I asked on Instagram and the vote was clear – to share some of my writing for my novel! As scary as I find it, I’m sharing it anyway (see my last post about perfectionism)!
Below is an excerpt of a piece that I wrote for a creative writing class I followed in 2018. Our assignment was to set a scenario and introduce our character and focus on certain aspects of her/him/them. I loved working on this character so much, that I started writing an entire story around her. Not sure where this will fit in the story yet, I actually like that element of surprise in my own writing.
I hope you enjoy reading about Francesca as much as I do writing her story!
Dave looked out over the skyline of Seattle, drinking his first coffee of the day. He adjusted his glasses and ran his hand through his black hair, deep in thought. Today they had an exciting meeting planned with a well-known author they were hoping to convince to switch to his publishing firm. And, if he remembered correctly, today was also the junior commissioning editor’s first day in her new role. He reflected guiltily that he had not thought of her for the promotion. She is the type of person you forget easily, nothing about her seemed to stick to your memory. Despite being thirty-two, everyone always kept referring to her as a ‘mousy girl’. Luckily the senior commissioning editor had presented her for the role, and she had shown in her interview to have an uncanny knack for knowing which genres and authors would be successful. He had one last look over the skyline, taking in its dark clouds, slowing creeping towards the shoreline. Smiling, Dave re-filled his coffee cup, straightened his Saint Laurent midnight blue blazer, and headed back to his office.
Francesca sat breathing heavily in the bus. Despite having set four alarms that morning, she was still forced to run to catch the bus that morning. Looking at her reflection in the window, she sighed and dove into her red vintage purse to find her nude lip gloss and earrings. In front of her sat two middle-aged women, their blonde dyed hair bouncing up and down with the movements of the bus. The left was talking fast, her pink painted lips barely keeping up with her excitement. She was loudly explaining a murder case that had happened a few weeks ago, her excitement of the horrifying details clearly showing. Francesca found her tiny gold hoop earrings and put them in while she listened to the woman explain the case. After a quick application of her lip gloss she pressed the stop button.
The team meeting had begun, Dave having asked his team to present ideas for new genres they could explore. It had not been fruitful so far. “Everyone, let’s try this another way” he said, turning to the team sitting in front of him. “I ask you all to walk to the whiteboard and to write whatever idea pops into your mind, any genre you are interested in reading”, he explained, casting an eye around the room. Today, the meeting room’s beige carpet and walls seemed to be rubbing off on everyone. Empty coffee cups and empty notes books made the mood clear. No energy, no new concepts. The whiteboard started filling up with words, but nothing exciting was presenting itself yet.
“True Crime? Occult practices? Cults?!”, the senior commissioning editor Janet exclaimed, standing in front of the board. “Whose ideas are these, nobody wants to read that muck”. Dave turned around slowly, a half smile spreading across his face. “That at least is something we have not done before, and we shouldn’t dismiss it Janet”. He looked at her sternly over his glasses, not wanting to discourage whoever had had the courage to present something new for Egmont & Franklin publishing. “Who shared these ideas?” Dave asked, trying to make his face less stern looking. A hand went up in the back of the room. As the girl stood up, he had to think twice about who it was. Was she a part of the editing team? “Franny, these were your ideas?”, Janet asked in surprise.
Francesca smiled nervously and proceeded to explain “I overheard two women discussing the last murder in the serial case this morning and have noticed that there is a lot more about true crime on TV and other media these days. I believe books would be an excellent medium to discuss true crime, especially seeing the number of high-profile cases we’ve had on the west coast the last few years”. A drop of sweat now trickled down her back, making her hyper-aware of her nervousness and all the people looking at her. Who in the world knew how many ‘high-profile’ murder cases there were anyway? Well, she knew. Francesca knew every name of every serial killer from the USA since the 1950s and followed every new murder case closely. She was specialized if we can use that term here, in Black Widows – there was something fascinating to Francesca about women that murdered men. Online she was part of a group of ‘murderinos’, a group of like-minded people that would discuss the case details, talk about the police investigation and pay respect to the victims. She only shared her interest with her most intimate friends. But there was something about her which even they didn’t know.