind him. Is he still dreaming there?

    I never edit anything until the entire first draft is written. I doubt I would ever finish a first draft if I stopped to edit it while it was still in progress. I like to finish the draft, let it sit a bit, and then come back to it with fresh "editor" eyes. :)

  2. The scene after he wakes has to do with the title of the story "Ghost Mountain" ;-D He is in fact awake, but all is not what it seems. So not a confusing jump from dream to 'reality'?

    And you are so right about letting a draft sit for a bit and not editing till you are done. It can trip a gal up and tear a story apart when we edit too often before the story is down.

    Thanks for taking a look!

  3. Ah, now it makes sense since you explain it has to do with "Ghost Mountain." Had I known (or even suspected) there was something fishy with that mountain, I would have gotten it right away.

  4. I am glad it makes some sort of sense. I am still at the molding stage of my story. I know the sort of material I want to incorporate into the story, its just the whole structuring thing I am dealing with now.

    I have to keep reminding myself that there is no limit to what I want to create. The story is all mine to play with. Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to jump out of the box. ;-D

    Thanks for taking a look!



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