Sunday, June 7, 2009

A new exercise

You know, once we acquire a manuscript, we have to line edit it, and I thought it might be fun to show a bit of what we do, because we DO edit. That is, we don't just fix typos-- we get in there and wrestle fragments into sentences, break and make paragraphs, find and fix redundancies.

So how about post-- in comments to this post-- a paragraph or two (if they're short, post two) of your current project. Look for editing opportunities, long sentences, short paragraphs, long paragraphs, fragments, whatever you think we'd have fun with. :)

And I'll edit some, just as if I were editing a manuscript. Now I WILL edit, so don't post if you aren't open to that. I'll try and explain why I changed what I changed. That will take much longer than the changing of course!

Any volunteers?


Stephen Kozeniewski said...

Woo hoo? First comment? Here's the first paragraph of my current magnum opus:

With his back against the brick wall, Jack Pasternak couldn’t help but contemplate the discordant row of bayonets and gun barrels pointed at him. The cord binding his wrists together was a little loose, but even if he did pull a Harry Houdini out of his magic hat, he couldn’t see himself getting more than five or six paces before being gunned down like a rabid dog. All in all his options seemed to be to die momentarily or to die instantly. Neither was particularly attractive.

Ian said...

*jumps and waves* me me meeee!

Here's a couple paragraphs from my current WIP:

He found Javier sprawled across the hall. Foamy, pinkish vomit leaked from his mouth and nose and his complexion had gone deathly pale underneath his normal olive skin tone.

Tommy cursed and yanked off his gloves to check for life signs. Javier’s pulse was weak and seemed dangerously slow, and his breathing bordered on catatonic.

Using his fine control of air currents, Tommy raised Javier up on a cushion of air, face down, and tilted so his head was lower than his torso. He used a gentle stream of air pressure to force Javier’s lungs clear, inflating them to push out syrupy hunks of bloodstained phlegm. He wished he could keep Javier breathing, but Tommy couldn’t control so much air so finely as he needed to now. Javier would have to breathe on his own for a few minutes, because the next part would be even more unpleasant. While maintaining the air cushion under his teammate, Tommy forced another stream of air in through Javier’s mouth, pushing it past his throat and esophagus into the man’s stomach. He couldn’t see what he was doing and had to estimate distances. If he guessed wrong, he could rupture an intestine.

HWPetty said...

I'll play.

“I’m Max,” I said, holding out my hand. I knew what hers would look like before it came up to squeeze mine weakly. The black paint was chipped at the cuticles, like she’d scraped it away. And there was a ring, thick like a man’s ring, with some kind of continuous pattern engraved into the silver.

“Um, I think I know your name,” she said. Her dark purple lips spread into a brilliant, toothy smile, and her cheeks slowly darkened to a soft pink under the white powder. Her next words were slightly more breathy, and rushed, like she thought it was a stupid thing to say even before she said it. “I’ve known you since you were six.”

Evangeline Holland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

My heart skipped a beat - a fun exercise!!

‘You can’t go!’ cried her mother, not for the first, or the last, time.

‘Mother! Stop!’ She turned a look on her mother to silence her. Her usually beautiful face was taut with panic. ‘I have to go to Findlay. I can save him!’

‘And how will that look? A soldier everyone knows; a soldier on his deathbed; a soldier who has been declared by the King’s Imperial Guard to have the Grey Death!’ Her mother rushed to her a grabbed her by the shoulders, and lowered her voice to a horse, harsh whisper. ‘A soldier saved by the Earl’s eldest daughter.’ Her mother took a deep breath. ‘The King’s herald will race to denounce you for your Myght.’

She stared at her mother, her eyes filled with tears and her voice was etched with sorrow as she said, ‘- and the soldier will live.’

Anonymous said...

I'm game. Here's my first two paragraphs:

“You’re sending me away!” The anguished voice of his grandson, Kefran, shattered Joahaal’s focused spell, losing him mindsight of their enemy’s advance through the foul jungle.

Narrowing his bleary eyes against the torch-lit gloom, Joahaal glared up at the boy. He dragged in a deep breath, stunned as always to see Kefran now on the cusp of manhood. “You have my orders, boy. Take the garrison to Dasanus at the Pass and await me there.”

