Daily Archives: September 3, 2012

Snippet Sunday: Before & After II

Snippet Sunday: Before & After II

      No, guys, I wasn’t kicked off the VBT. In fact, you can see an Author Spotlight on little ol’ me over at MasterKoda.com. But since my scheduled guest is experiencing some personal turmoil and had to leave the tour (sending much love & good mojo!) I decided to revert to a Sunday Snippet. Yay!
      So, today’s excerpt is a scene from “Incandescence”. Its another before-&-after-style post where I show off how important editing can be for me. Making a first draft really…sing! I use that phrase too much, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. So without first ado…

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Before


      They assembled before her in borrowed clothing. Hannah had donned a pair of jeans that were both too long and too big around the waist; she had rolled the hem of the trousers up so that they brushed the top of the hiking boots she had stolen from the owners of the Cozy Coach and cinched the waist with a belt so long she had to tie the leather in a knot well past the last hole. She also wore a flannel shirt tied to reveal her midriff and her brother’s denim jacket over it. Michael was in a pair of clean Wranglers, dark and stiff with starch and a grey hoodie that featured a large, roaring brown bear. He had covered his floppy dark hair with a baseball cap and Hannah wore a black straw Stetson. Poor little Jeremy had drawn the short shrift, they had dressed him in a t-shirt that was probably Hannah’s size and made an improvised diaper out of a kitchen towel and some yarn. OLDLADYNAME was impressed by their resourcefulness; she had resorted to keeping one of Hannah’s old shirts wrapped around his little hiney all the previous day.
      “Thank you for breakfast, dafuzina,” she began, speaking slowly, giving herself time to compose the proper words. “I think we should stay here.”
      “Here? But-”
      “Humor me, damorsi. Please. I need to recouperate here – not just for the day. No, no. Hush. Let me finish. Before we leave this place, we need information and supplies. It is better if we wait here awhile.”
      The two exchanged a look that OLDLADYNAME could not define. Then Hannah nodded, crossing her arms before her thin chest.
      “Alright, OLDLADYNAME. Are you going to be okay, this morning at least, if Mike and I go exploring the place? The power still works so someone must live here, and they may be back. Better we find out the type of people they are now than after the fact.”
      Michael adjusted his cap. “And we have to see if there is a working radio or TV here, because the ones in the living room are just static. I’m still going to try to find some fuel too, in case we have to leave abruptly. Okay?”
      She nodded, a wan smile upon her wrinkled lips. “Yes.”
      Jeremy was trying to climb up onto the bed again and OLDLADYNAME looked up at Michael, imploring him silently to help the child up. Hannah removed the empty tray and came back into the room a few minutes later with a pitcher of iced tea and a pristine glass tumbler. Each of the kids kissed her forehead and murmured something about being careful, then they vanished in a whirl of denim and flannel.
      “Skib-Mommy,” Jeremy giggled, crawling over her legs, his chubby little hands grabbing at one of the lovely embroidered roses. He made his way to her torso and used her chest to pull himself to his unsteady feet. The little boy placed his hands on either side of her face with surprising tenderness and looked up at her. His deep brown eyes were velvety as a doe’s and the expression within them was so much older and wiser than belonged in the eyes of a child so young.
      “Skib-Mommy,” he repeated, patting her cheeks again. Then he wrapped his arms around her thin neck and buried his face in the crook of her shoulder. “Skib-Mommy.”
      Her heart fluttering in her chest, OLDLADYNAME hugged him back; her tears wet upon his silken black locks.
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After


      They assembled before her in borrowed clothing. Hannah had donned a pair of jeans that were both too long and too big around the waist; she had rolled the hem of the trousers up so that they hung parallel with the top of her stolen hiking boots and cinched the pants with a belt so long she had to tie it in a knot. She also wore a flannel shirt tied just above her waist with Michael’s denim jacket over it. Michael was in a pair of clean Wranglers, dark and stiff with starch, and a grey hoodie bearing the image of a large, roaring brown bear. He had covered his floppy brown hair with a baseball cap. Hannah wore a black, straw Stetson.
      Poor little Jeremy had drawn short shrift. They had dressed him in a t-shirt that was probably Hannah’s size and made an improvised diaper out of a kitchen towel and some twine. OLDLADYNAME was impressed by their resourcefulness.
      “Thank you for breakfast, dafuzina,” she began, speaking slowly to give herself time to compose the proper words. “I have been thinking and I think we should stay here.”
“Here? But-”
      “Humor me, damorsi. Please. I need to recuperate here, not just for a day. No, no. Hush. Let me finish. Before we leave this place, we will need information and supplies. I think it is best to wait here for awhile.”
      The two exchanged a look that OLDLADYNAME could not decipher. After a moment, Hannah nodded and crossed her arms before her thin chest.
      “All right, OLDLADYNAME. Are you going to be okay, for this morning at least, if Mike and I go exploring a bit? The power doesn’t work, but the place is clean and stocked up. Someone must live her and they may be coming back. Better we find out what we can now.”
      Michael adjusted his cap. “And we have to find out if there is a working radio or TV here, because the ones in the living room are dead.”
      A wan smile upon her wrinkled lips, she nodded. “Yes.”
      Jeremy climbed back up onto the bed with a little boost from Michael and squealed with delight, his chubby little hands grabbing at one of the lovely embroidered roses.
      “I’ll bring some iced tea and stuff, so you don’t have to get up,” Hannah said and dashed off. She returned a few minutes later with the promised pitcher and a heavy glass tumbler. Both of the kids kissed her forehead and mumbled something vague about being careful, then they vanished in a whirlwind of denim and flannel.
      “Skib-mommy,” Jeremy crawled over her legs, giggling. He made his way to her torso and used her chest to pull himself to his unsteady feet. Placing both hands on either side of her face with surprising tenderness, Jeremy looked up at her. His deep brown eyes were velvety as a doe’s and the expression in them was much older and wiser than he was.
      “Skib-mommy,” he repeated, patting her cheeks again. Then he wrapped his arms around her thin neck and buried his face in the crook of her shoulder. “Skib-mommy.”
      Her heart fluttering in her chest, overcome with emotion, OLDLADYNAME hugged him back. Tears slipped down her cheeks.

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      And that’s it for today’s snippet. What did you think? Can you pick out the changes? Its probably not as dramatic a change as the previous Before & After post, but I think that little tweaks can really make the difference in how a passage flows. So, better or worse? Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated – let me hear about it below!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.