Friday, November 27, 2009

Fiction Excerpt

From my work-in-progress.

My main character, Besty, is caught in a splendid and carefree moment, one of her first in quite some time. Her adult son has interrupted with a phone call, with his plans for the family trip she's been coordinating...

***

“I’m sending Virginia.”

Besty was weeding her garden, deep in the soil, wearing panties and a faded shirt of Silas’—not a stitch more. No custom gloves protected her smooth hands, no tools littered the bed of flowers. She didn’t have use for them. No want for them, either, not today.

The feel of the dirt, which now slimed the cordless telephone she held between head and shoulder, smudging her cheek, was like raw silk. It was a... an intimate feeling.

“Sending her? What do you mean, Charles?” The warm morning breeze, alive, stirred around her bare legs, making them long to dance.

“To the lake, Mom. I can’t come, but the wife can.”

She heard a tap tap tap, full of motivation, behind his voice.

“Virginia’s really excited about it. I'd bet she’s already packing.”

“That’s wonderful, love. But why can’t you come?” She rose to her feet, spun with experimentation. Didn’t lose her balance, hmm. She’d forever been envious of dancers, who moved their bodies with such powerful ease.

“Here’s the deal, Mom.” More tapping, woven with his voice.

Besty imagined it was the beat; she, the dancer.

“I’ve got procedures that week, there’s no telling how they’ll go, if there will be complications. And of course, there are always emergencies. I doubt things will clear up enough, Mom. I just don’t see how I can take vacation right now.”

“You’re certain?” Breathe, two, three. Breathe, two, three.

“I don’t want to make any promises I won’t be able to keep.”

A rock jammed her heel, puncturing her poise. Chagrin filled the space that had only moments before been occupied by beauty. Confidence.

She dropped to her knees. “I can’t tell you how disappointed I am, Charles.”

23 comments:

Melanie Avila said...

Ooh, wow. I love how her movements mimic the flow of their conversation. There are so many tactile sensations here that it really pulls us, the readers, into the scene. That's what I'm working on in this draft.

Well done.

JLC said...

Yay! A taste of your writing! Great imagery! I am now curious about his procedures. :D

Tamika: said...

Excellent job of weaving the movements. You made it easy to visualize the scene.

I especially love the opening sentence. I was hooked immediately.

Katie Ganshert said...

Nice! Thanks for sharing.

Patti Lacy said...

Cool blog shared by my friend Jeanette!

Hope you will visit this new blogger sometime...

www.pattilacy.com/blog

Janna Qualman said...

Thank you, Melanie! My hope is to keep this sort of involved feel through the whole book.

JLC - LOL! Nothing mysterious... he's a veterinarian. :)

Tamika, thanks so much. I'm glad you liked it!

Katie - Sure. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Hi, Patti! Thanks for visiting. Glad to have you here, and I'll certainly visit your place, too. :)

Karen said...

Oh, I want more! Don't leave me hanging!

Jessica said...

Janna, you have such a strong voice. It's really unique.
Great sensory here! Thanks for sharing. :-)

Capri K said...

And then?

Analisa said...

I like that. Makes me want to continue to read. I got a strong sense of the character. A little unconventional, strong and maybe a little clumsy. Did I get any of that right?

septembermom said...

The images work very well. I like her spunkiness and liveliness. I look forward to reading more. Very readable characters. Well done!

Terri Tiffany said...

Excellent! I loved the rhythem to this and how you wove her emotions into the call-- I felt her!

Deb Shucka said...

Beautifully and powerfully written. I'm in the garden, feeling the dirt and the sharp rock pain of disappointment. More, please. Soon.

Lori said...

It is so you, Janna. It's great to read a piece of your work, to see you from the perspective of your reader. Looks great from here.

WendyCinNYC said...

Nice job upping the tension in the scene, Janna. And I can really picture where she's standing.

Janna Qualman said...

Karen - I'm sorry! ;)

Jessica - Thank you, I'm really hoping that (that my voice is unique) will mean something down the line.

Capri K - "No and then!" ;)

Analisa - I like the way you've interpreted her through this scene. The truth is, she's old-fashioned, prim and poised, and this is one of the first scenes in which we see her begin to let her hair down.

septembermom - Thanks so much!

Terri - That's great! I appreciate your thoughts.

Deb - Your words mean a lot to me. Thank you.

Lori - That's so awesome! Thanks for telling me that.

Wendy - Yay! Thanks.

colbymarshall said...

I love the taste of your writing, Janna! lovely!

Susan R. Mills said...

That was worth breaking my no bloggin rule for! Great work. Thanks for sharing.

Janna Qualman said...

Colby - Thank you so much!

Susan, you broke your rule for me?! That's awesome. ;) Thank you!

Constance Marie said...

I like it. I'm intrigued. I always enjoy reading books where the protagonist is not your average either teenaged or twenties/thirties hero.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Love love the initimacy of the phone, the silken feel...and the intimacy of the dance thread through this scene! Vivid and alive sensory details -- well done, Janna!

Janna Qualman said...

thank you both!

myletterstoemily said...

such lovely movements
and action to relay her
feelings.