Challenges

I really should have posted this sooner. I mean, we are already a whole week into September and I have yet to mention that I joined the #SeptWritingChallenge on Twitter? That’s just crazy. @BeautifulSadist. That’s me, btw.

So yes, I joined a writing challenge. To do something I swore I would never do – write a certain number of words per day. Each and every day. And so far, I’ve done really well – I have written over 500 words each day, except one – and I wrote none that day because I got home at 9 pm, full of good food and t-i-r-e-d to the bone. The challenge has been so fun so far! I’m interacting with people outside my comfort zone (i.e. people I haven’t known for years and years and years)… I am writing every day… and I am challenging myself to write outside my comfort zone.

If you follow this blog regularly, you’ve seen a snippet or two of my writing and you’re family with my writing style. For the most recent scene completed, I ended up writing it twice. Once in my usual manner, then a second time in a less “prosy” voice. Let me show you…

Here, I have an excerpt from the original scene. The first two paragraphs, in fact:

Helena Marie Billings stifled the scream threatening its way up her throat. She was angry; livid, perhaps. As far as she was concerned, Adolphus Milne had crossed the line. He had long been a supportive figure in their lives – there to help them through the death of her father, then her mother; well, she had to put that to the side for now. Nothing he had done before could make up for what he had done now.

“Enough, Lord Milne. You know that I have cherished your help these past years, but this is a decision that only I can make. The twins will be seventeen soon, and they deserve a chance at life outside this town. Not just that, but also a chance at a husband; a happy, normal life. They won’t meet the man who can give them that if they’re stuck here. If I must sell this forsaken book shop to fund that season, then I will do so. I love this store and every book within it, and I know that it is a great source of income for the future when all the girls are settled with families of their own, but I will do what I must to guarantee those futures. You had no right to stop the sale without even asking me if it was a mistake!” Anger clouded her voice, darkened the room as she momentarily lost the iron grip shielding her psychic abilities. “Somewhere in Mama’s things, I am sure to find a clue as to the identity of Father’s family. And I always find what I am looking for, as you well know. As his lifelong friend, you already know that information. Why not just tell me?”

And here, from the alternate scene, although not two paragraphs:

Helena Marie Billings stifled the scream threatening its way up her throat. She was angry; livid, even. As far as she was concerned, Lord Adolphus Milne, Uncle Al as he preferred they address him, had crossed a line that had not existed until he made the final step. He had long been a supportive figure in their lives – there to help them through the death of their parents, first her father almost a decade prior, then her mother just two summers ago; well, she just had to put that to the side and not allow it to cloud her judgment. Nothing he had done before could make up for what he had done now.

Seated behind the cluttered desk taking up a good portion of the office she maintained on the shop level of The Book & Anchor, Helena looked around the room briefly before settling her steeled gaze upon the man lounging in a chair before her. “This is unacceptable, Uncle Al. You know that I have cherished your help these past years, but you overstep your bounds when interferring in the sale of my store. I did not come to the decision lightly, yet you act as though I have no right to that decision at all.”

“But – “

“No. The twins will be seventeen soon, and they deserve a chance at life outside this town. They deserve a chance at a husband who loves them, and understand how special they are. Frankly, Lord Milne, they deserve a chance at a normal, happy life.” Helena dropped the familiar nickname this time, knowing he would not take her serious as long as this appeared to be a conversation between uncle and niece, despite no actual blood relation.

Her words were not enough to sway Lord Milne from his path, though he knew he needed to at least appear contrite. If she sold the book shop before he could find that damnable artifact, Lord Tosca would have his head. Lost in his thoughts, it took a moment for him to realize she was still talking.

“This shop was going to be my nest egg, an income long after the girls left and started families of their own that would be more than enough to support me. But their future is more important than mine, and I will secure those futures at any cost. Damn it, Milne, you had no right to stop the sale without even asking me if it was a mistake!” Anger clouded her voice, darkened the room as she momentarily lost the iron grip shielding her psychic abilities.

“If you would but let me speak, I can explain everything, dear.” Lord Milne could not look the angry woman in the face. She crackled with an angry fire that he knew could consume them both if she let loose. Gulping, he was suddenly scared. What was he going to do?

“What is there to explain? You interfered where you had no right.”

As you can see, I still lean toward prose, but I think I broke up the sentences better. I, hopefully, did a better job at showing rather than telling.

I wanted to post a poll. I just learned I don’t know how to do that. So tell me which version you like better.

And happy #SeptWritingChallenge. Cannot wait for #NaNoWriMo

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