Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Over and Over Again

Have you ever looked at something so often that you can't stand to look at it anymore? Some people think that turning over their work to someone after they have invested so much time and effort into something is a cop out or somehow takes away from the integrity of the work.

But I don't see it that way.

If I could take this novel that I've written and give it to someone who would take it and shape and mold it into something better, I'd let them. I'm so done with it. I feel like I've read every passage over 100x. The clever and witty things that I thought were in there have disappeared. Not because I've changed it - but because I've read them so many times they have ceased to be clever and witty.

I would love it if someone would comb through and find the parts that aren't necessary (the parts that make them roll their eyes) and cut them out. There are too many things that now make me roll my eyes, but I refuse to rewrite anything else until I know exactly what I'm just sick of and what actually needs to go. I don't want to put it on the shelf for another year, but then again, if I have to read the whole thing another time, I might just delete it.

That's not the sign of a good piece of work. But then again, I never claimed it was a piece of literary brilliance. So now I'm torn. It is too big an accomplishment to scrap it. Too big of a nuisance to keep working on it. And too big of a disappointment if I just were to give up.

But since you haven't read it 100x, I am adding another excerpt, just for the fun of it:

One day, George burst in the kitchen where the ladies were preparing the evening meal. Myra, worried about his over-excited state, made him sit on a small stool and drink a whole glass of water before he related his news.
He’d just returned from New York, and though he had not told his family, McKay knew through Ashton that George had gone to ask for Miss Stanford’s hand in marriage.
Since she was sure of the news, she continued to knead the dough that would be their evening rolls.
“I’ve just come from New York,” he explained taking another gulp of water from the refilled glass his mother offered him. “There were…rumors going around town through some of the least reputable parts of town.”
“What?” Myra asked, looking nervously at McKay and then back to her son.
She seemed to be worried about whether or not her daughter and her niece should be hearing such goings on, but she did not dismiss them.
“You mean you didn’t go to the Stanford’s?” McKay asked, feeling her own confusion.
George looked at her and blinked, “Oh, well…yes, I did. But…”
“George!” Susanna cried with delight. “She said ‘yes’ didn’t she? And her father gave his permission?”
“Of course, she did,” George stuttered. “But…”
“Oh, darling!” Myra clapped her hands and hugged her son around his neck.
Susanna kissed him on the cheek in congratulations.
During all the commotion, McKay watched her cousin carefully. He was still flustered, and there was more to his story than the proposal. They had all known it was coming. He would have just slipped that information in at the dinner table, not come bounding in the room like a madman.
Just then, Homer supported Ashton into the kitchen and the celebration stopped as they looked at the bruised and bloodied man.
He had obviously been in another fight, and McKay could see the beginnings of some nice bruises on his face.
Homer placed him on a stool next to George, and Ashton winced as he bent his midsection. Broken ribs, McKay identified immediately. She would know them anywhere, having seen them on the ranch.
“What have you done to yourself?” She demanded as she came around the counter, wetting a towel in the water boiling over the fireplace.
He looked at her and grinned sheepishly, but then slumped back in the chair closing his eyes. Susanna screamed, thinking he had passed out, and Myra escorted her out of the room before coming back with a sewing kit. The cut above his eye would need stitches.
“Really, Ashton,” McKay said as she surveyed him. He definitely had two broken ribs. The cut above his eye was bleeding; he was bruised from head to midsection.
“I hope the other guy looks worse than you do,” she pushed on a dark bruise and he grimaced.
“I wouldn’t know. They kicked me out before I had a good look,” groaning again from the pressure McKay applied elsewhere.
“Are you going to explain to me what happened?” She took the needle that Myra had placed in the boiling water, stitching after Myra had cleaned the wound.
“Um…” George looked to his friend, but relented. “As I said, there were some rumors going on about McKay in some of the less reputable places in town. We know it was Lowell, spreading them around to some of the gi…er, some of his associates,” he corrected.
It was McKay’s turn to wince.
