This is an excerpt from the first draft of the project I’m working on during November. The working title is HAPPY CAMPERS. It is a Work In Progress (WIP) and for all I know, this portion won’t stay in the final product. Heck, I don’t even know if this girl’s name should really be Abby, but I like the ways you can tweak it, so I’m going with it for now.
Why am I posting this?? It’s because I’d like to give you a glimpse of what’s taking all my spare minutes this month. I want to be brave and share the writing thing that I’m so passionate about, even if I’m still learning how to do it well. …And I want you to tell me how great it is and how much you like it. That said, I do realize we can’t always get what we want. 😉
‘I can’t do this,’ she thought.
She stood on a small platform at the top of a 60 foot pole. Each rung of the ladder she had sent up a little prayer, but now she stood, clipped to the wire, with nothing between her and certain demise on the forest floor.
‘What was I thinking?’
From miles below she heard Jay’s voice, confident and strong.
“You can do this!” he proclaimed, and for an instant she believed him.
Then she rocked forward on her toes, only tipped forward a centimeter but it was enough to make her stomach lurch and throw her bodily functions into panic mode.
“I just peed my pants a little bit,” she screeched. “This is the worst idea ever. I’m coming down!”
She could hear Jay laughing down below.
Marshall chimed in from his safe spot next to Jay on terra firma.
“Come on, Abigail, you know the only way down is the zip line. You’ve coached people on how to do this.”
“I was lying. This is a death trap. There’s no way I can do this,” she yelled at him. “And also, I hate you.”
Marshall and Jay now hooted with laughter from their place of safety on the ground.
Abigail checked her harness again, triple checked her carabineer. She ran through the reasons why she was up on the platform, but she came up empty. She couldn’t remember why it had seemed so important to her, what compelling reasons drove her up into the trees. None of them could have been sufficient enough to trust her life to a diaper of webbing and a tiny wire cable. Her parents would say this was foolhardy.
“I’m coming up,” Jay announced. He was already enroute, and experience told her all her words couldn’t stop him once he had begun his ascent. She had to do this on her own. She knew he wanted to help her but she had to do this without him. Now he had started a timer and she resented him for it.
“Stop,” she yelled. “I can do this myself.”
“Then do it,” he said from his spot on the ladder 50 feet below her. “If you don’t I’m gonna push you off.”
“That’s not funny.” She tried to fight the tears but they stung the corners of her eyes. “Seriously, go away Jay. I’m scared.”
“I know, ‘Gaily. I’ll help you.” He was even closer now. “I won’t joke around anymore, promise.”
“Go away, Jay. I’ll do this my own way. You can’t help me.” Her voice shook with fear and adrenaline, her body buzzed with dizziness and nausea. She could hardly breathe.
Voices visited her, reminding her of things she didn’t know she’d retained, mental pictures flashed in her mind of situations she didn’t know she’d taken to heart.
You’re not your own. You belong to God and your body is his temple.
You’re not going to wear that young lady. You will cause boys to stumble.
What’s so hard to understand? You need to honor God with your life, and a B in biology doesn’t honor God with your mind.
Those musicians are being used to divert your attention from God. We won’t allow that music in this house. Why can’t you listen to one of those new Christian bands? They’re just as good.
Did you forget the Genesis story? It was Eve who pulled Adam down into sin with her.
All at once she was defeated. Time slowed down. She felt the pressure of her helmet against her skull. She felt the cut of the rope against her hand. She felt the sweat drip down her back and she knew she couldn’t do it. She was stupid to think she could do it. She should have known better. She was being proud and arrogant to even try, falling into rebellion again and deceiving herself to think it was anything nobler than that.
There you have it. My first attempt to share from a brand new WIP. I’ll try to keep you posted on how the story develops and what happens to Abby. For now, this is what I feel comfortable sharing (although “comfortable” is an exaggeration — it truly makes my heart pound to think of putting this out there). Enjoy, and have a wonderful week!
“I don’t know what to do,” she said.
She’d only been home five minutes before the inner tension was too much and she had to talk to Mom about it.
“What do you want to do?” Mom asked.
“Everything,” she answered. “I want to leave, I want to stay, I want to scream, cry, break stuff and roll into a ball.”
“Which of those sound best right now?”
“Break stuff,” she grinned through her tears. “I won’t though. I have too much self-restraint.”
“Yes, that’s what you’re known for, self-restraint,” Mom said.
“Actually, the only thing that sounds good right now is something to eat. Do you have anything?”
Mom scoffed. “Do I have anything? Baby, sit down. I’ll take care of you.”
She pulled out a stool and sat while Mom rummaged through the fridge, proclaiming all her finds as she pulled them out.
She felt her eyes well up with tears, and she tried to sniff them back.
“Mom,” she began.
Mom kept her head in the fridge but said, “Hmm?”
“How can I feel strong and weak, confident and scared, bitter and generous all at the same time? I think I might be losing it.”
Mom emerged with a container of Cool-Whip in one hand and a container of strawberries in the other.
“No honey, you’re just being you. We’re all that way.”
This is my attempt at a fiction version of Five Minute Friday, though I definitely didn’t get many words down in that amount of time. *sigh* That’s okay. For those who don’t know, Five Minute Friday is a linkup with Lisa-jo Baker and it is lots of fun. Check out all the details on her site: http://lisa-jobaker.com I’d love to find your contribution (if you’re here with FMF), so please leave a link in the comment section below! And as always, thank you sincerely for visiting today.
Don’t waste your valuable brain cells or time on a book called Pretty Little Mistakes by Heather McElhatton
Last summer I got all excited because on a radio news program they featured a local author who had published a new work of fiction. The hook on her line was that the book was a choose-your-own-adventure story. But hers had hundreds of potential outcomes and twists. It sounded really ambitious.
When I was young I loved reading choose-your-own-adventure books. They all must have come as a set because the books all looked the same — title arched across the top, big illustration in the center, the author’s name (which I can’t remember) on the bottom, same number of pages, paperback, easily fit in your hand. They were maddening because some of the choices made you end up in jail or eaten by a giant squid, even if you went back and tried to change the choices you made. Great stuff for a voracious young reader.
Please allow me to take this opportunity to caution you against Heather McElhatton’s Pretty Little Mistakes. Within the first chapters, there is a gratuitous amount of low behavior and crass language, and the choices made within the chapters go from bad to worse. I thought it must just be the choice I made in the previous chapter that would throw me into such a terrible story situation, so I went back and made the other choice offered to me, and still ended up reading about promiscuous behavior, illegal drug use, and avant-guard art that featured sculptures of genitalia set on fire. No, I’m not kidding. And I only read for about five minutes! In addition, many of the chapters are one page long, which makes the emphasis squarely on the plot, rather than the character. It moves things along, certainly, but doesn’t ever establish a reason to care why any of these things happen.
I was so disappointed. McEllhatton has such a creative mind and it is amazing that she could come up with so many twists and turns in this novel. The cover claims that it has 150 endings! But the choices she details are ones that end up in brokenness, twisted relationships, murder and ultimately the author’s own wasted talent.
Now, I know, Dear Reader, that some of you are like me, and when I warn you off about this book, you will find yourself sorely tempted to check it out. But please, if you must, find it at the library and do not use one penny of your income to support this book.