children's writer

Favorite Lines From Old WIPs

Nov 20, 2015

We all have shelved projects. I know I have many. There are projects I thought would be the one but weren't. There are projects that still make my heart ache when I think about them. And projects that I don't like to think about what so ever because they're that bad. Despite this, there was once a reason I lived for these novels. It might have been a a character or a line I loved, hence the title of this post. These lines have stayed with me through the years.

Summer Spell

Summer Spell was my first "official" novel. It was the first novel I queried and it got me some requests. Set in a small southern town, it's the story about a young girl's struggle to keep her family together during a drought. This scene where Cassi and her father are driving home has always been one of my favorites.
The wagon bounces along on parts of the road that’s uneven. I hear Papa say that Mama’s baking apple pie and I want to ask if they were fresh apples but I know that’s a silly question. I can’t even remember the last time I had an apple plucked right off a tree.

There isn’t much to see out the window because there isn’t much to see in these parts of Louisiana except some dying plants and animals.

A deer standing by the side of road stares at me and I stare at him, as we drive pass, and I know what he’s thinking, this land is theirs now. Even our own backyards aren’t safe anymore.
Gone by the End of July

This novel was much more difficult than my first. I couldn't figure out why back then, but I think I needed to write it in order to grow as a writer. I learned a lot about writing the year I wrote this novel. It's about a girl whose father goes missing one hot day in July, hence the title. In this scene she's had a rough night taking care of her sick momma.
Whenever Momma’s breathing slows down, and it sounds like she’s being suffocated in her sleep, I’m right there, watching. She’s been drifting in and out of her sleep. She coughs a lot. She’s dying. I know she is, and it’s just me and her in this stupid, dirty house.

Tomorrow I’ll clean it. I swear on everything I love I will. I’ll clean from top to bottom, so when Daddy comes back home the whole house won’t smell of cigarette smoke. He’ll see. Then he’d have no choice but to stay with me and Momma where he damn well belongs. I just pray he’ll come back home soon.

I miss him so much already it hurts.

It hurts like I've lost a limb.
Searching for Starlight

I wrote this one not too long ago. I think I wrote it for my middle school self. It's about friendships and wishing on stars, all of the things I still adore. It will always have a special place in my heart. In this scene my main character, Bryn, has just spotted the shooting star she's waited for all summer, the star she thinks will heal her sick mother.
I don’t wait a second longer. Mom doesn’t have any more time. It’s what I tell myself as I climb down, when my foot almost slips on a branch. I hold on tight to the branch above, take a deep breath and say, “For Mom. For Mom. For Mom.”

Dad’s at the door, but I’m stealthier remember. Before he gets it open, I’m out of the tree, running. I take off across the backyard to that loose panel in the fence.

 “Bryn,” Dad calls.

 I glance behind me, shift the panel away, and slip through to the other side. As I run down the street, my tennis shoes hit the ground in loud slaps and my binoculars rise and fall onto my chest. It is true what they say about you, isn’t it?

You are truly magnificent.
Ivy of Our Hearts

Where do I even begin with this one? I thought it would be the one but it wasn't. This story was inspired by the book that inspired me to write in first place, Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. Like Searching for Starlight, it'll always be special to me. I might even rewrite it one day. It's about two teenage girls who get lost in the woods and are kidnapped by a fairy. In this scene my main character, Ivy, has found a clue to the antagonist's past.
I thought it might have been a slip of paper, but it felt too thick. One side felt glossy against my fingers. It had been stuck in there a while so it took some effort to pull it out. Once I did, it became clear that it was a photograph, taken in black and white, yellowed from age, the edges curled like dog ears. A young woman stood in front of the cabin. Her eyes weren’t on the camera but on something else off to her side, which the camera hadn’t caught. I flipped the picture over. In black ink, in a man’s slanting hand, someone had written her name, Nora Callaway, and beneath that the words my beloved.

That's it for me. Of course, there are many more lines I would have loved to share. The family computer is much too slow and old. It took me forever to write up this post. Thanks for reading anyway. Do you have any shelved projects?
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