I quake in my metaphorical boots every time I share an excerpt with you all because a) it hasn’t been through a million rounds of editing yet and is definitely cringeworthy, so b) I’ll probably change it at some point.
Last year, about this same time, I took the plunge and published the first scene of my WIP “Kiera” for all of you to see. (Here’s a link if you missed it.) And I did change it.
I enjoyed writing all the sensory descriptions and setting a peaceful but intriguing tone. Several others who gave me feedback loved these aspects as well; but as I recently turned to editing it, I realized it was lacking a few important aspects for a solid first scene.
So I rewrote it. 😀 I’m happy with how much better it is but also a little sad to see my idyllic, beautiful scene go. It’s an author problem. We get attached to our words. 😉
Would you like to see?
Summertime. The season when the promises of spring begin to show full potential. A gardener’s favorite season.
The earth felt cool against her skin as she pushed the broad leaves aside and plucked the ripe tomato hiding near the stem. She smiled at its shiny red skin and wiped a fleck of dirt off on her oversized sweatshirt before placing the vegetable in her basket with the rest of dinner. The breeze spun her light brown hair in messy waves around her shoulders as she moved toward the other raised garden bed.
There was nothing there that would add to dinner, but she couldn’t resist visiting her flowers. A few bright blooms had drooped in the afternoon heat, and she gently removed them to make room for others. Running her fingers through the rich, black soil, she pulled up the tiny weeds that invaded the little space her flowers owned.
“There you go. Now you can breathe,” she said, grinning at the bright pink petunia that bobbed a curtsy at her.
A gust of wind blew across the yard making the shade trees and flowers dance furiously. The young woman held on tightly to her basket and glanced up, shading her eyes against the retreating sun. Gray clouds were stretching across the sky and crowding each other out for a place on the horizon. She sprinted across the soft, synthetic grass and slid open the glass door.
Mom looked up as she headed straight for the kitchen island and set down her basket.
“Well, that was quick,” she remarked, surprise showing over her glasses.
Her daughter slid into a chair at the computer desk and waved her hand in front of the device. “I think there’s a storm coming.”
She didn’t answer as she scrolled through the apps, looking for the weather one.
“Kiera, what kind?” Mom came over with a wrinkled carrot in one hand and a peeler in the other.
“Radiation,” Kiera sighed. “Really high levels.” She gestured to the map of their neighborhood with the pulsing, animated circle of storm front.
Mom pursed her lips. “Oh, dear. I suppose dinner will be indoors tonight then. No barbecue, so I’ll have to think of another main dish.”
“I’m sure Thorne won’t mind,” Kiera said with a wink that brought the smile back to her mom’s face.
Mom disappeared into the pantry and emerged a moment later with several jars of spaghetti sauce. “I’m so glad he is able to get the time off. And Pastor Silas will enjoy leading the Bible study again, even if it is just this once.”
Another gust of wind blew against the house, and Kiera sprang up from the chair, letting it swivel around behind her as she hurried outside. Keeping one eye on the lightning torn sky, she hauled both raised garden beds under the porch cover and pulled the waterproof shades down. She hooked them securely in place and checked them twice. She didn’t want to risk letting her garden get rained on. That would mean starting over.
“Jade eats meatballs, right?” Mom asked when she entered the kitchen again.
Kiera grimaced and shrugged apologetically. “I’m not sure what she eats right now. Brennan says she’s on hunger strike, so it doesn’t matter to her what you make.”
“If you can make it past her being two years old, I promise babysitting might be easy again,” Mom encouraged.
Kiera grinned. “I just hope it doesn’t ruin Thorne’s family time too much to share his evening.”
Mom made an incredulous face.
Kiera giggled. “Thorne is probably the last one to mind her, isn’t he? I think he’d never forgive me if I cancelled her coming over the one night he was home.”
“There would definitely be trouble. Your brother loves that tiny girl like you wouldn’t believe!”
“I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t, but he certainly wins the prize for her most devoted admirer.” Kiera rolled up her sleeves and rinsed her hands. “Anything I can help with?”
“If you roll these meatballs, I’ll take care of salad assembly,” Mom said, unloading the basket and laying the crisp vegetables out next to the sink.
Kiera took off her sweatshirt and rinsed her hands then skimmed through the document app to find the meatball recipe. Thunder crashed outside and her hand slipped, navigating her away to an app she rarely used. News. And the worst news she could ever imagine staring her in the face.
“What is it, Kiera?”
Her voice shook. “War with Russia is official. The President just declared a draft.”
Somewhere behind her, Mom dropped a dish. Lightning flashed through the blinds in front of her, lighting up her face and the tears shining in her eyes. A storm of another kind was coming.
There you are! That’s my current story beginning. 😉 It will probably change again, but I’m happy with it for now. What do you think?