Friday, November 30, 2012

False Start Fridays: Week Three

Thought for the day:  I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter.  [James Michener]
A whole lotta butts...

Writers can generate a lot of buts. Not in their writing...  in their attitudes.

I would write today but...
I was going to submit that story but...
I meant to send out a query today but...
I have a great idea for a new book but...

Et cetera, et cetera.

No more buts, I tell ya! Put that butt into your chair, and write... submit... and repeat. Sorry, but there's no shortcut. If there were, I would have taken it a long time ago.

Okay, this is the last week of False Start Fridays, and I'd like to thank Suze for coming up with such a kewl idea. (Thanks, Suze!) This time, instead of dragging a forgotten writing exercise out of my desk drawer, I'm gonna post an excised portion from an earlier draft of my WIP Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade. It made me laugh when I was writing it, but alas, it didn't do a thing to advance the story. Plus, it made my main character Pearl look moronic, and was way too much tell and too little show. So, it had to go. But just for you, it's back for a smelly little visit today.

***
   Pearl didn’t notice the man at first. She didn’t see him, huffing and puffing, as he stomped toward her, and she didn’t even see him when he stopped beside her car. Truth is, she didn’t notice him at all. Not until he demanded her attention by pounding on the window beside her head.
   Then, two things happened at once. A startled little poot bubbled out of her at one end, and she sucked in her breath so sharply at the other, she almost choked on her own spit . Which, of course, made her cough. And every time she coughed, she broke wind again. Cough, cough. (pffftt) Cough, cough. (pffftt) Cough, cough. (pffftt) For good measure, when she turned to the man glaring at her through the window, she felt a damp spot warm the crotch of her underwear. Crap-a-doodle-damn-doo.
   He was enormous, both in height and circumference. His face was flushed, and he was wearing a white short-sleeved dress shirt with huge perspiration blotches under each arm. The top button was open, his necktie loosened. His eyes were hidden behind aviator sunglasses, but she could practically feel his laser-like glare burning into her flesh. He was bent over, glaring at her through the window, glaring right at her, staring right into her eyes, with his face only inches away from hers. Oh yeah, there was no doubt about it. He was ticked. What’s more, he was ticked at her.
   Wide-eyed, Pearl stared back at him, swallowed hard, and hiccoughed. Now that the coughing fit was over, she concentrated on controlling her breathing. Easy does it, slow it down, in and out, in and out. And she squeezed her crotch muscles together. Lord, please don’t let me tinkle on my car seat. Hiccough
   Slowly, deliberately, Pearl blinked at the man. He was no longer pounding on the window, but his hands, now hanging at his sides, were still balled into fists, and he continued to glare at her. “WHAT THE HELL’S THE MATTER WITH YOU, LADY?” he demanded.
   I don’t know.
   Against her better judgement, Pearl rolled the window down a teensy bit, and he immediately jammed his face next to the opening. “Excuse me…?” she squeaked. Still breathing, easy does it, in and out, in and out. Still squeezing, no more pee, no more pee. Hiccough.
   “You DEAF?” he yelled through the narrow opening at the top of the window. “I’ve been laying on my horn for five minutes! You waiting for the damned stop sign to turn green?”
   Then the purple cloud hit his nostrils. He abruptly stood up, gave his head a slight shake, coughed, and took a step back from the window.
   Take that! Pearl thought, while desperately fighting the urge to giggle. 

***

                                  There ya have it. Again, thanks, Suze. It's been fun.
How do you like THEM apples? (source)

                                  Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

                    A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.  [Richard Back]

57 comments:

  1. I'm still laughing at Pearl - or perhaps I'm laughing WITH Pearl. The incident immediately grabbed me. I was there!

    The art of writing isn't something that one can aquire. It comes from within. Anyone who has to wait for inspiration to write isn't a writer. There are no "buts" about it.
    Writing is a personal pent-up passion that will explode if it isn't released.

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    1. Glad ya found this funny. As for that threatened pent-up explosion, maybe it's that Tex-Mex diet of yours? HA!

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  2. Sus, when I got to: 'Crap-a-doodle-damn-doo' I started to laugh and realized that my face had been screwed up into this, 'Am I reading what I think I'm reading?' look. It's very early, the house is quiet, still dark, I haven't brewed coffee yet and here I sit with the incredulity of hilarity, smiling like a dope as I type these words.

    Thank you so much for not only participating in this exercise but for doing so much to encourage it. Sus, may your capacity for laughing at what is -- without apology! -- never, never diminish but only increase!

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    1. Not exactly high-brow stuff like you and Geo write, but I'm glad it made you laugh. Oh, Lord, I'm not sure if it'd be a good thing if I were to increase my capacity for laughter, though. I laugh so much now, I'm barely a step ahead of the men with the straitjacket.

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  3. Love the opening picture and the first sentence of the post. Made me laugh.

    Definitely an attention getting beginning!

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    1. Thanks. Glad my weird sense of humor resonated with you.

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  4. What an engaging story! I agree with S.P. Bowers - the beginning immediately caught my attention.

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad it caught your attention, dear sir.

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  5. This was very funny and I had to squeeze my own muscles as I laughed and coughed. (I've been having my own allergy related coughing fits)

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    1. HA! Musta been the power of suggestion, eh? Glad you liked it.

