Chapter One Draft: What I Learned That Summer

In keeping with a tradition I started with “Jordan’s Sister,” I am sharing the first chapter of my latest WIP, “What I Learned That Summer.” It is the story of 14-year-old Kincaid Walsh and her summer of life lessons. I am not sure yet if it is YA or General Fiction. I will figure it out as I go. Something you should know about her: she’s a bit of rebel and has dyed her hair pink.

Chapter 1
June 1995

They never asked me if I wanted to come to this godforsaken place for the summer. My parents just threw a duffel bag at me and told me to pack enough stuff for six weeks. Six whole weeks away from my friends. Almost two months stranded in the middle of nowhere with my grandparents at their small motel. The movies I’d seen involving motels by lakes never ended well.

“Kincaid,” my mother said. “Get your bags out of the car.”

“Mom,” I said. “I’m too old for a babysitter. Can’t I just stay at home?”

“A fourteen-year-old girl, especially one with your history, has no business staying alone half the summer,” my father said. “You’re staying here. Get your butt out of the car.”

I relented and grabbed my bags out of the back of my parents’ car as they disappeared inside the main office to talk to my grandparents. I looked around the motel. I’d last visited when I was eleven, back when it was fun and only for a few days at a time—a week at the most. “I hate it here,” I muttered. “The whole place smells like fish guts and old people.”

“That’s part of its charm,” a male voice said from behind me. “Get used to it.”

Continue reading “Chapter One Draft: What I Learned That Summer”

As I Ponder and Query: Inspiration, Jordan’s Sister Update

I have been furiously editing Jordan’s Sister over the summer while my test readers enjoyed the story. Each of them found different things that I hadn’t. Editing my own work is the most difficult task, but it is also the most rewarding. Finding a better, smoother way to say what I need to in order to convey the right meaning is satisfying. I’m proud of my work. Each day, I am a better writer than I was the day before.

It was different writing Jordan’s Sister than Caroline’s Lighthouse because I wasn’t pulling heavily from previous material. Caroline’s Lighthouse was a rewrite of a story I wrote at 15—the most polished of my teenage works. Jordan’s Sister was originally part one of a two-book series I wrote at 14 about the events leading up to a teen’s suicide in the first book and the events after in the second book.

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