There was writing last night. Not a lot of writing–though if one considers I added five hundred fifty words to a scene, I guess you might consider it a lot.
I finished rewriting the first scene in my current work in progress, the scene where Annie departs for school. The first part of the scene was good: it hit all the right notes and set a tone I set out to achieve. Other than cleaning things up here and there and streamlining a few sentences, it remained the same.
Where I expanded was later, in Annie’s bedroom, where she’s looking over her things one last night–for the next few months, that is; it’s not as if she’s going away forever–and her father comes up to speak with her. It was a good scene on its own, but as I was told by my beta reader, it was lacking something. So . . .
(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
“Are you going to miss this?” She turned around and found her father stood in the doorway, watching her. “Do you want us to send you anything from here?”
Annie looked about the room, taking it in, considering her father’s question as she decided not to mention her previous thought. She shook her head slowly. “I think of anything, I’ll send Mama a message.”
Her father nodded. “I am going to miss you.”
Victor was somewhat taken back by the quickness of Annie’s reply. “Yes, I will.”
“I’ll miss you as well.” The right side of Annie’s mouth twisted upward into the faintest of smiles. “Mama, too. I’ll miss you both.”
A few awkward moments of silence filled the room as Annie and her father gazed at each other without speaking. Victor didn’t know if Annie was being her normal self—quiet and contemplative—or if she were truly upset. It was impossible to get her to admit her feelings at the best of times, and Victor knew better than to press the issue now. The last thing he wanted was to see his daughter off on her great journey with her angry at him. “I do worry about you, you know.”
If there was one thing about her father that was true, Annie was aware that he worried about her. Even during those times when they had little to say, when he was away with his job, he always called home and asked of her well being. He does care—if he could only show it more. “I know, Papa.”
“And you’ll be away on your own, alone, having to do so many things for the first time . . .” His attention was drawn to the bay window. “Meeting so many new people . . .”
It wasn’t difficult for Annie to see where her father’s trailing statement was leading. “That’s true, Papa.” She twisted her head slightly to the right. “But I’ll be careful. You know I will.”
“I know, but . . .” Victor was almost squirming in his need to speak.
Annie decided to relieve her father from his dilemma. “But he’ll be there—yes?”
Victor nodded. “Yes. Your Ginger Boy.”
She’d wondered if this was the real reason for her father coming to her room: perhaps not, but it was enough to bring him upstairs. “There’s nothing to worry about with him, Papa. I’ll be fine.”
Given an opening, Victor was ready to voice his concerns—after a question. “When will I learn his name?” He raised an eyebrow. “Soon?”
“Mama knows his name; if she wanted you to know, she would have told you.”
Victor shook his head as he chuckled. “You women.” He rubbed his chin slowly as he met Annie’s unflinching gaze. “I know almost everything you’ve told your mother: you’ve known him for years and he knows you—”
“But you don’t know him, Anelie. You’ll find seeing this boy in your dreams and then out of them are completely different experiences. Which is why—” He breathed deeply before continuing. “I worry.”
Annie had heard these same comments from her mother two weeks earlier—was it possible she’d spoken with her father? She dismissed the idea; the words coming from her father were not her mother’s. “I’ll be fine. I have nothing to fear from him.”
Her father wasn’t quite convinced. “I worry you’ll end up hurt.” He tapped his fingers together. “It is possible.”
She shook her head. “No, it isn’t.”
“Nothing bad will happen, Papa.” She almost cracked a smile to put him at ease—almost.
At this point arguing with Annie was going to lead to a confrontation, and that wasn’t what Victor wanted. “All right; I’ll take your word. I know what he means to you.” He chuckled again. “And I know when you’ve made up your mind, I shouldn’t try to get you to change—” He tapped his fingers against his legs. “Particularly where he’s involved.”
Annie did think it a little unusual that her father didn’t push his opinion harder, but his final statement said it all: he knew he wouldn’t change her convictions, and he accepted them. Maybe not fully, but he does. She went over and slowly slid her arms around him. “Thank you, Papa. It means so much that you trust me.”
And there he is: The Ginger Boy. You’ll learn more about that brat about sixty thousand more words into the novel–or will you? Actually he’s hiding in plain sight, because one of the things I’ve changed up in these first few chapters is to not hide things. I tried that and it wasn’t actually working. While I’m not coming out and saying things–okay, I will come close to that later–if I’m gonna tell the tell, then I’ll tell it. Tell it in a way that makes sense, but at the same time doesn’t show everything.
Yeah, it makes sense that things will get said by people who aren’t part of the Normal Group. You have to show a little difference here and there to make the characters come into their own, to allow them to be who they are.
Hence some rewrites–
‘Cause you’re not always going to do it correctly the first time around.