Wednesday, July 16, 2008

And the winner is . . .

I do not normally post anything on Wednesdays, but I thought you would like to hear who won the duel.

What duel? You mean . . . I didn’t tell you about it? Oh. Wow. Well, I guess I’ll give you a breakdown of the events.

Back in August of 2007, I started writing my first manuscript. While doing this, I had an idea for another story I was going to pen down at a later date. Then, in February 2008, the unthinkable happened.

I was standing in the shower, cursing myself for not coming up with a better opening paragraph to send in to a certain contest hosted by a certain agent, when suddenly an opening paragraph appeared in the gray matter. And it was AWESOME!

So now I had TWO story ideas to choose from after my current project. The months stretched on while I debated which one to start on first (or second, since I was already working on something.) It was rather fun, sitting there and watching the sparring match going on. One combatant was a gray-haired senior with a shovel. The other was a struggling rock star with his guitar. And they were, like, whacking each other with new and exciting ideas to their individual stories. On occasion, they would stop to flaunt themselves.

The senior would say, "Hey, Michelle! Look at what else is in my plot!" Then she would dig her shovel into her flowerbed and unearth the skeleton of a neighbor’s kid.

I shook my head at her. "Oh, Granny, how could you? You know you’re supposed to use cement and dump the evidence in the nearest lake."

Then the rock star would try to trounce that. "Hey, sexy-mama! Wanna see something cool I did to the music teacher?" He would lift the lid to the grand piano to show a bloody mess inside.

I rubbed my aching forehead. "Brother-man, why would you mess up a perfectly good musical instrument that way?" Then I lifted the tiny hammer and dinged the bell to have them start beating each other again.

Well, they continued their whacking all the way up to when I finished my other manuscript a few weeks ago. Now that I am sending it out to agents to seek representation, I have time to really enjoy the two characters’ fisticuffs. That was until this past Sunday.

I was laying on my bed, trying to decide which story to work on, when this line came into my head:

Blue Triage: Being a fan of this band could kill you, but at least you'll die famous.

My mouth popped open in shock and excitement. Score one for the rock star! I picked up a pen and notepad and started writing. Here is a sneak peak of what I got so far. I am still working on a title for it. And nothing else is set in stone, which means I will probably change it two weeks later.

As he tasted the coppery tang in his mouth, Travis rubbed at his groggy eyes. It was the smell of blood that woke him from a restless sleep. He stared down at his naked body lying on the bare mattress as he noticed the stray splotches of red on his stomach, on his legs, and on the tip of his limp penis. Fingers ran over the stubble of his chin and scratched at his five o’clock shadow at what looked to be three in the afternoon from the numbers on the alarm clock. He wiped at the drool that had lathered the side of his face while he had slept as Travis concentrated on moving his body. Once, then twice he tried to roll to the side but failed. His muscles tingled from his chest down to calves as a fit of paranoia crept over him.

Was he paralyzed there on the bed, helpless, with his body slowly rotting away while laying in someone else’s blood? A hallucination rose in Travis’ mind of bones poking out like bundles of sticks from his sunken skin. His organs liquefied and his drying tongue split open. Bile gurgled in his throat with his desperate screams going unheard inside the cabin that was the only building within fifty miles around the lake. Private property signs hung on all the trees leading in. No one would find the body for several weeks.

Travis winced and pounded his palms against his forehead. Stop. Stop. Stop. It was the dope making him feel this way. It made him have that oh-so-paranoid spiral of fake images showing his corpse. But at least this was better than seeing the bugs; the bugs crawling around the corners of his eyes scratching, itching, wanting him to reach up and sink his ragged nails in deep.

Travis jerked up into a sitting position watching the beads of sweat roll along his chest and collect into his bellybutton. The dope. It was the dope. Momma had warned him it would do some strange shit to a person even as she shot it up. With the tan medical tubing tied to her upper arm, the needle pricked her flushed skin as it sought the raised vein.

Travey-baby, the dope makes you see things you might not like. But it’s all good in the end.

Only a nine-year-old at the time, Travis had nodded his head and helped his momma fill up the balloons with the white powder. He had helped her with the family business, as any caring son should.

Still needs work, but it was what won out over the other story. So, while I continue to send out query letters to agents for my first manuscript, I will keep writing on my new project as the gray-haired senior sulks in her corner. However, she had one last dig to give me. Right after I wrote this part, she came up with her own line and swatted me on the head with it:

If you are not going to listen to your Granny, then you might as well be fertilizer . . .


  1. You're definitely a story teller, Michelle! And regarding the last reply on your last post, yes you do have the talent!

  2. This is WAAAAYYY still in the early phases for my new project. So don't take much of the sample at face value. I'm prone to change my mind at a moment's notice...depending on how hard Granny keeps swatting me with her shovel.

    Thanks always for your words of praise. It raises my "hope" flag one notch higher.

  3. Hee-Hee! In case no one noticed, my last post with Rekam Elbuort is actually "trouble maker" spelled backwords. I'm sure to revisit the rascal at some later date.

  4. Well, for what it's worth, it made ME want to read some more. So, uh, when do we get to? Upon publishing, or will you favor us with another excerpt?

  5. Suldog, I might slide other sneak peeks in now and then - once I have more written. It's really still forming in my mind, although I have a few scenes already decided and the ending is starting to stick in my mind.


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