1. mom42terrificgirls
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    mom42terrificgirls Member

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    Beth's Monkey on Her Back Progress Journal

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by mom42terrificgirls, Oct 3, 2014.

    I will add to this tomorrow. Have three more chapters to write and then I will start the dreadful editing process. It's like pulling teeth to me.
     
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  2. mom42terrificgirls
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    mom42terrificgirls Member

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    Wrote one tie-in chapter and started back at the beginning, editing for gerunds (my weakness) and unnecessary language. Tied beginning and ending together with a nice bow (they are the same scene separated by the contents of the book). Did a couple of exercises from How to Write a Breakout Novel Workbook. The two writers who didn't show up at my write-in didn't show up, so I got so much done!
     
  3. mom42terrificgirls
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    Here's part of what I worked on. I use www.editminion.com to help me spot grammatical errors.


    Chapter 1 – House #131
    1966 – 5 years old
    “Bring Momma a washcloth, please, Sweetheart.” The young woman’s request was barely audible over the Dark Shadows theme song playing in the background. Karla tried so hard to tune the song out of her little mind. As the waves continued to crash over the cliffs below Collinwood Manor on the television screen, the five-year old uncrossed her legs, got up from the living room floor, and went into the bathroom to attend to her momma.
    In between heaves, the young woman managed another attempt. “Karla, please. Momma needs a washcloth to wipe her face. There should be one on the chair next to the bed.” The youngster did as she was told, as usual. Locating a washcloth on the chair––it was more like a dusting rag–she picked it up, brought it into the bathroom, and handed it to her mother. The woman was sitting on the faded yellow tile next to the toilet, where she had spent the better part of the day.
    Without looking up, Marsha handed the rag back to the little girl. “Put some water on it.” Karla obliged, making sure that she turned on the cold water, instead of the hot, just as she had been instructed to do so many times before.
    “Momma,” she asked, squeezing the soft material between her fingers – one, two, three, four - “Why are you sick again?”
    “It was probably something I ate last night.”
    “What did you eat last night?” Karla gave the cloth four more deliberate squeezes and handed it to her mother.
    What had she eaten last night? She and her date had been at a bar for hours. Before that, she couldn’t even remember. “A hamburger.”
    “With french fries, Momma?”
    “No, just a hamburger.” Marsha made her way to her feet. She ran the cool, wet rag over her forehead and around her eyes as she tried to ignore her reflection in the cheap, rusty mirror. How could she look so old at such a young age? ““Bring me my robe, Karla. I think I left it in the living room.”
    It was 3:00 p.m. at House #131. Karla made her own breakfast and lunch, as usual. For the morning meal, she ate dry, Cap’n Crunch cereal. You can’t get away with the crunch because the crunch always gives you away! For lunch, she spread peanut butter on saltine crackers. Still in her footy pajamas, Karla walked over to the television set to turn the scary program off, but she knew her mother would be angry. Marsha had to have her daily fill of the new soap opera about the newly hired governess in the strange Collins household and the vampires and witches who resided there. Karla turned the volume down a bit instead.
    The girl hunted around for the old, blue terrycloth robe her mother lived her life in, but it was nowhere to be seen. Outside she could hear the sound of the popsicle man’s truck in the distance, playing the cobbler’s bench and monkey song. She sang the words to herself. Karla opened the venetian blinds just a tad to see if she could catch a glimpse of children on the street, sure to be bicycling their way down the block to make an important snack purchase.
    As she watched for the children, she dreamed she too might one day own a shiny bicycle with a banana seat and bell. Karla would carry her stuffed animals and Mrs. Beasley doll in the basket attached to the handlebars. Her grandpa would ask, “Aren’t you afraid to ride?” And Karla would reply, “I’m not afraid of anything.”
    Karla went to the bathroom and opened up the one and only drawer in search of the Anacin bottle for her mother. For quick relief take strong and trusted Anacin. The drawer was crammed full of make-up, hair brushes and bobby pins. No Anacin bottle was in sight. Reaching far back into the drawer, Karla’s hand touch something long and plastic. Hidden and waiting, just for her. She clasped the object in her palm and pulled it close to her face. A plastic flower, the green stem crooked, missing a leaf. The flower was faded. It was a replica of the pink wildflowers that grew on the island, yellow in the center and on the tips of the petals. They covered the cemetery on Broadway Street. The blanket of pink and yellow made it difficult to see the lower headstones. The wildflowers were called Indian Blankets. Not only were they beautiful to look at, they helped keep the beach front from eroding.
    The flower had been left at the house by the previous residents, taped and clinging to the edges of the bathroom mirror, like it didn’t want to leave with the family. The family spoke only Spanish, but the teenage girl shyly smiled at Karla when they came back for the last boxes. The girl’s daddy took an extra house key off his key ring and gave it to Karla’s mother. “Gracias,” said her mother. That was the one and only time she ever heard her mother speak Spanish. “Gracias,” repeated Karla, and that’s when the girl smiled at her. Feeling proud of herself, she went into the bathroom to retrieve the flower, but she couldn’t reach it. By the time Karla got back to the door to tell them about the flower, the family was walking to the street, holding hands, mother, daddy, and the girl. Wishing she could speak Spanish, Karla watched them walk to their car, and the flower remained. One day, she found it in the trash can, so she hid it in the drawer. Every once in awhile, she would hold it and roll the stem between her hands, remembering the family, a family she wished she had.
    Karla walked over to the picture window and peeked through the faded slats. Her mother walked into the living room and angrily came to a halt. “Karla! How many times do I have to tell you not to open the blinds!”
    “I was looking for the popsicle man, Momma.”
    “Popsicle man? Can’t you see I’m half naked?” she screamed. And she was. Standing there in only her panties with her arms wrapped around her breasts, she looked like one of those statues outside the library. She was unwilling to move until Karla did something about the situation.
    I hate you and I hate house 131. Karla was too young to really understand the word “hate”, but somehow she just knew it was the right word.
    Once the blinds were closed, the demands started, like a record player stuck in the “play” position. “Where is my robe? Bring me my cigarettes. I need a Coke.” It was like the story of Cinderella, without the stepsisters and without the prince. Karla was basically raising herself. At such a young age, she knew how to do many things other kids took for granted: wash clothes, wash dishes, clean toilets, vacuum, dust.
    She got herself up each morning for school, made her own breakfast of dry cereal or bread, assembled a dry sandwich of meat and cheese for lunch, got herself dressed and out the door by the time the big hand was on the twelve and the little hand was on the eight. She met the bus down on the corner. All the other mothers were at the bus stop with their children and waved goodbye as the bus pulled away. Not Karla’s.
    Amazingly, Karla’s hair was always clean and well brushed. She made exactly 24 brush strokes all over her head before calling the task done. She never wore a bow or a hair ribbon; she never had a flower pinned to her blouse like some of her classmates. She never wore store bought dresses or shoes, always hand-me-downs from her mother’s friends. But somewhere deep inside, Karla secretly felt beautiful, like the ugly duckling in the story.
    Karla was not allowed to use the stove anymore. At their previous home, while boiling water to make her mother some tea, she dropped a tea bag onto the burner, and it caught on fire. It would not have burned the place down, but she didn’t know that. The odor of the burnt tea bag spread to the apartment below, and Marsha was reprimanded by the manager for it. From that day on, Karla was afraid of buildings catching on fire.
    Since Karla could not use the stove, meals were quite limited. She and Marsha basically lived on sandwiches, chips, and donuts. Every once in a while, Marsha would get the urge to throw something in a pan, like spaghetti or an egg, but cooked foods were unrealistic in this house. They took too much of Marsha’s precious time and energy. And so did her baby girl.
     
