I know I skipped right over the 70s soft rock hits, but I figured you’d probably forgive me, or more specifically, thank me profusely, for not posting it yesterday. Instead, I’m skipping right to my Monday agenda, which was to post two story intros from the manuscript I’ve been working on….
I’d hoped you wouldn’t mind telling me which intro you prefer…and if you have the time, maybe tell me why you like it better, so I can incorporate more of whatever that is into the rest of my story.
By way of background, this story is for middle graders (here’s an excerpt), is a spooky fantasy, and…well, I guess that’s all. (I’ve discovered that I construct sentences with three modifiers on a regular basis. It’s like an internal drum beat…if I don’t include three modifiers, than something feels off in my sentence rhythm. Isn’t that fascinating?)
Oh brother. Anyways. I didn’t post the full chapters of each version (I could not in good conscience do that to you), so these represent excerpts of the different intros. And you know what? You can ignore my request. Seriously. You’re busy. I know that. Just say “hi,” instead. How about that? Like maybe, “Hi SD Momma. I like #1.” And that’d be OK. Just dandy, in fact. Or, don’t say “hi,” and just send me your preference telepathically. I like to practice my telepathy. I’ll be sitting there maybe and get a “#2!” appearing suddenly in my head, and then I’ll skedaddle to the pot and be like, “hmmm, nothing’s coming.” And THEN, I’ll be like, “OH!”
Wow. Anyways. Here’re the goods (or bads?). And by the way? Thank you. I’m kind of stuck here and I’m hoping this pulls me out of the writerly mud:
Fire swept the room. Annie lay paralyzed under her covers as the blaze devoured her dresser and moved to her wooden bed frame. The flames licked the edges of her bedspread. Its raging heat burned her toes…
Annie’s eyes flew open. A bead of sweat dripped down the side of her face and her soaked pajama top clung to her chest. The fiery nightmare had seemed so real that she still felt the searing heat lap her feet. She swung her legs onto the floor to let the cool air reach them, took a deep breath and waited for her heart to slow. The furious thumping in her chest continued and she considered waking her dad. But it was late – a quick glance at the clock showed it was past midnight – plus, at eleven and a half years old, she wasn’t a baby anymore. She reached beside her and flipped on the night light.
Her legs shook, but she got up anyway and wobbled to her window. Porch lights illuminated the darkness. Earlier, it had rained and the wet settled itself on the grass and rooftops, sparkling like glass. The silver moon shimmered and cast the landscape in an iridescent glow. Annie peered into the black distance. There was nothing out there. She watched as her tire swing circled in a slight breeze, then shifted her gaze to the woods that stretched for miles behind her house, where hundreds of oak and pine trees poked their way into the sky.
The sight comforted her. She’d played in those woods millions of times. The thick trees went on forever and she never had reached the end, but she felt close to home as she explored. Houses lined the side of the woods and she’d always seen lights twinkling in the distance as she tromped through creeks and climbed weeping willows.
She spent several minutes surveying the expanse of her backyard. Soon, her breath grew even and the ominous dream frittered away. Her eyes drooped and she turned toward her rumpled bed. Just a dream, just a dream. It all seemed so silly now. She crawled under the bed spread and stretched.
The metallic crash echoed throughout the house. That was no dream. Someone had to have made that sound. Someone who was in the house now.
Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap. The sound reached Annie in her sleep, only in her dream, she’d been tossing stones at a fence, one right after the other. Once she realized the sound came from outside her dream, she struggled to open her eyes. Her eyeballs fluttered beneath cast iron eyelids. Tap, tap, tap. Her dream self split in two: one of her kept throwing stones against the fence and the other reached a hand up to swim out of her dream. Finally, her eyes flew open.
Tap, tap, tap. It came from her bedroom window. Annie lay in bed, with her chest thumping. She now knew where the sound originated, and there was no way she was getting out of bed to look. She stared at the yellow flowered curtains stretched across the windows that looked into the backyard. Nothing moved. Just the tapping. Her heart continued to pump in triple time and Annie considered calling for her dad. But it was late – a quick glance at the clock showed it was after midnight, plus, she was 11 years old and trying hard to not be a baby about things.
Tap, tap, tap, TAP. The tapper persisted. Annie knew there weren’t any trees just outside her window, so it had to be something else. She still lay in bed, twisting her hair around her finger, littering frizzy blonde strands across her pink pillow.
This is stupid. She swallowed hard, and it was like boulders tumbling down her throat. She reached beside her and flipped on the night light. Her legs shook, but she got up anyway and wobbled to her window. Her fingers trembled against the curtain’s center hem and she poised herself to push the curtain aside. The tapping had stopped, so Annie drew a mouthful of air and whipped the curtain open.