#WriterinMotion Weeks 4-5: The Final Draft

November 30, 2019 - Leave a Response

The #WriterinMotion experience had went by this month. And all good things had come to a vastly approaching end. This week, we worked on our final drafts with help from two (or more) beta feedback. And those who were lucky and fortunate to win the raffles by our fabulous editor friend @Jenichappelle had received editorial feedback from them.

This experience was another great one to tighten and rearrange my story a bit from my four fabulous CPs, @rebeccafryar, @songmaiden, @tmnstories and @SKaeth. Thanks you for your valuable input to make it better and polished as it could be at 950 words on the nose. I’ve added a bit of emotional depth to Adrienne and made the ending much stronger. When I wrote and later edited the story, I’ve already dreamed the first chapter of my yet untitled WIM prompt-inspired novel idea I’ll write for Spring Camp Nano 2020. (So stay tuned for more details on Adrienne’s story on how she met Sebastian and later fell for him too.)

Last summer, I’ve used R.E.M.’s The One I Love for the theme song of the short story, Light My Fire. This year, I’ve chosen Garth Brooks’s classic number one song, The Thunder Rolls for The Final Goodbye’s mini theme song. (Did you know that it was originally Tanya Tucker’s song with a fourth verse that’s not included in Garth’s version. It’s only included in metal band, All that Remains’s cover version of it in 2017.)

 

 

The Final Goodbye

The lights flickered out in Adrienne Sinclair’s office. In the dark, she scrambled for her flashlight to find her way out.

Thunder boomed in the distance. Lightning crackled across the evening sky. Torrential rain drenched the streets. She groaned. What else can go wrong tonight?

Before she closed the door, something stuck out to jam it. She widened her eyes at the mysterious envelope and stashed it in her pocketbook.

Adrienne snatched her poncho, her briefcase, and her key ring. The thunderstorm reminded her of Sebastian-the last time they cracked a safe together and made love afterward.

She zipped across the parking lot, and hopped inside her car to dry off and get warm. As she started her engine and fished for her spare flashlight in the glove compartment, she lifted the envelope to inspect the address and the photograph.

There weren’t any train tracks shown in the photograph. The woman looked like her, disguised as a cat burglar. Dressed in black, she held a lightning rod on a stormy night like this one. At first glance, she’d known where to find him.

Taped on the other side of the photo, a skeleton key to open a locker in the Amtrak station at Inverness. At first glance, she’d known where to find him. Clandestine trysts and plotted moves in a treasure-trove filled cubbyhole. The Amtrak train station.

After all this time, he kept this knowledge about the key from her. “Sonofabitch.” She’d sent him to prison and was through with his tedious cat-and-mouse games. Sebastian knew where to get her. She raised her brows and would look for him. “’Rennie, you know where to find me. Follow the clues. Sebastian.’”

At the parking lot, she veered to the right and stopped at the nearest slot, closest to the entrance. She checked the train schedule on her tablet. Surveyed the tracks. Not many people in the terminal. “A half-hour before it arrives. Just like old times, too.” She dashed to the sliding doors. No security detail around, except for the surveillance cameras.

“What the hell? I have no time for this or selfish mind games.”

Lightning struck twice near the complex with rattling thunder. Too close for comfort. She peeled away, flicked on her wipers, and headed for the highway.

A dawning thought hit her like a ray of light. Bastian wouldn’t dare to try to trap me? Would he? After all, she was the one who sent him to prison.

She gazed at the photo once more and flipped it to the back where Sebastian had written the number and its location. I hope I won’t find you there. “’320—Near Cotati Gate.’”

That wasn’t too far for her. With her flashlight, she kept the beam shining bright in the darkened hallway.

She placed her gloved fingers on the lock and turned around. Too hard to detect any moving shadows. But her heart beated pounded in her ears.. She preferred picking locks to spinning dials. Easy to break, easy to crack the safe.

“Bastian, where are you?” Adrienne asked. She couldn’t shake this feeling he lurked around somewhere like last week at the Point Reyes Shipwreck.

“Turn around, Rennie!” Sebastian approached her from the opposite direction.

She jumped, dropping her penlight on the tiled floor, and scowled. She hated it when he scared her like that. “Why are you here? What’s going on? Are you alone?”

“Yeah. But I believe I’m being watched…” He darted his eyes across the hallway. “I’ve cut a deal.”

I don’t like the way this sounds. I won’t bail him out anymore. “What? What deal?” Did he know something else he didn’t let on again?

“With the D.A.’s office. For a lesser sentence, I’ve told them what I know and kept your name out of it.”

Someone like him should spend twenty years behind bars. She blinked. “Go on. Thanks, Bastian, I guess. What sentence?”

“Immunity to testify against my former employers. The whole damned lot.”

Adrienne gasped.Was this some death wish? “You’ve turned State’s evidence against them.”

Sebastian nodded and stepped closer to her. “Yes. I know they’re dangerous and ruthless.”

“Why? They would kill you before they kill me.” Her voice shook. She feared for his life along with her own. No matter how she hated his crimes, she never stopped loving him.

“To be with you and to be free from them. That’s why I’m entrusting you with what’s inside the locker. Open it.” He handed her the key and stood back, swiping her cheeks with his black-gloved hands. “My lips are sealed.”

Adrienne held his hand and squeezed it. She pened it and shone the penlight inside. Bound moneybags, another letter stack, journal entries, and a small framed artwork along with Da Vinci’s secret project. Her jaw dropped. “Woah! No idea there was more….” Holy cow! Is this the Holy Grail? If they ever found out about the missing loot and Sebastian double-crossing them, both their lives would be in danger. She understood why he placed his livelihood on the line. For her. She needed a safe place to hide it away from Inverness. Maybe in Cotati?

“That’s all I’ve stolen from our former fencers. It’s for you.”

“Why?” She whispered into his ears. “I love you, Bastian. Goodbye for now.”

“Because I never stopped loving you. I need to go off-the grid for awhile. Watch your back, Rennie.” Sebastian disappeared into the darkness, leaving her in silence.

Adrienne swallowed hard and closed the locker. She looked both ways, stashed the items into the duffel bags, and fled to the boarding gate to Cotati to go underground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#WriterinMotion Week 4: CP Feedback Round

November 22, 2019 - Leave a Response

Although it took me awhile to get my story for where I wanted it to be, I would like to thank my two CPs, @Rebecca_Fryar and @S_Kaeth for their valuable feedback. Both commented on the same things while they differed on others. I did whittle it down a little and cut it down to a couple of words at 1002 words even. I’ve moved things around and also changed the ending a bit. It would make the perfect segue for a scene change in the future #WIM-prompt inspired story next spring with a working title. But with the ending change, I’m already excited and getting new ideas to write Adrienne’s story in April 2020.  Like with all feedback, I’ve kept what I wanted and disregarded the rest like a grain of salt. Now it’s off to my third CP, @tmnstories to give me bonus feedback in the final round. Unlike this summer, there’s no editorial round except for the lucky raffle winner next week.

Enjoy this new version!

The Final Goodbye

The lights flickered out in Adrienne Sinclair’s office. In the dark, she grabbed her flashlight to find her way out.

Thunder boomed in the distance. Lightning crackled across an evening sky. Torrential rain drenched the streets. She groaned. What else can go wrong tonight?

A mysterious envelope laid by the door’s crack. She widened her eyes on the pocketbook and stashed it in her pocketbook. “What the hell? I have no time for this or selfless mind games.”

Adrienne snatched her poncho, her briefcase, and her key ring. A thunderstorm reminded her from when they last cracked a safe together and made love. It carried a subtle hint of déja vu too.

She sprinted to the front desk and zipped across the parking lot. She hopped inside her car to dry off and get warm. As she started her engine, she fished for her spare flashlight in the glove compartment, and lifted the envelope to inspect the address.

There weren’t any train tracks shown. The woman looked like her in disguise as a fellow cat burglar. Dressed in black, she held a lightning rod on a stormy night like this one.

Sebastian. She shook out her clammy hands as sweat beads formed on her forehead. ‘Rennie, you know where to find me. Follow the clues. Sebastian.’”

Thunder rattled. Lightning struck twice near the complex. Too close for comfort. She peeled away, flicked on her wipers, and headed for the highway.

