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Thursday, November 09, 2006


Into the Mountain 1.4 - The World Fades

Chapter One (concl.)
<< read 1.3 || read 2.1 >>

He leaned in close and asked, “Hey, want to go for a ride?” His voice sounded sleepy like it was filled with little rocks and scratches. I wanted him to clear his throat. And he smelled bad, too. Like alcohol and old sweat.

“You’re drunk,” I said backing away.

“Had to celebrate this car,” he said waving one arm widely toward the car and grabbing my wrist with the other. “Get in. I’ll drive you home.”

“I’d rather walk,” I said and pulled at my arm.

“Come on. The car’s not stolen.” He opened the passenger door. “Get in.”

“Aren’t you going to pay for the gas?” I asked.

“I did the credit card swipe thing,” he said in a low voice. He smiled too, but it was like he was smiling at some secret dirty joke he was telling himself. “Get in the car.”

I did.

His smile softened. “See how easy it is? Now buckle up.” He closed the door and whistled as he walked around the front of the car.

I kept one hand near the handle and did not buckle up.

“Before we go home let’s take a little ride,” he said starting the car.

“Yeah,” I mumbled, waiting.

As he pulled out of the gas station, I threw open the car door. We weren’t moving too fast yet, but I still hit the concrete hard. “Hey!” my dad shouted. He would have stopped probably, but traffic was coming in both lanes. The car hesitated a moment, then squealed into a lane, the back end fishtailing so the passenger door slammed shut.

I stood up and stumbled back toward Bubbie’s.

“Are you okay?” someone asked.

My face felt hot like I was about to slip into another dream. I was starting to black out and I stumble inside to sit down. “Are you okay?” someone asked again, but the question was cut off when the door of the convenience store closed behind me with a little jingle. I slumped into a booth and the world faded away.

Mark, I like this so far. I like the character's quirks and gestures and the suspense in wondering about the different relationships. I like the dream of the mountain. I definitely think that a strong image up front and maybe a strong sense of place will orient readers.

Some things left me wondering... I couldn't get a good picture for Ruben, which I thought seemed important up front. Also, I found myself wanting a little more development for each relationship before moving on to the next one. What does she love about Ruben? About her sister? About her dad? A full scene with each could flesh that out and help me enter emotionally.

So, I guess I'm saying this is like a poem, that could use to be opened out... decompressed. Maybe. I am not a fiction writer, as you've probably guessed, so these ideas may be totally off-base. I wonder what Christianne would think.

I completely admire your courage in posting this. I'm so tentative about my own work. When I handed it to my editor, I thought I'd never stop feeling ill. In fact, I think I still feel ill.

Thanks for letting us inside your draft. :)
I agree with you completely. The first chapter is not nearly exciting enough. In a lot of ways, I want to post this book to talk through the things I learned as I wrote it.

For example, don't try to be experimental in a first novel. You may think you are a super genius and can pull it off. But you probably aren't.
: )

Also, I really wanted the book to be a young adult novel. But that proved to be difficult to pull off.
Don't get discouraged... the excitement is there; you just have to uncover it a little more. I was thinking, too, you might want to look at Keeper of the Doves for a model. It's a wonderful little novel about a hard subject, yet it works so beautifully.

Oh, and DO experiment! I was reading this article about Mozart in Books & Culture, and I was struck by the observation that Mozart couched his experimental passages in the comfort of traditional modes throughout a piece. Of course, I thought there was some kind of connection I might play out in my own writing, and perhaps you might too.

What makes you think the book is not young adult? Curious.

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