I’m Writing Again!

This may seem strange considering that I have multiple blogs and I’m fairly active on any number of social networks. But I’ve recently found my muse and I’ve been inspired to return to writing! Not the blog article/occasionally-way-too-long-comment kind of writing. I mean the novel/short story kind of writing.

Over the years I’ve started several books with such provocative titles like “Puncture Wounds” and “Come Kill Me”. But for some reason they all wind up abandoned with their potential unrealized. Well, I’ve finally decided to finish them all, starting with a short story called “Ring The Alarm”.

I should be done with the first draft by this weekend, after which I will delve headlong into revisions and polishing. But for now, I’d like to share a snippet with you. I cover your comments. This is from the first chapter titled “The Institute”…

Part I: The Institute

     Clocks were a luxury by now. Especially in this god-forsaken zone. Not that it mattered. It’s not as if there were any appointments left to keep. Time was irrelevant for most, even laughable. Except for me, that is. Timekeeping was strictly reserved for government officials, military personnel and the few surviving social elite. And here I was, in possession of a clunky, standard military-issue watch. Lucky me. I rarely bothered to look at the intruding time tether on the floor next to my mattress. But then again, with the alarms preset, user contact was rarely necessary. It would sound off whether or not I touched it. In that regard, my job was relatively simple: Don’t miss my daily check in with the Institute Relay Station (IRS) and stay alive long enough to ring the alarm.

     My guess was that it was somewhere around 6:30 in the morning when I sat up and hastily grabbed my nose, awakened by the familiar, pungent odor of despair that accompanied the dawn of each day. I’d long since given up pretending this was all a horribly cruel nightmare. The incessant wailing… the intermittent food shortages… the dry, dirty air… the corpses… man, those were the worst. They could go undiscovered in houses for days until the stench finally betrayed their presence. Sometimes bodies were even discarded on the roadside like everyday garbage until an Institute sweeper truck found its way to our location. The last one was three weeks ago. Rotting bodies were a sobering reminder that this was very much my reality.

     This particular morning I realized just how much I missed the sounds of innocence I’d once taken for granted. Before the war, neighborhood children would spend hours at the playground across the street. They were long gone. Replaced by the low din of desperate people dragging decrepit furniture down the cracked and broken road just outside my living room window. Some of them heart sick and in denial. Most of them trying in vain to recreate a past that seemed to be doing its best to evade them. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Although the Institute had dedicated nearly all of its resources to the BAJA war, its unofficial mission continued to be the preservation of hope. No matter how implausible.

Categories: personal, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “I’m Writing Again!

  1. I liked it and it’s great you have started writing again. Just keep writing. Even when you want to throw the netbook/laptop at the wall. It’s the only thing you can do and when you get it right – the best feeling in he world.

    • Thank you! I am fully determined to finish this short story. I feel like getting one under my belt will act as a catalyst for completing the rest. I appreciate the encouragement! 🙂

  2. TheOthers1

    Post-apocalyptic piece. Kinda chilling. Definitely a neat storyline.

  3. Opening paragraph, 3rd sentence. “There were no more appointments to keep” would be MUCH stronger.

    As a whole, my impression is that when you say “snippet” you mean it! I am left with all sorts of questions! In a good, cliff-hanger way. 🙂
    If this is the opening of the story, which I assume it is, I think you may need to work on giving your character/narrator a more distinctive voice right at the outset. Does he swear? Does he retreat to sarcasm? Does he have loyalty or is he currently a coward? Has there been a culture clash in this war and what has he absorbed from that? What part of the world is he from and are there lingering colliquialisms or tones from that? For example, I’ve heard it said that the mark of Australian conversation is extreme understatement; similarly, you could argue that several Asian cultures have a history of layered meaning in their speech so you can’t take things at face value.
    Especially with this being a short story, I think his voice has to be strong and very distinctive from the first moment.
    I also think a little more time spent on what he senses may help, but that may get too long for your story, so up to you. Obviously. Haha 🙂 Even describing the institution with more telltale word would work, I think. “The high-and-mighty IRS” would convey his bitterness whereas “The firm hand of the IRS” would be sort of noncommital.

    I’m so happy for you that you’ve got a writing bug! Looking forward to the updates 🙂

    • Haha! This is why you are good for me, Sis! You call it like you see it. 😉 It is definitely a snippet and definitely a rough draft so there will be revisions. I do like the reworking of the 3rd sentence you suggested, but you’ll have to give me a little bit more than that before I list you as co-author. lol

      Many of the questions you have are answered well within the first few pages of chapter one. I just posted these first three paragraphs to gauge the level of interest from a spec standpoint. Meaning, if the story doesn’t pique an agent’s interest immediately, they probably won’t bother to continue reading in hopes of it improving.

      For what it’s worth, the IRS is a division of the Institute. That relationship is described in further detail immediately following the excerpt I posted here. This of course prompts me to ask… will you offer yourself as one of the willing “first reviewers” once I’ve finished my first draft? 😀

      • Absolutely! I love reviewing, haha. Isn’t it obvious? 😉
        I figured you had much more than you were telling in this excerpt, which is why I thought maybe giving him a stronger tone would help you grab the attention for the great plot to come, you know? You know your character best. Even if he’s not a flashy guy, you can put his timidity or bleakness in the first paragraph. Like, if he says “Watch they gave me is Army issue, but it don’t make much difference to me”–that sounds totally different than if he said “The watch is Army issue, although it’s not much comfort for me.”
        Ahhhhh so exciting! I love tweaking, that’s my problem. One of my favorite writer quotations is “I don’t like to write, I like to have written.” Hehe.
        I can’t wait to see what’s going on in your story here. When do I get to read more? 😀

  4. Glad to hear you’re writing and good luck finishing all your stories. If I was to finish all the stories I’ve started, I would be typing for 5 years straight. 😛

    Also, in your first paragraph you used ‘rarely’ twice. While keeping it will not cause the world to end, I would strongly recommend that you only use it once. Mixing things up will keep the story flowing and keep the reader from going, “wait didn’t I just read that?” Hope that helps. 🙂

    • Sheesh, thanks for catching that! I haven’t given it the full review yet. You know, checking for redundancy and appropriate word choice for some of the dialog and scene setups. I plan on doing once I get the first draft done! I appreciate the feedback. 😀

  5. doesitevenmatter3

    I’m so glad you are writing! You’re a great writer…you get my senses AND my emotions involved, big time! “missed the sounds of innocence”…I’m gonna’ be thinking about that line for a long time. Can’t wait to read more!
    HUGS! 🙂

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