Evangeline Holland said...

Gregory Taggart felt rather like the witch uninvited to Sleeping Beauty’s christening as he and the pair of plainclothes police detectives accompanying him surveyed the ballroom of the DeWitt mansion. Clusters of dancers attired in no doubt expensive costumes wove in and out of the quadrille figures he had never forgotten. Elderly chaperones rested their feet in the gilt-edged chairs placed against the walls, though they kept a close watch on their charges through delicate lorgnettes. Gentlemen in tails and ties, forgoing the ostentatious of the occasion, wandered about the buffet tables.
At a discreet signal, he motioned for the police to follow him. He had spotted his quarry. His nose twitched under the cloying scent of human bodies and the gas-lit chandeliers hung with bunches of pink roses. Uncaring of whom he cut in on, he and his men moved swiftly across the dance floor. His appearance aroused no more than mildly curious looks, though he was astute enough to notice the gleam of interest in the eyes of the ladies as their eyes slid down, down, downward, across his legs attired in period correct tights. He looked no more out of place than the ass attired in gleaming gold armor who moved stiffly into the dance figures with the lovely woman in his arms.

Tena Russ said...


The cafĂ© stands alone on the west side of a two-lane road leading in and out of town. Behind it are cornfields and more cornfields. In late summer, you can hear the constant whispering of the husks, as if a clandestine party’s going on out there. Across the street is the post office, a pressure washing service, a truck rental, and a landscaping firm whose piles of gravel and sand, topsoil, mulch, and cobblestones form temporary pyramids. Several of our weekday regulars come from those businesses. Heading out of town is a string of rental houses and beyond that, St. Joe’s, whose bells now chime ten. Sundays are good for tips because people arrive from services freshly reminded to be kinder to their fellow pilgrims.

A curling cardboard sign in the window greets the hungry, “Yes, We’re Open.” We’re the kind of place that uses plates that don’t match and folded paper towels as napkins. Sometimes the customers are a pain, but I’m a favorite of the boss, Sam Zimmerman. Besides Sam’s great cooking—comfort food with a kick—we’re known for his homemade pies, the best you ever ate and that’s not bragging. He can make anything from the world’s best Dutch apple crumb to light-as-air lemon meringue. Anyone who knows the territory orders a slice or buys an entire pie to go. Right as you come in, they’re in the cooler by the register where Nadine, the weekday waitress, hands customers their change, mint-flavored toothpicks, and complimentary B.S.

Ang said...

Her first day in Scrapehorn, Norenn had already seen more of its inner workings than anyone ever born there. The opulence of the High Major’s quarters, in contrast to the dusty wasteland surrounding it, startled her at first, but soon after meeting her new employer she found it a natural backdrop for him. The High Major was tall and painfully upright. His clothing was immaculately clean and fit his slight frame so well that the clothes alone would have kept him from appearing at home anywhere else in Scapehorn, the harshest of the Scrapes. He appeared as though he may never have known the dust outside his door existed.

Norenn took in the smooth, white walls and the clean, oiled wood floors. The ceiling was high, adding to the grandeur of the simple fact of square footage. In a Scrape where most dwellings were little more than hovels with dirt floors, the High Major’s spacious home was a luxury bordering on sin. Norenn had traveled, and was no stranger to luxury, but the contrast wasn’t lost on her. Although she had been in finer homes than the High Major’s, she felt this home was the most extravagant she’d ever witnessed. Beside her, walking haltingly and uprightly, the High Major studied her expression with a mixture of pride and apprehension. The fact that these two things could exist simultaneously, and so poignantly, in a man of such importance, moved Norenn with an amused pity.

Anonymous said...

