Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Story Snippets // NaNo Update No. 3

As you can see I didn't get this post published over the weekend as I had planned.  All I can say is, that's life, people.   And you gotta live with it.   Eh, what?

The story I worked on during NaNo was actually a continuation of this story snippet which I shared with you in a post back in July.  So if you didn't read that post, and would like a little more background information, I suggest you go and read that first.  Then you can come back here and torture yourself with more.  Okay?  Okay. 

Now my story is not about a little girl, but I thought this picture was cute,
so we'll just say this is the heroine when she was young.  How's that?

Without further ado...

My story (or rather, bits of it).


This Billy of whom Rosa spoke so fondly--and whom, at this point, we must assume to be the hero of our story simply on account of his current relationship to our heroine--was not by any means a man to catch the eye of the female population.  His appearance in itself was not prepossessing--in fact, he was extremely ordinary--and his manners were nothing to write home about, for though not bad, they were certainly not genteel (a fact which rendered him rather "blah" in the eyes of romantic-minded girls.)  He was short, which unfortunately has not been the popular stature for young heroes this many a day--a tall man always being preferable where romance is concerned--and he also had a horrible habit, when taking a romantic walk with his girl by his side, of forgetting that he was supposed to be "in love" and acting as if he were merely a young boy strolling down the lane with his best buddy.  No wonder Rosa shivered at the thought of such a man.

     "Anyway!"  Rosa cried, sitting up abruptly and giving her head a good shake as if to clear it of all unpleasant thoughts.  "Why are we sitting here talking about Billy?  I can think of a hundred and one subjects more palatable than that one.  And besides we've entirely strayed from the original thread of our conversation.  Which was, will you come out with me and have a little fun this evening?"

     Nancy turned back to her desk with an air of one bent on conquering a most irksome task.  "No, I think I'd better not.  Anyway, I'm not feeling very sociable tonight."
     "You're never feeling sociable," Rosa exclaimed.  "And you need to stop it.  You wanted to come to college, and a big part of college is being around people.  So interact with them more.  Make some friends, for goodness sake!"

     "I have friends.  You and Eva."

     "We're your roommates.  We don't count.  Come on, Nan.  Make an effort."

     "I can't," Nancy said, with a long drawn-out sigh.  "I haven't the strength for it.  Math's taken everything out of me."

     "Oh!  Would you forget about math already?"


Something inside her snapped.  Slamming her book shut, she shoved it and all her scattered papers into the top drawer of her desk, and threw herself onto her bed.  She was failing at this.  All of it.  Why was she such a weakling?  Why with every thought of home did she grow sad and shaky inside?  It was natural enough for her to feel a little homesick when she first came away to college, but that was eight weeks ago now.  And she'd been home for a visit just about every other weekend.  So what was her problem? 

She had chosen to come to college because she wished to study music.    She and Rosa had, had it planned ever since they were in grade school.  Rosa would write the songs, and then she and Nancy would sing them.  Together they would travel the world sharing their music with vast audiences of people.  It had been a dream they had shared for as long as Nancy could remember, and as far as she could tell, it was still her dream.  What then was this endless tugging of her heart toward home?  Was she just being a fraidy-cat?  So comfortable in her own little corner of the world that she was too scared to step out of it and try her wings? Or was she trying her wings in the wrong direction? 


Nancy had never known any other home than the little white house on the corner of ----- Street; the white house with the dark red shutters, the spacious front porch, and the gray window boxes (which window boxes by the by never had any flowers in them anymore because the Roths were experts at killing plants, and had finally decided--after a great many successes in that line--that growing things just to kill them was a bit counterproductive.  Not to mention a waste of time.) 

So yes, there were no flowers in the window boxes, but that didn't keep the Roths' home from being one of the prettiest spots in the neighborhood nonetheless.  And in Nancy's mind, one of the prettiest spots in the whole world.


     "I do miss home so much, though," Nancy said, dropping her head onto Billy's shoulder and sighing audibly.

     Billy put his arm around her in a comforting, protective manner, and assured her that "home missed her, too."

