WIPpet Wednesday: Something New!

Letting myself spend a week writing crap followed by a couple of days of just reading worked wonders on my creativity.  I’ve started a new project that I’m actually enjoying.  I learned 4 things about my writing in the process:

  1. I like to twist and bend classic myths, fables, and fairy tales, but not merely to give them a modern retelling.
  2. I do best when I don’t take myself (or my story) too seriously.
  3. I prefer an interesting story with a romantic sub-plot rather than a romantic story with an interesting sub-plot.
  4. I like writing from a man’s perspective.

That last one produced a hell of a lot of facepalming on my part.  I never wanted to be one of those writers who thinks white men are a stand-in for everyone everywhere, like they’re the generic average.  Though maybe I can be excused, since most of my male MCs are not your typical straight, white dudes.  Besides, some of my writer friends who are men enjoy writing from a woman’s POV, and they do it very, very well.  Turnabout’s fair play, right?

Since it’s the first Wednesday of the month, I’m posting the first scene from the new novel.  I’ll be back to sharing little bits from my other project, since I don’t have nearly enough written on this one to keep things going.  So this is a teaser, and then I’m hiding it until more is done.  No fancy WIPpet math this time, but feel free to comment on what story you think this might be based on.

Also, my MC is named Micah.  My apologies to the 3 people I know who bear that name–he’s not based on you, I promise.  It was just a nice, not-too-common Bible name, which is what I needed.  I thought Obadiah was a bit of overkill.

Micah Forbes had just stripped off his clothes for a shower when his phone rang. He stood in the middle of his bedroom, completely naked, debating. After two more rings, he decided to pick it up. Self-conscious despite the fact that the caller wouldn’t know his state of undress, he slung a towel around himself and looked at the number.

Oh, hell. He almost didn’t answer, but then he decided talking to his brother would be better than the nasty voice mail and subsequent return call. “Hello, Elijah,” he said, trying to keep the irritation out of his voice. Elijah only ever called when he wanted something.

“Got the all-clear on Pop’s will,” Elijah said.

So much for pleasantries first. “Great. Whatever he left you, go enjoy it with my blessings. I need to get ready for work.” If that was all Elijah wanted, there was no point in lingering. Micah extended the phone, about to end the call.

“Wait!” Elijah shouted.

Micah pressed the phone back to his ear. “What.” He didn’t make the same effort not to sound annoyed this time.

“He left all of us something. Even you.” There was a vaguely smug tone to Elijah’s voice.

“Oh, really?” Micah imagined that his late father had left him something petty and ridiculous, like the collection of old newspaper clippings in which he was featured.

“Yep. Of course, you knew Jeremiah would take over the church and get the main house. I got all his book deals—which is fine, since I was already ghost writing for him anyway. Plus, I got the second house.”

Micah resisted the urge to tell Elijah that he shouldn’t brag about the crap he was passing off as “books.” Instead, he said, “Get to the point.”

“You got Pop’s house on Seneca Lake.”

Micah groaned; he couldn’t help it. That house was worth less than the collection of news clippings. None of the Forbes sons had been there since Micah was thirteen or so, and he had no idea when their father had last been there. He had no way of knowing if the house was in any condition to sell it, which meant months of work and a lot of money just to unload it on someone else. He would never recover the loss from fixing it up.

Elijah laughed. “It’s in your hands now, little bro. Meanwhile, I think I’ll write Pop’s biography. Enjoy your inheritance. Good luck—you’ll need it, unlike me.” He hung up.

“Well, fuck you too!” Micah shouted into the phone, even though there was no one there.

He flopped backwards on his bed, the towel slipping from his hips. Sighing deeply, he ran his hands over his face. He didn’t have time to deal with this properly at the moment. It wasn’t that he begrudged his brothers their success—or, at least, the success their father had bestowed upon them. It was more that even in death, his father continued to make it plain exactly how much worth he believed his youngest son had.

Micah rose from the bed and headed to the bathroom. There would be time to figure things out in two weeks when the school year was over. For the moment, he needed to concentrate on successfully graduating his fifth graders to middle school.

Happy writing, folks!  As always, thanks to K. L. Schwengel, and don’t forget to link up and read the other entries.

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24 thoughts on “WIPpet Wednesday: Something New!

