Sunday, April 5, 2015


#NovelSnip is a tiny portion of my fiction writing project.  This week, I tried something sort of different.  I made a list of the characteristics I needed to introduce in Norah, the birthmother character, as a young woman.  Now, I'm writing scenes that might convey those.  See?  It's kind of like Backward Design for teaching.  I'm not sure how it's going, but it's going.  500+ words per day, per my solemn vow.

She glanced at the clock on the dash.  Ten o’clock.  Forty five minutes past when she should have been home at the end of the game, as promised.  She snaked the car through the neighborhood rehearsing potential lines.  The girls from the Honor Society had asked her back to one of their houses.  She’d run into her English teacher, who wanted to chat about her latest paper.  She’d fallen down on the bleachers and the athletic trainer insisted on examining her ankle.  Norah swallowed hard as she eased the wagon into the garage.  As she stood at the back door she closed her eyes and rolled her shoulders down her back. Norah turned the handle and eased the door open, stepping silently over the threshold.

“Norah.”  Her mother’s acidic voice caught her as she closed the door behind her.  Norah envisioned her mother’s set jaw and steely eyes before she looked up.  Sure enough, Susan’s gaze was cutting, traveling the length of Norah’s body.

“Hi, Mom,” Norah said, bending to untie her sneakers.

“What have you been doing?”  Norah could hear the sneer in the question, the emphasis on the “you.”

“Nothing,” Norah said, trying to keep her voice light.  “We won the game,” she breathed quickly, lingering over her second shoe.  “Um. I ended up hanging out with some of the Honor Society girls afterwards.”  Reluctantly, she straightened her legs and stood still on the doormat.

“Is that right?” Susan hadn’t moved from her position at the kitchen table, palms lying flat, flanking a glass of ice water.

“Um hmm,” Norah said.  She scanned a path through the kitchen, an escape route.  Go, she told herself, willing her legs forward in long, purposeful strides. As she passed Susan, the older woman twisted suddenly in her seat and grabbed her daughter’s arm nails penetrating the flesh above Norah's wrist.  Norah took a sharp breath in and spun toward her mother, open-mouthed.

“Be careful,” Susan said, squinting at her. Norah felt heat rising in her cheeks and acid at the back of her throat.  “People,” Susan said slowly, scanning the length of Norah’s torso again,  “might start thinking you’re a slut.”  The hard "t" in slut echoed behind Norah's eyes. She closed her mouth without saying anything, opened it again, her breath wavering, and finally set her lips in a line.  After a few beats, she yanked her arm away. Susan brought own hand back to it’s resting place on the table.  The edges of her mouth quivered a bit, and she breathed slowly through her nose, listening as Norah ran up the carpeted steps.
So, that's it.  What do you think?  Do you like Norah?  I do.  I'm going to keep going with her arc this week.  Skipping with her through time, but in chronological order.  We'll see how it's going.  This is a fun and challenging project, and I like doing it with all the writers online.  Highly recommend.


LH said...

I do like Norah. I already care about her. I love the line about the escape route. And I love her mulling over the possible excuses in her head. Kitchen scene super tense and a little scary.

Once again, I heart #novelsnip.

Anonymous said...

Well written. You can feel the tense relationship. Love the idea of being in a supportive group for 500 words a day. Keep it up! Love, mom

mm said...

I like Norah and think she'll get stronger.

jdoc said...

I've fallen behind on #NovelSnip. I'm not going to lie. But this makes me want to catch up. Love it.

Gina Marie said...

By the time Susan grabbed her, I already felt v. protective of Norah. I can't wait to keep reading!