March 12, 2008

My Muse is an Elusive Devil ©

Recall from last Workshop Wednesday, I posted an excerpt of the beginning of my short story along with an exercise I was determined to take on. The exercise is to write 5 titles, outlines, beginnings, and endings.

I don't have a title yet (but I'm going to have something, anything, by the end of this session). I don't want to relay the outline because I may change my direction. So here's my beginnings. As a reminder, here is the first draft:

"Two years!" A familiar voice broke the silence of the moonlit room. I closed the door behind me and reached for the light switch. "Don't turn them on." I threw my keys onto the sofa table, "Pam, you're awake?"

I could see her huddled on the couch. The room reeked of smoke. I sat down across from her. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I could see her more clearly. "You've been with her for two long years."

She took a long drag off her cigarette. The cherry lit up her face. Her eyes were red, almost glowing. I waited to speak. She reached for the ashtray and piece of her long bleach blond hair fell from behind her ear. She smashed the butt into the tray.

She grabbed a cigarette pack from the side table. "You know..." She slapped the pack against her palm. "I've known all along." Slowly she unwrapped the clear cellophane from the pack. The crackling noise echoed throughout the room.

Pam looked strait at me. One eyebrow shot up, "You thought the two of you were so smart--hiding the truck, meeting at bars, going to hotels--you must of thought I was stupid."

Draft 2:

Jess pulled into the gravel driveway and killed the lights. As he rounded the curve he noticed a light in the front room. He gripped the steering wheel tightly and closed his eyes. "Crap!"

He killed the engine and grabbed his briefcase. As he opened the door he caught a whiff of his jacket. Maura's sweet scent, he inhaled deeply and sighed.

Jess stepped out onto the gravel. It crunched beneath him. Maybe she's sleeping, he thought. He placed his brief on the seat and slid off his jacket. He held it to his nose and smelled it, then threw it in the cab.

As he stepped onto the porch he fumbled through his keys for the door. It opened. Pam stood there with her arms folded across her chest. Their eyes met. She had been crying.

"Two years!" Her voice cracked. Tears welled up in her eyes. "I can't believe you could do this to us." Jess reached for the screen door, it was latched.

Draft 3:

Maura slid her arm across the bed. Jess bent over and traced his finger down her spine. "I have to go." Maura pushed herself up and slid near him.

She wrapped her arms around his neck. He moved in closer and she brushed her lips against his. "Please don't leave." Jess pressed his lips to hers and kissed her. "I gotta go!"

Maura stood up. The moonlight lit up her milky skin. She pressed her body against his. "You work too much." Their eyes met. "Are you seeing someone else?" Jess laughed.

"You know I only have eyes for you." He knelt down and grabbed his shirt off the floor. He kissed her belly and slowly stood up. "My pager went off. There's a problem in shipping. I have to go."

"Well, at least let me make you some coffee." Maura started to put on her robe. He stopped her. "No, you go back to sleep. I'll call you in the morning."

Draft 4:

The full moon lit up the gravel drive. Pam sat in darkness of the porch waiting. She took a drag off her cigarette and exhaled. The smoke circled through the leaves of a nearby oleander. She watched the smoke dance in the moonlight until it was gone.

She sighed and took another drag. Tears built up in her eyes. "I'm not going to let him see me cry!" She pressed the palm of her hands across her eyes.

Jess's truck pulled up. The lights were off. Pam sat up tall on the bench swing, crushing her butt into an ashtray. She pulled her hair behind her ears and wiped her eyes once more.

Slowly and quietly Jess closed the truck door. He walked lightly up to the porch, but the gravel shuffled up beneath his feet. "Damn gravel," he whispered to himself.

"No need to be so quiet!" Pam's voice startled him. "What are you doing out here?"
"Waiting for you."
"Oh...I had to work la..."
"Two years!" Pam exploded.

Draft 5:

Maura slid a key into the glass door. The latched hesitated and clunked when it released. "They really need to fix that." She pulled on the handle and ran in; dropping her bags on the floor. An alarm beeped echoing through the empty room. She opened a box on the wall and killed it.

She picked up her bags and walked throughout the bar turning on the neons. The jukebox kicked on. Maura glance over to it, "Aerosmith! Never too early for that."

The door opened. "Is it too early to get a drink?" The familiar voice startled her. "Jess, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be working?"

"I just had to see you, babe." Jess walked toward her. She flung her arms around his neck and kissed him. She whispered softly, "I missed you last night." He kissed her again, "Now, how about that drink?"

Now, I'd like to throw a draft title out there. Something I've been tossing around is The Betrayal. I think that's been used before though. It sounds very familiar to me. But it fits rather nicely, I think.

How about Betrayer or Seducer? Perhaps one word titles are too short. Wicked Heart? Would that work? I don't know. Callous Betrayal? Well that's 5 titles, but I think I may come up with 5 more before I make a decision on it.

Continued next Workshop Wednesday...

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  1. Muse:

    Ah Ha! The old stick it to the ever faithful little woman waiting at home deal, eh? We need to know more about these two women so we can form some conclusions as to exactly what's going on here. Is something driving him away from the nest? Or, is something pulling him that he simply can't resist? It's got to be more than just a lustful appetite. Or, if that is the reason he seeks more excitement - explore his personality in more depth. Let's find out what drives this guy. Maybe his father was like that. Maybe his mother. Wouldn't it be weird if the two women were blood sisters, but they had never met? They didn't even know that the other sister existed. Yikes. The possibilities are endless.

    A very good exercise, Muse. I wish I cold help you with a title, but I think we need more information first. Titles are difficult.

    Good work.

    Have a very nice day.

  2. Fascinating exercise, Muse. A little horrifying to me as I am writing my first pages of my new w.i.p. and I'm one of those writers who have to get the first pages "right" or at least "right enough."

    Title suggestion: "Boundary" although I too struggle with titles.

  3. Swu, I'm not going to give it away too soon. I guess I need to work a bit on character development. Perhaps for next the weeks I'll take each beginning and develop them a bit more, do some fine tuning, and give more character information.

    Conda, that's an interesting title...I may just work with it.

    Broken Boundaries, Out of Bounds, Betrayed Boundary,

    I think I like that a lot.

    You're working on a new piece? That sounds like fun. All I've been doing is articles--that series stuff I mentioned several posts ago.

    This workshop thing is for my creative side. I know working with a draft of an old piece is cheating; but I really need the practice.

  4. Hi! Like you, I like to write. I'm not very good though, but I think things are coming along. I also get excited when I see people like you coming to grips with their own writing and doing so well, may I say. So perhaps one day, I'll see your name up in lights. From what I see, it won't be long!

    Take Care!

  5. Thanks Peter! You are a great writer, I don't know what you're talking about! I'm enjoying trying out this new stuff. The excercises are pretty interesting, that's for sure. We'll see about the name in lights thing.

    Take care!


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