For my New Year's resolution, I have been waking up early to write each morning. It's been such a gift. My partners in crime, Ashlei from Shades of Green and Blue and Erin from The Mother Load have been checking in with me as we embark on this challenge together.
Simply put, 2011 is the year I take my writing to the next level. The Red Writing Hood Friday Challenge is the first step in this process.
I ask you to please share your thoughtful critique so I can grow as a writer. For this piece, for example, help me see ways that I can enhance my character's "nonverbals" and body language. I feel that body language adds much to the character, but I fear that I often fall back on the same old descriptors.
The challenge this week is "to write a short piece - fiction, non-fiction, poetry, whatevs - in which each sentence starts with a the next letter of the alphabet. Starting with "A." So, yes, your finished product will consist of 26 sentences." (I cheated on the sentence part. A LOT. Um, sorry.)
(PS--This is revisiting Walter from my "Like a Songbird" post. You can catch up here.
A Fresh Face
"Angela," she said, her hand on her swelling belly.
"Blech," he grimaced. "My mother's name?"
"Could you at least consider it?" She shook her head back and forth. "I mean, it's a lovely name."
"Don't think I can," he replied. He cleared his throat. " I mean, why on earth did you think I would give our daughter her name?"
"Exactly! That's my point!" she said. She snapped her hands together for emphasis. "The name does not belong to her! There are good Angelas and bad ones."
"For Christ's sake, then," he said, cracking a smile, "Why don't we name her Cruella or Adolpha?"
"Great idea!" she smiled back. "I'm sure she'll be invited to all the parties that way."
"Help me understand," he said, setting his glasses on the coffee table. "Why are you stirring the pot?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," she replied. She leaned back into her chair. "I just mentioned a name I liked,"
"Just mentioned a name I liked," he laughed softly. "That's pretty passive-aggressive"
"Knowing that you have issues with women, and knowing that you will have a daughter in seven weeks, I think I've been very patient with you." She shifted in her armchair, and placed a hand protectively on her belly.
"Lydia," he said, "I had a few bad girlfriends, and you know the issues with my mother. But I love women."
"Maybe you need to exorcise a few demons," she said. "That's all I'm saying."
"No!" he said. He stood up and paced back and forth. "That's not what you're saying at all."
"Oh, then, Mr. Insightful, what am I saying?" Her eyes were flinty and unrelenting.
"Please just drop it." he twisted his wedding band and studied the hardwood.
"Quit doing that!" she said, sighing deeply. "God! You're avoiding the issue again."
"Really?" he said, meeting her eyes, "I don't want to name our baby after my terrible mother. I really need to argue about this?"
"Some people would respect that you're making an effort to mend some fences, Walter." She blinked, and reached for his hand.
"The 'people' you are mentioning?" he said, untangling himself from her grasp, "Who would they be?"
"Underwood," she answered. "The man who could help us--her-- have an easier life. At least we'll start with him."
"Very nice to consider the holder of Mother's estate. The keeper of the cash." He chuckled slowly, then stared at the floor once again. He breathed in and out, as he had been taught.
"What is wrong with you?" she exploded. She exhaled loudly, then hissed, "Do you suggest we allow our daughter to live in rags among the great unwashed because you can't suck it up and get what you're entitled to?"
"Xenophobic much? The great unwashed, really? Between the two of us, we pull in a decent sum. She will be just fine." He placed his hand on her pregnant belly, felt his daughter's fluttery kick.
"You know that she deserves the world," she said. She paused, as if considering her options, then placed her hand on top of his. "Why make it harder?"
"Zoe," he replied, as if speaking to himself. "Zoe's a nice name. It means, 'life.' It means the future. It means a fresh face and no strings attached. Let's start there." They sat together in silence---Walter, Lydia, and the life they created.