“Shhh, easy Sweetheart. Easy.” He whispered, never breaking eye contact with her. Taming her with the deep timber of his voice and mesmerizing her with his eyes. “I’ve waited so very long for you,” was all that he said. Bending down and sensually drawing out her warm blood, taking it with a husky growl into his mouth. Savoring, tasting and claiming. Causing a maelstrom of thrilling sensations that ignited her heart to race and her eyes to close and head to fall back against the mattress. Neck arching... stretching and straining, while her fingers dug into the sheets, seeking and clenching, crumpling the soft threads of the linen in the grasp of her brutal surrender. Desire, hot and fierce, concentrated almost painfully, sweetly between her thighs. “I...can’t...I can’t--,”
‘You can breathe, Baby. I’m here. I’ve always been here ready to catch you as you fall for me.’
Had he said this to her out loud? She didn’t think so...but then she wasn’t ready to think about much right now. No, once she recovered from the initial shock of all this, she was lost in the myriad of heady feelings that his bizarre actions caused her. It was as if she could feel every fiber of her being, every inch of her skin - every detail of what it was to be human. As though this sinful act had put her in dire jeopardy somehow. That this man, her fantasy come to life, was stealing more from her than just her blood. And she wanted him to. To have it, to take it - whatever that elusive thing was...

Lilly Cain said...

I'm game!

Shuddering sensation raced up Alinna’s arms and along her scalp. Her L’inar nerve lines forced her skin up into narrow bands and ridges along her neck and hairline, and down her back under her flight suit as her excitement turned quickly into concern and fear. She was going down, her small ship hurtling toward the ground at an ever increasing rate. Caught in the downdraft of an out-of-control human airjet, her tiny spy ship was as doomed as the human craft that had crashed to the ground in front of her moments ago.

Dave Shaw said...

Been a while since I've commented here. Losing my parents last year took the wind from my sails for a while. This looks like a good time to come back, though. Here's something from one of my WIPs:

Fujimoro's eyes were immediately drawn to the decorating focus in the small junior officer's quarters. The long wall opposite the one that the bed would extrude from pretended to be transparent, with a balcony beyond that had a second floor view over a broad beach lit by two small but bright moons. Large waves were crashing on the sand, and in the distance towering clouds loomed, occasionally lit by flashes of lightning.

"One of the small storms coming in," Sally said. "We call them typhlets, a bit of slang that's almost respectable now. They'd be severe thunderstorms on Earth, I guess." She turned around and tried to smile at her senior. "Would you like anything? Please have a seat and I'll get it."

English. This mess has disturbed her even more than I thought. "Tea would be nice, and maybe some toast and marmalade, thanks." Fujimoro settled into a plain but well-crafted armchair before a small table set close to the 'window', adjacent to the tiny kitchenette by the door, and scanned the rest of the room. A small, stylish sofa with a low table in front of it crouched against the wall opposite the door, with a pet habitat in the corner between it and the hidden door to the head. A few art displays overlaid on a tasteful simulated wallpaper broke up the other walls. Simple but elegant decorating--just what I would expect from her. I had forgotten about the pet rats. I wonder if she still sleeps with them? But if I ask, she'll know I know things not in her DSI report.

Ali said...

Hi, here's mine:

The loa cocked an eyebrow at her. “I want you to think, really think, about your tone. Consider the wisdom of hurling insults and demands at somebody more powerful than you as a tactic for getting them to do something for you.” He straightened up. All hints of frailty melted away, reminding Cass that the “skin” he wore was just that, something he wore. “Do you really want to throw a tantrum now?”

Normally, Cass new better. Someone as powerful as a Rada Loa was a good someone to not piss off. She knew this. She did. It was just hard to keep control while swimming in the hangover fog.
The sting of slamming her hand against metal rose up from her palm and bled into her fingers and wrist. The Bronco showed a new dent in its side. Cass let Legba’s words sink into her aching head and took a step back to give him some space.

Julie Harrington said...

Oh how can anybody resist? Here's two paragraphs from one of mine. Hopefully the paragraph breaks take. I've been having problems with that for some weird reason.


The night stank of evil. Of rotted sin and soiled depravity.

It rose in the steam from the ice-covered sewers and oozed from the shadowed alleyways. Had Alexander Gedrick still been human, he wouldn’t have noticed it. Now the scent was fine perfume; the perfect concoction of fear and despair heightened only by notes of hate and rage.

Eyes closed, he breathed it in, instinctively turning his face into the frigid December wind to draw it deeper. The smell should have sickened him as it did so many years ago. But now… He opened his eyes and studied the neat row of shops across the street from him as the Christmas lights in the windows blinked on and off. Now demon’s blood sang in him and, because it did, those senses became like any other. One used as a weapon. One used to survive.

