Sunday, August 15, 2010

Blog Chain - Out of the Frying Pan

Hey!  Happy Sunday.  Welcome to another blog chain :)  This chain was brought to us by the ferocious Cole who wants to know:

Are you querying? Gearing up to go on submission? Writing? Revising? I'd love to hear what's new with you. And if you'd like to share a snippet of your WIP, even better!

Well I'm in a bit of an in-between place right now.  I'm revising my WIP BLINK based on some great notes that I got, except that I'm not really revising because I'm mostly working out how I'm actually going to tackle said revisions.  So mostly I'm giving it some breathing space.  When I come back from San Diego I'm going to tackle it, pin it, and claim victory.

I'm also starting a new story that I'm really excited about.  It's an entirely different experiment...that has been keeping me up at night.  It's obviously not a priority since I have BLINK to get into shape first, but I'm sneaking in whatever time I can to work on it.  Think Sherlock Holmes meets Dark City meets high school and you'll be in the same zip code as my idea.  

Other than that, I'm still trying to talk up Deathday.  It's a bit difficult as I don't really know how it's doing, but I'm really proud of it and people seem to like it, so I tell everyone I can.  My dad hasn't read my book (he's not a reader) but he travels a lot and tells everyone he meets about it.  The people sitting next to him in planes, the barista who serves him coffee, the stranger next to him at the urinal.  He called me the other day because he was in a bookstore pestering a bookseller (sorry!) about my book and wanted to know what a Newbery Award was and how he could get me one.  

And that's about it for me.  I've got a bunch of other stuff out there, some of it I can't talk about and some of it probably won't ever materialize.  So instead, here's a snippet of BLINK.

I blink and I'm laughing.  Laughing.  Laughing.  Falling to the pavement.  The laugh is so thoroughly entrenched in my chest that I can't dislodge it.  I don't know why I'm laughing, but I can't stop. 
I'm on my knees blinking through a heavy curtain of blood and my nose feels like a colony of pissed off fire ants and the gravel and glass dig into my bare legs but I can't stop laughing.  I'm so confused.  A thousand thoughts grapple in my head for dominance.  A swarm of daze.            
"I'll kill you, Ash."     
The punch comes from above and lands across my jaw.  It cuts my laugh mid-stream and despite the pain, I'm glad for the relief.  My mouth is a rising tide of bile and blood and possibly one of my own teeth.  I try to spit it out but most if it drools out my lip and down my chin, where it hangs for dear life.           
A thick, callused hand grabs me by the hair and tilts my face up.  I blink away the grime and tears and try to see where I am.  I should be on the sidewalk on my street.  But I'm not.  Oh, God, where am I?  I cling desperately to reality.  I try to find a grain of calm in this storm of confusion.          
It's night.  Deep night.  I'm definitely in the shit.  There's a guy staring down at me.  Where'd he come from?  Who the hell is he and what does he want with me?  He's my age I think, possibly older.  Maybe eighteen or nineteen.  But he's rougher, worn out in the eyes.  He's lived hard and on the raggedy edge of life.            
There are other guys around me but the guy gripping my hair has my full, unwavering attention.           
I'm like, "Who are you?" and the words, they slide out of my mouth the same way my bloody spit did.  I struggle to put the words back together but everything in my head is broken.  It's not like waking up from a dream; it's like opening my eyes and being in hell.           
"Quit playing games, Ash."            
"Ash?"  That's like my last name, Ashton, but why is he calling me that?  Only my baby brother ever called me that.  Everything hurts.  "I don't kno--"           
The next blow is a kick to the stomach that folds me like a paper napkin.  I heave and try to catch my breath but my breath is faster than I am and it gets away.          
"I'm serious!" I scream.  "Who are you?  What's going on?"  I plead.  This guy, he's got to be human.  He's got to understand he can't beat answers from me I haven't got.  "I...I don't know...I was jogging and now I'm here and I can't think straight.  I swear to God I don't know you."  Every thought in my mind is fractured.  It's all broken windows and empty rooms.           
"Ford," says a guy in a soft, Hispanic tinged voice.  I can't see him but I swear he sounds almost concerned.  "Quizá él está diciendo la verdad.  You know what Violet said."          
"Don't talk about Violet," says Ford.  He says the name like it's hemlock and letting the words pass his lips is certain death.  But the name is familiar to me.  It might be.  I try to remember but there's nothing in my brain except smoke.  Her name is smoke.

And there you go.  It's still a work in progress.  So if you haven't checked out Michelle's blog you're missing out on awesomeness and you need to go do it now, then tomorrow we'll find out what brilliance is going on in Abby's brain.  Until next time!


  1. LOVE the snippet - so very Chuck Palahniuk like, which is righ up my alley :)

    Hope you're having a blast and come home rested!

  2. Cool snippet! I really want to read more. And your dad sounds so sweet!

  3. It's great that your dad is talking up your book so much!

  4. YAY! Michelle and Cole are both amazing. Thanks for pointing that out here Shaun.

    Now about your snippet. Wow. This is powerful stuff. I mean the scene is very visceral, very hardcore in its own way but at the same time it's not quite as disturbing as it should be. It may be the writing. You narrator seems so lost that I feel disconnected from the violence, and it feels right.

    I also love your metaphors. Hilarious or serious as hell each of them feels just right in the place that it is used.

  5. Awesome snippet! Worn out in the eyes, I love that. What a description. I can't wait to read this one!

  6. Oooh, nice excerpt! Love the description!

  7. Aw, your dad's awesome! But you knew that.

    I like how your excerpt puts the reader in the same position as your protagonist, i.e.: piecing clues together. How did you choose the title BLINK?

  8. You already know I love this story! I think your dad is awesome, btw. The guy in the urinal! LOL

  9. Wow Shaun. This snippet shows why you are one of my new fav writers. Deathday was awesome, and this is just more of it. Nice job!

  10. Love the hemlock phrase. Nice.

    I'm still giggling about your dad and the Newbery Award.

  11. Oooh love that snippet - really draws you in and then leave ya hanging!


Keep it clean, keep it classy, and jokes are always appreciated.