Works in Progress Blog Hop: and a Look Inside

I’ve been nominated by two very lovely bloggers, Marie Bailey and Barb Taub, to participate in this W.I.P. blog hop and have been so busy with my local writers’ group and spring break and my grandchildren (as anyone who follows me on Facebook knows) that I have not given much time to blogging for two weeks.

So, just what have I been up to?

I completed a crime novel. It’s been beta read, edited and proofed and is waiting on me to complete two more novels in the same genre. I have other works in progress and one of these is a sort of sequel to Red Clay and Roses. Also set in Georgia, it is in the same time period, 1950s-60s, and involves two sisters, one of which is the mother of Hannah, the nurse/narrator from Red Clay and Roses.

In Part Two of Red Clay and Roses, there is a relationship involving my cousin, Sybil, (the only real name in the book—she’s an eighty-three year old woman now in real life) she was a high-spirited, fiercely independent, white woman and an entrepreneur in those times.

She became infatuated with Nathan, a black man, and Nathan was enamored with her. Nathan was a medical student and active in the Civil Rights Movement.

When I finished the book, I sent it off for editorial reviews. Kirkus and Reader’s Favorite were very kind to me. Another set of professional editors weren’t. Their primary complaint was that Nathan and Sybil got only a chapter or two of getting to know each other before they were throwing down for fast sex in the middle of a pine forest.

Now, I was telling the story as Sybil had told it to me.

And quite frankly, though a jolly old married woman now, in my single years I was a bit of a slut. So I had no problems with Sybil’s story. But these editors were critical and felt I should have built up to Nathan and Sybil’s interlude with more romance.

Romance has just never been my thing. Some people love it. But I’m out of my comfort zone.

In my sequel, my work in progress, one of the sisters gets deeply involved with a man. A romance develops. And I have to write it. To hone my craft and develop my skills, I’ve been practicing by writing little romantic short stories. I had opportunity to read one of these to an audience of about 60 people last week. What fun!!!

Sebastian's birthday and reading at Stardust 004

They laughed at the funny parts, wept at the emotionally moving parts and came up to me afterwards with wonderful compliments and expressions of appreciation, so I must have done something right.

This spurred me to get back to my W.I.P. The TENTATIVE Title is “Surviving Sister” and I must tell you that every word you read here is subject to change at this point. The two sisters personalities are night and day, but they share a mental illness that manifests itself differently, and each has their own way of coping.

Here’s what I have:

Chapter One:

Time had a way of taking a perfectly good moment and turning it into something terrible. Not that all moments in time were bad ones. Many were wonderful. But in an instant, all that seemed beautiful could change. It happened so quickly, like lightning hitting a tree, splitting its trunk and splaying its branches. Sometimes it was insidious, the unpleasantness creeping up and then, unexpectedly, there was a pinnacle moment of certainty that life was never going to be the same. It happened all too often for Barber sisters, Claudette and Carol.

Chapter Two:

No police arrived on the scene. No neighbors came calling. Mama woke up lying in the floor with her head propped on several pillows, disoriented and confused, an hour after the incident. Claudette and Carol had already changed her clothes as she had soiled herself. This was not the first time Claudette had seen her mother in this condition, but it had been a very long time. Mama had not had such a fit since she was married to her last husband. The medicines had been effective, up until now. It did not take Laura Belle long to get up, reorient herself, and recall what had occurred. The first thing she asked, “Did anyone get hurt?”

Chapter Three:

It was early yet and moonlight glistened across the damp lawn. The shadow of the great Victorian house loomed over the driveway in front of the carriage house that had been converted into a garage. Uncle Durham parked the car. Laura Belle and Claudette had drifted off to sleep and did not immediately stir. Carol leapt from the car the second it stopped, spying Miss Josephine sweeping the back porch steps.

“Lawdy chil’, how you have grown,” Miss Josephine said, halting her chore and holding still the broom. “You’re taller now than your mama!”

“Five foot two, but I’ll never be as tall as Claudette.” Carol shrugged, ran to the porch and gave Miss Josephine a warm hug.

“I know’d y’all was a comin’ today, but I had no idea y’all would be here afore the rooster crowed. I best put on another pan of biscuits!”

The next part of this blog hop is to nominate three more people to tell about their works in progress. A few lines about the first few chapters.

I’m looking at Craig Boyack at Entertaining Stories, who always has something interesting going on.

K. Leigh Michaels, a Y.A. writer with a house full of inspiration.

and Tim Baker, of Blindoggbooks, who has a set of awesome crime novels with iconic character, Ike, and is currently working on something he describes as quite different concerning Karma.

Rules are simple:

  • Link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Write a little about and give the first few lines of your first three chapters from your WIP.
  • Nominate some other writers to do the same.

I’ve done my part, won’t you join me and let us into your storytelling process?

32 thoughts on “Works in Progress Blog Hop: and a Look Inside

  1. Wow! How fortunate that I stumbled upon this. WordPress doesn’t ping me anymore, I wish it would. I’ll see if I can whip something together. I started writing this morning, but a two hour power outage left me hanging. Of course, I’m on WordPress and not writing now.

  2. I have such respect for your writing, Susan, because you aren’t afraid to stretch yourself and write things you never thought you would (for example, romance). Many of us stay with what’s comfortable for us–for example, I remain in thriller mode at this time–but you’ve written literary fiction (which I consider Red, Clay, and Roses to be), a crime novel, and are now working on your romance-writing chops. Kudos to you! That growth will serve you well as a writer, no doubt.

  3. Well, I really enjoyed reading this. Right up until the point where I saw my name. LOL. I will seriously consider it. These types of things aren’t my forte, but as you pointed out, maybe I need the “exercise” in that area. Nicely done, and I look forward to reading your coming works :-).

  4. No grass growing under your feet, Susan.

    My story-telling? Well, writing memoir, I don’t have to make up much, just string the stories together coherently. What I struggle with: My writing coach said 30/70 ratio of dialogue to narration. Dialogue is hard for me – especially with a “then” narrator.

    • With the past tense narrator, the dialogue is still present tense. Like a movie going on in your head. I have the opposite problem. I can talk two characters all day long and never let the narrator get a word in edgewise. HA! But the narration is the meat in that sandwich.

  5. Pingback: The Work in Progress Blog Hop | Entertaining Stories

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