He comes, the old man by John R. Erickson.
Read it somewhere folks won’t see your eyes tearing up.
December 8th, 2016, if I’ve done this right, my 300th post will go live here at my fiction site.
That would be today. And this would be the post.
I wrote my first blog post in 2002, fourteen years ago. I’ve written a few thousand posts at various blogs. I’ve written 9 nonfiction books, 6 fiction books, and more than 100 songs.
Writers sometimes forget to stop and celebrate just getting stuff done.
Four years of posting, mostly about my writing, while also maintaining my indie publishing website.
I feel pretty good about my writing these days.
I hope y’all feel the same.
Being rude to people in the bookstore line was no way for Ellen to get back at her brother but she couldn’t help herself. For weeks now he’d been on her case about working in what he called “the dead zone” as if nobody went to book stores anymore. What did he think she did all day, watch soaps and eat bonbons? The store was busy right now. Where was Jason? Why didn’t he take a day off his precious college education and come see what really happened in a bookstore all day?
She’d asked him that when he called far too early this morning. He had to get to class, as if that was an answer.
Jason vanished in a puff of smoke as the George Clooney type passing the register got her attention. She smiled, as she always did at the customers. Sometimes it was easier than others, right?
“How can I help you?”
He took a step closer and lowered his voice. “I need to find this book on site planning and Amazon wants a hundred bucks for it. Thought maybe this antique store would have a used copy cheaper.”
After three variations I found myself stumped. The third feels right, but is it?
It’s easy to fly through storytelling, getting my readers to The End with the least fuss.
It’s better to make the critical scenes more than simply the conveyance of information. The deeper I dig into the core scenes, those that turn the story’s direction, the more memorable and emotionally fulfilling they are.
I’ve never done that, pushing myself to rewrite a scene multiple ways, looking for the best version. In the past, I’ve been satisfied to note the scene’s purpose, write a direct sequence of actions fulfilling that purpose, and let my editor tidy it up.
If he tidies brass, you get highly polished brass.
I want my books to be solid gold.
He didn’t reply. She tried again.
“My owner will pay whatever ransom you want.”
“How much am I worth to you?”
“Stop talking. If you were only a possession to barter with you would already have been sold.”
“Then what am I? Why are you taking me?” She suspected an answer but wondered if he would respond.
“Don’t I have a right to —”
He slapped the back of her head. “Stop talking. I won’t say it again.”
She turned. “I will not. If you intend to drag me through the forest you will hear me every step of the way.”
He had stopped a moment after her, one step too close. As he slid his machete from his belt she kicked him, hard, below that belt.
Before the machete dropped from his hands she was holding it.
“Do not follow me.”
He backed away. She stepped closer and flicked the machete in her two hands. The middle of his tunic split; just a small split, but the tip had touched him.
He continued backing away.
She turned and ran without a backward glance.
“Keep moving.” He shoved her.
Stifling rage, she smiled coyly. “I thought this might be a good place.”
As she stepped closer he raised his arms to either attack or defend depending on what she did next. “A good place for what?”
She softened the smile and tilted her head slightly. “Unless you don’t want to . . .”
That was the look she was expecting. All men everywhere were the same.
He lowered his arms.
She stepped closer and raised her bound hands. “Aren’t you going to untie me first?”
His face reddened and he put one hand on his machete. He leaned and stepped at the same time, his nose nearly touching hers.
As he opened his mouth to shout at her no sound came. Her hands were locked behind his neck, the thick rope pressing against the front and sides.
When he was unconscious she let him fall, took the machete, and fled back down the path. Time enough to free her hands when she was out of his earshot.
Every few minutes his pace changed; he slowed, to check behind or to rest or simply because it was how he marched.
She started counting.
The third time, it was almost exactly the same count.
The fourth time, she anticipated, quickened her pace, and was hidden among the trees before he could touch her.