Advance Excerpt from my Novel, Ripple

My writing partner, Renée Jacobson, tagged me with this snazzy (code word for shriek-inducing crazy) “meme” (code word for writing stunt?) called Lucky 7.  Like most things that get passed around, Lucky 7 has its own set of rules. Here’s what you are supposed to do:

Open your WIP (work in progress) and:

1. Go to page 77.

2. Go to line 7 on that page.

3. Copy the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs as they are written.

4. Tag 7 authors who are also have Works in Progress.

Without further ado, the following excerpt from Ripple, © April 29, 2012 E. L. Farris goes like this . . .

Helen thought back to the day she lost the baby.  Blood covered the bathroom floor and she knew she was hemorrhaging and needed to get help.  She crawled to the bedroom and grabbed the phone and called Richard’s office and no one answered.  She called his cell and it went straight to voicemail.  By this time, tears flooded her vision and mixed with the pool of blood forming beneath her and it took all of her fading strength to dial 911.   She knew she had to crawl downstairs to open the door or else the paramedics would be delayed by precious minutes waiting for the firemen to arrive and take an axe to the front door.  She slid down the stairs and got a finger on the lock and hit it and kept staring at the lock as the 911 operator yelled at her to, “Stay awake, honey,” while she waited for the ambulance to arrive.

Richard had shown up to the hospital a few hours later, all chastened and apologetic and barely sober and Helen never asked him what he’d been using.  She just asked him to leave and he had left.  He went home and took care of all the blood and paid for the carpets to be torn up and replaced and it was all done before Helen returned home three days later.  And they never spoke of it again.  Helen didn’t know why.

The only thing Helen detested more than funeral was blood.  Even so, the janitorial efficiency of Richard’s cleanup got under her skin.  It felt that with each ounce of blood and gore that vanished, so too did her last chance to bear a baby boy.  She never got a chance to say goodbye, or even touch her unborn son.  She didn’t try to explain any of this to Richard.  He had long since stopped listening.  Instead of trying to talk to him, Helen had immersed herself in her work.

She leaned over the counter and grabbed the metal-colored telephone that matched the kitchen appliances.  Fucking decorators.  Her first priority was to make sure Phoebe was accounted for, since there was no telling if Richard was up to taking care of anyone last night.  She needed to ask without it sounding obvious that she didn’t know where her daughter was or if her daughter had made it to school in the morning.  7:45.  Homeroom was at 7:35.  OK, this is like direct examining a hostile witness: ask the questions without them knowing I am asking.  She dialed the front office for McClintock and waited for a secretary to come on the line.

“McClintock Upper School.  How may I help you?”

Helen willed her voice to sound its most polished.  “Good morning Karen.  This is Mrs. Thompson, Phoebe’s mom.  I just got in from the redeye from California and realized that Phoebe may have left her science textbook home.  I wanted to leave a message for her just in case—also to let her know that I’m home and can drop by school with it if she needs me.”

Karen switched into efficient secretary mode.  “Sure thing, Mrs. Thompson.”  Helen heard papers rustling.  “Looking at her schedule, it appears that she is in math right now.  I’ll send a student down to class to let her know that you are home and can bring her book in if she needs it.”

Helen smiled into the phone.  “Thank you so much Karen.”  Helen waited for Karen to say goodbye before she dropped the phone back into its receiver.

Now she needed to figure out what to do and how to deal with Richard.  She needed a clear mind, so she grabbed the teapot and filled it with water.  She poured French Roast coffee beans in the coffee grinder and breathed in the invigorating aroma of fresh-ground coffee.  Then she poured the grounds into the French Press and, sorting through hazy thoughts as she leaned sleepily against the counter, she waited for the teapot to whistle.  It didn’t make sense to get Richard on the line when she was angry and tired.  There really wasn’t anything left to discuss anyway, and he’d be entering the courtroom in his bullshit black robes any minute and wouldn’t want to –or even be able to – take any calls.  He doesn’t want to talk to me anyway.  He’s got someone else; he’s always had someone else, and the sooner I realize he will never change, the sooner I will be able to move on and start a life without him.