At first glance, she’d known where to find him at their secret hiding place. Clandestine trysts and plotted moves in a treasure-trove filled cubbyhole. “The Amtak train station.”

Taped on the other side of the photo, a skeleton key at the Amtrak station in Inverness. He kept this knowledge away from her. She sent him to prison and through with his tedious cat-and-mouse games. Sebastian knew where to get her. When intrigued, she would look for him.

The platform and the antenanae held at Amtrak’s station in Inverness. Inside the depot, his skeleton key opened a secret locker. After all this time, he kept this knowledge from her. “Sonofabitch!”

A dawning thought hit her like lightning striking twice in a pitch dark night. “Bastian wouldn’t dare to try to trap me? Or would he?”

At the parking lot, she veered to the right and stopped at the nearest slot, nearest to the entrance, She checked the train schedule on her tablet. Surveyed the tracks. Not many people in the terminal. “A half-hour before it arrives. Just like old times, too.”

She hopped out and dashed to the sliding doors. No security detail around, except for the surveillance videos.

She returned her gaze to the photo once more… and flipped it to the back. Sebastian wrote the number and its location. I hope I won’t find you there, Bastian. “’320—Near Cotati Gate.’”

That wasn’t too far for her. With her penlight, she kept the beam shining bright in the darkened hallway.

She placed her gloved fingers on the lock and turned around. Too hard to detect any moving shadows. But she could hear her heart beating inside her chest. She preferred to pick the lock than spinning any dials. Easy to break, easy to crack the safe.

“Bastian, where are you?” Adrienne asked. She couldn’t shake this feeling he lurked around somewhere like last week at the Point Reyes Shipwreck.

“Turn around, Rennie!” Sebastian approached her in a big stride.

She jumped and dropped her penlight on the tiled floor. She hated him when he scared her like that and scowled. “Why are you here? What’s going on? Are you alone?”

“Yeah. But I believe I’m being watched…” He darted his eyes across the hallway. “I’ve cut a deal.”

I don’t like the way this sounds. I wouldn’t bail him out anymore. “What? What deal?” Did he know something else he didn’t let on again?

“With the D.A.’s office. For a lesser sentence, I’ve told them what I know and kept your name out of it.”

Someone like him should spend twenty years behind bars. She blinked. “Go on. Thanks, Bastian, I guess. What sentence?”

“Immunity to testify against my former employers. The whole damned lot.”

Adrienne gasped.Was this some death wish? “You’ve turned State’s evidence against them for probation or lesser jail time?”

Sebastian nodded and stepped closer to her. “Yes. I know they’re dangerous and ruthless.” He stood close to her.

Tears formed in her eyes and streaked her cheeks. “Why? They would kill you more than me.” She feared for his life along with her own. No matter how much she hated him, she never stopped loving him.

“To be with you and to be free from them. Tha’s why I’m entrusting you with what’s inside the locker. Open it.”

“Key?”

He handed it to her and stood back. He swiped her cheeks with his black gloved hands. “My lips are sealed.”

Adrienne opened it and shone the penlight inside. Bound moneybags, another letter stack, journal entries, and small framed artwork along with Da Vinci’s secret project. Her jaw dropped. “Woah! No idea there was more….” Holy cow! Is this the Holy Grail? If they ever found out about the missing loot and Sebastian double-crossing them, both their lives would be at stake. She understood why he placed his livelihood on the line. For her. She needed a safe place to hide it and away from Inverness. Maybe in Cotati?

“That’s all I’ve stolen from our former fencers. It’s for you.”

“Why?”

“Because I never stopped loving you. I need a safe place to hide and go off-the grid for awhile. Watch your back, Rennie.” Sebasian disappeared into the darkness, leaving her in silence.

Adrienne’s heart slid down to her throat. She looked both ways, stashed the items into the duffel bags from the locker, and made her way to the Cotati gate. If anyone count onto her, she would take the Amtrak train and go underground.

 

#WriterinMotion Week 3–The Self-Edited Version

November 15, 2019 - Leave a Response

Welcome to Week 3 if you’re following along the #WIM feed. Last week, I’ve posted my rough draft version for my adult short story (part two from this summer’s entry Light My Fire). Any rough draft can be messy and a bit long. Before we can get to the polished draft stage, this week focused on self-edits to get it down from 1511 to 1007 words. For my three-pager short story, I went back and forth to remove repetition, shorten sentences, cut words down, and anything else that didn’t help the pace. I kept it during the storm and at the train station. It wasn’t easy. But I managed to get it done and ready to post here (and also at the WIM forum) for comments and feedback. This weekend, it’s off to my two new betas, Rebecca Fryar and Skaeth, two Twiends I’ve known for a long time. And I’ll pay it forward for feedback this weekend. We’re halfway through the journey with two weeks left to go before it ends in December.

I’ve also changed the title, which was also hard, from Cat to Mouse, to the Final Goodbye, which seems to be fitting in the end. Enjoy this new version!

The Final Goodbye

The flights flickered inside Adrienne Sinclair’s office. When it darkened, she grabbed her flashlight to find her way out.

Thunder boomed in the distance. Lightning crackled across an evening sky. Torrential rain drenched the streets. She groaned. What else can go wrong tonight?

She spotted a mysterious envelope by the crack. She stashed it in her pocketbook and widened her eyes on the handwriting. “What the hell? I have no time for this or selfless mind games.”

Adrienne snatched her poncho, her briefcase, and her key ring. Thunderstorms sometimes creeped her out like in the past. It carried a subtle hint of déja vu too.

She sprinted to the front desk and zipped across the parking lot. She escaped inside her car to dry off and get warm. As she started her engine, she fished for her penlight in the glove compartment, and lifted the envelope.

Sebastian. Once again, you’re getting under my skin. “’Rennie, you know where to find me. Follow the clues. Sebastian.’” If she wasn’t stuck in this storm, she would’ve ripped the photo in half.. after she memorized it.

Thunder rattled. Lightning struck twice near the complex. Too close for comfort. She peeled away, flicked on her wipers, and headed for the highway.

At first glance, she’d known where to find her ex-lover, Sebastian Pruitt. Their secret hiding place where they held clandestine trysts. Plotted their next moves in a treasure trove-filled cubbyhole. “The Amtak train station to Cotati.”

There weren’t any train tracks shown. The woman looked like her in disguise as a fellow cat burglar. Dressed in black, she held a lightning rod on a stormy night like this one.

The platform and the antenanae were held at Amtrak’s station in Inverness. Inside the depot, that key led to a secret locker. “Sonofabitch!” Why would he send me this note when I’ve sent him to prison, a week ago? While Sebastian waited for trial, he led her to where he stashed more stolen goods. Like a dog chasing its tail, she flared her nostrils at his cat-and-mouse games once again.

Adrienne focused on the words “cat-and-mouse” in her head. How ironic did he think he was some big cheese? Or referred to his loot, too? Was she the “cat”, who trapped him and sent him packing? Did he consider himself the “mouse” in question? I’m no longer a cat burgular anymore, when he’s still up to his tricks as usual. A dawning thought hit her like Zeus’s trident striking in a pitch dark night. “Bastian wouldn’t daren’t to try to trap me in payback… and from behind bars. Or would he?”

At the parking lot, she veered to the right and stopped at the nearest slot, closest to the entrance. She checked the train schedule on her tablet. Survyed the tracks. Not many people in the empty terminal. “A half-hour before it arrives on schedule. Just like old times, too.”

She hopped out and dashed to the sliding doors. She raised her brows to not see any security detail around, except for the surveillance videos. She preferred to pick the lock than spin the combination dials. Easy to break, easy to crack the safe.

She returned her gaze to the photo once more… and flipped it to the backing. Sebastian wrote the number and its location. I hope I won’t find you there, Bastian. “’320—Near Cotati Gate.’”

That wasn’t too far for her. Straight ahead. Ten paces toward the right and to the vending machines. With her penlight, she kept the beam shining bright in the darkened hallway.

She placed her gloved fingers on the lock and turned around. Too hard to detect any moving shadows. But she could hear her heart beating inside her chest.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are, Bastian,” Adrienne said. She couldn’t shake this feeling he lurked around somewhere like last week at the Point Reyes Shipwreck.

“Boo!” Sebastian approached her and laughed out loud.