  4. mom42terrificgirls
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    mom42terrificgirls Member

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    My protagonist's name is Karla, named after Hurricane Carla, with the first letter changed. Today I decided to change her name to Carla with a "C" because I don't think people back in the '60s played around with names that much. Do you agree or disagree?
     
  5. mom42terrificgirls
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    This morning was a waste; got nothing done. I went to the Write-In that I scheduled. The one person who RSVPed as coming didn't show, and I couldn't get on the internet at the library. I have to have the internet while editing, so I left. Also, I love string quartets, but one was practicing in the room next to mine in the library, so I wouldn't have gotten much done anyway if I'd stayed. I write better in complete silence.
     
  6. mom42terrificgirls
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    mom42terrificgirls Member

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    Was able to edit three and one-half chapters today. My dogs were too needy.
     
  7. mom42terrificgirls
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    Didn't get anything done this weekend, but I did wake up in the middle of the night and get some great dialogue written down.
     
  8. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi, happy to have you here!

    Have you fulfilled your requirements for posting on the Workshop? If you have, go ahead and submit this extract for critique there. I'd like to give my reaction and input, but I don't want to circumvent the forum rules.
     
  9. mom42terrificgirls
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    I have no idea. LOL
     
  10. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    According to the stylish name book Beyond Jennifer and Jason the 60's actually fooled around with spelling a good deal. So if you love the K keep it.
     
  11. mom42terrificgirls
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    Got sidetracked in my editing. Started plotting my novel on a spreadsheet like I saw J.K. Rowling did for one of her novels Once it's plotted I'll go back to editing. Since my story involves lots of dates, foreshadowing, et al., this spreadsheet is really helpin me correct inconsistencies.
     
  12. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    21 more posts, for a minimum of 50 and 2 constructive critiques on any workshop piece will give you access.
     
  13. mom42terrificgirls
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    On Saturday, I went to my office and worked since I can never seem to get on the internet at the library. Then I thought, "Why not go to the office and set up in one of the conference rooms (not at my desk)?" Nice view of the city, peace and quiet, a restroom down the hall (which meant I wouldn't have to pack up if I needed to take a break), all the soft drinks and snacks I want. It was great. Story mapped up to Chapter 18 and printed it out - 39 pages. But when I tried to tape it together, could get it to fit. Going to try to do it again, only straighter. When done, I'll put the story spreadsheet (map) on a wall and go over it, filling in things I need or correcting inconsistencies. Whew!
     

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