Saturday, April 10, 2010

April AW Blog Chain. Meet Rags!

I decided to take part in the April blog chain on Absolute Write, a writer's forum I visit often. The topic is fictional characters. And a question was posed: What would it be like to meet your novel characters?

Since I'm in the middle of the chain, a few writers have already written their posts. You can read about their characters here: Proach, RavenCorinnCarluck, AuburnAssassin, DavidZahir, xcomplex.

Now on to my own contribution. I'm a beginner novelist. My first finished novel, "Sam and Stella" , was created during last year's National Novel Writing Month . It was my second attempt at a longer fiction story. Before that, in August of last year, I started a story that I titled "Trucker", but it was never finished.

It is from "Trucker" that I like you to meet Rags. I don't know much about him yet. He dropped in on my lead character Jake who is in the hospital. Jake totaled his truck, and Rags is a fellow trucker who he has known for several years. Here is an excerpt from my first meeting with Rags during that hospital visit.

Jake heard a familiar shuffle coming from the hallway. His heart started beating faster in anticipation, hoping to confirm who he longed to see. Then there he was. Rags appeared in the door way, wearing his sideways grin. Only five-four, his cowboy boots helped elevating his confidence two more inches. On most days his wiry, steel colored hair resembled a dish brush. But not today. Today it was tied back in a ponytail, the braid in his beard was gone, and he was dressed in a charcoal suit. Jake barely recognized him. He didn't recall having ever seen him in anything other than tattered jeans and flannels.

"Who died or got hitched?" Jake teased.

Rags pulled his lips together and pushed his chin out.

"I see you got the flowers," he said and nodded towards the water pitcher with sunflowers on Jake's bedside table.

"Yeah man, tell the guys thanks! They brighten up this sterile hell hole."

Rags sat down.

Jake continued. "Rags, you don't know how freakin glad I am to see you. I miss work like crazy."

"So they think you'll be back to driving soon then?" Rags face perked up.

Jake wished he could he could say yes. The question was so hopeful and brutal at the same time. He wished he could get up, take his bag, and return to his life, the way it had been before the accident. His thoughts stirred up a surge of emotions and he fought to hold back a sob. The painful swelling grew in his throat and he bit down to hold it together. Embarrassed, he turned his head towards the wall.

A few quiet minutes went by. Then Rags broke the silence with a question.

"Did you ever meet my old man?"

Jake nodded and met Rags eyes.

Rags' dad, Oscar Junior, went by two names: O.J. by day and Wild by night. His fondness for Jack Daniels coupled with an explosive temper had earned him his nickname. O.J. had retired when Jake started trucking, but sometimes he showed up for a barbecue, or tagged along on one of Rags' trips.

"Yeah well, my mom died when she had me. And since my dad and grandpa drove trucks and were gone most of the time, I was raised by my uncle Frankie. He owned one of Minnesota's largest turkey farms. Guess what my dirty job was? Every day after school!" Rags chuckled.

Jake smiled. Rags was a storyteller.

"You guessed it." Rags continued. "Shoveling turkey shit! But I didn't complain. Frankie paid me to do it. He had some grand scheme that I was gonna save the money for college, get a suit degree, and help him with the farm. Can you see me with and briefcase?" he laughed and tugged on the braid that wasn't there. "Frankie and auntie Emma couldn't have kids, so they tried their darndest to turn me into a civilized citizen."

----

This is probably a good place to stop. I need to work on Rags voice. It's a little stiff. Also, my husband thinks that Jake behaves and thinks like a girl. We'll see how it goes. It's a learning process. My plan is to post more excerpts from "Trucker" in the future. The story Rags has started is a sad one, and I'd like him to finish it. So it's to be continued! If you like, you can also read an earlier post about my novel "Trucker" . It has the synopsis.

Next on the Absolute Writer's April blog chain are: FreshHell, leahzero, Aimeelaine, Anarchicq, Breddings, *RomanceWriter* , ForbiddenSnowfake, razibahmed, CScottMorris, Aheila, LadyMage.

19 comments:

  1. I think you should consider finishing Trucker. It sounds like an interesting story and you have a great writing style. This was a wonderful description: "Only five-four, his cowboy boots helped elevate his confidence two more inches."

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  2. I think I agree with your husband. I must say that the relationship between the two of them is intriguing though.
    I'm wondering how long they've known each other though. My first impression was that they've been friends for a while. When Rags starts talking about is childhood, I find myself doubting my initial thought: wouldn't long time friends know that about each other?

    As you said, it's a learning process. I'm just giving you my perceptions of your story in case it could help you find the perfect voice you want for it.

    Keep it up! ;)

    Aheïla

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  3. Clairegillian, I'm glad you liked my snippet.

    thewriteaholicblog, thanks for your comments. I will consider your thoughts. My husband is pounding his chest. I have to live with that too ;-) haha!

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  4. Very interesting Ann! If this is the start of your story which I think it is its gripping for sure! Rags is also a very interesting character yet I feel he has a darker side. lol. I don't know if I am right. Maybe its just me. Good Luck!

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  5. FantasticFiction, thank you! I'm sure Rags has a dark side. If, or when, I decide to write some more on "Trucker", it will probably surface.

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  6. I really like this. Looks like I'm up next (I've been away from the Real World this past week)!

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  7. FreshHell, outside the cyber world you mean? You must mean you were in the real world!

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  8. I really like this, Ann Vevera. I'm drawn in by the characters and I want to read more. I just want to let you know that I do, in fact, like Jake. I totally encourage you to finish writing this book.

    Proach

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  9. Oh the life of a trucker ... I can't even imagine though I've taken many a super long, drive, trip from the south to the north. ;) That, of course, wasn't in a big rig. :) I'm intrigued by Rags, too!

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  10. Degirl, thanks for the encouragement! Jake is a sensitive guy. But he thinks too much and worries, like me, hahaha!

    Writing fiction is so difficult. I have discovered that I need readers to give input, to tell me what I leave out and need to improve on as half the story often is left inside my head. Plus the editing can go on a lifetime!

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  11. You are very brave to write from a man's perspective, and despite your husband's comments, carry on! Your fans want more of Jake.

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  12. Susan, it's funny that you and a few other people mention Jake, and this was a snippet about meeting Rags. Thanks for your encouragement. I'll have to post an excerpt where Jake shows more of himself.

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  13. Well, Rags is a guy, too. Why did he get all gussied up to visit a fellow trucker in the hospital. Last time I was in a hospital the only suit was the CEO. Is Rags really a conformist? hmmm.........

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  14. To Susan: You asked what motivated Rags to get dressed up to visit Jake in the hospital. Not sure. I think he doesn't own a lot of clothes, and he wouldn't shop for something new, so he put on the only nice outfit he owns. He wanted to look nice for Jake.

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  15. Very interesting piece. I read so much romance that it was refreshing. You should certainly continue writing your story!

    Stacey

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  16. Stacy, thank you. Actually this is a love story, but it doesn't show in this little piece. If you click on the link to the synopsis, you'll learn that Jake falls in love.

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  17. I think both characters are intriguing. Rags seems particularly colorful & full of texture in this excerpt.

    And don't get down about your husband's feedback. Keep writing & it'll fall into place.

    Thanks for sharing your fiction!

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  18. Kirsten, thank you! I'm waiting to read Lesko fiction!

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  19. Not enough trucker characters out there.

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