Having a Moment

After posting yesterday, writer’s block set it. Some wit said that writer’s block happens when writers have nothing to say and the sad thing is, it doesn’t happen to them more often. Mine wasn’t based on having nothing to say; mine was based on grief and fear. As I studied the beta reader’s comments, there was a little bit of grief in losing the simple story I had. I knew that, for the most part, he was on target with his comments. I have heard him critique shorter pieces and that was why I was excited when he agreed to be a beta reader for me. Still, there was a sense of grief as I realized that all those plot holes and inconsistencies that I had learned to love had to go. I believe that what will rise from the ashes will be a much better story, but it will require a lot more work than a few small touch ups. And that’s where the fear came in.

I realized I needed to do a lot of foundation work before I went back to rewriting. I had to understand my characters in depth, including my living villain. I had to change the motivation for my villain while, at the same time, make his good character qualities stronger. I had to have a better explanation for the break in the family relationships of my main character. I needed to understand my world and place it in proper context on its planet – especially for future novels. I needed to understand my nameless, faceless villain and find ways to weave the background of that agency into the story so that tales of the current nature will make sense. I even realized that the changes I made for this book, would affect the other books – especially since the original title no longer made sense in light of the ideas I had for changing things.

So, I had a moment yesterday. I opened up the file for this book and stared at the character page for my male main character. I couldn’t even put down the height. I went away and looked at something else. I don’t know how many times I went to that page, and clicked away from it because of the fear of doing this right. I couldn’t work on some other writing that I had to do either. One of them is a writing challenge for 400 words a day. Later in the evening I finally passed 400 words, but not by much. So yesterday I had a moment. Today, I have hope. Today, I will begin reworking my characters and falling so much in love with them again that I want to be sure and tell their story – different as it may be. Today, I begin the process of falling in love with my better, more complex story as I progress towards becoming an author.

The Rain – #WOW555

So, here was the prompt:  Choose whatever kind of story you want to tell, but show us a moment of growth.

For some reason my mind went back to an old story called “The Time it Never Rained” about life in West Texas in the ’50’s. The growth in this story is both physical, spiritual and emotional. It’s a little more traditional or old-fashioned than I’m used to. I hope you enjoy it.

The Rain

Jake kicked at the scrabbled dirt as he stepped off the porch. He had worked and saved to buy this farm. It had been his dream ever since he was a young boy. There was just something about working the land that he loved. He had taken every odd job he could to put money aside for this farm even when he was young. Louise had sacrificed alongside him once they got married. She knew his dream and supported it. They had eaten so much beans and rice so they could save enough money for the down payment that their only variety was when they had rice and beans. But she loved him and his dream. He loved her. It was a love story that had overcome all kinds of problems. Then finally, they had scraped together enough of a down payment to buy this plot of land.

“Some dream,” Jake thought to himself with a sigh. “Six months without rain and we ain’t seen a thing growing.”

Louise came up behind him, startling him with her touch. “I prayed hard, today, Jake. We’re gonna get some rain. Just you wait. It’s coming tonight.”

Jake looked at the setting sun. It was red. There’d be no rain. He knew that. How could he dampen the faith of this amazing woman though? Her faith in God, her faith in him kept her going. “Sure, Louise. I bet you prayed real good. I just hope God wasn’t too busy to listen.” He smiled in spite of his distress.

She glared at him. “Jake, don’t you dare lose your faith. I know what they say about the sun. I don’t care about that!” She softened a bit. “God let me know that it was going to rain tonight.”

He loved this woman and her fierce faith. “He didn’t tell me, hon, and if it doesn’t rain by Saturday, our dream is gone. We can’t afford to irrigate and we won’t grow any crops without the rain.” Tears stung his eyes. “I sure hope you’re right, though. I’d hate to give up on this dream.”

“Tonight, Jake, or I’ll make the for sale signs. God put us in this place. I think He wants us to keep it.”

Jake smiled. “Let’s eat, hon. One way or t’other, tomorrow’s gonna be a long day.”

They walked up the steps together. Louise went through the door first. Jake, looked back over his shoulder and shook his head.

________________

Jake woke up with a start. “What was that…” he began and then stopped suddenly. “Oh great,” he said softly, not wanting to wake Louise. “I can’t believe that the roof leaks.” He wiped a big drop of water from his face. He started to close his eyes and go back to bed. Then he sat up and smiled. “The roof leaks,” he repeated with a trace of giddiness. He got out of bed and walked to the window. The rain was pounding on the roof and he savored each drop as he watched it out the window. Louise had been right and now the crops would grow. They had a fighting chance to keep their dream alive.

Head on over to Wendy’s Place, check out the entries and then vote, (Voting from about 5AM CST Saturday to 5PM CST Sunday)

Revolution – #WOW555

This week’s challenge, interestingly enough, dealt with New Year’s Resolutions.

“It’s that time of year again, when we look at where we’ve been, where we are, and where we want to be. That’s the whole idea behind resolutions, right?

For this week’s prompt, let’s explore that idea a bit. You can choose the direction of the story, but you must include the word Resolution in your story and there should be a balloon somewhere (because you were so successful in your uplifting stories I want to celebrate!). Love them, bash them, do what you like with them but resolutions are a fact of life at this time of year.”

I think I fulfilled those requirements, albeit in quite a different way….

Sales and life on the road had drained the life out of Frank. He had endured missed birthdays, family holidays, weddings and all kinds of special events all to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. Now he was sitting on the bed in another sterile hotel room, looking at the blank TV, getting ready to “celebrate” New Year’s and wondering why.

He stared at the check in his hand. This pittance, and the cliched, “Thanks for everything but we no longer want you” letter was all that was left of his miserable career. He longed for a cigarette. He hadn`t smoked for almost a year to honor his little girl’s request, but now, what did it matter? There were two problems. First, his hotel, like practically all hotels these days were non-smoking. That had made it easier to honor his princess’s request. The second reason was that he didn’t even have that emergency pack he used to keep in case he had a day like today. He wasn’t getting out in this bitter cold weather for anything.

Thoughts of how his family would be better off without him flitted through his mind. Then he laughed at the irony when he realized that he had let his life insurance lapse. He took a deep breath as he realized what he would have to do. He wiped away the tears that had formed in thecornersr of his eyes and pulled out his phone. He stared at it as if willing it to ring so that he wouldn’t have to make the call.

The ring startled him. He let it ring a couple of times so he could compose himself. Minnie always let Beth talk to him first and 8 year old girls shouldn’t have to hear a depressed daddy. “Hey babe!” he said hiding his feelings. “Are you being good for mommy?”

“Yes daddy. And I want you to make a revolution.”

Frank smiled for the first time since his meeting. Beth always said revolution instead of resolution. “What is it this year, honey?”

“I want you to stay home.”

Frank gulped. “I’ll do my best, hon. Let me tak to mommy.”

“Oh Frank, I know it’s a lot to ask, but could you please quit your job. The results cameback from daddy’s balloon cath came back today. He really needs you to run the shop.” He heard a sniff at the other end of the line. “And I need your support.”

Frank looked to the heavens and thanked God. I’ll be home tomorrow, hon. We’ll talk about why I’ll finally say yes.”