Gwen said...

His eyes skimmed the specs, and he began to talk to the system. At first it turned him away. He was reminded of many swift rebuttals from women he'd propositioned. But then, with persistence, it began to change for him, open to him. Authorization? It asked. And he gave it. It was dummy authorization. Why fight the authorization by hacking passwords like some amateur when you could make her show all those hidden files that contain the password programming algorithms? He changed the password and walked in like he'd been here fifty times before. The glass case unfolded like a flower, and he stood up, staring at it. “I knew you'd come to me,” he grinned, putting his hand on the device. It burned his hand.

“Fuck!” he swore. “You bitch,” he said to the computer, and removed the radiation protocols. “I was going to show you a good time, but I'm mad now.” He kicked the console and grabbed the device. He'd deal with the radiation later. He put the device in his pack and sent the signal that it was time to go. He ran past his mercs, who were bludgeoning a soldier to death with a wrench or something. “God damn it, cover me!”

Marissa Miranda said...

Here's mine! I'd absolutely adore getting some editing from a real editor. I'm never sure if things read as well as I'd like them to.

These are the first few paragraphs of my young adult fantasy novel. (I added more than two because they were so short.)

Mom was in a tizzy. As always.

Bending down to window height, Alyce pressed a kiss to her mother’s forehead. “We’ll be fine, Mom, honest. Go on your trip and have fun.”

“Well… don’t forget to call me every night. I want updates on what you girls have been doin’. Get your homework done, and no parties please.” Mom leaned out her window and looked back at Jenni who was fighting to pull a small suitcase out of the car. Her Texas drawl increased with every other word. “Jenni Hart! I’m talkin’ to you. Please listen to me when I am speakin’!”

When Mom’s accent was that thick, she was really anxious. Alyce wondered if her mother would ever leave behind her Texas twang. Then again, Alyce still slipped into the accent herself when she was fretting, even after nine years living in New Mexico.

Andrew Rosenberg said...

Here's a really bad paragraph for ya!

A bulge of earth in the distance raced towards her at jet speed. As it passed, the ground ripped upwards, throwing Dawn into the air, almost 15 meters high. The earth threw off the top layers of soil, flinging buried pipes and wires as well as huge chunks of asphalt and concrete into the air. Dawn sailed over the soil, reminded of documentaries where tons of dynamite blew away a wall of material. The earth exploded in every direction. Dawn crashed onto a soft pile of debris and ducked from rain of high-flung rocks and bricks. A couple blocks away, Charlotte’s jewel, the HLSCO HQ building, the huge elegant structure almost a kilometer high, crumpled into itself, imploding in a huge cloud of dust and noise. Dawn spotted her own apartment complex, presumably with her Aunt Rose inside, settling down to the ground in a plume of debris.

Steven Brant said...

The introduction to a WIP:

The killer strode purposefully toward the President, knife raised high.

The President remained unaware, staring out the window into the oppressively hot DC night. His back was exposed, unprotected. My sister and I were immobile, too startled to react. I tried to shout a warning, at least give the President a chance, but the words were stuck in my throat.

How did it come down to this, two kids trying to prevent this murder – a century and a half before their own time?

Carin was between the assassin and his goal. He pushed her roughly out of the way with his left hand. She grunted as she spun around.

I saw her go down, saw the President still lost in thought, and before I could think about it, I was on the move. I jumped up on the President’s enormous bed, took two bouncing steps across it, and threw myself at the assassin. I grabbed him about the neck and upraised arm.

He glared ferociously at me and pushed me roughly back onto the bed.

The President had heard the commotion behind him, and he turned back from the window. Even in the dim candlelight, his famous profile was unmistakable – the beard, the height, the gangly arms, everything but the stovepipe hat.

The man aimed his knife at President Lincoln’s neck.

Heidi said...

I'm looking forward to the editing results for everything that's been offered in the comments. Of course, I'm hopeful that mine will be included in the editing as well. This should be educational and interesting regardless.

The first paragraphs of my WIP:

I've found that when you're a mercenary people assume it's another word for assassin. Don't get me wrong, I've killed people -- lots of people. It's what I'm trained to do. However, if I kill there's a reason for it. I don't kill just for the hell of it and I never kill just because someone wants another person out of their way.

