Scene on a Screen and Splitting Phrases

20160316_165752I found this draft I’d written over six months ago–SIX–and realized hey. I never published this post. So here it is, in all its late glory (inside the brackets) **Warning–fiction excerpt included!**

[…”I wrote 1883 words last night on my WIP. NEW WORDS. Never before scene, I mean, SEEN on a SCREEN. From my brain to the page. Totally out of context, but I also worked on a short story the other night, too. It’s not finished yet, but hey…that’s right: this writer is writing again. Crazy, huh?

Even crazier, I’ll introduce the partial scene and include an excerpt. This is a rare thing for me and from me.

2TybeeOcean LtontheWater aquatint_edited-1Background: the POV character and his friend, both once crew on a space vessel, are stranded on a primitive planet in a very primitive culture–a little like Dances with Wolves meets Star Trek New Gen or, um, one of those. The tribe that has taken them in is moving camp and comes to a very wide, deep river. The two men are from a watery planet, and they’ve not seen much of it since coming to this much drier one, months ago. When they see it, one of them gets a bit excited. [Note: the characters’ names are initialized only. I am funny that way.]

*Excerpt from Chapter “Big Small Water”

Water. So much of it. A smile split my face and I laughed. “So we see. Will we go down there—“

“Eyaaaah, big water!” R  belted out the cry and took off sprinting, as best he could, down the rocky hill and over its tuffets of grass. The best I could hope for was that he wouldn’t kill himself.

T__ stared at this spectacle, then turned to me. “What is wrong with him? He has never seen a river?”

“It’s been awhile,” I answered. We set off in R’s wake; those walking or riding did as well, while the carts took a gentler, winding route across the hillside to make the banks of the (river).

T’s steward brought up her horse, and with a nod of dismissal at me, the princess mounted and rode off after R and the rest. I tried to find R’s tracks and the route he’d taken…finding garments along the way. His brown and gold tunic draped recklessly over a boulder. One shoe…a dozen steps further, the other one.

Uh-oh. A Tav hearth-worker held out a braided belt that until moments ago, had been around my friend’s narrow waist. I tucked it under an arm with the other things. 

I knew how he chose to swim when he could. Pausing to give my aching ankle a break, I scratched my sweaty neck and considered how R’s public nudity would affect our harmony with the Tribe. It certainly wouldn’t shock them; they had little modesty themselves. He wasn’t ugly, just scarred and different from the other men we’d met here—we both were. They made us aware of that fairly often. But other than the healers in the healing tents, no one else had seen us entirely unclothed.

But the heat of this place bothered R to the point of torment. 

When I finally arrived at the river, a crowd of women, slaves, and children had gathered at one spot on the bank. Much pointing and exclaiming was going on. Some of it I understood and much I didn’t, but it wasn’t hard to guess.*

Enter clumsy “split phrasing.” In cut-pasting this scene in my blog, I found a few places to correct and tighten, again (sigh. it seemed so ‘done’) I have this annoying tendency to put things in the wrong sequence in a sentence and to split phrases that shouldn’t be split. Example: “Much pointing and exclaiming, some of it I understood and much I didn’t, was going on.” Can you say Awkward? I sure can. So I changed it to read, for better flow, to read,  “Much pointing and exclaiming was going on, some of it I understood and much I didn’t.” 

Ah, the mess of a first draft. I wish I could say I’m a pro at writing them but…wait a minute. I kind of AM a pro at it, as there are a number of Partial First Drafts Plus Random Rewrites stacked in my study, twelve years into this writing phase of my life. Or should that be “Twelve years into this writing phase of my life, there are a number of…” (But who’s splitting hairs?)

It’s the FINISHING and POLISHING to get a FINAL PRODUCT that I’m still working towards. In fits and starts.  Life as a nonlinear (and possibly a slightly lazy) person and writer can be tough. If you are a nice, organized, orderly ESTJ personality, then completely ignore what I just said (that means you, Sue H) In the editing process, this scene might be cut. But I doubt it.

Why? Because it meets criteria, that’s why. What criteria?

  1. Does it advance the plot?  (yes)
  2. Does it expand what we know of important character(s)? (yes – to this point, it’s not shown that water is so important to the men to this degree, nor R’s reaction to it)
  3. Does it contain GMC (goal, motivation, confict)? (yes, in more than is shown here)

The running man “R” does make it to the river, where he not only swims but does something even more astonishing–at least, in the eyes of the tribal people. And that princess who took off on her horse after him? She is pissed off, among other things.skinny-dipping

It’s complicated, but should be a good read. For now, I have a webinar to attend–on writing….”    *****

Update (ie, today)

The webinar was a waste of time. I haven’t written much NEW for a couple of months now. I had set goals to finish the first draft of this book before our trip to France, but realized that waddn’t goin’ to happen. Then some incredibly stagnating and bogging-down stresscloggedbrainplungerfunny happened, all summer long, one after another. You ever have one of those seasons? I did. I am still in it.

So writing has not been flowing, and I’ve dunked my strange self into my photography and some reading instead. But you know what? Just reading the above post tickled my interest to return to the unfinished story above. Reading & writing are funny that way.

Now to get everyone to leave me the HECK alone so I can work on it. Fixing meals? Forget that. Going out socially? Nah. Having friends over to sit around the firepit, drink wine and talk? That would mean we’d have to actually clean our house.

It’s a beautiful summer afternoon…I’m watching it from my window.

And wondering if I can finish the draft of that latest scene...where they tried to escape but ended up in a cage?  Split phrasing aside–they’d better figure it out and split outta there.

My characters will thank me for it.







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