  1. I love this! I like Micah, and I totally understand his inability to answer the phone naked. I’m definitely curious about this house– guessing it’s not going to be exactly what he’s anticipating.

  2. Great scene Amy. And quite poignant too that Micah’s dad had very little time for him. And that his brother Elijah is a monumental pain in the neck. In just a short scene you’ve managed to convey a sense of conflict and hurt. Good stuff! 🙂

  3. I must say, I do like imagining him standing there nekkid while the phone rings. 🙂 You communicated a lot about the family dynamics here – nice job! I enjoyed it.

    I dig what you’re saying about white male protagonists. I’m the same way, pretty much. Oh, well. I’ve embraced it. There’s no harm in that, I hope …

    • Ha! Yep, that was fun to write.

      When I finally did embrace the fact that this is what/who I write, what was blocking me seemed to melt away. I suppose if anyone doesn’t like it, they could always read something else, right?

    • Yes, it’s a re-telling of sorts. More like I appreciated some of the themes in a particular tale. And no worries, it gets better for my poor MC. I debated calling him Jonah, but that’s a trendy name right now and I didn’t want to use it.

  4. The last few paragraphs are great. How sad that Micah’s father had so little regard for his youngest son that he felt the need to continue to control and torment him even after death. And his thoughts about getting his fifth-graders to sixth grade is interesting, too. Hopefully, all teachers wish to do so because they want to see their students succeed, but I suspect the pressure to move kids through the system runs high as well.

    • Interesting thoughts about the pressures of moving kids through the system. I’m imagining he wants to see them actually succeed. It’s well beyond when kids in NY take standardized tests, so I figure he’s concentrating on just wrapping up the school year. It’s sad that there’s so much emphasis on success = passed a state test, yet most kids move through the system whether they technically passed or not.

  5. Wow so much about the family dynamic here – and the naked towel thing just added to his sense of vulnerability. Loved it and can’t wait to find out what the house at the lake has to offer.

  6. Hey, this is great crap, Amy! *g* Glad you found a way out of the writing dumps. Giving yourself permission to do whatever is fun without worrying about the quality can be so liberating.

    Something is tickling in the back of my brain as to what this is based on, but I just can’t grasp it. Fairy tale, youngest son gets the crudiest inheritance that turns out to be the best …

    Anyway, starting out great, Amy!

    • 😀 There are tons of fairy tales around that concept. I’m going back to my other work until April, but when I return to this one, it should quickly become obvious simply based on the name of one of the characters.

  7. Seneca Lake… hmm, well, there’s an interesting area. Quite the technicolor dreamcoat you’ve give Micah to wear. Okay, not literally.. not even the right story, but for some reason, I can’t help myself from seeing those problems in Mihah’s future.

    And yeah… I confess, I’ve found I like writing in a male POV too. Maybe because it’s so different and yet so close to us?

    • I’m less than an hour from Seneca Lake. I love that part of my state! The Finger Lakes wine region is one of the most beautiful parts of NY. And you’re right on, he will have some very similar problems.

  8. You do write a great male PoV. Great snippet.

    With the talk of houses, for some reason, I kept thinking you were doing some sort of literary/abstract retelling of THE TREE LITTLE PIGS. I’m totally wrong. I know. Still, can’t shake the thought. The wolf wears black high heels with red soles and a real fur coat.

  9. It’s fun to write from a male character’s POV sometimes! I enjoy doing it in my fanfics occasionally.

    Great scene! I wonder why Micah’s father thought so little of him…

    • I think I enjoy writing male POV because it’s fun to “think” as someone different from myself.

      It’s more complex than this, but suffice it to say, Micah’s father was not a nice man.

  10. What is it about talking on the phone sans clothing? I suppose if you accidentally hit the video…yeah, best just to throw a towel on. 😉 A great scene that sets the family dynamic–at least between two of the brothers, and gives tension. It leaves me very curious as to the actual condition of the lake house and whether or not there is going to be more there than meets the eye.

    • Ha! I was at a conference over the weekend, alone in my hotel room, and I STILL shut the door to pee. I would never answer the phone naked. And I’m not really even that much of a prude! LOL

      Yes, the lake house has more than meets the eye, though what Micah finds there might not be what he thought he was looking for. 😉

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