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  6. Ha! Don't make me laugh. All sorts of stuff might come out. LOL.

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  7. *giggling helplessly* Crap-a-doodle-damn-doo, I sure enjoyed that!

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  8. My first thought was that it was a policeman, but since it was just one of thse irate male drivers (I have come across a few), he more than deserved what he got.

    I bet you had fun writing that.

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    1. I DID have fun with it. And yeah, he definitely deserved it.

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  9. I really like this piece, Susan. You created a sense of urgency in it without making it complicated. I learned something! Thanks.

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    1. Glad you liked it. It definitely isn't "complicated", but I can't imagine learning much of anything from it, other than to never stick your nose too close to an open window.

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  10. I laughed so hard I nearly did a Pearl.

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  11. Oh, poor Pearl! Very funny! :)

    Love the writing quotes too. I'd seen the Michener one before but not the Back quote, love both of them.

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  12. Just exactly the sort of thing one should read on a Friday- sets up the weekend with a belly laugh- admire your discipline in cutting it from the WIP too! :-)

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    1. Too bad belly laughs don't count as exercise, huh? As for cutting this, no discipline involved. I had to cut a lot of stuff to make the manuscript a more manageable length, so I just held my nose and cut the cheese... I mean cut the scenes.

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  13. thanks for the giggle; I needed it!

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  14. LOL! ROTFL! That was TOO good! ...waiting for the stop sign to turn green? Love it!

    I didn't think there was any "telling." I could "see" the whole scene, including the purple cloud. :)

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    1. Thanks. I appreciate that you didn't see this as all telling. That's how it felt to me, but I really appreciate your input. That makes me feel better about it.

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  15. That's hilarious. I could picture the scene so well, and it sounded so much like something that would happen to me.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Thanks. Glad ya liked it. I've experienced a ditzy moment or two, but I don't think even I am ditzy enough to space out at a stop sign. The rest of it? I ain't saying nuthin.

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  16. OMG - it made me laugh out loud. And practise my kegels now...

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  17. Oh my goodness this one is hilarious, sad thing is I have witnessed my wife waiting for the stop sign to turn green, although Pearl making the irate drivers face turn green was something I have not had the pleasure to witness Ha Ha

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    1. HA! Methinks you exaggerate about your bride just a tad.

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  18. :-)

    I couldn't help but see myself in this!

    Pearl

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  19. This was hysterical Susan! I haven't gotten to this part yet (I told you I was a slow reader), and I'm sure I'll enjoy it just as much the second time around!
    Julie

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    1. Uh oh, I just saw that you cut this scene. Maybe you can write a separate book filled with deleted scenes. I guess this huge oversight is really going to take away my credibility now. This isn't the first time that I've been fired from a volunteer position, and all of them have been from my mother.
      Julie

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    2. Oh, you're too funny! As IF I'd ever think of "firing you. This scene originally took place when Pearl was fretting about her "mysterious disease" while on the way to the doctor. (Now I'm beginning to second guess myself as to whether or not I should've left in it! OY!)

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  20. Hi Susan .. just don't know how you do it - can quite see it - poof - I'm easing away fast ... well when I sit at traffic lights I'll be thinking about other things now!

    Cheers - poof .. bye bye .. Hilary

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    1. HA! I guess we all have our "weapons", don't we? Pearl's wasn't lethal, but at least it was effective enough to make the man back off, anyway. Moral of that story? Eat more fiber! (Or maybe in your case, that'd be "fibre"?)

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  21. Purple cloud! :-) :-) The rest of this WIP must be pure platinum for this to have made it to the cutting room floor. Very fun.

    As I type, I look over to the right to see your tag/label thingies, and my eye stops immediately on "the Fartiste." Now why isn't this post so helpfully labeled...?

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    1. Thanks. In case you didn't check that tag thingie out, "The Fartiste" is actually a musical, and it's about a very "talented" man who really DOES make musical toots!

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  22. Ohh, that was funny. I'll never be the same sitting at a stop sign again.

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  23. I'm still laughing! Cough toot cough toot been there done that. Have even managed to make Monster Baby cry with some of my purple smoke. lol

    Great stuff Susan.

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    1. Well, I wouldn't call it "great", but it sure was fun to write. Glad it made ya laugh.

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  24. Ah Susan,

    Oh my, absolutely hilarious and how can I possibly grace you with a comment that would do justice to your clever articulation. Or in my case, 'farticulation'. Now then, talk about a story that takes the p**s :)

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  25. Susan,
    I'll use a plain and simple word to describe your writing. It's so "readable." I don't want the end to come. "More porridge, please." Your words paint such a clear picture.

    BUT..... another BUT .........all those who said they laughed at the story are just plain young. It hit too close to home for me. I think I cracked (pardon the expression) a little smile at the purple cloud. I just wanted her to step on the gas (another pardon) and run over the loud mouth on her flight out of there.

    OK OK, so I can relate and my home-made sauerkraut isn't any help, either.
    See Ya...

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  26. Thanks, Manzie. I'll take "readable" any day. I know whatcha mean about relating to Pearl's plight. Hmm, homemade sauerkraut, eh? I make homemade kielbasa. Sounds like a match made in heaven.

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  27. Ha ha ha! Love the way he yells at her and then gets his comeuppance... I've had that spit/choke thing happen often...

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