She jumped and dropped her penlight on the tiled floor. She hated him when he scared her like that and scowled. “Why are you here? Aren’t you in jail, awaiting trial?” She didn’t hear any prison or jail breaks in the news.

“I’ve been released on bail by my lawyers and made a deal.”

I don’t like the way this sounds. I wouldn’t bail him out anymore. “What? What deal?” Did he know something else he didn’t let on again?

“With the D.A.’s office. For a lesser sentence, I’ve told them what I know and kept your name out of it.”

Someone like him should spend twenty years behind bars. He took the easy way out. She blinked. “Go on. Thanks, Bastian, I guess. What sentence?”

“Immunity in exchange for my testimony against my former employers. The whole damned lot.”

Adrienne gasped. If she’d known anything, they were dangerous and would kill him on the spot. Was

this some death wish? “You’ve turned State’s evidence against them for probation or lesser jail time?”

Sebastian nodded and stepped closer to her. “Yes. A lighter sentence of five years and four months of community service. Two years probation. My trial’s two months from here…”

“Why? They would kill you more than me.” When she worked undercover, she fell for him, and learned insight from Bastian himself.

“I know they’re ruthless. But that’s why I’m entrusting you with what’s inside the locker. Open it.”

First the safe on the ship, now a locker in this train station. “Key?”

He handed it to her and stood back. “My lips are sealed.”

Adrienne opened it and shone the penlight inside. Bound money bags, another letter stack, journal entries, and small framed artwork along with Da Vinci’s secret project. Her jaw dropped. “Woah! No idea there was more…”.”

“That’s all I’ve stolen from our former fencers. It’s for you.”

“Why?”

“Because I’ll be placed under WitSec until my trial. It’s goodbye for now.” Sebastian vanished. Except for his retreating footsteps.

 

 

 

Writers-In-Motion, Round 2: Weeks 1-2:The Prompt and the Rough Draft

November 8, 2019 - Leave a Response

Hello everyone. Writers in Motion is back for a second round this fall. Last summer, we’ve started out from twelve to twenty-four. Now we’re back with a larger group of people, new people who wanted to chip in and join the #WIM moment. And some fellow friends from round one are doing it again while others are passing until next summer. And this time, with a new prompt, there was a raffle for selecting a new group of beta readers, and one chosen winner from another raffle will have their sort story edited by one of fabulous editors. Plus, there’s also a WIM forum when fellow writers will post their short story there for feedback other than their blogs (even if they don’t have one.)

For those who are new to Writers in Motion, WIM for short, it’s a 5-week blog journey to post a short story from rough draft to editorial. (But please be mindful to not use the tag for anything else that’s not related to WIM like your published work or your writing life. Check out the feed down below to see what’s it all about. Even if you’re not participating this time, you can use it and apply to your own writing and later editing from short to long pieces too.)

As for my thinking process, I deliberated on if I should base it on one of my Nano manuscripts (from this summer or currently for this fall), my future WIM-prompted short story-turned novel idea for next year’s Camp Nano, or a new idea entirely different. It took me a few days after this prompt was posted on the blog. So My Muse went into a different direction and did another vignette from my future story. Once again, it was over 1K at 1501 words. So I have 500 words to cut in a week for week 3 for self-edits, 100 words a day, which is a piece of cake on this 3-pager short story.

Check out the photo prompt down below and enjoy my short story, too!

Here’s our photo prompt for this round. Image by engin akyurt from Pixabay

Cat-and-Mouse

 

During the thunderstorm, the flights was flickering on and off inside Adrienne’ Sinclair’s office. When it darkened the room, she grabbed her flashlight, switched it on, and walke down the hall to find her way out.

Thunder boomed loudly in the distance. Lightning flashed and crackled in streaks across an evening sky. Torrential rain downpoured on the streets; the parking lot drenched with heavy hail-sized sheets. She groand as she closed her window and shut her blinds. What else can go wrong tonight? It’s not even 5 PM to call it quits.

On the way out, she stopped to find a mysterious envelope by the crack of her door. She bent down to pick it up and stashed it in her pocketbook. When she was dry and inside her car, she would read it. Under the gleam from her flashlight’s beam, she widened her eyes on the handwriting and who’d addressed it to her. “What the hell?” Adrienne asked herself. “I have no time for this or selfless mind games either.” She had to admit to herself, it did pique her curiosity a tiny bit more.

Adrienne snatched her poncho, her briefcsae, her key ring, and her flashlight. Though it sometimes had creeped her out like it had in the past. It had carried a subtle hint of déja vu too.

She hurried to the door, closed it behind her, sprinted to the front door, and zipped across to her vehicle in the parking lot. More rain had fallen around her, surrouding her with puddles everywhere she went. She escaped inside her car to dry off and get warm. As she started her engine, she fished for her penlight in the glove compartment , and lifted the envelope before her eyes.

She grimaced at the cursive handwriting on the envelope. Sebastian. Once again, you’re getting underneath my skin. “Rennie, you know where to find me. Follow the clues in the photo. Sebasitan.’” If she wasn’t stuck in the middle of a rainstorm, she would rip the photos in half…. after she would memorize it.

Thunder continued to boom above her, shaking and rattling near her car. Lightning was striking near the back of her office building complex twice. Too close for comfort. She peeled away from the wet curb, flicked on her windshield wipers, and headed for the highway.

At first glance, shed known ehere to find her ex-lover, Sebastian Pruitt. Their secret hiding place where they had held clandestine trysts and plotted their next criminal moves in art thefts, various artworks, and stolen artifacts in a treasure trove-filed cubbyhole. “The Amtak train station to Cotati.”

Although there weren’t any train tracks shown in the photograph, she’d known the woman looked like her in disguise as a fellow cat burglar. Dressed in black, she was holding a lightining rod on a stormy night like this one. It reminded her of Benjamin Franklin’s scientific experiments with a lightning bolt and a metal key to conduct electricity.

The platform and the antenanae were held at the Amtrak depot train sstation in Inverness. And inside the depot, that key would lead to a secret locker. “Sonofabitch!” Why would he send me this note when I’ve sent him to prison, a week ago? While Sebastian was waiting for his trail on his nefarious crimes, he led her to where he’d stashed Da Vinci’s letters, diary, and his secret artwork. Like a dog chasing its tail, going in circles, she was fed up with ihis cat-and-mouse games once again.

While driving to the Inverness train station, Adrienne focused on the words of “cat-and-mouse” in her head. How ironic did he think he was some sort of big cheese? Or referred to his loot, too? Was she the “cat” , who trapped him and sent him packing? Did he consider himself the “mouse” in question? I’m no longer a cat burgular anymore, when he’s still up to his tricks as usual. When a dawning thought hit her like Zeus’s trident striking in a pitch dark night. “Bastian wouldn’t daren’t to try to trap me in payback… and from behind bars. Or would he?” She grimaced at the mere thought and shook her head.

At the parking lot, she veered her car to the right and stopped it at the nearest slot, closest to the front entrance. She viewed her tablet and checked the train schedule. Then she survyed the railraod tracks in front of the Amstrak Invernesss train depot. Not many cars in the lot or in the empty terminal. “A half-hour before it arrives on schedule. Just like old times, too.”

She hopped out of her car, grabbed her keys and pocketbook, and dashed to the sliding doors. She raised her brows to not notice any security detail around, except for the surveillance videos. She preferred to pick the key lock than with the combination dials. Easy to break, easy to crack the safe like in a vault.

The question remained at the number of the lock and where to find it. She paid no attention to the pouring rain outside with the thunder-and-lightning in the background. She returned her gaze to the photo once more… and flipepd it over to the backing. In Sebastian’s writing, he wrote the locker number and the place to locate it. I hope I won’t find you there, Bastian. “’320—Near Cotati Gate.’”

That wasn’t too far for her to pinpoint it. Straight ahead. Ten paces toward the right and to the vending machines. The number “320” had no signifcant reference to her, their former relationship, or anything to do with his crimes. With her penlight, she kept the beam shining bright in th darkened hallway, not knowing if it would lead to a power outage or a blackout.

At the locker, she stopped, placed her gloved fingers on the lock, and turned around in the quiet darkness. Too hard to detect any moving shadows. But she could hear herself breahting, her heart beating like a drum inside her chest.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are, Bastian”, Adrienne said. She couldn’t shake this feeling that he was lurking around somewhere like last week, a week ago, on the Point Reyes Shipwreck.

