Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wednesday WIP (or Please Be Gentle -- It's a First Fast Draft!)

Tip of the Day: When you see gas prices drop, check out flight prices -- they've probably dropped, too -- and head south while the winter world around you is in single digit degrees!

JanNoWriMo word count as of Monday, Jan. 19: 22,582

Right now I am South. On a beach. In Mexico. Soaking in the sun. Ahhhhhh. Yes, the vitamin D is jump-starting my brain and hopefully getting the creativity juices sparked.

I am writing while here, crafting quick scenes in a notebook with old fashioned pen and paper while laying on the beach or sitting in the airport. It's a really good trick, simple as it seems. For some reason I feel less pressured writing with pen and paper than typing directly into my document. Then when I DO move my words to the doc, I am impressed with how much I wrote, so I keep writing. It is a TRUE jump start to my word count.

To prove that I am fast drafting my Vietnam/Mafia YA this month, I am sharing a snippet below. Please note that the reason this is proof is because it is clearly in an unpolished, unedited state. How else could I have written something this First Drafty if I hadn't been Fast Drafting all month? Point proven. Enjoy!

Working title: A Walk From Vietnam

Stella, the MC, just ran into Russell, a man she met at the diner, while following someone who she thought was her boyfriend at the town's Fourth of July Parade.

A dozen clowns in tiny cars honked. Each horn blow rattled my skull. The parade was so annoying. How had I let my parents talk me into coming here year after year?

Russ lightly rubbed my back. “They have the right papers to get him discharged.”

Eyes bored into the back of my neck. From the ice cream shop, two faces watched Russell, watched me. His family. They wanted their Cokes. Or they wanted to know what he was up to. Who were these guys?

“I…I don’t know,” I said.

“He doesn’t want to be involved though, does he?” Russ asked.

I shook my head. No. He was a runner. A son. A boyfriend. A college entrant. Not a killer.

“You could help him for a small price,” Russ said.

A solo snare drum rapped a soldier’s marching beat.

It was illegal, what Russ was offering. He didn’t name the price and I didn’t want to know. “I…I can’t,” I whispered. He may not have heard me.

Ranks of boys and men in camos and army uniforms led the drummer through the streets. Watchers clapped and cheered.

And some booed.

“Go back to ‘Nam!”


“Get out of town!”

Russ’s hand froze on my back. My breath caught in my throat. Lots of these men had been sent to Vietnam against their wishes – how dare others judge them and yell at them in public!

“Go kill some more civilians!”

“Child murderers!”

The voices came from everywhere. I couldn’t pinpoint who was targeting the vets, some of who, as they got closer, revealed a missing hand, a prosthetic foot, a pronounced limp. Who knew how much hidden shrapnel lay buried in their skin. Beneath their caps, many of these boys were too young to be injured like that. The horrible memories and visions from their service were hidden from us all. It wasn’t fair to torment them.

Nothing about it was fair.

Grant would come back to the U.S. after a stint in Vietnam, and be like these men: tortured inside and out. He was such a good guy. Such a sweet boyfriend. He didn’t deserve to be treated that way.

But I could get him out. Maybe even have him sent home before he stepped on Vietnamese soil. Spare him the torture that was to come. He wasn’t like my brother, obnoxious and blood-thirsty. People like Danny deserved to be taunted in public, during their heroes' walk. Good guys like Grant did not.

The vets marched out of sight and the calls drifted off with them.

Russ patted my back before reaching into his pocket and jingling his change. “We can get him out.” Then he turned to the vendor and ordered Cokes for his family. As easy as that.


How's everyone else doing on their January Drafts?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing


Emily Marshall said...

Deena, this is great. I hadn't realized what exactly your story was about until now. But it's very interesting how she's trying to get her boyfriend out. Incredibly moving. This is going to be a tear jerker book isn't it? In a good way.

I'm doing horrible on word count. I think I've actually lost words since last week. I honestly don't even know where I'm at because I started over so much.

And hope you are having fun in Mexico if you see this note while still there.

Kate Fall said...

Deena, I love this too! I'm intrigued by the Russ character. He's up to no good! And Danny, too. We love that name, don't we? :)

Kristina Springer said...

Awesome! And ha- I have a Danny in one of my WIPs too.

Christina Farley said...

I like this. It's gripping and really bites with the comments hurled at the characters. Keep at it!

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is great! You have a great voice and a fascinating topic that really makes me want to read more.

DeenaML said...

Thanks, everyone! I just got back and am catching up on emails. I maybe got 10 pages written while on the beach despite my optimism in this entry! :)