"I was told that Xyra Lunastar, is suppose to be one of the best hired blades around," said the human as he leaned forward in the solitary chair that I keep across from my desk. Normally I tell people to just use my first name, I don't do formalities as a rule and I dislike people saying my last name out loud. However, I didn't like this human, so I didn't bother correcting him.

From the moment the man had walked into my place his very demeanor screamed trouble with a capital T. He was attractive enough, for a human, with long, silky black hair pulled back into a ponytail, dark skin that was a natural part of his heritage rather than because of the elements and a smile that could drop a woman's under things at a hundred paces. Not that I would be affected by any man. Forget the fact that I'm an elf and don't give humans the vaguest thought when it comes to my baser instincts. I don't let men, of any race, affect me to the point where I can't function. If I did, I'd be dead about twenty times over. Besides, underneath all those good looks something was off about this human, something black and twisted was at his core. I just had this feeling.

Splatter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Splatter said...

Here's mine! It's actually the opening to the story and I just haven't been able to make it pop. I think part of it is too-heavy description. Grrr. (oops - first try had piss-poor formatting... here's a fix.)

The old man had been whispering to Cammie all day. He’d started at dawn. The field, illuminated by the frosted gold of the sun’s rising, was just becoming visible at her fingertips when she felt a slow hum building. It was like crickets singing, so familiar she barely noticed – and she certainly didn’t say anything. After all, this was the first spring Cammie was old enough to help with the planting, and she was doing her best to seem grown-up. Mother always said to stop making things up, to stop being so childish, and she hated it when Cammie talked about the sounds she heard. So Cammie ignored the lazy song in the back of her skull and half-walked, half-bounced, tossing fistful of seeds that disappeared in the dusky morning. She tried her hardest to throw them just like her Mother, who produced such a pretty fan-shape with each casual toss. But the hum became a buzz and the buzz a whine, and then he was there, his breath against her ear and his words only half heard, as though a wind caught at his whispers and pulled them away.

There had always been whispers, of course. The villagers had whispered all her life about Mother’s illness, about Cammie’s weak name with no good rhythm to it, about a dozen things Cammie didn’t think she was supposed to hear. But those were simple whispers. There had been others.
Whispers that weren’t there. Whispers nobody heard. Whispers like his.

Anonymous said...

Here are the first 2 paragraphs of my WIP. Thanks for doing this!

Beulah buttoned her spring jacket and clutched her lunch bag in her hand as she surveyed the schoolyard. Both Effie and Nell and were absent and Minnie was inside working on math. Beulah hoped that she would see someone sitting by herself, but all the other girls had tight knots of friends gathered around them. The largest group gathered around Winifred Waldfogel, and even some of the boys stood close by her.

Beulah sighed and started towards an empty bench. It wasn’t fair that Winifred was pretty and popular. Beulah watched Winifred tilt her face back to the sky and laugh. The sun made her black curls shine.

Anonymous said...

I'll definitely play this game! It's a tad over two paragraphs from my current WIP, but they're very short. I've line-edited them to death, so any help is appreciated:

Lucian listened for the noise that had awakened him. Nothing but silence penetrated his sister’s house. The blazing hearth fire saturated the room with heat, but Catarina forbade the opening of windows. His twin was always cold.

He sat on the edge of his bed and pushed his hands through his heavy black hair. His palms were wet with sweat. The seconds ticked into minutes, but Lucian remained still.


A man laughed too loudly with a high, thin note of hysteria edging his mirth; the sound gave Lucian goose bumps.

Jeanne Ryan said...

You gals helped me so much with my log line, maybe you can help me here. It's my first attempt in deep third. I'm hoping the character's voice came through. She's an artist and her voice is very visually oriented.

This isn't the opening, but middle of chapter 2.

set up: she's looking at her reflection in the mirror and she is covered in blood, but only in the reflection

It dripped from her hair, weighing it down until it resembled a weeping willow. There was a jagged crimson line separating her head from her body. Blood trickled down from it forming red rivulets that merged with the innumerable cuts marring the porcelain perfection of her body. Some were long thick gashes created by hands hyped on the adrenaline of battle. Some where thin straight lines crafted with surgical precision. Some were symbols whose meanings had long since been lost.

