'Mudge's Home for Properly Delineated Waterfowl (PG)

A place for you writers to complain about your writing and the writing process... maybe posting what you got done today to make you feel like less of a writing failure.

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TheMudge
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Postby TheMudge » Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:40 pm

All the lights were out in the smallish house at 1420 Crows Quill Street, in the smallish suburb of Woodstock, on the outskirts of the rather large city of Atlanta, on an unseasonably warm night in early June. All the lights were out, but all the house's inhabitants were awake.

Sarabeth Peckham, fifteen years old and only 163 days away from getting her learner's permit, was awake because she was scared. Very scared. And the Thing, the Event, the Happening that was causing her fear, well, she wasn't talking about that. Not to anyone.

On the other side of the house, Sarabeth's 11-year-old brother Mitch was awake. He was under the covers with Sarabeth's cell phone. He had been trying to figure out the code to unlock the phone, so he could read all Sarabeth's text messages, but after a few seconds of punching in random number combinations, that had gotten boring. Now, he was running down the battery by using the light from the phone to read a Green Lantern comic book.

Tango and Zippy, the dogs, were awake because Mitch hadn't taken out the trash that night, and there were interesting smells coming from the black plastic bag still sitting by the basement door; Phoenix the cat was awake because obviously SOMEbody had to keep an eye on the dogs.

In the large bedroom on the back of the house, Mrs. Peckham was awake because she was worried. "I'm worried," she said, lying on her back and staring up at the green light on the smoke detector.

Mr. Peckham--who was also awake because Mrs. Peckham was worried--pretended to be asleep.

"Larry, I'm serious. I'm worried," Mrs. Peckham said.

Mr. Peckham said, "Hhh."

"Larry ..."

Mr. Peckham sighed quietly, looked wistfully at the red numbers on the clock, and rolled over onto his back so that he, too, could stare at the ceiling. "Kim," he said, trying very hard to sound less grumpy than he felt, "We're parents. We're SUPPOSED to worry. It's part of the job."

"It's Sarabeth," Mrs. Peckham said, as if her husband had not spoken a word. "Something's wrong."
"Throughout history, Truth and Love have always won." - M. Ghandi

"Truth and Love often get the crap kicked out of them along the way." -D. Mudge

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Postby Mlou » Thu Jun 05, 2008 2:47 pm

Well, Mudge, where did this come from? Intriguing beginning to what could be a delightful look at family life. I'm in sympathy with EACH of the characters already...even the cat, who obviously is brilliant.
nothing is ever simply Yes or No. There's always a But...


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Postby TheMudge » Thu Jun 05, 2008 3:12 pm

Thanks. Just ... doodling at this point.
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Postby pengwenn » Thu Jun 05, 2008 3:59 pm

Ooohhh! You should doodle more.

I know I haven't read everything you've written but what I have read (and can remember 'cause they're so few and far between) someone is always lying in bed. Are you trying to tell us you need more sleep?
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Postby TheMudge » Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:33 pm

I ... that's not ... wow ... really?
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Postby JillStar » Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:22 pm

If not more sleep than maybe less worries.

Either way, it is intriguing... and I'm in agreement with Mlou... brilliant cat. Hmmm... horror flick, family drama, fantasy... hard to say; but I like them when you're just not sure... yet. :)
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Postby xcheck24 » Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:32 pm

So reading text messages is the new reading the diary thing. Love it.
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Postby TheMudge » Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:45 am

Yeah, I kinda liked that, too. :-D
"Throughout history, Truth and Love have always won." - M. Ghandi


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Postby TheMudge » Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:31 pm

"The first thing I thought when I woke up ..."

"Speak up, please."

"Pardon?"

"Speak up, please. Move closer to the microphone."

"Oh. Sorry. Um ... hello? Is this better?"

"Yes, yes. Continue."

"Um. Oh, right. When I woke up ..."

"Start back further, please?"

This guy was starting to get on my nerves. "Further?"

"Yes. What happened before that?"