     "And Billy?" Nancy asked, peering up at him with a smile.  "Does he miss me?"

     "All the time."

     "Funny," Nancy mused, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.  "Seems to me I heard him say this very day how I was coming home too often, he never had a chance to miss me."  She sat up and gave him a triumphant look which said plain as plain, "There now, young man, I've backed you into a corner.  What are you going to do about it?"

     Billy just grinned.


Billy was a firm believer in the old maxim: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  Perfection was something he never strove for.  He'd seen enough from watching his oldest brother to know that it was a never ending pursuit, and frankly he didn't have time to worry about such things.  Life was too good, and too short, to waste time chasing after stars.


All of a sudden Nancy had the sense that someone was watching her.  Ending her song abruptly she turned around and saw him standing at the back of the room.  The young man who had stared at her with such admiration at the end of last week's choir practice.  That him whom she'd almost forgotten about and yet remembered so vividly now that he was standing before her. 

     "I'm sorry if I startled you," he said, smiling apologetically.  "It was just too pretty to pass by.  You sound like a chirrupy little bird when you sing.  (Oh, dear.  I do hope that was a compliment.  I definitely meant it to be one.)"  He added quickly.

     Nancy laughed and stammered out something about it "being a very nice compliment indeed."  She felt enormously awkward knowing that he'd been listening to her sing without her knowledge, but she couldn't help but respond kindly to him all the same.  There was a sweetness about him that endeared him to her somehow.  Perhaps it was the way his right eye almost winked at you whenever he smiled.  It gave him the look of a mischievous little boy, and truth be told, Nancy had a weakness for mischievous little boys. 


"Maybe it was something I did.  Oh, Rosa.  Do you think we've grown apart since I've been at college?  Maybe I've changed.  Maybe Billy doesn't feel like he knows me anymore.  Maybe I've been too distracted and busy to realize that we're going in two different directions."

Nancy's face was a perfect picture of despair now, and Rosa's heart smote her.  She had no idea Nancy would take it this way.  She had been so upset by Billy's behavior and so eager to smash him for it, that she hadn't realized she'd been depending all the time on there being a logical explanation which would totally clear him and make everything right again.  And she had expected Nancy to have that explanation.  Yet here she was, totally taken aback by this report and actually questioning hers and Billy's relationship.  This was far worse than Rosa could have imagined.

"I think I've lost him, Rosa.  I've lost Billy, and it's all my fault."


Well, there you have it.  And now, confession time.  First, the second to last snippet was written as a snippet, specifically for this post, because I haven't actually written that scene yet, but I wanted to introduce you to the "other young man of the story" anyway.  (Just because.  I thought it would be more interesting that way.)  Also, the last snippet was a scene I wrote out of order.  I'm definitely not that far along in the story yet.  But I wanted to include that, too, because...well, I wanted to have some sort of suspense for you all.  And it is suspenseful, right?  I mean, you're all really confused now as to whether or not I've changed my mind about Billy and Nancy ending up together, right?  RIGHT?  (Don't give me that knowing look.) 

Okay, so please tell me what you think.  You can be honest with me.  I hardly expect you can be more critical of my writing than I am of it myself, so tell me truly.  What did you think of these?  Any glaring faults?  Are you--even the tiniest bit--curious to know more?  And just because I enjoy talking about my characters, is there any one character in particular that you'd like to read more about?  

Seriously, let's talk about it!  :)


    (I wouldn't mind more posts about Billy. ;-P)

    1. Awww. THIS COMMENT MADE ME SO HAPPY! (Because, yeah, I kind of like Billy a lot, too. ;))

  2. I want to read the whole entire thing! I'm just curious; is this set in a certain time period or place? Right now I can envision this being in the 1950s/60s, or today. I LOVE the first one especially. It sounds like Northanger Abbey when you talk about the herione and hero in the story, and my favorite line in these snippets is the math one. :) The dialogue between Billy and Nancy is good; it didn't flow perfectly for me as a reader, but I can't put my finger on what you could change, so it's probably fine. :) And this mysterious, endearing man scene (which I love): the "oh dear" threw me off a bit because I've never heard a guy say that. But that could be just me; I could be surrounded by men who don't say oh dear! :P And NO BILLY NOOO! What did he do? What's going on? What's going to happen??? I must know!
    But really dear, your writting is simply amazing. I love your whimsical, Austenesque style. I really think this could be published; it's far, far better than romance dime novels and the like.