“Anyway,” George continued. “We had just stopped in… and overheard an argument. Ashton went to check it out and there was Lowell, still looking mighty green from that punch, McKay,” he added with a proud nod towards his cousin. “Talking about his latest… anyway, the man that Lowell was talking to was not pleased with the information Lowell was providing. A brawl started out immediately, and Ashton got in the middle of it somehow.”
“And how in the hell did you get in the middle of it?” McKay demanded. “They weren’t talking to you.”
“McKay!” Myra scolded.
She ignored her aunt.
“Of course they weren’t, but they were talking about you,” George defended his friend. “Besides, the blonde chap was talking about how you were his in a real jealous manner. I’ve never even seen the man; I doubt very much you’ve had a fellow calling on you the likes such as him.”
“Blonde fellow?” McKay repeated. Could it be? “Did you catch his name?”
George only shook his head.
Ashton sat quietly while she finished stitching and bandaging him up. She had removed his shirt by this time, bandaging his ribs. He watched her carefully, and McKay felt almost self-conscious with the way he was gazing at her through slits in his eyes. One was almost completely swollen. Her thoughts turned to the night when she had gone to check on his stitches. He had asked her to kiss away his fever. She wondered if he would ask her to kiss away his bruised ribs. Obviously, ribs took weeks to heal. And yet, she wouldn’t mind trying. She pushed the traitorous thoughts from her head. He had promised not to kiss her, and had kept that promise.
Though, it seemed the longer they went without the kissing, the more tension there was between them.
Only the night before, they had run into each other walking down to get a midnight glass of water. McKay had been overly modest in her dress, careful not to be caught indecently again, but he had walked around in nothing but his under drawers. The muscles in his sculpted chest had been defined in the moonlight as he had handed her the freshly filled glass. She had recently cut his hair for him, but his evening shadow had given him the look of a hard working cowboy. McKay couldn’t believe that he had been raised in the city as a businessman.
She had wanted to touch him, so badly. And when he had leaned in to flick a small mosquito from her neck, she thought he would kiss her and she held her breath in anticipation. But he did not. She had been disappointed, and reminded of his promise.
Only, he had said that she could use him anytime she wanted to. But she could not do that to him. It wasn’t fair. How could she use him for her own physical gratification, and then turn around and leave him?
In her distracted state, McKay bumped a particularly tender bruise and Ashton caught her arm and pulled her away from him.
“Are you done sticking me like a pin cushion?” He asked in his rough voice. She had not heard him sound so harsh for sometime. Since the Lowells he had been nothing but overly gentle and cautious.
“Yes, I suppose,” she answered testily. “Why don’t you take better care of yourself, so I don’t have to stitch you up every danged day? Who’s going to take care of you when I’m gone?”
He glared at her, and she glared back .Something was definitely off between them. Yesterday they had been friends. Today, they were bitter ex-lovers.


  1. So, I randomly caught an episode of Grey's Anatomy on TV when I was up WAY too late last night... and was just reminded of it when I pulled up your blog. Not like that you would or should do this... but I think you'll understand why I laughed:

    There was a writer admitted to the hospital (I didn't see the beginning where he was admitted) but I'm fairly certain it had to do with some kind of abdominal pain. The docs run some tests and figure out he's got some sort of blockage that they'll have to remove from his stomach surgically because it was too big to pass through his, um, system.

    The blockage was....(enter drumroll) his novel! He was so frustrated with writing it that he wanted to put the whole miserable thing behind him (literally), and start with something new.

    So PLEASE, don't get frustrated and follow in his footsteps, because I'd have to personally come laugh at you in the hospital. =)

  2. I have to say, I really enjoy your writing. I don't think you should give up. I'd be sad if you did. I don't know how long this section of the story took you to write, but the flow of the story is great. There's no needless repetition that you sometimes find in other stories, which helps to keep the reader, me, reading it. I especially like the banter between Ashton and McKay near the end. Also, I want to know who this blonde man is! You have to finsih the story and post more of it!

  3. By the way, in response to the comment you left on my blog, I adore reading romances. Which is why I'm in the process of writing one of my own. :)


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