Sneak Peak Sunday: Ch 1

In anticipation of my book coming out soon (I hope), I would like to start something called Sneak Peak Sunday, where I give a peak into a chapter of my book, “Be Still.”  Call it building anticipation.  I will give a sneak peak every Sunday until the book is released.  There are 34 chapters.  By the way, I have a short attention span so I write very short chapters, and I feel that allows readers to move a bit faster through a book, too.  If there is any fun stories or insights into the small few paragraphs I place on here then I will give some feedback.  Sort of an author commentary.  Please feel free to leave feedback and comments.

*** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Chapter One:

The day was impeccable. Shannon was flawless. Jack was mesmerized.

Suddenly the echo of screeching tires drowned out the soft sound of romantic music playing in the distance. The brilliant, majestic sunset flashed an eerie burst of what Jack perceived as an explosion in the sky. He reached for Shannon and became caught in a momentary daze. In one instant she was holding his hand tight and he was rejoicing in her touch and life; in the next moment she was so far away. He felt the precise second her warm fingers slid out from his—whether it happened in slow motion or as quick as a tornado, he couldn’t intelligently distinguish. All he saw next was hot, crimson fluid blanketing the cool black pavement, trickling like a spiteful red river until it pooled against her twisted, mangled body. Jack rushed to her, praying, but the speeding car had already taken the life from his angel. All that remained of her was a vague steam, emerging like a teasing spirit from her pale blue lips.

Jack kept vigil by her side, rocking her lifeless, limp body as his tears saturated her red-tinged blonde hair. The chatter and cries of the group that had encircled them grew louder, causing him to feel dizzy until the sound of approaching sirens blared above the clamor. The paramedics rushed to his side, but he wasn’t ready to let go. He searched for any signs of life, of hope. At the sight of her lackluster gray eyes, he knew she had already left him, and without as much as garbled whisper of a good-bye. Without her, he was left all alone in the world, save for a disgruntled son who wanted nothing to do with him. He held her close, kissing her swollen and bruised cheeks, thinking his kisses might save her like in a childhood fairy tale. He clutched her tight against his chest, unwilling to relinquish her to strangers and feeling her arms fall limp against his thighs. Finally the medics plucked her from his grip, quickly packaging her twisted body without caution, like wrapping a blood-stained Christmas gift in blue paper. They rushed her into the ambulance, leaving Jack distraught as he never had the chance to tell her good-bye while she was alive. Watching the ambulance disappear from sight, carrying her broken remains and him helpless to fix her, was the worst sensation he’d ever felt.

Jack sat on the cold pavement, drenched in his dead wife’s still-warm blood. He wailed to the heavens, cursing a god he vowed never to believe in again. The god who had taken his daughter two years prior now took the only remaining love from his life. It was something he couldn’t believe in anymore. That day Jack took his faith and hope, locking them away in a box like some old, unneeded charm.

*** *** *** ***

This is the opening to the book, which will be available on Barnes and Noble as a sneak peak.  The first chapter is very crucial in telling who this man is, but I chose to sneak peak this particular excerpt, because it is the recurrent theme to the book.  This day is what underlines the problems Jack goes through, not only with himself but also with his son.

I rewrote this scene at least ten times, and that is being kind with the number.  It is a scene I was on the fence about, not knowing whether to leave it vague or add detail.  I revisit this day later in the book, but in a different perspective, so I didn’t want to give too much detail to something that would be retold.  In the end, after three edits, I was encouraged to add the detail, because the next retelling is a bit different (guess you just gotta read it to understand).  For me, it is difficult to write a death scene without going back to my roots of writing morbid details, and without getting too medically wordy.  It isn’t easy to write in layman’s terms when i t comes to medical things.

My entire book was built around this scene.  It was the first thought that jumped into my head, the rest flowed quite easily beyond it.  I do not use outlines when I write.  That’s like homework.  I get an idea and I write.  I wanted to write about what happens to a man when he is in a coma, but this scene only adds to they mystery and suspense of why he is tormented for so many years.  It is his groundhog day (not what this book is about), but if he could go back and relive one day to fix it, this scene would have been that hindsight day.

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5 responses to “Sneak Peak Sunday: Ch 1

  1. Wow, Tania–I’m way impressed! I’m impressed with your diligence, as well as your talent with creating a scene we can’t just walk away from–great work.

    And I’m also over here seeking just a bit of advice– You have inspired, encouraged me to get back to work on my novel in progress. Exciting and nerve-wracking–there are not enough hours in the day for all I want to do. Now–unlike you–I don’t aspire to sell at Barnes and Noble. That’s not a “dis, or diss”–bravo, that you’re connected with them!! I just have different wants/goals–so I started a second blog, to put my book on. It’s entirely secret and separate from my Caddo blog, for reasons I won’t detail here. My story is character- and dialog-driven–and I do not have nice short little chapters, hence my cuticle-chewing at the moment. In terms of word-length, what is the maximum I can post–and keep my readers, but not lose smooth continuity from one post to the next? If you can answer that.

    Again, bravo, Tania–I couldn’t be more thrilled for you! And thanks for any advice you have for me… God bless you abundantly today, and always.

    • I’m not sure how much can be put on one blog post, but I think I saw where you can upload a file and readers can open it. I know one man who is doing this, so he is uploading each chapter as a file. If you wanted to post as blog then I think I would suggest doing one to two pages at a time, if they fit. In this manner, you would not be giving too much information all at once, and keep some suspense to have to read more (which is why I like small chapters). But I think it is a brave idea to write your book on blog. I’m curious to see how a mostly dialogued story will play out, since I have been told to stay away from too much dialague and infer more. This is where, we as writers, get to use our creativity, and if under no one thumb, then we get to write anyhow we want. And sometimes the creative way is pure genius, in my humble opinion.

      • Hi Tania, thanks for your response. I, too, was taught “show–don’t tell”, when writing a story, and that inferring is better. I think (and hope) that, for the most part, much of my dialog does infer. This is quite the interesting and complicated project–I’m having to learn how to pare down radically–which is sometimes difficult, and always time-consuming. And about every other day, I want to just trash the whole plan. I suspect you know a little about that… Thanks again, and continued good luck with your book! You are fun to read as you share the writing process–and fit it into “real” life. God bless you, Caddo

      • sometimes writing outside the box isn’t an easy task. So many problems that others can’t answer will arise and you are left to your own devices…but that’s what makes it all worth it. Keep moving forward. We all fear change, but change can be a wonderful, beautiful thing. So much good vibes going your way.

      • Thanks so much!

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