    1. Wow, that's so cool that you can envision it taking place in the 1950s/60s, because that's exactly where I envision it taking place. Probably the early 60s, actually. :) Did you just compare my writing to NORTHANGER ABBEY?! Oh goodness! Nicest compliment EVER. (I LOVE that book! :))

      Thank you SO much for your honest thoughts, Abby. It's really helpful to know how things are sounding to someone other than myself. I agree with you about Billy and Nancy's conversation actually. I wasn't fully satisfied with that bit either, but it is hard to know exactly where it needs tweaking. :) And about the "oh dear" part, thanks for pointing that out. Perhaps it does sound rather odd coming from a guy?'ve given me some good things to think about. :)

      Aw. I'm so glad you enjoyed this, and that you actually want to read more. That is so encouraging! And it's definitely inspiring me to write more. :) Just thank you SO MUCH for all your kind words! :D

  3. Torture ourselves with more? PLEASE. Miss March, we love your story!

    I'm typing this comment out as a read. I only just read the first line and I'm already IN LOVE. Your writing is superb. Okay, I need to read more....

    Ooh, a short hero? I like it. So original. I love tall, handsome heroes as much as anyone (heh heh), but making the hero more ordinary is realistic and refreshing.
    There are many short men in the world who are just as much heroes as any tall guys. ;)
    Hahaha. "I'm not feeling very sociable tonight." I feel you, Nancy, I feel you.

    "Something inside her snapped. Slamming her book shut, she shoved it and all her scattered papers into the top drawer of her desk, and threw herself onto her bed. She was failing at this. All of it." May I assume this was inspired directly from real-life NaNoWriMo distress? ;P

    Awww. Nancy. <3 Poor dear. :(

    Haha! The thing about the plants made me laugh. :D


    Wow. I really like Billy. "Life was too good, and too short, to waste time chasing after stars." I'm not quite sure I agree with him totally (because I do love dreaming and having goals and "chasing after stars", to a degree) but I really love how you put that. Billy seems a man comfortable in his own skin, perfectly happy to take life as it comes and enjoy it. He seems very content and thankful for all the good in his life. (Hmm, perhaps to shake it up, something might occur that MAKES Billy strive or "fight" for something? Just a thought.) (Maybe he has to "fight" to keep Nancy, after Rosa sets her up with someone else...? Sorry. Thinking aloud here. ;))

    Oh no! Another man? I take it all back! BILLY AND NANCY MUST BE TOGETHER. (hee)

    Miss March, Miss March, HOW could you leave it off like that? Poor Billy and MUST write more of this story, ASAP. :)

    You must already know what my answers to your questions are! First off, I LOVED THESE SNIPPETS. Secondly, the ONLY mistake I noticed was the use of "their" when you meant "there" ("she hadn't realized she'd been depending all the time on THEIR being a logical explanation...."). Thirdly, UM YES, I'm dying to know more!! Fourthly, hmm...maybe Billy? I'm really interested in his character and how he's going to change....or if he will change. :) :)

    Seriously, Miss March, this was fantastic. It doesn't even sound like a first draft! Please do keep writing this story. It's got me intrigued, and your writing is SO good. Don't give up, because we need your story in the world. :)

    Ps. Have you ever thought of making it a novella? Longer than a short story but shorter than a novel? Maybe that would be easier and more suited to your story. There's even something called a novelette. A novella is usually around 17,500-40,000 words. A novelette is around 7,500 to 17,500 words.