“Boo!” Sebastian approached her in his wide steps and laughed out loud.

She jumped out of her skin and dropped her penlight on the tiled floor. She hated him whren he scared her like that and scowled. “Bastian, why are you here? Aren’t you supposed to be in jail, awaiting trial?” She haven’t heard any news of a prison or jail break in the news.

“I’ve been released on bail by my lawyers and made a deal.”

I don’t like the way this sounds. I wouldn’t bail him ut anymore. “What? What deal?” Did he know something else that he didn’t let on or know again?

“With the D.A.’s office. For a lesser sentence, I’ve told them what I know and kept your name out of it.”

Someone like him should spent twenty years behind bars. He took the easy way out. She blinked and didn’t know what else to say. “Go on. Thanks, Bastian, I guess. What sentence?”

“Immunity in exchange for my testimony against my former employers. The whole damned lot.”

Adrienne gasped. If she’d known anything, they were dangerous and would kill him on the spot. Was
this some sort of a death wish? “You’ve turned State’s evidence against them for probation or lesser jail time?”

Sebastian nodded and took a step closer to her. “Yes. You know I can’t stay way from you, Rennie.” He paused. “I do have a lighter sentence of five years and four months of community service and two years for probation. My trial’s two months from here…”

If she was smart, she would run away and place him under house arrest. But not in her home, of course. “Why? They would kill you more than me.” When she worked undercover to discover his lies and later fall for him, she’d learned a lot of insight from Bastian himself.

“I know they’re ruthless. But that’s why I’m entrusting you with this loot inside the locker. Open it.”

First the safe vault on the ship, now a locker in this train station. “Key?”

He handed it to her and stood back. “My lips are sealed.”

Adrienne opened the locker and shone the penlight inside it. Bags of bounded money, another stack of letters, journal entries, and small-sized framed artwork along with Da Vinci’s secret project no one knew about. She whistled as her jaw dropped to the floor. “Woah! No idea there was more that what we’ve found last week, Bastian.”

“That’s all I have and had stolen from our former fencers. It’s for you.”

“Why?” From the tone of his voice, it sounded like a goodbye.

“Because I’m going to be placed under WitSec until my trial. It’s goodbye for now.”

When she locked the door, she turned around to see Sebastian was gone. Except for his retreating footsteps.

#Writerinmotion Week 7: Wrap-Up and How to Perfect Your Own Work

July 13, 2019 - Leave a Response

Well, everyone, this is the end of the seven-week blog journey for the #writerinmotion experience. I would like to thank the editors who signed on for this journey, my friends who commented on my blog and via the WIM Twitter feed. I would like to thank my three CPs for their excellent feedback including my editor, Jeni Chappelle, too. Although I haven’t written a short story in a decade, it did feel good to write one again for this special journey. And I’m glad to share my transformation on how my rough draft sparkled and shined in the final draft last week. And this snippet had prompted me to write Light my Fire in a novel form next spring. I’ve made some new friends and future CPs/betas for future projects as we’ll keep the WIM Twitter feed and Slack channel active after this weekend.

Here are some takeaway tips on how you can use the #WIM experience for your own work. It’s all about how to write something from scratch and polish it in its final draft. (I’ve seen some people misused the hash tag–except for two people–when they’ve gotten the wrong idea. It had nothing to do with self-promoting books, journal writing or traveling.)  WIM is perfect for all types of writing formats–short works (short stories, flash fiction, scripts and plays, poetry and songs, graphic novels and comic books), nonfiction (essays, blogs and articles, biography and memoir chapters, devotions and newsletters, and longer works (novel and novella chapters from any age and genre market). And yes for those who are in the query trenches, it’s perfect for queries, writing a synopsis, and Twitter pitches. Whether you’re going the traditional, self-publishing, indie, small press or hybrid publishing route, it works!

Step 1: Write It Out. Whether prompted by a photo or an idea or not, write it out in free write. Don’t edit and have a daily word count in mind. Start with writing 500 words a day on paper or on your computer. You can do it at home, at the library or coffee shop, or during your lunch hour break for work. No distractions. Keep in mind, shorter works in both nonfiction and fiction would take less time to write than longer ones. After you get one writing, let it rest and set for a moment like a weekend or a week before you can read it with fresh eyes.

2. Self-Edit to Trim It Down. This is when you cut out of the fat and weed out the passive and filter words, the adverbs and extra descriptive adjectives. Take out the fluff and trim it until you have a set word count (or line count for poetry/songs) in mind. There are many useful venues online and in books about which words you can cut out without doing any harm to your work. If you’re an underwriter, you need to add the fat. If you’re an overwrite like me, you need to cut it out. There are other websites that are perfect for self-editing like Pro Writing Aid and Edit Minion for starters. Is there any wordy sentences or big graphs or repetition? Trim it down until it’s good enough for the next step.

3. Betas are Worth Gold. Now it’s time to give it to another set of fresh eyes to help you. make stronger and trimmer. Whether you have one or a few, it’s time to grab an alpha reader, a beta reader, and a critique partner. You can find them online, on Twitter and on Facebook, your local Meet-Up, an online crit list like the Internet Writing Workshop or Scribophile, or even your local writing group if your library has one. If it’s shorter work or longer, make some new friends. Whether you send them a chapter, 3 chapters or 50 pages, or the full manuscript, work out a system that’s right for you and see if it’s works. And if you’re new to writing and editing,  here are the definitions between the three terms: An alpha reader is a first reader that your provide feedback before its done. A beta reader is someone who gives you feedback from a reader’s standpoint. Sometimes they can be one and the same. And a critique partner is someone who tells you what’s working and not working in the story with a bunch of notes for your feedback. After you let the feedback set in, take charge of your work and make it better and see how it works out.

4. Make it Shine. For those who can afford an editor to evaluate a partial or a full manuscript, this is a great investment for having exceptional work to give you excellent feedback on how to improvement your story. For those who are going the traditional or hybrid/small press route, you would have one for your future stories. For those who are doing indie or self-publishing, you’re on your own. See my special note down below. And if you can’t afford one like me, you can go back to your betas and CPs if they read revisions. Some do and some don’t. If not, find a cold reader to read it through to check for errors by proofreading the manuscript. Note: As a book reviewer for Upwork for two years, I’ve read and review some self-published books for my client for one year. Mostly these authors just write and publish without editing it before it goes on final print. I had to turn down two assignments because of that cause: sloppy unedited work. I couldn’t give it a fair score. Others were fine, but still these self-published authors should’ve known better than to hit the submit button to print it out. If you plan to self-publish or go indie, please proofread and spellcheck your own work and have a beta/CP look it over.  Don’t rush the process and let it gradually happen in time. It would be worth it!

5. Just Hit Send! After you’ve have a cold reader or an editor look it over and you’ve implemented all the feedback to make it publishable and ready for print in literary journals or to editors and agents, even for pitch contests as well, you’re done and look at your work. Move onto the next project and do it all over again. Stay busy and stay active!

As Porky Pig said, that’s all folks! Thanks for following my blog! For my regular blog followers, stay tuned for a regular update in two weeks! See you then!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#WriterinMotion Week 5–Final Version

July 6, 2019 - 2 Responses

Like the old adage, all good things must come to an end.  And this #WriterinMotion experience has been wonderful for me and my 23 writer friends. But before I say goodbye, I’m happy to post my final version of my adult mystery short story, Light My Fire. My 1038 words have been trimmed down to 867 words.  I’ve kept some of my own writing and took suggestions from my editor friend, Jeni Chappelle, from her 737-word version in make it tighter. I have a screenshot version of it of the first page to show you comments from an editor to make it sound like you.  I did have fun writing Adrienne’s mini story and can’t wait to write it next year for Camp Nano in April 2020. Some of my writer friends are going to be my betas for it to tell my story. One of friends, Paulette Wiles, wants “more” of the story between sassy Adrienne and cocky Sebastian. So I’m going to give it to her next year! I can’t wait.

 

Here’s my screenshot of the first page to show you Jeni’s commnets on how she helped me make it tighter down below. Screen Shot 2019-07-04 at 1.12.59 PM   And here’s my final version of Light my Fire.  Stay tuned next week on a wrap-up with my thoughts and feelings on WIM and how to apply you for your writing adventures too.

