Good Writing Day

Threw out about 2000 old words, wrote about two thousand new words, and finished 8121 total words of revision for the day, though I have been working on it nonstop since I got up this morning. I love what I’m getting, and I’m excited about the way the changes are working.

And just for fun, here’s a little snippet, including the way that yesterday’s first line has metamorphosed.

On the other side of the closed conference room doors, Bailey Grove heard one of her partners say, “… so we walked into the room, and the client was naked, and painted blue, and lying on the floor. On. A bed. Of butter.”

Bailey stopped with one foot still in the air, her hand frozen on its way to the door knob.

No. Simply, no. Not on a Monday. On Monday, the only place butter belonged was on pancakes.

Inside the conference room, it sounded like Piper Hempstead had already gotten started on the weekly case debrief. Or was at least bemoaning her weekend research trip. Bailey could hear Jean Briggs and Maddie Mirabello, her other two Moonlight P.I. partners, in there too.

Time was, a naked blue man on butter would have at least intrigued her. She would have wondered. She would have been … curious.

I’ve lost faith, she realized. I’ve lost hope. We thought the magic was out there, and we were going to find it, and instead all we find is blue paint and butter on the floor.

I could go home. Go back to bed. Go out tomorrow and start looking for a real job, one I didn’t have to explain to people. I could give up on this nonsense.

And then Jean asked, “Was the butter salted, or unsalted? And stick, or tub?” and Bailey sighed, and put her hand on the door knob, and opened the door.

She didn’t want to know.

But, at least for a while longer, she had to know.

She lugged her own weekend report in, and plopped down in her chair at the conference table.

Piper nodded to her, but returned immediately to the question at hand. She told Jean, “Unsalted 100% pure butter. He was fanatical about that. Stick. He’d laid the sticks out in a solid circle. With him right in the middle, flat on his back, naked as morning, blue as a field of cornflowers, and slick as a greased pig, with his little Marine at full attention. I thought some of the volunteers were going to die right there. Then he told us that his ghosts only came to him when he performed this bizarre ritual –”

“How did he come up with the ritual?” Jean wanted to know.

“My guess is, too many drugs,” Piper said.

That would have been Bailey’s guess, too.

“However,” Piper continued, “he said the spirits came to him in dreams and told him they yearned for a fleshly consummation with him, and told him this was how they would achieve it.”

Bailey sighed. “How is it that he managed to mention none of this while we were interviewing him? How did he ever come across as sane?”

Piper said, “That would be the question, wouldn’t it. He wanted us to hurry and set up the cameras and the spectrometer and the infrared so that we wouldn’t miss the spirits of the ladies of the evening who had previously inhabited the house when they appeared to him, and, well … picked up where they’d left off. The volunteers and I grabbed the gear, turned around, and marched out.”

No one said anything at all for a moment. No one could actually think of anything to say.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

11 comments… add one
  • PJ Apr 15, 2006 @ 20:21

    Holly —

    I sent you an email – but just in case you are streamlining your on-line time …

    Certainly it’s okay with me. ^_^

  • TJ Apr 7, 2006 @ 18:10

    It’s funny that I just had a baby. Her name is Piper. Her middle name – Jean. Kinda made me chuckle. It sounds interesting and I think I would enjoy reading it. Hope it sells.

  • writingnerd Apr 7, 2006 @ 17:28

    So it is G&G then? I knew it. 🙂

  • hollylisle Apr 7, 2006 @ 6:36

    Hmmmm. On second checking, I’ll have to ask PJ. I’d thought when I used the comment that BJ Steeves had made it (I don’t look at the weblog while writing). I’d tagged his name for addition to the acknowledgments. But BJ and I have been friends for years, and I was comfortable just using the comment, knowing that I’d credit BJ in the book. I would have caught the mistake when I double-checked sources. However, I can’t claim that level of comfort with PJ.

    So, PJ — okay with you if I use the comment?

  • hollylisle Apr 7, 2006 @ 6:26

    PJ will get a credit for the “salted or unsalted” comment in the acknowledgements (if the opener remains the same and if the thing sells, neither of which is a given). The presence or absence of salt has some arcane connections I hadn’t considered, so it fit nicely while still being funny. I was debating between “stick or tub” and “face-up or face-down” as the punch line prior to PJ’s comment.

  • unxplaindfires Apr 7, 2006 @ 4:00

    did you have the “salted or unsalted” before or after PJ’s comment? This is not meant as a slight, I’m just curious whats open for appropriation. I sometimes “steal” things my friends say is off-handed conversations and put them in my writing. Is there some line here when it comes to professional work? I guess this should have been a question for the pod-cast.

  • shawna Apr 7, 2006 @ 1:54

    that “salted, or unsalted” line is the clincher for me. I’d have laughed, turned and headed for the checkout line, still reading.

  • Jim Apr 7, 2006 @ 0:09

    Marvelous.

  • Rogue Apr 6, 2006 @ 16:49

    “Go out tomorrow and start looking for a real job, one I didn’t have to explain to people.”

    Very much like your own experience from the early years of writing full time???
    Or so I concluded 🙂

  • arrvee Apr 6, 2006 @ 15:45

    I guess it beats wearing a tinfoil hat.

    I love it! This one’s gonna be good.

  • TinaK Apr 6, 2006 @ 15:26

    HA HA HA HA! I love it. This is something I’d read the first page of in the store and buy to take home! Can’t wait to read/hear more.

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