    1. OH MY GOODNESS! What a deliciously LOOOONG comment! Natalie, you're the best! :D

      Haha. Yeah, I think busting stereotypes must be one of my favorite things to do. Of course it would have been a more thorough job if I'd made Billy ugly, as well as short, but I'm afraid I wasn't quite willing to go that far. Heehee. ;)

      Oh, you may, by all means, assume that! And you won't be far wrong if you do. Because, yes, I'm pretty sure a lot of my NaNo emotions got transferred to Nancy during this past month. ;)

      Eeek. Thank you for your thoughts on Billy! I'm so glad you like him. "Billy seems a man comfortable in his own skin, perfectly happy to take life as it comes and enjoy it. He seems very content and thankful for all the good in his life." Yes, yes! That is a big part of his character. And I'm so delighted that you noticed it. :) (Hmmm...thanks so much for thinking aloud. That's given me some more food for thought. :))

      <3 <3 <3 (I'm so glad you want Nancy and Billy to be together!)

      Because I'm cruel. *evil laugh* And I thought I'd better take this opportunity to work up some suspense, because, well... it's probably going to be crystal clear and totally obvious in the actual story. :P

      Thanks for pointing out the typo. I really appreciate that. :) And oh! I'm so thrilled that you're interested in hearing more about Billy in particular, because he's definitely one of my favorites. And I suppose some of the things I love about him must be making their way onto the paper if he's actually garnering interest. That's encouraging to note. :)

      That's because it's not really a first draft (coughcough), because I made sure to edit it before sharing it. Yes, and I edited it as I wrote it... and it will receive more editing still, I'm sure. Because that's how I roll. ;P I'm so happy you liked it, though. And thank you so much for your faith in me. I certainly will try to finish it one day.

      Hmm. That's a thought. But I don't know. I've never been too good at writing short stories either. My stories just don't move along quickly enough. (For example, in the 6,000+ words I wrote during NaNo, I only got about four scenes written. Yup. Told you I had a problem being wordy.)

      P.S.S. Oh, Natalie. YOU ARE MAKING ME WANT TO WRITE THIS SOOO BAD! Thank you for being a part of this with me and for cheering me on. It means so much to me! :D (And thank you for your comment. I enjoyed it so much!)

    2. I had fun writing it. :D

      Hahaha! Well...we don't always have to be entirely drastic. ;P

      Aww. Poor Nancy. :(

      Ooh, I'm so glad I "perceived" Billy correctly! And you're welcome for the food for thought. I can't wait to see what you do with it. :)

      Yes indeed! #TeamBilly

      Haha. Well, the suspense is perfect in this post. :D

      Yes!! You should do a Billy post sometime! Perhaps like the posts I did with Henry and Arthur and Alethea. (just a suggestion)

      Haha...well, that's okay. The point is that you WROTE it and POSTED it and I say job well done. :)

      True. I'm the same way. I'm not sure HOW to make a plot that fits within a short story without feeling incredibly rushed...I'd like to try someday, though. :)


    3. Natalie, your the bestest!! Thank you so much for another delightful comment! :D

      Aww. Billy's got a team!! Yaysies! ;)

      Hmmm...maybe I should do a post on Billy sometime. I'll probably have to write quite a bit more of the story first, though, because at this point I haven't much material to work with. :P

      Yes, exactly. That's the trouble with short stories. But yeah, it probably would be a good thing to learn how to write one sometime. I'm sure you could do it if you really wanted to. I mean, won NaNo!! You could definitely write a short story.

      Thank you so much, Natalie! :)

    4. YES. Do a Billy post. And if that means you'll have to write more, so be it. That will kill two birds with one stone, don't you think? (But don't actually kill any birds. That would be sad.)

      Haha, thank you. :)

    5. "Write more" says she, as simple as that. Haha. ;P If only I had your confidence. :) (And oh! of course not. No actual killing of birds here. That would be tragic. ;))

    6. Hahaha. There must be some way to get you to write more!
      (Oh good. I didn't want you to get any ideas. ;)).

    7. I know right? If only we could discover the secret. ;)
      (Heehee. ;))

  4. I loved them!

    Your style is all your own and so old-fashioned, the best sense of the word! You shall bring back the classics!