John Harper said...


Would be great if you could have a look at my writing. Thanks in advance. This is the opening to my story:

Adrian Deep hated being planetside, but you couldn’t fly the fringe without cargo.
The barkeep slid the unbranded beer forward. “Enjoy.”
The beer looked black. Bland and bitter, but cold and wet. He took another sip and studied the patrons of the port tavern. Men sung out of tune to a scratchy three-dee unit. Laughter roared from the rear booths. A game of poker broke into a fight, and just as quickly died down.
Deep grimaced. People. Jobs would be so much easier if he didn’t have to actually meet clients.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm game. This is from my opening.

The wind shifted over the playground, blowing magic across the assassin's senses. Delicate, like a perfume. But magic wasn't supposed to be here, and he wasn't supposed to be able to sense it.

Anton Keymas slipped out of his black limousine, moving with a dancer's grace. He could be mistaken, but his first thought was that the magic had an immortal chaser. But just as he turned in the direction the wind was coming from, the magic vanished.

Sylvia said...

How fun! I have posted an excerpt that I wrote today which I am unhappy with. That should give you plenty of opportunity!

Tyrae left the kitchens, nibbling the oatcake that the girl had pressed into his hand, and made his way directly to his mother’s quarters.

She was sitting in the corner on a large rock, beaten smooth by the wind and waves, with a small hollow just the right size for her thin hips. Ceanntighern had found it on the rocky beach of one of the far islands and immediately proclaimed it the perfect gift for his queen. It took over a dozen men to bring back to the Sithein and when she saw it, she declared that it was the perfect chair, declining even the thinnest pillow. A thick double layer of wool was wrapped around her waist and then pulled around the back and over her shoulder to tuck in at her waist. She claimed it was to ward off the cold damp of the [underground] Sithein but Tyrae suspected it was to cushion herself from the hard stone of her "perfect" seat.

Christa said...

Very cool! Whether the intro to my fantasy is edited or not, I look forward to reading what you edit on the other submissions an why. Thanks for the opportunity!

Nkarra found herself surrounded by a blanket of light brighter than anything she’d ever seen before. Cleaner and purer than the whitest white. Its brilliance should have been painful, but it wasn’t. In fact, the light held such peace that Nkarra instantly relaxed, content to simply be. A feeling of comfort wrapped itself around her like a mother holding a child.

Was she dead?

The thought should have terrified her, but it didn’t. Here in the light, death seemed just another step in life. Nothing to get worked up over.

An icy flow coursed through her arms. Her skin buzzed as if an electric current ran through her body. The sensations tugged at some distant thought, a dream long forgotten. Nkarra’s mind sharpened. If she were dead, why did she still feel a body? The peace and calm of the light no longer dulled her thoughts. She tried to raise her arm, but her body didn’t respond. Straining, she focused on moving her legs.

Robin Lemke said...

I'll play!!

“Right, but this has to be against some rule.” I stood there, flummoxed. I think a quip might have come off stronger. You know how when you know something for sure, but you don’t know why - like, if someone says ‘but how do you know this isn’t all just a dream?’ You just know, but you don’t know how you know. This is how I knew that Nelson and Danny the Sidekick should not be rolling cigarettes at work. Sure, I couldn’t quote the employee handbook on this one, but it had to be against some rule, somewhere.
Galen hadn’t shown up today. We all knew he had an interview at Microsoft, but officially he called in sick. They didn’t have anyone in the bullpen that could fill a lead spot, so they filled my spot instead and gave me this big chance to prove myself. I was not going to let some twerp that showed up dressed as a warlock last week blow it for me.

Unknown said...

I should have come by sooner! You'll never have time to get all the way to 30 :(

Anyway, just in case I get lucky:

My name is Elder, even though I'm the youngest one on the ship. Not that I'm young. Sixteen years should mark me as an adult. But still, I'm youngest by a decade.

I lay on the cool metal floor of the Keeper Level, the only level with a window to the uni outside. Above me, the stars are abbreviated dashes in the sky, with streaks of faint colors—mostly reds and yellows, but sometimes blues or greens—within the lines of the stars.