•••

Here are the seven writers I hereby tag:

Astrea Baldwin

Deb Bryan

Stephanie Saye

She’s a Maineiac

Kasey Mathews

Trying God’s Patience

Sheila Burke



25 comments on “Advance Excerpt from my Novel, Ripple
  1. Dawn says:

    Oh, wow. This is truly one of the best WIP excerpts I have ever read. Left me definitely wanting more. I see why it’s been so demanding of you.

  2. I’m getting on this ASAP.

  3. Nicely and bravely done!!!!!

  4. Love this, what a great meme too! Thanks for including me :o)

  5. You know I love where this is heading, so I’m letting you gallop. But there is some tightening to do for sure. We need to get rid of some of those “and’s” — but gallop and finish before we revise. This is just draft one.

  6. What a great idea. Loved your excerpt, I want to read more!

    Thanks for tagging me but I don’t even have 77 pages yet. I hit 10,000 words and realized I wanted to change my point of view so I had to rewrite. Can you tell this is my first attempt at a novel? Haha! Now my goal is to just get the first draft done before I die.

  7. It is so brave of you to share your work in progress — I enjoyed reading it, though it sounds as if there is much pain that you carry. You have certainly built the conflict for your characters — wish I got to read the part where the tea pot whistled! I can see it as a coming together of many of the boiling points in your work.

    • Thank you my friend!! I can say that this part of the novel is not based on my experience. I am happily married and thank God, have not miscarried. ::Sigh:: But yes, the other two main characters have lots of pieces of me in them. The woman in this scene, Helen, is pretty alien to me, except I do understand how fierce she is on behalf of her daughter (as do all of us mothers, eh?)!

  8. gojulesgo says:

    As I was telling Renee, I just LOVE this idea and was so excited to read your excerpt [when I saw she had tagged you]! And of course, I am NOT disappointed. The only disappointing thing about this is that it’s SUCH a tease 😉

  9. Wow, what a totally fun idea, and what a great excerpt to read-but I totally want MORE! Guess that means I’ll be buyin’ it some day! 🙂

  10. So here I am finally getting around to commenting. First of all, that excerpt PULLED ME IN. Give me more! Secondly, THIS IS SO COOL! Thank you for tagging me. I most likely will pull from my unpublished manuscript. So fun, so fun!

    • Thank you so much Stephanie! And this is a good reminder to me to get back to it–been so busy with my page and the blog, etc. (gah–networking is killing me from a time perspective!!) that I am neglecting the very thing that got me here. Hey, speaking of networking, are you going to the BlogHer conference in NYC in August? I might.

      • I hear you on the social networking – it’s killing me too. I’ve pulled back this week from my blog because I’m trying to carve in more time for creative writing. The Lucky 7 tag is helping me realize there is more to life than Little 15, blogging and networking. I’ve got novels to write. Such a tricky balance!!

      • Oh yeh, and kids to raise! URGH!

        • LOL–and kids to raise. I am writing a killer hard scene and damned if the bleepin’ phone doesn’t ring and of course I gotta pick it up because it is my children’s school calling. So BOOM! Flow blown. Well, screw it. I am getting right back to it. First, however, I am throwing the phone down the stairs hehe.

  11. Carol B. says:

    Loved it and I do want to read more. You had me at Helen! Of course, that’s because that is my mother’s name. I’m not writing a novel, but have thought about it. Somehow, I feel that I’ve missed my prime and wouldn’t be able to do it now that my mind is going. But, you do make me want to try. It’s weird, but I am drawn to your blog and your words. Really, we don’t have that much in common and yet I feel like you know exactly how I’m feeling. Deep down, where I don’t like to go, I believe we probably do have lives in common. So, I wait to read more of your story and for you to finish your book.

Please tell me how you feel!

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