My current work-in-progress has no title. I was hoping by the midpoint mark something would have come to me, but I’m close to the end of this labor of love and my mind is still blank on a title.
This is a revision of a story I had written almost 17 years ago. It was my first novel, and it was horrible. The precis was good enough to grab the attention of a publisher, but the manuscript wasn’t strong enough to carry its own weight. A big rejection letter soon appeared in my mailbox.
After blowing the dust off this story, it was easy to see why it didn’t make the cut. The story was badly written. The characters weren’t developed enough, and the dialogue sounded like something out of Degrassi Junior High. The story was labeled a romance, but ended with the love interest dying in a plane crash. Pretty much sums up my view on love. :p
After six months worth of revisions, I’m almost finished. I think I got most of the ugly out. I just have to write the ending…and no, no one’s dying in a plane crash. Actually, the book hardly resembles the original at all. I realized I had started the story at the wrong place. I needed to go back. I needed to show, rather than tell, more of what I wanted the reader to know.
The book revolves around the friendship of two women. The way I had written the story the first time was to tell the reader about the friendship, rather than show it. One of the women betrays the other, and it is pivotal to the story that the reader understands the depth of their friendship to really feel the deception.
Here is an unedited excerpt from my untitled work-in-progress:
Taylor’s bedroom door opened and rock music poured loudly down the hallway and into the living room where Carolyn was sitting alone on the couch, her face crammed in a book. She eyed Taylor walking toward her.
Although she knew Taylor would have turned the music down if asked, Carolyn didn’t say anything because she preferred listening to the loud raucous tunes than to the sounds of her roommate having sex.
The woman in Taylor’s bedroom wasn’t Alicia. Taylor waited for no woman.
“Where’s Jeff?” Taylor asked.
Carolyn peered over her book to catch Taylor lean into the fridge and pull out a bottle of beer. Taylor’s gray and white camouflage cargo shorts hung just above her knee. Carolyn counted the six small sweat stains on Taylor’s white tank top. Her ruffled dark black hair hung at her chin. A shorter layer fell just below her eyes, and often Taylor had to brush it away with a flick of her head, or a wave of her hand.
“He left,” Carolyn answered.
Taylor twisted the bottle’s cap and pitched it into the sink. She took a deep swig. “Everything okay?”
“Sure. Can you think of any reason why everything wouldn’t be okay?”
“Whoa, I know that tone.” Taylor dropped next to her on the couch. “What’s goin’ on with you?”
Carolyn closed the textbook over her lap. “You know I have finals coming up, right?”
Taylor closed her eyes and leaned her head back. “Fuck me! I’m sorry. I completely forgot. I’ll turn that shit off. You need quiet.” Taylor moved to get up, but Carolyn stopped her. “Jeff and I broke up.”
Taylor fell back into the couch. “No shit?”
“Just now?” Taylor asked.
“Wow… I’m sorry.”
Carolyn eyed her friend closely. “No, you’re not. You hated him.”
“I’m not sorry for me. I’m ecstatic for me. I’m sorry for you. You really liked him. Never understood why, but you did. What’d he do? Do I have to kick his ass?”
Carolyn shook her head. “It was my decision. He’s a jerk.”
Taylor draped an arm around Carolyn’s shoulders. “Yeah, well, glad you figured it out now before it was too late. You gonna be okay? Need me to do anything?”
Carolyn smirked at her friend’s seriousness because it wasn’t like her.
Taylor pulled back. “What’s that look for? I’m being sincere. I really wanna know if you’re gonna make it?”
“I’ll make it just fine. In fact, I’m surprised at how little I feel about it. When he walked out the door, I was actually relieved. Kinda scares me that I saw myself marrying him. How could I miss what an asshole he was?” Carolyn groaned and rubbed her hands over her face.
“You were blinded by love. I hear it happens a lot.”
Carolyn studied her friend. “You’ve never been in love? Never felt that emotion?”
Taylor crossed an ankle over her knee. “Nope.”
“How about the woman in your bed right now? How do you feel about her, or about Alicia? You were screaming at her on the phone earlier and now there’s another woman in your bed. Why don’t you just let her go?”
“I don’t have feelings for the woman in my bed right now, but I think I could have stronger feelings for Alicia when the time’s right. I know that’s hard for you to understand, but that’s just the way it is.”
“You’ve never loved a woman?”
“Not even a crush?”
Taylor seemed to think about it. “I liked my Kindergarten teacher…a lot. Does that count?”
“In Kindergarten? You had a crush on a woman in Kindergarten?”
“She was so fucking hot.”
“You knew way back then?”
“Hell yes! Are you kidding me? I was noticing girls for as long as I could remember, especially the older ones. They had boobs.”
Carolyn rubbed her forehead. “That is crazy. You realize I’m studying to be a teacher, right?”
“Then consider this your warning. If you see little Sally staring at your chest, she’s not admiring your necklace.”
“Great. Something to look forward to.” Carolyn leaned her head back and sighed. “As much as I would love to sit and talk with you about meaningless crap all night, I have to study so that someday I could teach meaningless crap to children who will not respect me, make faces behind my back, and apparently, stare at my boobs.” She picked her book off her lap and stood up. “Have fun.”
Taylor tipped her bottle towards her. “You betcha. And Carolyn? I was never gonna let you marry that asshole. He didn’t deserve you.”
Carolyn smiled. “It’s good to know I have someone watching my back. Thanks, Taylor. Now turn that crap off because it’s giving me a headache.”
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