    I love shat you're doing! It's so unique and... Daring, somehow!

    I'm still #TeamRosa, though! That snippet about Billy's worldview... Just... No! Perfection is unattainable, of course - but that doesn't mean you don't try! Besides, complacency was never my style. ;) I say chase those stars! Make the world a better place! Have dreams, have goals, keep striving! Striving to be BETTER!


    Sorry if I got a bit carried away...

    Anyway. I love this! I am in love with your story already! You SIMPLY MUST finish it, dear!

    1. Aw, thank you! I'm so glad. :)

      "You shall bring back the classics!" Oh, goodness. I would LOVE to do that if I could! :)

      Daring? Oh that does sound nice. :) Can I be inquisitive and ask what part of the story in particular you see as daring, because I love the thought of being daring and I need to know how to keep doing it. Heehee. (But mostly I just ask because I'm curious. ;))

      (Oh, you would be! You and your #TeamRosa. :P) Haha. No need to apologize. I enjoyed your little rant very much, indeed. And I agree with you...about "making the world a better place" and "striving to be better" and all that. And dreams and goals are very good things to have. I've just never had many of them myself...I mean not in a huge way. So, Billy's worldview doesn't bother me at all, really. Still you can hold out for Nancy finding someone better, if that makes you happy. (Heehee.)

      Awwww. Thank you! It's so exciting to think that someone other than myself is enjoying my story. That's Thank you so much for your comment, dear!

    2. I think that it's very daring... to do your own thing, to write a book your way. I know it might not seem like it, because from what I can tell this isn't a controversial book or terribly cutting-edge. But that's just it. That's what the rest of us are trying to do - something new, something exciting, something original, something... daring. And that's fine - if we really believe in what we're writing. But some of the time, I feel like we are just writing it because, well, we want to get noticed, or we think that's what the world wants right now, or that's all that will sell. And I don't believe that that's a good enough reason to write a story. You love the classics and you're not ashamed of that. So you're emulating what you admire - whether it's "cool" or what everyone else is doing, or not.

      I guess that just boggles my mind a little bit? I've always been a big dreamer. :)

      Not even that Nancy finds "someone better" but that Billy learns that he needs to have a purpose and goals! That he has to WANT something and go after it!

    3. Ah, yes! I know what you mean. We all want people to like what we write, so it's not surprising that a lot of us would try and write according to what we know people are wanting nowadays...or according to what will sell. If I was REALLY trying to get a book published I could probably fall into that mindset easily enough myself. (Thanks for satisfying my curiosity, by the way. ;))

      Haha. With good reason. I'm probably a bit odd in that regard. ;) Dream on, Kate! It's wonderful to have plans and aspirations...and the will to work at accomplishing them.

      Oh, he will! Don't worry. His purpose and goals may seem lame to many people, but he's definitely got them. And I hope to bring them to light as I go further with my story. :)

    4. Can't wait to see what you do with ALL these characters! I believe in you, dear!

  5. Gah, I love it...wish I had time to write a nice long comment, but it's finals week! :/ This story is looking marvellous.

    1. Aw. Thanks so much, Rae! :D Good luck with your finals!

  6. I had some time to sit down and read this properly this morning, so NOW I can talk about it. :D

    No, I loved it! I'd read a book about this, definitely! Billy is sweet (and I still don't believe he'll ever be taken over by any mischievious little boy, no matter how sweet they are ;D) and I'm already rooting for him. The way you write is very relaxed and REALLY reminds me of Lousia May Alcott, in a way... it's great. :)

    ~Miss Meg

    1. Haha. So you think the "mischievous little boy" doesn't stand a chance? Well, you may be right. I confess I am rather partial to Billy and considering that I'm the can draw your own conclusions on that one. Heehee. ;)

      Thanks so much for your comment! I'm still really flattered that my writing reminds you somewhat of Louisa May Alcott's. I guess all those times of reading Little Women must have rubbed off on me. :)

      ~Miss March