Friday, May 23, 2014

"Distracted" - A Short Story

The squeal of tires echoed in Darren’s head, slowly replaced by the hollow moans of pain. He did not remember the events that took place that morning three months ago, but the sounds and burnt rubber smell haunted his dreams. The pressure of the airbag on his face was lingering as he sat there with his head in his hands. It was a week after his seventeenth birthday and his life had completely changed.

“It is time,” the guard said in a deep voice breaking Darren’s reverie.

The words came across heavy, like a weight being placed on his shoulders. Darren knew this time would come. He would have to face the family of those who lost their lives while he was sentenced for something he did not remember doing. Darren stood slowly as the chains around his hands and feet clattered. He was about to find out the price he would have to pay for an honest mistake.

Darren was led into the bright court room which only made is orange jumpsuit more incriminating. The silence that filled the room made it surreal, low sobs in the front row occasionally breaking through. He shuffled his way to the table while waiting for the judge to enter. Reporters anxiously wrote notes as whispers arose from the family members sitting behind the low wooden wall.

“All rise,” the bailiff called. Everyone responded by standing swiftly as the bailiff continued, “the honorable Judge Michael Thorton presiding.”

The judge walked up to his podium and motioned for everyone to sit down. He took a deep breath before continuing, looking Darren straight in the eyes. “Will the defendant please rise?” Darren’s lawyer tapped him on the shoulder indicating it was time for sentencing. They both stood from their seats and waited for the judge to continue. “Darren Ryan Harrison, you have been found guilty by the State of North Carolina for three counts of involuntary vehicular manslaughter. While your actions appeared to be minor, the consequences are irrevocable. As a direct result of texting while driving, your actions have resulted in the death of three individuals and impacted countless others.”

Darren looked down at the table, ashamed for what he had done. Texting was something that everyone did. He did not think that it would ever result in something like this. He took the lives of three people because he could not wait to get to school before pulling out his phone.

“Mr. Harrison, please look up while I am speaking.” The judge was stern and unmoving. “You will be an example for everyone in the State of North Carolina. Driving while distracted will not be tolerated. You are hereby sentenced to ten years in a maximum security facility for each count.” The gavel slammed down hard. “Court dismissed,” the judge declared.

The sound struck Darren in the heart before the words truly sunk in. Thirty years in prison. Almost half of his life was now forfeited for a simple text message.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Return

The last two weeks have been some of the longest in my life. I have been working on the renovation of the new house, working my day job, and starting back at school. This has left me very little spare time in which I used for sleep. I do not think that things will truly settle until I finish the long list of to-do items, but I can dial it back a little.

Unfortunately, I have made zero progress on the book. I have not thought about it or even opened up the document on my computer. I am hopeful that this break will provide some perspective. My plan is to restart my effort by reading what I have written already. This may give me more ideas or question some of the decisions that I have made. It will also let me see if I fully explained a vision that I had in my head.

This will definitely take some time, but I want to get this right instead of pushing something out. My goal is still to have the first draft final by September, however this may be a stretch. If we don't set goals, then what do we have driving us?

I am picking up the book again next week. You will start to see updates again, progression on characters and the world development. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this break. Sometimes you have to take care of business and the things in life first.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Busy Life

There have been many changes in my life over the past two months. My wife and I bought another house and renovating it. That means I have work in the evenings and weekends. Our daughter started to walk (which is both scary and exciting!). My father passed away. Next week I start school again.

I am not complaining. I like to be busy. It is the type of person that I am. Being able to exercise my mind, then do something physical like renovations is good for you. My wife thinks that I am crazy for taking on so much at once, but I want to get it done.

Back to the book. Progress has been slow, but still going. I have taken a step back to review the high level storyline, plots, characters, etc. There are some things that I think could be better and debating whether to change them now or in the second draft. Part of me wants to do it now so I can build it deeper in the story. I will play around with it and see how it goes.

It is exciting to see the characters in your head come to life on paper. You get to describe what you have been imagining for a long time and tell people the story you have been thinking about. Of course, that makes it easier to write and harder to edit later. One thing that I have learned from an editor (reading articles) is this: If you put too much detail in the story, the person will not be drawn to it. It is overload and the person does not use their imagination. Some things are worth putting in detail, but not EVERYTHING.

I am trying to use words of wisdom where I find it. I keep a separate file with these little tips that I can go back and review once in a while. The hard part about that is choosing which of the tips is valid and which are not. Every book is different and writing styles vary. You just have to use common sense, do what you think is best for your book and be open to criticism.

My goal is to finish the first 100 pages of book, send it to a couple people for review and feedback while I work on the next 100. It would be interesting to get this feedback during the process instead of after the book was completed. There may be some mistakes that I can correct and save time later. I have to keep in mind that every reader has different opinions. Not all suggestions will be implemented, but it is a start.

Ok, back to work!