Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Angel and I

My survey is still ongoing, so if you haven't already filled in the answers, please consider doing so.  Also, if you have filled in answers, please leave me a comment if you were one of the people who were interested in doing a guest post on my blog or in having me do one on yours, because otherwise it's going to be hard to figure out who you are.  I didn't think that part through quite far enough.

One of the questions asks about things you'd like to see me cover in this blog, and at least one person (maybe more, I haven't checked the results today) wants to know more about my experiences with publishing.  I've talked in bits about my online publishing experiences, the most recent of which is a new and interesting gig writing local genealogy articles for  They have localized content from all over the United States and are always looking for more writers, so if that sounds like something that might interest you, click here.

The thing that I tend to be questioned about the most in my writing career, though, is When are you going to publish this novel you keep talking about?  I guess it's a legitimate question, seeing as I've been working on it for two years.  The problem is that my narrator, Gabe, has a tendency to only really get chatty at inconvenient moments.  Like, for instance, while I'm driving, and thus unable to write down what he says.

Setting aside time to work on my novel isn't always easy; as my friend and former boss Anne once pointed out, I'm too apt to consider it something I do for myself, so it gets a lower priority than it should.  But even if I do this, Gabe doesn't always cooperate.  Today, for instance, I could be working on it.  It's raining, I don't have to be at work for a few hours, and it would be ideal to sit here with my laptop and talk to the angel.  (Yes, my narrator is an angel.  No, he's not that Angel Gabriel.  It makes sense in context.)

I got up.  Spent a few minutes talking to the cat.  Came downstairs and put frozen waffles in the toaster.  Started a load of laundry.  Opened my laptop to read my email, respond to a few messages on Twitter and Facebook, and get my daily chuckle from  Then I opened my word processing program.

I stared into the abyss the computer screen.  The angel stared back.

I love Gabe, actually.  I sometimes get some very entertaining private laughs out of him.  He's entirely too literal to be allowed, so he comes up with some really odd ways of looking at the world around him and, consequently, around me.  His companion is Sarah, a perfectly ordinary teenaged girl who looks at the world in perfectly ordinary teenaged ways...usually.  She does maintain the belief that butterflies can't be trusted, so these two understand each other better than you might expect.

I'm at my best when I'm writing down their conversations.  Sometimes I wish the novel could be nothing but their conversations.  Their interactions are just so...real, to me.  I'd like to finish the manuscript by the end of this year, sort of a Christmas gift to myself, which is why I do a lot of reading about the publishing industry and try to figure out how I want to go about it.  (Hat tip: I read this article just today and found it interesting.)

A few of the survey responders were pestering me to share an excerpt of the book here on the blog.  So I'll close out today's entry - and hopefully inspire myself to do a bit of work on the manuscript - by sharing one of Gabe and Sarah's conversations.  Be sure to let me know if you like it.

"So I have this assignment and it makes no sense," Sarah told me as we walked home one afternoon. October was upon us; the first few weeks of the school year, during which the teachers will somewhat ease their students into the routine, were over.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"We're doing this unit on ethics in social studies." She sounded mildly irritable, although it eased somewhat the farther we got from the school. "The comparative value of human lives. Is one life worth more than another? Like, is the life of a nun worth more than that of a bank robber, or something."

"What do you think?"

"I don't know. Like I said, it makes no sense."

I rolled my fingers around in my coat pocket for a moment, and pulled out two quarters. "What about these?"

"What about them?"

"How would you describe them?"

"Well... this one is really filthy and looks like it might have been run over by a truck a few times," she said, "and this other one is almost new."

"What's the dirty one worth?"

"Half a can of soda," she quipped.

"And what's the clean one worth?"

"The other half."

"So you agree that they have equal value?"

"More or less. Unless you're a serious collector."

"What's the difference between them, then?"

She paused. "What's been done with them?"

"Exactly." I pointed to the newer quarter. "Every life starts out fresh, like this. The choices that are made over time will either enhance it or tarnish it. But that doesn't mean it ever loses its value."

"Okay, note to self, Gabe is my new homework guru." She pocketed the quarters. "Thanks."

"I never said you could keep those," I protested. She just laughed.


  1. He's pretty wise. :) Thanks Rach.

  2. I really like this excerpt! It has me interested in reading more ^_^


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