Adrienne Sinclair sprinted past the Point Reyes Shipwreck sign and headed to the charred fishing boat. She snapped a shot with her Iphone’s camera to capture the moldering beauty of the landmark against the starry night. The Pacific Ocean lapped in the distance, carrying its secrets with seaweed and seashells in the foamy tide.

Her sturdy boots clunked on the deck. She shone her penlight around the splintered wood from aft to starboard and flicked on the blacklight feature. A path of faded dried blood led to the galley. She held her breath as she stepped closer to the crew rooms.

A looming shadow moved toward her from the bow. “Adrienne, what are you doing here?”

Her ex-partner in crime, Sebastian Pruitt. She groaned. She wanted nothing more to do with him. “Bastian!” What was Sebastian doing here of all places?

Sebastian cursed out loud. He’d hated that nickname when they were together. “The same as you—claiming the prize.”

“Get out of my way. Or I’ll call the cops on you.”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“Shouldn’t you be locked away?” As far as she was concerned, he deserved to rot for the rest of his miserable life. Once a con man always a con man.

Adrienne scowled. Since when they did release his sorry ass?

“Released a month ago for good behavior. I’ve served my time.” He smirked. “I’m here to help you find the letters.”

“Help? Why would you want to help me?” She didn’t trust him as far as she could throw him. “You’ve lied to me in the past. I don’t buy it.” Adrienne stepped away from the crew rooms toward the staircase to go below deck.

He pointed his flashlight in the same direction, closed the distance to her, and fingered a strange of her sandy blond hair. “Come on, Rennie. I know what you’re after.”

“Ha!” Every bone and fiber of her body cringed. “We’re not a team anymore—professionally or personally.”

“I know where it is. Let me lead the way.”

“What are you talking about?” Adrienne asked. A wind chilled her as she went downstairs to the mid-cabin.

“Starry Night.” He led the way and found the locked safe. “Aren’t you a bit interested in why someone set this boat on fire?”

Adrienne didn’t blink. She wasn’t going to bite. She spun the dial to twenty-nine then to seven. “Not really.”

“I have the combination for the safe. Your last number is wrong.” His dark blue eyes widened with obvious delight. “I can read your mind so well..”

Little did he know the surprise she had for him.

To prove him wrong, she spun the dial to fifty and pulled the knob. Nothing happened. It was stuck. She cursed and tried again. She kicked the safe. “Damn you!”

Sebastian laughed out loud and shook his head. “Told you. Let me work with you on this. Trust me.”

She shot red-hot daggers at him. “Why would I?”

“Because we work well together.”

“Not anymore.” She rubbed the back of her neck and sighed. “All right. What’s the last digit?”

He folded his arms across his chest. “Ninety. The year Van Gogh died. Try it.”

She rolled her eyes. Why didn’t she think of that? Adrienne rotated the dial to ninety and yanked the wheel. It clicked open. She removed Starry Night and searched the matting for a bulge. “How did you figure it out?”

“You learn a lot in prison.” He grinned and crouched down. “Including a new interpretation behind the story of this painting.”

“What? Van Gogh was in an asylum when he painted it.”

“True.” Sebastian lifted the artwork and flipped it to the other side. He snatched her flashlight, and in a slow, careful manner, she the light around to the middle of the matting. “But rumor has it, Van Gogh contemplated escaping this world. Failure at love and art and in life…”

Adrienne gasped as Sebastian found a slit opening in the matting.

“He wrote letters to his brother Theo and Dr. Rey. They were stolen from the Van Gogh Museum. Never made it to any biography. It remained hidden in there.” He pointed to the safe. “It’s all in this loot.”

“So what stopped him?”

“The guards.”

A knowing smile formed across her lips. Those purloined letters could make her a ton of money. So how did this boat go up in flames? How is It connected to Van Gogh? “And what happened to the boat?”

“Engine failure caused the boat to go aflame, leaving them shipwrecked here.”

I bet you had something to do with the arson and the theft. She grabbed a stack of missing letters.” How else would you know all this?

He laughed. “I was in prison, remember.”

“The San Diego PD told me about your prison break” .She stepped away from him. “And I know your penchant for starting fires.”

Sebastian cursed.

“You’re busted!” Adrienne revealed the taped wire on her chest. “Game over. You’re going back to prison.”

When the three police officers took Sebastian away in handcuffs, a slow smile formed across her face as she left the boat with the letters and the painting.

 

 

#Writerinmotion Week 3: Third Draft

June 28, 2019 - One Response

I can’t believe we’re halfway through the seven-week blog journey already.  Within two weeks, this experience would come to a close. But let me explain my train of thought of what new changes I’ve made in my short story. Thanks to my three CPs, K.J. Harrowick, Coffee Quills, and Kathryn Hewitt for making great suggestive changes to help me tighten and trim my short story down to 138 words. Although I didn’t get it down to 1K even, it was close enough at 1038 words for a tight word count. And thanks to my author editor friend Jeni Chappelle, she said it was okay and close enough to send it off to her by this weekend. So hopefully she can nitpick those 38 words for a cool 1K even for the final draft.

I enjoyed writing Adrienne’s mini story as I still plan to write Light My Fire into a full novel next spring for Camp Nano. And this final draft would be included in one of the final scenes. The genre and title is TBD next year for sure. Since I didn’t have any screenshots last time, I do have a screenshot of my first page of my short story. Those passages highlighted in pink colors is what my 3 lovely CPs had commented on. Some I accepted and the others I had passed on. I didn’t have time to create a stronger ending to my story.  But it would have one in the final draft.

Screen Shot 2019-06-26 at 3.42.56 PM

Here’s my 3rd draft of Light my Fire, my adult mystery short story.  And down below, I’ve created a special mood mood too.

Adrienne Sinclair sprinted past the Point Reyes Shipwreck sign and headed to the charred fishing boat. She grabbed her iPhone and snapped a shot of that landmark against the starry night. She captured the moldering beauty. The Pacific Ocean lapped in the distance, carrying its secrets with seaweed and seashells in the foamy tide.

Her sturdy booties clunked on the deck. She shone her penlight around the splintered wood from aft to starboard and flicked on the blacklight feature. A path of faded dried blood led to the galley. She held her breath as she stepped closer to the crew rooms.

A dark looming shadow moved toward her. “Adrienne, what are you doing here?”

She gasped at seeing her ex-partner in crime, Sebastian Pruitt. “You!” What was Sebastian doing here of all places?

He stood at the bow and smirked. “The same as you—claiming the prize.”

Once a con man always a con man. “Get out of my way. Or I’ll call the cops on you.”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“Should you be locked away in prison?” As far as she was concerned, he belonged there to rot for the rest of his miserable life.

“Didn’t you get the email?” Sebastian asked.

Adrienne scowled. Since when they did release his sorry ass?

“Released a month ago for good behavior. I’ve served my time.”

She groaned. She wanted nothing more to do with him. “What do you want, Bastian?”

He cursed out loud. He had hated that nickname when they were together. “I’m here to help you find the letters.”

“Help? Why would you want to help me?” I don’t trust you as far as I can throw you, Sebastian. “You’ve lied to me in the past. I don’t buy it.” She stepped away from the crew rooms and navigated her way toward the staircase to go belowdeck.

He pointed his flashlight in the same direction. “Come on, Rennie. I know what you’re after.” He closed in the distance to her and fingered a strand of her sandy blonde hair. “I know you still want me, too.”

“Ha!” Every bone and fiber of her body couldn’t stand him. She tried not to let him ruffle her feathers when he used her hateful nickname of “Rennie.” It made her cringe. “I doubt it. I’ve moved on. And I don’t know what you’re referring to.” A cold wind blew and chilled her as she went downstairs to the mid-cabin. “We’re no longer a team anymore—professionally and personally.”

“I know where it is. Let me lead the way.”

“What are you talking about?” Adrienne asked.

“Van Gogh’s Starry Starry Night.” He led the way and found the locked safe. “Aren’t you a bit interested on why someone set this boat on fire?”

She spun the dial to twenty-nine. “Not really.”

“C’mon.” Sebastian smirked as he folded his hands on his hips. “Don’t you want a nibble?”

Adrienne didn’t blink. She wasn’t going to bite. She rotated the dial to seven. “No.”

