Author and Editor
An Excerpt From
Need to Know
Simon’s call still in his mind, he adjusts the burner on the gas range. Two chicken breasts sizzle in the skillet as he splashes a generous amount of dry sherry on the meat. A pungent smoky aroma laced with garlic swirls through the kitchen.
The soft scratch of a key in door lock cuts through his whirling thoughts and it swings open. Sarah James enters, a purse slung over her left shoulder and a brown leather briefcase dangling from her right hand. The case appears cumbersome but does not restrict the graceful fluidity of her step.
Charlie backs away from the stove intending to help her with the burden but a smile and subtle shake of her head stops him. She strides across the kitchen. Her grace and deliberate step remind Charlie of a hunting leopardess. Tall, slender and whip-leather strong she glides on well muscled shapely legs swinging in deliberate cadence from perfectly proportioned hips. Piercing green eyes seem to smile in his direction and complement her glistening auburn hair in a dancing halo of red-gold framing her flawless oval face. Her soft features bear only a hint of makeup.
“Smells good.” She says and flashes a full smile while depositing her burden on a table in the hallway.
“Poulet ala Geroux,”
She steps to his side and offers her lips. As their lips linger in an extended kiss her emerald eyes sparkle and her eyes drift closed, as do his.
Though reluctantly, their lips part and a teasing smile crosses her face. “Louis Geroux is a great chef. I hope you do him justice.”
His lower lip extends in an exaggerated pout. “Mon Cher”
Sarah places her fingertips on his cheeks and gently draws his face closer to hers; the subtle scent of her perfume precedes the caress of her soft lips. She kisses him on the lips, each cheek, his chin and then on the lips again. Her soft voice carries to his ear on sweet breath, “You can ditch the phony French, Bascomb,” nibbling on his ear her whisper is even more sultry and inviting, “Wass up Charlie?”
His voice catches, hesitating less than a heartbeat before he manages to croak out, “Phew, right now I can’t remember much about my day. How was yours?”The hint of a frown flickers in her eyes and her lips stiffen ever so slightly. Through narrowed eyes as she peers into his and says, “It was okay…” taking a step back, she whispers, “I guess.” She knows something is afoot but experience has taught her not to push. Instead, she shrugs, cocks her head and thinks he’ll tell me what’s happening soon enough. Slipping off her jacket, her sultry voice is soft, “I need to change,” glancing back over her shoulder, she winks, “Shall I get into something more… comfortable?” She nods toward the hallway and takes a single slow step.
Where are you going with your writing? Are you writing just to satisfy your desire to tell your story? Do you want to share your experiences with friends and family? Is your goal to become rich and famous?
I can't promise you will be rich and famous, I can't guarantee your friends and family will rush to get a copy of your stories. I can tell you writing can be satisfying and rewarding to you simply by accomplishing your goal.
You've told your story and people have listened so now you want to write it down. You want to see it on paper in glorious black and white. The computer beckons, you sit down and begin to write your tale. About three paragraphs in--it starts to get hard. That part where you wave your hand to simulate the plane swooping out of the sky doesn't go on the screen as words. The thrill of water crashing over the stern as you ran the rapids isn't as thrilling without the body language . How do you show how hard it was to walk four miles to school in sub-freezing temperatures without being able to shiver?
That's where a story doctor comes in. We do some editing and help fix big mistakes that kill stories or make them look as if they were written in kindergarten. A really great tale may be written with all the grammar correct, the punctuation perfect and all the words are spelled correctly but the story doesn't come across as entertaining or it doesn't evoke the emotion, the excitement it does when you tell it. It's more like an article in the morning paper. All the facts are there but it's not alive. Writing a story is not easy. Writing a story that is alive, vibrant and spellbinding without voice inflection, body language and gestures is nearly impossible; but it can be done.
Using the appropriate grammar, punctuation and arranging words and sentences in the proper order may create the effect you want. Too little information can leave the story flat, too much can make it boring and the reader loses interest after a very short period. When we edit and put things in the appropriate place the story takes on the life and spark you want it to have. This doesn’t mean we adhere to all the rules. I mean, every once in a while a participle just has to dangle and a cliche creeps into our everyday lives, much to the chagrin of that looming fifth grade teacher who made it quite clear you would most likely die a horrible death if you ended a sentence with a preposition. Almost thirty years ago my English Comp teacher read an article I wrote and had published. She said, " You've broken every rule I taught you but the article works. I'm impressed, you get a B on this one."
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