Writing keeps me sane. Though my kids don’t realize it, (probably a good thing) my escape into fiction pulls me out of our chaotic world and allows me to reset my mental balance (always a good thing). Putting thoughts into words can be a form of prayer. I reflect on what I see around me, what sends shivers down my spine, what encourages my soul, and what the human race is meant to be. It’s similar to what Tolkien referred to as “a splintered fragment of the eternal word that is with God.”
To be honest, when I first started writing, I thought that if I could tell a story, I could write a book. Alas! Not so easy. When I now read my earlier work, my lips pucker and my eyes bulge. It was while working on my Masters in Creative Writing for Entertainment that I learned the difference between telling and showing, describing and visualizing, preaching and experiencing. It helped (and hurt) when instructors suggested I delete whole pages and start over. “Stay on the path — get to the point.”
But such is life.
I don’t like to hear how cutting out a bad habit might lead to a saner reality—especially when it is a habit I am inordinately fond of. (Exposition anyone?) But in the end, the final product, my eternal soul, (like my writing) benefits from the editing process.
Below I have included an excerpt from my (please, God, let it be true) edited and thus much-improved work. Feel free to share. After all, reading can be a form of prayer too. We see through each other’s eyes a piece God’s eternal word. Stories help us see, experience, and even edit our shared human lives so that we can stay on the path—and get God’s point.
Enjoy an excerpt from my newest novel, Newearth: Justine Awakens.
Chapter One: “All My Sins Remembered”
Justine’s sigh was barely audible. “This trial was pure politics.”
Cerulean wrapped his fingers around the bars, tilting his head to view as much of Justine’s face as possible. “Your objective was to disable the troop carrier?”
She shrugged. “Yes.”
Cerulean’s voice rose slightly. “I’ve seen the carrier’s blueprints. Deck 42 A and rooms 32 C and B were nowhere near the command room. I saw where you breached the ship. You doubled back and deliberately searched those rooms. Why?”
Justine smiled coldly, her hand moving a bit faster, the tip of the brush a blur. “Maybe I just like to kill.”
Cerulean pursed his lips. “Then why were troopers Alex and Jerrod left alive?”
Her mouth drew into a tight line. “Maybe I missed them.
Maybe I thought they were already dead.”
“I read your specs. Enhanced senses, hearing, sight…. You can hear a heartbeat from a hundred meters away.”
The brush moved faster.
“Trooper Jerrod thought it was a miracle that the escape pod managed to fire on autopilot.”
Justine’s mouth twisted into a mocking smile. “So, what’s your explanation?”
“You resent humans, hate them, and by extension their allies. You saw it as payback, didn’t you, as justice? But when you saw trooper Jerrod trying to stanch his comrade’s wound, even as he was bleeding out himself, you couldn’t bring yourself to press the trigger. Even though it went against orders, you lowered your gun.”
“A charming story. But why wasn’t that…story used to play to the court’s sympathy?” The brush tip filled in tiny details.
“Unlike the Cresta, I don’t see a gun. I don’t see a cold, calculating machine.” His voice softened. “I see a very scared woman who desperately wants to seem strong in her final moments.”
The brush froze. Justine’s head lowered, and for a second, the proud shoulders sagged. The moment passed as her head lifted again, a confident smile playing on her face. “Really?” She raised an eyebrow. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” She carefully laid the brush aside. “It’s finished. What do you think?” She displayed the painting in the crook of her arm.
His eyes widening, Cerulean stared into a portrait of himself, true to life on even the tiniest of hair ends. “It’s…beautifully done.”
“Thank you. Keep it.” She set the painting aside before making eye contact with Cerulean for the first time.
Cerulean swallowed a lump in his throat. “I don’t know what to say. I’m honored.”
“You can hang it on your wall or throw it in the trash. Whichever you prefer.” Justine rose. “Anything else?”
Cerulean stood thoughtfully before he shook his head. “No.”
Cerulean turned to go. He closed his eyes as a sudden wave of dizziness swept over him. Squaring his shoulders, he forced open his eyes and marched down the long, dim hall.
Justine called after him. “You know, if I had killed them and blown up the ship, there wouldn’t have been anything to identify me. I wouldn’t be here right now.” Justine’s voice echoed down the tunnel, her face and hands pressed against the bars. “No good deed goes unpunished, right?”
Cerulean stopped in midstride and looked back. “Everything we do has consequences. Alex and Jerrod are still alive.”
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Copyright 2018 Ann K. Frailey
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