“I have the correct combo for the lock safe. Your last digit is wrong.” His dark blue eyes widened with pure delight. “I can read your mind and have known you so well..”

Little did he know what surprise she would have for him. “You think you do.”

“It won’t work…”

To prove him wrong, she spun the dial to fifty and pulled the knob. Nothing happened. It was stuck. She cursed and tried again. No luck. She kicked the safe. “Damn you!”

He laughed out loud and shook his head. “Told you. Let me work with you on this. Trust me.”

She shot red-hot daggers at him. “Why should I?”

“Because we’ve worked well together.”

“In the past, but not anymore.” She rubbed the back of her neck and sighed. “All right. What’s the last digit?”

“Ninety. The year Van Gogh died. Try it.” He folded his arms across his chest.

She rolled her eyes. Why didn’t she think about that before? Adrienne rotated the dial to ninety and yanked the wheel. It clicked open. She removed Van Gogh’s Starry Starry Night and searched the matting for a bulge. “Sebastian, how did you figure it out?”

He grinned and crouched down. “You learn a lot in prison. And that’s including a new interpretation behind the story of this painting…”

“What? Van Gogh was in an asylum for his hysteria when he painted it.”

Sebastian lifted the artwork and flipped it to the other side. He snatched her flashlight and shone the light around to the middle of the matting in a slow careful manner. “True. But rumor has it, Van Gogh thought about committing suicide. He contemplated escaping this world. Failure at love and art and in life…”

Adrienne gasped as she found a slit opening in the matting. “What?”

“It’s true. He wrote private letters to his brother Theo and to Dr. Rey. Those were stolen from the Van Gogh Museum. It never made it to any biography. It remained hidden in there.” He pointed to the safe.

“So what stopped him?”

“The guards. It’s all in this loot.”

A knowing smile formed across her lips. Those purloined letters could make her a ton of money. “So what does this painting have to do with the boat?”

“People were trying to find those letters. Someone stole it and kept it hidden here. Engine failure caused the boat to go aflame.”

What a crock! “I bet you had something to do with the arson and theft. How else would you know these things?” She grabbed a stack of missing mail. “Confess!”

He laughed. “I’m telling you the truth. I was in prison during that time.”

She stepped away from him. “You’re lying. The San Diego PD told me about your prison break.” She pointed her finger at him. “I know your penchant for starting fires.”

Sebastian dropped his jaw and cursed out loud. “What?”

“You’re busted! You’ve walked right into the trap.” She displayed the taped wire on her chest. “Game over. You’re going back to prison.” When the three police officers took Sebastian away in handcuffs, a slow smile formed across her face as she left the boat.

 

Screen Shot 2019-06-28 at 4.45.52 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#WriterinMotion: Week 3: My 2nd Draft

June 21, 2019 - 3 Responses

This is week three in the seven-week blog journey for #writerinmotion, when we take a rough draft of our short story and make it polished and ready for later stages. And this week after a week of comments from fellow #WIM writers, we get to work on our drafts  by self-editing it on my own.  It was hard to cut a lot of words from my 1935 original short story and get it to 1000 words even. Self-editing and revisions isn’t my strong suit. I despise editing with a passion–the same for writing a synopsis–and that’s another story. On another note, our former group of twelve writers had grown to 24 writers to join our project. We also have added two new editors to the mix. I’ll be adding those links at the end.

Since I don’t have any proof of my revisions for screenshots, I just compared my original with my newest draft. I took out bits about Sebastian’s wet suit for example and other stuff from the original to make it better. I shortened sentences, removed beats and some inner dialogue.  I tightened the story and kept everything in–I only changed two bits and that’s about it. I wanted it to focus on the chemistry between Adrienne and Sebastian’s former relationship with  a shocking new twist in the end. Though my 2nd draft is at roughly 1174 words when I can’t cut anymore, it’ll be now sent to my 3 CPs next week for feedback and to help me cut 174 words hopefully easily to make it at 1K even. I also changed the title from Look What The Cat Dragged In to Light My Fire for my adult mystery short story. Hope you enjoy it and let me know which version is best. Sidenote: this prompt had given me a novel idea to write Adrienne’s story next year for Camp Nano or Nano–the genre is to TBD. And the polished scene would make it into the story. Enjoy!

 

Light my Fire

Adrienne Sinclair sprinted past the sign for the Point Reyes Shipwreck. She headed to the charred fishing boat. What caused it to go aground? And who set it on fire three years ago, and why? That mystery had remained unsolved to this day.

On that starry night, she grabbed her iPhone and snapped a shot of that local treasured landmark. As a nature photographer, she captured the moldering beauty in Inverness, California. The Pacific Ocean lapped in the distance, carrying its secrets with seaweed and seashells in the foamy tide.

She boarded the boat with her sturdy shoes. She shone her penlight around the splintered wood from aft to starboard and flicked on the blacklight feature. A path of dried blood led to the galley. She held her breath and stepped closer to a broken cabinet door. Cobwebs decorated the ship.

“Adrienne, what are you doing here?”

She gasped and narrowed her eyes at her ex-partner in crime and ex-lover, Sebastian Pruitt. “I was about to ask you the same thing, Sebastian.”

He stood at the bow and smirked. “The same as you—claiming the prize.”

Once a con man always a con man. I want nothing to do with this two-timing two-bit former cat burglar. “Get out of my way. Or I’ll call the cops on you.”

“You wouldn’t dare. Would you?”

“Shouldn’t you be locked away in prison?” As far as she was concerned, he belonged there to rot for the rest of his miserable life.

“Didn’t you get the email?”

Adrienne scowled. Since when they did release his sorry ass? “Nope.”

“I’ve been released from prison a month ago for good behavior. I’ve served my time.”

She groaned. She wanted nothing more to do with him since he framed her for a crime. “What do you want, Bastian?”

He cursed out loud. He hated that nickname when they were together. “I’m here to help you find the loot.”

She stared at him while she’d pressed all the right buttons. “Help? Why would you want to help me?” I don’t trust you as far as I can throw you, Sebastian. “You’ve lied to me in the past. I don’t buy it.” She stepped away from him and navigated her way around the sailboat.
He beamed his flashlight in the same direction. “Come on, Rennie. I know what you’re after. I know you still want me, too.”

She scoffed. Every bone and fiber of her body couldn’t stand him. “I doubt it. I’ve moved on. And I don’t know what you’re referring to.” When she headed downstairs, she shivered from the cold that radiated from the shipwreck. “We’re no longer a team anymore—professionally and personally. I’m so through with you.”

“I know where it is. Let me lead the way.”

If she wanted to, she could call his bluff. “What are you talking about?”

“Van Gogh’s Starry Starry Night.” He walked ahead of her and found the locked safe. “Aren’t you a bit interested on why someone set this boat on fire and left it shipwrecked?”

Curiosity killed the cat… She spun the dial to twenty-nine. She tried not to let him ruffle her feathers when he used her hateful nickname of “Rennie.” It made her cringe. “Not really.”

“C’mon.” Sebastian smirked as he folded his hands on his hips. “Don’t you want a nibble?”

Adrienne didn’t blink or bat an eye. She wasn’t going to bite or fall for his lies. She rotated the dial to seven. “No.”

“I have the correct combo for the lock safe. Your last digit is wrong.” His dark blue eyes widened with pure delight. “I know you’re interested. I can read your mind. I know you so well.”

Little did he know what surprises she would have for him. She tried not to give herself away. “I still don’t trust you. You think you do.”

“It won’t work…”

To prove him wrong, she spun the dial to fifty and pulled the knob. Nothing happened. It was stuck. She cursed out loud and tried again. No luck. She kicked the safe. “Damn you!”

He laughed out loud and shook his head. “Told you. Let me work with you on this. Trust me.”

She shot red-hot daggers at him. She wouldn’t trust him with her life. She had learned the hard way about his deceit a long time ago. “Why should I?”

“Because we’ve worked well together.”

“In the past, but not anymore.”

“Then let me help you one last time…”

She let out a sigh. “All right. What’s the last digit and the mystery to this puzzle?”

“Ninety. The year Van Gogh died. Try it.” He folded his arms across his chest, tapping his feet against the planks, and winked.

She groaned. Why didn’t she think about that before? She rotated the dial to ninety and yanked the wheel. It clicked and opened. She removed Van Gogh’s Starry Starry Night and searched the matting for a bulge. “Sebastian, how did you figure it out?”

