July 31, 2010

Demise of an Insect

Wow, it’s been quite a month. As always, I wouldn’t have been able to make it without the help and support of my partner. She’s always there for me when I need her, in every aspect of my life, and not just when it comes to writing.

I thought you’d like to see the prompts that weren’t used. In the ordinary way, you can reuse cards, but I made the rule for this month that once a card had been used, it was out of the running. Here’s the stories that didn’t get written:

In the quiet part of the old town...there was a vigorous...robot...who played canasta very well...and longed to study bio-chemistry.
In the year 1958...there was a metallic rust free...monkey...who wore short white boots...and dreamed of roasting marshmallows.
On the planet Xyrzia...there was a very smart...dog...who ran a lemonade stand...and worked on a screenplay.
In the tropics...there was a successful...dinosaur...who rode in taxis...and dreamed of staging a musical.

There were only two days—the 22nd and the 25th, that got skipped. On the rest of the days this month a story was posted…most of them brand new rough drafts, with only spelling and grammar check done to them…which means I ran my eye down the page in Word looking for little red, green, and blue lines. I posted 35,332 words this month, including this post.

I enjoyed the sharing of fresh new material with you, and also some of my older things, some of which have never been seen by any audience. In fact, one of them, The Crayons, my partner had never seen before. The poll results are in, and all three of my loyal readers have spoken…I’ll probably start posting Assignment to Earth on Monday or Wednesday. I’ll post a chapter every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Please be gentle when you read this story. Although it will probably never be published, it is precious to us. It’s almost scary to think of posting it here to share. It’s the first novel my partner and I worked on together. The first draft was written somewhere around 1989, and the writing style is probably very different from what we use now. We’ve learned a lot more about effective writing, and communication. We’ve edited it just about to death.

One of the main characters, Jenna, provided us with the Jenner of our pen name. At the time this was written, neither of us had ever met or heard of anyone named Jenna. Skylar originally had a different name, and I'm still not sure I like his current one...I still think of  him by the original one. It was written in the way we often work, even now…one partner comes up with the premise, and either writes an outline or an incomplete draft. We take turns editing, and adding things.

At the time, I was very much a short story writer, and the thought of a whole novel scared me terribly. I did a lot of things like write, “They walked through the meadow and into the woods. [Can you put in a bunch of detail here?] At noon, they stopped for lunch. While they were cleaning up after lunch, they saw…” Then when my partner the detail-master of the ever-flowing words who, at that time had problems writing short, got hold of the manuscript, she would take the sentence about walking through the meadow, and totally describe the meadow, and how it looked, smelled, and everything. Then when I went through it again, I would cut out the “too much description” and leave the “just right parts”.

We’re both grown as writers, and she can now write short fiction, and I can write novels, but we always do our best work when working together.

For today’s literary offering, I’ve saved you a poem. This was based on a true incident, however, to be completely fair and honest, I was the one making eeking sounds, and my daughter was the one who came to the rescue. That’s why they call it “poetic license”. It makes a better story to reverse the roles for literature’s sake…but my daughter wouldn’t forgive me if I let you think she wasn’t my insect hero.


Demise of an Insect


One Down, Seventy-five Billion to Go

The cockroach danced a little dance
It scuttled ’cross the floor
But I determined, with my can,
That it should dance no more

I sprayed it then, across its back
It did a little flip
I sprayed again across the gut
It then began to dip

Back o’er it turned, it staggered then
In its quaint drunken dance
The flailing legs would make it hard
For it to don its pants

From legs to back and back to legs
It alternated neatly
It crawled behind the garbage can
A place to die, so sweetly

I warned my child that it was there
So she’d not be afraid
For pick it up I knew I’d not
Till it had died of Raid

But still I watched it, feebler now
As it lay on its back
One leg alone waved in farewell
I swept it in the sack