I wonder, sometimes—I can't help but wonder—what it will feel like to stand on Centauri-Earth and look up at the stars and see only dots of light, not trailing splatters of delicate colors. It'll be a long time, I know—I'll be really old by the time we land, but when we do, I hope it’s at night. I want it to be really dark with no clouds or moons, and I hope before we set out to make our new world as the first humans on another planet, we all take a moment to stand still on the planet and look at the sparkling stars.

Wes said...

WOW!! What an opportunity! Here are the first 172 words of book two. Shorten it if you wish.

“Go away!” Kincaid shouted at Joe. There wasn’t a need to turn in the saddle and look back. He was there. The sounds of creaking leather and the clip of hooves said so. He had been there for half a day since he come trottin’ up with the pack mule in tow. Like he was ready to follow as long as he wanted the mule was loaded so.

“I said ‘Go away’,” the young man shouted again.

“Thought you said I free,” Joe replied. “Thought you said I ain’t a slave no longer. That Lerocque don’t own me, and you don’t own me.”

“I did!” Kincaid snapped.

“Then I free to ride where I want. Free to ride south like I doin’. Maybe go to Santa Fe and spend some time.”

“I don’t need no mammy!” Kincaid raised his voice more. Can’t that darky see I don’t want to be around no one. That bein’ alone and lettin’ the hurt play out was what a man needed at a time like this.

Bliss244 said...

Oh boy, here goes. A few paragraphs from my current WIP.

Monaco, Grand Prix Week

Unlike most nightclubs in Monte-Carlo, there were no bright neon lights flashing above l’Intrigue’s front door, no unending line of eager faces waiting behind a red velvet rope, and no Lamborghinis and Limousines parked out front.

Located on the very east side of the principality, as a private establishment that catered to vampires and to the mortals who could afford the nightly five-hundred-dollar cover charge, the circumspect brass plate on the front door barely drew the eye.

As the saying went, if you didn’t know how to find it, you shouldn’t be here.

Grudges and vendettas were left at l’Intrigue’s front door. Disagreements were settled outside. Owned and operated by a small group of vampires with no clan association, the nightclub was a refuge and a conduit to the immortal grapevine.

With the race less than four days away, however, tonight it was crowded with the regular European jet setters that drifted aimlessly from one hot spot to the next, tourists, some obviously from the ocean-liners docked in the harbor, and several celebrities.

The flashing azure lights above the dance floor were soothing to Vasilios of Sparta's highly sensitive eyes and, as he sat at the bar, he twisted around to sweep his gaze across the packed nightclub. He took in the shimmering jewelry adorning the women’s ears, necks and wrists, took in the elegant clothes and what could only be designer shoes, and realised how underdressed he was. Not that he gave a damn. If his favorite jeans, gray tee and black jogging shoes didn’t make the cut, these high-flyers could stuff it! He wondered if any of them suspected they were rubbing elbows with immortal creatures, whom if given half-a-chance, wouldn’t hesitate to rip their throats out?

But the rules were clear in Monaco. His clan--damn it, he had to stop thinking of it as his clan--the macCumail clan made certain of that. And now, thanks to their partnership with the local vampire hunters, they pretty much policed the area.

Kathleen MacIver said...

If you're still accepting, I'd love to join in! This is from a YA fantasy.


Suddenly the air shifted, and a great dragon stood over him. A torn wing hung near the broken pieces of marble, while the other hovered protectively around the man, as if to shield him from those who slowed their steps long enough to gawk at the latest casualty in Jarentho.

Gianna pulled her cloak around herself more tightly and rubbed her eyes. Casualties were nothing new in Jarentho, nor in any of the other nearby cities. Dragons that seemed to shimmer in the cold winter air were another matter completely. They no longer existed, except in the fairy tales she'd heard at her grandmother's knee. True, Grandmother said their scales glistened with iridescent colors as this one's did, but that didn't mean anything. Besides, people were walking through its body as though it didn't exist.

Jaymi said...

This is great!

“NO!” Andy gasped for air, but it gave her no relief. She felt all of the plans they had made together slipping away. She and Kent were supposed to have a long life together. See the world together. They were going to start a family together. Their future was being taken away from them because someone couldn’t keep their damn eyes open.