He grinned and crouched down. “You learn a lot in prison. I’ve made friends who revealed their trade secrets. And that includes a new interpretation behind the story of this painting…”

“What? Van Gogh was in an asylum for his hysteria when he painted it.”

He lifted the artwork. He borrowed her blacklight and shone at it as he moved it in a slow careful manner. “True. But rumor has it, Van Gogh thought about committing suicide. He contemplated escaping this world. Failure at love and art and in life…”

Adrienne gasped as she found a slit opening through the matting. “What?”

“It’s true. He wrote private letters to his brother Theo and to Dr. Rey. Those were stolen from the Van Gogh Museum. It never made it to any biography. It remained hidden in there.” He pointed to the safe.

“So what stopped him?”

“The guards. It’s all in this loot.”

A knowing smile formed across her lips. Those purloined letters could make her a ton of money. “So why does this painting have to do with the boat?”

“People were trying to find those letters. Someone stole it and kept it hidden here. Engine failure caused the boat to go aflame..”

What a loaded crock! “I bet you had something to do it with the arson and theft. How else would you know these things?” She grabbed the faded burlap bag. “Confess!”

He laughed. “I’m telling you the truth. I’ve been in prison during that time.”

She stepped away from him. “You’re lying. The San Diego PD told me about your notorious prison break. You did it.” She pointed her finger at him. “I know your penchant for starting fires.’

Sebastian dropped his jaw and cursed out loud. “What?”

“You’re busted! You’ve walked right into the trap. I’ve got you on tape.” She displayed the taped wire on her chest. “Game over. You’re going back to prison.”

Three police officers arrested him on the spot and retrieved the missing loot as evidence. Case closed.

Newest Writers:

Jen Karner: http://www.SyllablesandSass.com

Susan Burgdorf: https://writingnotes.home.blog

Sheri MacIntyre:http://www.sherimacintyre.com

Coffee Quills: https://wordpress.com/view/coffeequills.com

SKaeth: https://skaeth.com

Megan Van Dyke: http://www.meganrvandyke.com

Ari Augustine:www.BookishValhalla.com

Stephanie Whitaker: https://stephwhitaker80.wixsite.com/swhitakerwrites

Belinda Grant: www.belindagrantwrites.wordpress.com

Sheryl Stein: http://www.wrekehavoc.com

MB Dalto: https://authormdalto.wordpress.com/blog

Fariha Khayyam:farihakhayyam.com

Jessica Lewis: https://jessicalewis2227.wixsite.com/authorjessicalewis/writer-in-motion

Dawn Currie: https://dawncurrie.wordpress.com/

Newest editors:

Justine Manzano: https://justinemanzano.com/tag/editing/

Maria Tureaud: https://www.craftquest.org/maria-tureaud

 

#WriterInMotion–Week 2: The Prompt

June 11, 2019 - 3 Responses

Last weekend, everyone received the prompt in our circle of friends from one of our amazing editors, Jeni Chappelle. Since then, our twelve group of writers had expanded to added ten more to their journey, bringing the total of twenty-two writers in counting. And we’ve gotten an additional editor from Revpit to join our bunch for our newest writer friends here.  So I’m going to reveal our visual prompt and my thinking process behind the scenes for it.

brown shipwrecked on shore

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

So my Muse needed time to think about the story this past weekend. I did a bit of research on the Port Reyes Shipwreck and listened to Don McLean’s “Starry Starry Night”, a classic 70s song about the artist Vincent Van Gogh, and his story behind his life and the painting. So I thought about a twist on the hidden meaning behind the painting and why this treasured shipwreck was set on fire three years ago. I’ve concocted a  mini premise for a short story–something I haven’t done in a decade. Although it came past the allotted 1000 words for the first draft, it would be trimmed down to 934 words with two revised rounds from my two amazing betas/CPs by the end of this journey.  Remember this round is unedited. This weekend, I’ll check out my friends’s stories and provide feedback on at least two of them. Feel free to do the same as well. Enjoy the story. I’ve titled it “Look What the Cat Dragged In.”

Look What the Cat Dragged In-1934 words

Adrienne Sinclair was racing against the clock to solve the puzzle. She stood at the start of the path and spotted the small sign for the Point Reyes Shipwreck before her. With a quick glance to check to see if anyone was behind her, she headed to the charred and capsized lonely tall fishing boat. What caused it to go around? And who set it on fire, three years ago, and why? That mystery had remained unsolved to this day.

On that starry, starry night, she grabbed her iPhone and snapped a shot of that local treasured landmark. As a nature photographer, she enraptured the moldering beauty of that sailboat on the shores in Inverness, California. As the Pacific Ocean lapped in the distance, it was carrying its secrets with seaweed and broken sea glass and seashells, along with the foamy tide to the shore. “Poor boat.” She released a sigh and docked the abandoned boat with her sturdy shoes.

I love adventure. And as a photographer, I’m going to seek a little danger on the wild side. No one would ever know. While she became vigilant of splintered and burned rotten wood from aft to starboard, she shone her penlight flashlight around and flickered on the black light feature. This was like a CSI officer would do at a crime scene to check for prints, blood splatters, and often trances of DNA. Would this unsolved mystery be considered on two?

Adrienne grinned and started to follow a path of dried blood that lead to the galley. She held her breath and took another step closer to a broken cabinet door that hung on the hinges. Cobwebs decorated the ship for new hidden cubbyholes for spiders to hide in. She didn’t believe the hype that this sailboat was haunted and possibly boobytrapped. She chalked it up to be a myth or an urban legend.

“Adrienne, what are you doing here?”

She gasped and spun around in a half-pivot. She almost dropped her cell phone on the holed floor below her. “I’ was about to ask you the same thing, Sebastian.” She narrowed her eyes at the sight of her ex-partner in crime, Sebastian Pruitt. He stood in front of her in a long wet suit that dripped with water that went onto the decrepit wreck’s bow.

“Beating the same clock as you in this warped scavenger hunt to look for salvaged clues.” He smirked at her and stood his ground.

Once a con man always a con man. I want noting to do with this two-timing two-bit former cat burgular. “Liar. Get out of my way and watch your step. Or I’ll call the cops on you.”

“You wouldn’t dare. Would you?” He took one slippery step closer to her as the water formed puddles everywhere around him.

“Shouldn’t you be behind bars and locked away in prison?” As far as she was concerned, he belonged to rot there for the rest of his miserable life.

“Didn’t you get the letter in the mail? Or in the email?”

Adrienne shook her head and scowled. Since when they did release his sorry ass? She hated the sight of her ex-lover too. “Nope.”

Sebastian’s grin grew wider as he removed the hoodie from his drenched wetsuit. “I’ve been released from prison a month ago for good behavior. I’ve served my time. I’m a free man.”

She groaned and narrowed her eyes. So why did he have to follow her here? She wanted nothing more to do with him, not since he framed her for a crime. “What do you want, Bastian?”

He cursed out loud. He hated that nickname that irked him a whole lot when they were together. “I’m here to help you in this rat race to win the prize.”

She stared at him incredulously and had known when to press the right buttons. “Help? Why would you want to help me?” I don’t trust you as far as I can throw you, Sebastian. “You’ve lied to me in the past. I don’t buy it.” She stepped away from him, watching her step for broken wooden planks in each room and made her way to the port. She knew her way around a sailboat a time or two without needing a diagram to point it out.

He followed her every move and shone his own flashlight in the same direction she headed. “Come on, Rennie. I know what you’re after. I know you still want me, too.”

Adrienne scoffed and snorted out loud. Every bone and fiber of her body couldn’t stand him and his two-timing ways. “I doubt it. I’ve moved on. And I don’t know what you’re referring to.” When she went downstairs in her booties, she shivered from the cold that radiated from the broken shipwrecked that laid aground on the shore. ‘We’re no longer a team anymore—professionally and personally. I’m so through with you.”

“You’re going to lose the grand prize before time runs out. It’s your loss. I know where it is. Let me lead the way.”

If she wanted to, she could call his bluff and call the cops on him by leaving an anonymous tip. She titled her head to the side and flared her nostrils. “What are you talking about?”

“Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting. I know where to find it.” He went ahead of her and found the locked safe. “Aren’t you a bit interested on why someone doused this boat on fire and left it shipwrecked?”

