my story: the opening


Last night, I finished the second draft of Untitled Writing Project thanks to epic music and chocolate cake and sheer determination.  It’s about 14,000 words now and I’m very happy with it.  It’s not perfect, of course, but it’s coming along splendidly, and I want to share some of it with you.  Instead of sharing a bunch of snippets, I’ve decided to post the first several paragraphs of the story, because snippets don’t seem to work too well for me – it’s always difficult to decide which parts aren’t spoilers, are interesting, and still make sense (being so out of context as they are).  Anyway, I love my opening (well, I love the whole story, but especially the first bit) and I hope you will, too.  Let me know in the comments!

     It was one of the hottest days in Jordan’s Pass in the history of thirty summers, though it wasn’t as if anyone was keeping track. The heats of each day blended into each other with little break between sunset and sunrise so that one hour was much like the next. Not that that helped anyone get used to it.
     Dogs lay in shallow ditches of their own digging and panted, with no energy to even wag their tails. Old men seated around the dead stove in the general store mopped sweat away with handkerchiefs, but seemed not to notice the heat as they talked and argued in loud voices. Winged insects flew here and there, their wings buzzing with a raspy insistence that made one’s skin itch. Hot wind skittered across the street, sending dust flying everywhere to settle in a light coat over anything and everything that might happen to be outside.
     Such was the case with Edward J. Smythers, bank examiner and first time visitor to the town of Jordan’s Pass with all its heat, dust, and grit. There was no denying his fastidiousness, especially when it came to any clothes he might be wearing, and he carried several handkerchiefs around with him everywhere to wipe down his boots, suit, and hat whenever they got dirty. However, the riot of dust in every Nevada town and on every stagecoach trail had forced him to give up his habits, and he now traveled from place to place almost as dusty as the regular occupants.
      Still, that didn’t mean he had to like it.
     “Blasted town,” he muttered as a shifting wind caught up even more dirt from the road and threw it in his face. If it hadn’t been for his father he wouldn’t even be here, stuck out in the middle of nowhere, examining shack-like banks that weren’t worth the money they handed out so freely. No, he’d be back in Chicago, working a good desk job in a clean, cool building filled with respectable people.
     When his father had ordered him West, saying the experience would be good for him, Smythers had jumped at the chance, excited, but that excitement had soon worn off. Maybe the West held adventure for other young men his age, but for him, all it meant was a long list of scruffy banks in forgettable towns. The sooner this year was up, the better. Only a few more months, and then he’d be free to go back to Chicago. Maybe it wasn’t any more exciting than the West claimed to be, but at least it was neat and clean and organized.
     There was the bank, a sagging structure just as he had expected. Smythers sighed.
     Why hadn’t he just said no to Father?

Ugh, and now I’m having second thoughts about the quality of my writing because I’m about to share it with all of you.

Whatever. *starts singing ‘I Have Confidence’*



5 thoughts on “my story: the opening

  1. Ollo! Just dropping an encouraging to a fellow craftsman–or would that be crafts-woman? Anywho, I love your little opening and can’t wait to read more. You have a very good vocabulary, you have balanced showing and telling in your narration, and it reads pleasantly:) Please do email me if you want to chat about writing anytime <3.


  2. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH IT’S SO GOOD. Seriously, I’m not just saying that. 🙂

    You write so beautifully. It reminds me of an author, actually, but I can’t pin exactly who. It’s so well-organisedly-written (if you see what I mean) and yet also very swirly and pretty. I love it!!! I really get sucked into the atmosphere of the hot day. 🙂

    Good GOOD job! 🙂

    ~ Naomi



    Seriously. You write SO WELL. Really. I feel just as if I am there – you are really good at creating atmosphere! Whew, I feel like fanning my face and reaching for MY handkerchief. I wish I could read more 🙂

    Keep on singing “I Have Confidence”! Because you SHOULD have confidence. Awesome job!


  4. Eva, this is wonderful. I love it. Seriously, you’re making me hot already!!! 😉

    I’m also really intrigued about the way the young man, Smythers, ISN’T all excited to be out West for the first time–unlike most young dudes in that position in other Western stories. He’s different . . . but why is he different? I want to read more and find out 🙂


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