She felt her anger and sorrow conflicting with one another and didn’t know which one to hold onto. She walked to Kent and held onto him matching him sob for sob. What was she going to do now? She felt him, but he clearly couldn’t feel or hear her.

Amy Jane (Untangling Tales) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thank you for the opportunity!


The booming woke me. It was a distant sort of boom, a muffled rumbling sound that sounded like a far-off explosion. I opened my eyes and sat up, looking towards the right where the sound had come from, and saw what looked like rockets shooting straight up into the sky in a circle ten blocks or so away, leaving white trails of smoke behind them. Their formation looked like a strange sort of floating jellyfish.

From the corner of my eye, I could see that Lucy and Marge had turned to look, too. Lucy said, "Is it a fireworks display? What day is it?"

"Fireworks so close to the city? There wasn't any announcement or anything like that. Do you think they wanted to surprise us?"

Julia Weston said...

Oh, dear. I might be too late, but just in case I'm not... Thanks for doing this.

A metallic clang jolted Lia out of her half-doze. She glanced around, vaguely embarrassed, and rubbed her arms as she reoriented herself. Multihued bars of morning light streamed down from the casement perched at the pinnacle of the temple wall. Standing at the pulpit, Father Chase wielded a rather large communion bell. Disapproval shadowed his lined face and his gaze moved from face to stagnant face as he tried to determine whether he had sufficiently jarred his wayward congregation.

Casey Something said...

If you're still going through these, here are two more paragraphs. Thanks so much!


Everyone is wearing pastels. Well, everyone except me. I’m wearing a red renaissance-style dress (complete with rib-wrenching corset) and black combat boots. I don’t know why. I just showed up here from my other life, so things are a little disorienting at the moment.

The fact that I’m dressed strangely isn’t surprising. I usually do. I just don’t dress quite this weird, not usually. Not that it matters. My once-had status of freak has become a non-deal. Now the eyes of my peers move past me as if I don’t exist. Instead, they move from one Ken- or Barbie-wannabe to the next, afraid to give me any interest.

Casey Something said...

Sorry! I just remembered you only want four sentences. Just grab what you want out of my paragraphs above (if you're still going).

You've gone through so many already. I've learned a lot. Thanks for this.

Jordan said...

If ever you get this far, this is a paragraph I'm stuck on. It's about 5 pages into my MS, and obviously *I* don't have a problem understanding it, but I think I've had half of my CPs get it and half not. Sigh.

set up: Molly's priest was murdered at the church three weeks ago. Father O'Leary, the new priest (*wink*wink* if you remember log line #1), has just arrived and Molly is showing him from the church to the rectory. He says, "You know, when I came to Chicago, I kind of expected to end up in the inner city, not a place like this." (Side note: Originally from Dublin, Molly immigrated to Chicago with her family five years ago.)

The four sentences:
How must the buildings that were so familiar she hardly noticed them look to Father O'Leary? Three years ago, she compared the Gothic chapel, its stone facade flanked by blazing maples in a carpet of lawn, to her parents' church in city center. At the time, St. Adelaide seemed a suburban oasis; three weeks ago she was disabused of that notion.

"I'm sure it'll get to feelin' like home soon enough," she murmured.

Thanks! I'm enjoying reading all the examples.

Melisa Yrastorza said...

These examples are really helpful, I hope you keep doing them!

The blood flooded my mouth with its foul taste of salt and heat, but it felt good to bleed. There was no pain from the fall, only the glorious relief of not having to run from my own thoughts anymore. My mind was finally empty of the words that had relentlessly sounded in my head all day, and the wind soothed my aching body. I spat off the running track and watched the scarlet fade as it bloomed and then sunk into the mushy brown earth. Laying back my head on the track I watched serenely as the sun died and darkness filled my October sky. Winter always came early to Santa Isabel but this year the nights had begun to steal away the autumn light earlier than I was accustomed to, cheating the town of any semblance of warmth. Thunder began to rumble angrily and the cold numbed my naked arms, but I still felt warm and content from running. The rain was soft when it came, and I might have stayed there all night if Huxley Leander hadn’t found me.