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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Writing Thang

The Daylight Here is going well. Quite well at well over 45,000. Part of the charm of this particular project is that it is as much about the writing as it is the plot line and the writing itself is flowing without a lot of conscious contrivance. This is probably because I've got something to say over and above the story.


There is only one problem with it at present. I am not satisfied with the title, but cannot come up with a better one. Sometimes it seems like all the good titles have been taken. Twilight would have been awesome (taken). Flicker would have been even better (taken). "Ghost" would have been great too (also taken).  So I'm left with the dregs.  At the moment I'm kicking around Scrim.


What is "Scrim" you asked? Well according to Merriam Webster it's: a theater drop that appears opaque when a scene in front is lighted and transparent or translucent when a scene in back is lighted.  It can be used in haunted houses, and hunters use it as a form of camouflage as well. I like the idea of a piece of fabric that separates scenes and is translucent only when the light is behind it. 


Meanwhile, here's an excerpt from today's work.  (Please forgive the formatting. When I put spaces between the paras it puts miles between them and when I don't it runs them all together  Am I the only one having a problem with Blogger's newest brain child?).


The door flew open.  No dramatic pause followed the silhouette framed by in doorway, the morning sunlight behind. Just a series of anticlimactic pops.  Just the sound of the phone striking the floor with the sound of plastic and electronics being separated with a crack. Just the old woman falling with a faint cry, the sound of limbs, of torso, of head, striking unforgiving floor. The sound of the computer hard drive spinning. The ceiling fan clicking.

All playing lightly to the rhythmic background clinking and squeaking of the trampoline's springs.
Cameron.
Hannah was beside the little girl, half hidden by the safety net around the trampoline, unaware of the comings and goings of her grandmother and the man she didn't like. Well hidden from the scene inside.
Cameron. Hide.
The girl didn't pause, didn't even look at Hannah. "Grandma doesn't like it when I hide. It scares her."
It's okay this time. You're hiding for me. If she calls you, you can come.
Cameron hadn't lived five years without knowing what a lie was when she heard it.  She stopped jumping. The shadow of the net cast a meshed frown across her face. "I want to see her first."
Cameron. Please hide first. You can see her later.
Cameron stepped off the trampoline and crept to the back steps, standing the shadow of the building, her eyes peering just over the edges and through the screen door. Inside Clint was moving things. Heavy things. Grunting and muttering as he worked.
Cameron's small face seemed permanently marked by shadow. Her voice thinned to something akin to a high fluting whisper. "Hannah, where is Grandma?"
Cameron, please.
Cameron listened to the heaviness, the muttering, and the utter lack of her grandmother's voice. She did her own math, a small fluting cry escaping her lips, sounding more like a tiny bird than a child. She whispered,
"Where?"
It would not be long until he noticed the toy box full of toys. And it wouldn't be very long after he'd wonder who those toys were for and follow his instincts to the plastic letters on the front of the refrigerator spelling out her name, the pictures on walls, and  ask himself where the little girl in them was. He would find the play yard with the wading pool and the swing set and trampoline. And if he was very observant, he would notice the number of dishes in the dish drainer. He would do the math too. And he would come looking.
The woods. Run into the woods and wait for me. I will be there to get you.
"Promise?"
Promise. Run before he starts to think.
Cameron was over the fence, flying in a straight line, almost soundlessly, like she'd been running from murderers her entire life and knew right where to hide.
Clint's footsteps resonated through the cabin, doors bouncing off walls.  Cabinets opening.  A pause. She could almost hear his head turning and the wheels within it spinning.  A voice, milk warm on a cold morning, called. "Cameron? Are you here?"
He appeared at the screen door, shoving it open, glanced around the small play yard. "Cameron? Your grandma wants you to come inside."
Raising his voice, he repeated himself. Hannah prayed that Cameron was out of earshot, or at least outside of the influence of that voice.
He came down the steps, peered under them, looked under the play equipment, stared hard at the woods, swung over the fence and walked the tree line, squinting into the shadows.
Hannah found Cameron crouched further in, beyond the strength of Clint's peering eye. She was curled into a ball, her head between her knees and her eyes closed tight, embracing the childhood-long belief that if she couldn't see him, he couldn't see her. Tears ran down her face; her chest rising and falling rapidly.
Hold your breath sweetheart. Be as still as a deer. Can you do that?
Cameron pressed her lips together.
Clint stepped into the shadows, leaves breaking underfoot. His own breathing was loud in the silent woods.  He picked up a piece of deadwood and tapped on the trunk of a nearby tree."Cameron. Grandma wants you to come inside. You'd better listen."
If it was possible, Cameron was even stiller. Hannah  prayed for instant night, for a weapon, for an intercessor. Wished she'd been granted the power to wish him to dust.
He took more steps, poked into the underbrush, trying to see behind the thick under growth of deadfall. His stick brushed at the bushes covering Cameron. With another pass, he would touch her, step on her even. He leaned in, his predator's instincts keening.





4 comments:

Debby said...

Gaaaaaaah! What a place to cut us off, you sadist!

I was caught up in it.

Mary Paddock said...

Good. When I'm finished, maybe you'll want to read the rest of it. :)

Dennis Bryant said...

You've certainly piqued my curiosity :-)

Try cutting and pasting into, "edit html," mode. It seems to strip away the hidden formatting. Or at least it will until Blogger, "improves," things again...

Mary Paddock said...

Thanks Dennis. I've got some editing to do, but I think it's on track.