Saturday, January 19, 2013

Writing A Novel: More Excerpts From My New Manuscript

This is my 100th blog post at Naomi Rabinowitz Author! In honor of this milestone, I present to you two more excerpts from my latest manuscript. It's still a work in progress, but I'm pleased with how it's turning out.

In this first excerpt, the narrator, Sadie, is describing her rather colorful suitemates in her college dorm:

I lived in a dorm community called The Montgomery Cluster, which is made up of five three-story brick buildings: McGovern, Hastings, Dorchester, Adams and Montclair. McGovern is particularly popular with upper classmen because the dorms have suites. While most of the campus dorms consist of long hallways that have rooms on either side and one communal bathroom, McGovern's suites each have a small common area, a bathroom and three double rooms. The six suitemates share the kitchen and shower, and it's practically like living in an apartment.

If you and your suitemates are close, this is a great arrangement. You get a lot of privacy and have the chance to hang out in the common area as if you were a family. But if you don't like your suitemates, the set-up sucks because you're always in close quarters. In my case, I had to deal with the second scenario as most of my suitemates were well... eccentric.

Danica and Lori lived in the A room. At first, Danica seemed as if she were sweet; she always smiled and has big, brown eyes that twinkle with mischief. But the reason why she looks like this is because she was always laughing. Like a hyenna. I'm not exaggerating when I say that she cackled at everything. If you told her that you had a ton of homework, she'd crack up, her loud giggles echoing off the walls. Invite her to go to dinner and she'd let out a chuckle. Ask her if she can please keep quiet because it's 1 a.m. and you'd like to get some sleep and she'd launch into a full-out fit. I don't know what the deal is, but she laughed and laughed and laughed. I figured that she was permanently stoned, but her constant braying bored through my brain like an earwig on acid.

Lori looked like your typical beauty queen with big, brown curls and deep blue eyes. I think that she and Danica shared a stash, though, because while Danica was always laughing, Lori was constantly staring into space. Ask her if you can change the TV channel and she'd reply, "Whaaaa...?" Tell her that her phone is ringing and she'd say, "Huhhhhhh.....?" She was also a collector of clowns. Yes, clowns. One or two clown dolls wouldn't be a big deal since we all decorated our rooms with silly knickknacks. But she had about 50 clown puppets, clown figurines and a series of circus postcards. No one ever said anything to her about her, uh, colorful collection, but I can only imagine how much it messed with Danica's mind when she was under the influence. Maybe this is why she laughed so damn much, because she thought that she was at the Big Top watching a show.

Inez and Jill lived in the B room. Inez was a junior and was actually normal. She chose to live in a freshman suite because she was gearing up to become a residential advisor and thought that she could help out the rest of us. Unfortunately, she was hardly ever around. She knew pretty much everyone in the building and belonged to about a zillion clubs, so we only saw each other in passing. When she was home, she was like an oasis of calm among the rest of us.

Jill, on the other hand, liked to sleep all day. I don't know when she went to classes because she was always in bed. Surprisingly, she often had guys in said bed, though I'm not sure when she met them since she never left her room, at least during daylight hours. At night she came alive ... and paced our suite, back and forth, back and forth, for hours. I suppose that she was just a night owl or suffered from insomnia; then again, she might've been a vampire.

And then here, Sadie describes her eating binge:

Later I hid out in the back of the dorm's all-night cafe, a plate of cheese fries sitting in front of me and a pint of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey faithfully cradled in my hand like a delicate vase. I sat facing the wall so that no one else could look at me or scrutinize what I was eating. Once I was sure that I was as alone as possible, I quickly scooped up spoonful after spoonful of the sweet, creamy treat, sighing as the ice cream melted on my tongue and numbed my throat. When I tired of the sugar, I grabbed a fry, letting the saltiness of the cheese warm my stomach. The more I ate, the more my brain shut down and I was able to forget about Veronica and her bloody artwork, or the fact that I hadn't connected with any of my other suitemates. For a few blissful moments, I could shut away my loneliness and concentrate on nothing but the ice cream's taste and texture. I slowly closed my eyes and licked my spoon, relishing the way the nuts crunched against my teeth and calmed my nerves. My suitemates were banished to the back of my mind.

For the past few days, most of my work has involved going through the first few chapters and rewriting certain parts. I keep meaning to move on to the next chapter and write that, but I'm not yet satisfied with my book's beginning. I'm getting there, though. I feel as if my characters are beginning to come alive and that their backstories are interesting. Once I have an appropriate build-up, I'll feel a lot more secure about getting to the next section. So I haven't progressed with my writing in a linear sense, but I've definitely improved upon my original draft.

I can't believe that I've already written 100 entries in this blog! A lot has happened in the past three months, most of it good. Hopefully by my 200th entry, I'll have much more of this manuscript completed.

Meantime, please read and review REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD.

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