Curiosity killed the cat, but it had done more to pique my interest. What does one thing have to do with another? What’s he getting at? She crossed her arms over her chest and then spun the combination dial to the left for number twenty-nine. She tried not toilet him ruffle her feathers when he used her hateful nicknames of “Rennie”. It made her cringe. “Not really.”

“C’mon.” Sebastian smirked as he folded his hands on his hips, dripping more water on the rotten wood. “Don’t you want a nibble?”

Adrienne didn’t blink or bat an eye. She wasn’t going to bite or fall for his lies. She went past him and rotated the dial to the right for number seven. “No.”

“I have the correction combo for the locksafe, Adrienne. Your last digit is wrong.” He tilted his head to the side, his smirk was growing wide on his face, his dark blue eyes widened with pure mischievous delight. “I know you’re interested. I can read your mind. I know you so well.”

So tempted to contact the cops on him, little did he know what surprises she would have for him. She looked forward to call his bluff and tried not to give herself a way. “You think so. I still don’t trust you. You think you do.” A gleam twinkled in her hazel eyes.

“You won’t win the prize with the last digit.”

To prove him wrong, she rotated the dial to the left to the number fifty and pulled the knob. Nothing happened. It was stuck. She cursed out loud and tried again. No luck. She kicked the safe and hurt her right foot. “Damn you!”

Sebastian laughed out loud and shook his head. “Told you. Let me work with you on this. Trust me.”

She shot red-hot daggers at his smug face. She wouldn’t trust him with her life. She had learned the hard way about his deceit a long time ago. “Why should I?”

He stepped closer to her. Outside, they could hear crickets chirping from the sandy shore. “Because we’ve worked well together.”

“In the past, but not anymore.”

“Then let me help you one last time…”

She blinked and let out a sigh. “All right. What’s the last digit and the mystery to this puzzle?” She wanted to get out of there and bail out while she could.

“Ninety. The year Van Gogh died. Try it.” He folded his arms across his chest, tapping his feet against the soiled planks, and winked at her.

She groaned. Why didn’t she think about that before? “All right.” She spun the dial around to the number ninety and pulled the wheel. It clicked and opened. How did he know? She removed Van Gogh’s Starry Starry Night painting and searched the backing for a bulge. “Sebastian, how did you figure it out?”

Sebastian grinned and crouched down below her. “You’ll learn a lot in prison. I’ve made friends who knows a lot about art thefts and told them their trade secrets. And that includes a new interpretation behind the story of this painting…”

As an art history buff, she knew a lot about classic masterpieces that’s valuable to steal from museums. “What? We know Van Gogh was in an asylum for his hysteria when he painted it and after he lobbed off his ear.”

He nodded and lifted the painting to the sky. He borrowed her black light flashlight and shone it at the painting as he moved it in a slow careful manner. “True. But rumor has it, Van Gogh was thinking about committing suicide there in the asylum and not later on. He contemplated Heaven and escaping this world. Failure at love and art, his family abandoning him.”

Adrienne gasped and founded an opening at the backing of the artwork. “What?”

He dimpled much to her chagrin. “It’s true.. He wrote private letters to his brother Theo and to Dr. Rey. Those were missing and stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. It never made it to any biography about him. It’s been missing all these years and remained hidden in there…” He pointed to the safe.

“So what stopped him?”

“The guards. But that’s all I know. It’s all in this loot.”

A knowing smile formed across her lips. Those purloined letters could make her a lot of money. “So why does this painting have to do with the boat?”

“Because when word had gotten around, there have been people trying to find those letters. But when someone had stolen the painting a few years ago, they buried it behind the painting and hide it here. The fishermen who were on this boat had cursed engine failure that caused it to go aground here three years ago. Then Van Gogh’s ghost had set the boat on fire to conceal the truth.”

Adrienne scoffed. What a loaded crock! “I bet you had something to do it with the arson and theft. How else would you know these things?” She kept the loot to herself and grabbed the faded burlap bag. “Confess!”

He laughed. “I’m telling you the truth. I’ve been locked away in prison during that time.”

She narrowed her eyes and took a step back from him. “You’re lying. I’ve heard about your notorious prison break back then. You weren’t in prison. You did it.” She pointed her finger at him. “The San Diego PD told me about the prison break.”
Sebastian dropped his jaw and let out a line of curses. “What?”

“You’re busted! You’ve walked right into the trap. I’ve got you on tape.” She raised her jacket and her t-shirt to show a taped wire on her chest. She grinned. “Game over. You’re going back to prison where you belong.”

Without needing a gun, she lead Sebastian out of the galley and toward the bow. Three police officers boarded the rotted boat and arrested him on the spot. Then he escorted him to the prison as she handed the missing loot to them as evidence. Case closed.

 

 

 

 

Writer-In-Motion: Week One

May 30, 2019 - Leave a Response

Welcome to Writer in Motion! This new blog series will show you how to write a rough draft and polish it to a final copy. Whatever you’re working on, whether it’s a short story, a poem or a song, a nonfiction magazine or newspaper article, or a chapter in a novel, the self-editing process will work the same way.  For the next seven weeks, follow my eleven awesome writer friends this summer as we’ll take a prompt to create a short story from scratch. Then we’ll self-edit and beta read each other’s work and polish it  until t shines with help from two development editors from #revpit. They would help guide us along in the process to make it a well-written peace with feedback and encouragement. Follow us on Twitter’s #writerinmotion feed and subscribe to our blogs to see how we’ll do. Some of us is giving us cool giveaways to select commenters. Join us starting on June 1st, 2019!

AUTHORS:

  1. K. J. Harrowick (http://blog.halon-chronicles.com & http://kjharrowick.wordpress.com)
  2. Jen Karner (http://www.SyllablesandSass.com)
  3. H.M. Braverman (http://hmbraverman.com)
  4. J.M. Jinks (www.authorjmjinks.com)
  5. Melissa Bergum (will be posting via KJ’s site)
  6. Kristen Howe  https://kristenswritingendeavors.wordpress.com/
  7. Thuy Nguyen (http://www.tmnstories.com)
  8. Kathryn Hewitt https://spinningmyyarns.wordpress.com/
  9. Sean Willson (https://www.seanwillson.com/blog/)
  10. Paulette Wiles (http://www.paulettewiles.com)
  11. Talynn (inkinthebook.blogspot.com)
  12. Ellen Mulholland (www.ellenmulholland.com)

Editors:

EDITORS:

Jeni Chappelle https://www.jenichappelleeditorial.com/

Carly Hayward https://booklighteditorial.com/

About Me and My Writing Journey:

I’m originally from New Jersey and have lived in Ohio for 19 years. I’m unemployed and work as a freelance writer/editor for Upwork for 2.5 years and Hub Pages for five years. I’ve been writing for a long time ever since I was in high school, when my hobby in writing poems and short stories had transformed into dream career.  I’m also a mother of a cranky adult twenty-year-old male domesticated cat named Wylie.

I’ve had dozens of poems published in various literary journals and magazines a decade ago in print. My poetry has been featured in the Lifelines poetry anthology book, which is available on Amazon.com.  I’ve been querying for almost eight years and have garnered interests from agents by cold querying and agents sometimes from Twitter pitch contests. For my eco-thriller, Venom, I have 4 fulls and 2 partials pending out with agents–I’m due to hear from those agents in mid-June and hope to land more requests this summer. I also have 2 fulls and 1 partial out for my psychological thriller with police procedural elements, Chain Reaction–I plan to send out my fulls out later this summer after I finish editing from Scribophile feedback. I also have a political thriller.  I mainly write adult thrillers (eco-thrillers, psychological, political), romantic suspense, and my newly created genre, sports romantic suspense novels. I’m hoping to make my dreams to come true by landing an agent and a pub deal by the end of summer.

My Muse is usually active during the Camp Nano seasons (both April and July) and also Nano in November. I tend to average writing 2k/day in 2-3 hours from start to finish in roughly three months.  Though I tend to overwrite and it takes me longer to self-edit my work from various resources –(betas/CPs, online writing group and local critique group, Scribophile, self-editing sites)–and deep POV is my arch nemesis.

My favorite things I love to do, besides writing, is yoga with meditation, making smoothies, reading, and cooking in my crockpot.

 

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