I tried to push past the limp spaghetti in my head. It hurt. My brain actually hurt. "I was ... um ... I was walking back to the dorm ..."

"From where?"

"The library. No, the pub."

"Well, which was it?"

The room was stifling. Made it hard to breathe. "I'd been to the library. I have a paper due tomorrow--um, today, I guess." Suppose it didn't matter NOW, did it? "I was all keyed up, popped in the pub, took a pint, then I was walking home. To the dorm, that is."

"So you admit you had been drinking?"

"Wasn't drinking, mate--I had a pint."

"But you did have alcohol in your system?"

"Colonel ..." It was the first time anyone else in the blandly lit room had spoken. A thin woman with a tight face and limp hair. She looked tired. We all did, I suppose.

The man she had addressed as The Colonel appeared to be thinking things over, staring at me, his mouth twitching. Wasn't giving in, but wasn't asking questions, either.

"Please go on, Mr. Carter," Thin Lady said, but I just sat there looking blank.

"You were walking home ..."

"Right. Yeah. I was walking back. Then boom. Then nothing. Then I woke up."

"Tell us what happened then." The Colonel was back in charge. I wanted to point out that I had been TRYING to tell him that BEFORE. Instead I took in a deep breath, let it out slow.

"First thing I thought, when I woke up, was sh!#, it's a headache day. I mean, I actually remember thinking that. I have headaches, see. Some days. Some days I wake up with one, and it usually lasts all day. So I didn't want to move, but I had to hit the ... um ..." I glanced at Thin Lady. "Use the, um, facilities ... so I tried to move, and I felt gravel."

"Gravel?"

"On the sidewalk. Bits of rock and all. Pieces of wood. And I tried to get up, and it just hurt, y'know?"

"Your arm?"

I glanced down at the fresh cast that stretched from my left elbow to my wrist. "Yeah, that, but my head, too. Back of my head and my neck."

"Something hit him, obviously," Thin Lady said. "Something big. Heavy bruising, cuts on his arms and shoulders. Possible concussion." Geez. No wonder I hurt so bad.

The Colonel brushed her off. "But what did you SEE?" he demanded.

"The Farmington House," I said. "Was just ... gone."

No one spoke, but there was an undercurrent of quickened breathing and nervous glances. There were maybe 15 people in the room. The only one I recognized was a nurse who was in the room when I was treated. Now she was hovering back by the doorway, almost like she wasn't supposed to be there and was afraid of getting caught.

Thin Lady's voice cut through all the shuffling and squirming. "What do you mean, 'gone'? Like ... what? Like someone dropped a bomb on it?"

I thought about that a moment. "No," I said. "It wasn't burned or smoking or on fire. I mean, there were some little fires but ... no. It was more like it was ... I dunno, torn apart, maybe? Like some giant went in there and kicked the sh!# out of it."

It sounded stupid, even to me. I expected someone to snort. Instead there was that shuffling again. Everyone eyeing everyone else and trying to look like they weren't. All the attention finally settled on The Colonel. He swallowed hard, once.

"What else?"
"Throughout history, Truth and Love have always won." - M. Ghandi


"Truth and Love often get the crap kicked out of them along the way." -D. Mudge



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Postby Mlou » Thu Mar 19, 2009 9:36 am

Hmmmm....a cliff hanger. So what's next?
nothing is ever simply Yes or No. There's always a But...





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Postby TheMudge » Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:20 am

Well, at the time ... sleep. Might write more today.
"Throughout history, Truth and Love have always won." - M. Ghandi


"Truth and Love often get the crap kicked out of them along the way." -D. Mudge



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Postby pengwenn » Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:50 am

Yeah, what else?

You do a good job at setting a scene with minimal details. Your characterizations help with that. Just these two lines: "A thin woman with a tight face and limp hair. She looked tired." give a wealth of images. Your writing seems economical, and not to the detriment of the reader.
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Postby xcheck24 » Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:10 pm

I meant to post something last night when I first read this but I was exhausted. I really like it, Mudge. It seems, though, your guy goes back and forth between being a Brit and American based on how he spoke. But that's just me. Otherwise, I WANT MORE!
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Postby TheMudge » Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:54 am

Thanks, all. X, he is a Brit, but a fairly upper-middle-class, well-traveled Brit. He doesn't have much of an accent. I think I am OK with the actual dialog; it is when he is thinking to himself that it comes across more Yank. IMNSHO.
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Postby TheMudge » Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:20 am

"Nate, my friend, I fear we may have over-stayed our welcome to some degree."

"Do tell. That a pure divination on your part, or'd all these guns here give you a hint?"

Gideon smiled. " 'Divination'? If I may say so, Mr. Proctor, it appears that your high-prairie vocabulary has benefitted somewhat by your time spent with me."

"Yeah. Make sure someone mentions that in the eulogy."

If the ongoing repartee had any effect on the makeshift posse standing in a semi-circle around the two men, it wasn't noticable: the half-dozen firearms of various shapes and calibers remained steadily if vaguely aimed in their general direction, and the men holding them remained more or less frozen in place.

At least until Gideon moved.

Both he and Nate had remained in a defensive half-turned semi crouch since the sheriff had first spoken from behind them. Now Gideon turned to face them fully -- seemingly standing taller than his five-foot-eleven frame appeared capable of -- and despite themselves, the men with the guns recoiled, almost as one. The sheriff realized he had stepped backward, and angry at himself for it, raised his double-barrel and tried to hold his ground. But then when Nate also turned and effortlessly brushed the tail of his duster away from the holster of his revolver in one fluid motion, the sheriff swallowed hard and allowed himself to take another step back along with the other men.

Gideon was smiling again. "Eulogy, Mr. Proctor? Whose eulogy would that be?" The smile suddenly became more feral. "If these nice townsfolk truly wanted us deceased, I'd think they'd've sent enough men to do the job."
"Throughout history, Truth and Love have always won." - M. Ghandi


"Truth and Love often get the crap kicked out of them along the way." -D. Mudge



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Postby charlesp » Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:10 pm

Good stuff (as usually). Been reading Parker's westerns?

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Postby TheMudge » Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:07 pm

Not recently. And thanks. Feels stilted to me.
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Postby mae » Sat Jun 06, 2009 9:51 am

I didn't think it felt stilted, mudge, but I do think there's one teeny repetition that you could fix.

remained steadily if vaguely aimed in their general direction,



Wouldn't "vaguely" and "general" be pretty much the same thing? Otherwise, I don't know what "vaguely aimed" would mean.

mae
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Postby TheMudge » Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:01 pm

Hmmm.

I see your point, but it still feels ... not "right", per se ... but ...

It's like, "General Direction" describes the place the guns were aimed at ... "Vaguely" describes more the act of aiming. Maybe "steadily if ambiguously"? "steadily if half-heartedly"?

Kinda wanting to say "The guns were pointed in their general direction, but the posse has decidedly mixed feelings about doing so".
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"Truth and Love often get the crap kicked out of them along the way." -D. Mudge



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mae
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Postby mae » Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:46 pm

I see.
My heart beats in poetry. I think in rhythm and dream in rhyme.



Give me a crit! I can take it!



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Postby TheMudge » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:58 am

Well, OK, you see ... now how can I actually SAY it without using an entire paragraph?
"Throughout history, Truth and Love have always won." - M. Ghandi


"Truth and Love often get the crap kicked out of them along the way." -D. Mudge



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Postby mae » Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:40 am

Well, mudge, while I see the difference in the two - as far as your intention - I still don't think you need both words. In my opinion, if the guns are only aimed "vaguely", then they are not aimed "steadily." The two just don't fit together, in this instance, for me. They are contradictory. In my opinion, you should remove "steadily" since it shows a resolve that I don't think your group of men feels. The fact that the guns are still aimed in your character's direction at all is conveyed adequately without "steadily."

If any of that makes sense to you!

mae
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Give me a crit! I can take it!



CELTIC QUEEN, an Epic Poem, Cynthia M. Bateman, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore ... +Epic+Poem at Tate Publishing

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