Monday, August 31, 2009

Writing a Story from Conception to Conclusion: Part 2

My plan was to present the written story. Now I'm not because I cannot decide how to end it.

Knowing the end is the second part of story writing, the first being the original idea.

Since I failed to conceive an ending before, or soon after the plot idea gelled, the plot is dangling precariously over the precipice.

Due to this, I'm presenting the story as it stands now, and will let it sit for a few days until I invent an ending I feel is satisfying.

Rather like biting into a chocolate bar and discovering that the raspberry filling is delightful.

So here is the story so far. I would of course be interested in comments and even ideas of how this should end.

Please keep in mind that this is an incomplete first draft only. Stephanie may need to, and probably will, go though more difficulties and life changing events before I'm finished with this fragment of her existence.

Convergence (847 words and counting)

Stephanie walked barefoot to the bedroom door. As she passed the bed, the partially opened drawer in her husband's nightstand made her pause. Since her husband was very secretive, she grew curious and attempted to peek inside. She felt a quick tingle of trepidation as she reached for the small brass knob.

A glance over her shoulder let her see that the bathroom door stood closed, yet she still felt the need for caution. She pulled her hand back.

As she turned away, trying to decide whether to look or leave the room, she saw her reflection in the mirror over her dark oak dresser. The frown pinching her thin blonde eyebrows into steep arches changed her mind.

Once she heard the shower running, she quickly slid open the drawer, lifted out a white sheet of hotel stationary and saw what she believed was a ring of lipstick halfway down its right edge.

Jealousy lanced her heart, brought a sob to her lips, but when she held the paper under the light, she realized that the red smear was blood. Hesitantly, she pressed her fingertip to the surface. The stain felt slightly sticky as if it had not dried completely. Stephanie looked at her finger, saw nothing on it, but wiped it against the edge of the drawer.

Across the middle of the page in unfamiliar masculine handwriting, she read: Friday, 8:00am rear parking lot 1111, 63rd Street.

Glancing up, she attempted to picture the address mentally but failed.

Abruptly, the shower shut off. Her heart skipped and she tossed the paper in the drawer, closed it completely and lay back on her side of the bed with her eyes closed while she wondered, where did the blood come from? And who is he meeting?

She opened her eyes enough to see him as dressed in shorts as he slipped under the sheet, and seconds later, she heard his steady breathing.

Waiting until she felt certain he would not waken, she left the bedroom, and dressed in the laundry room. With her shoes in her hand, she went outside, sat on the white wicker porch chair, and slipped them on. Five minute later, Stephanie drove into town.

63rd Street wound through the central business district. Stephanie parked near the corner where Peterson Avenue bisected 63rd. She fed the parking meter, and glanced up at the street entrance of the building next to her.

"1001," she read under her breath, and walked to the next building, found it was 1013, and continued until she confronted an older brick three story that seemed dwarfed by its modern ten-story plus surroundings.

A narrow alley ran between 1111 and 1121. When she entered it, she discovered a well-worn uneven cobblestone path. The modern stone and steel wall to her left was lined with windows shaded by vertical blinds.

The brick wall on her right had three windows, two of which were bricked up. The last was at the rear corner, and behind it, she saw soiled curtains that obscured the interior.

Enough sunlight lit the alley that she felt confident that she might find some answers. As she reached the back corner of the building, the alley opened into a small fenced in courtyard.

Woven wooden fencing stood five feet tall and blocked access to the property. She approached it, lifted onto her toes, and peered over the top.

"Oh my God," she said louder than she wanted, when she spied what she believed was blood, gathered in a depression about fifteen feet away.

Determined to learn what her husband had gotten involved in she boldly looked for an entrance, saw one directly behind the brick building, and made for it as stealthily as possible.

She raised her hand to press the latch, and heard scuffing behind her, felt a hand grasp her upper arm tightly enough to force her to cry out.

"I'm sorry," she cried. "I just wanted to--"

"Nothing," a deep male voice demanded. "You will do nothing but turn around and leave here."

"Okay," she agreed and struggled to get free, glancing down at the fingers squeezing her arm and saw that his nails were raw and dirty, stained red.

"My husband is coming here soon." As soon as she said the words, she knew she'd made a serious mistake.

"Why would he come here?" The hand grasping her arm, twisted hard, forcing her to lean into it to avoid serious pain.

Nearly on her knees, looking up into his shadowed face, Stephanie gasped, "You're hurting me."

"Answer my question or you will know pain." He twisted again.

She felt her knees press into the stones yet he did not release her.

"I don't know why," she cried. "I found it written on a piece of paper and there was blo--" she stopped abruptly.

"There was what?" He leaned applying enough pressure to grind the bones in her elbow.

"Blood, there was blood on it!" Stephanie screamed.

He lifted her and then shoved her hard, releasing her arm at the same time.

She threw out her hands, but her head slammed into the pavement and she collapsed, blacked out.


To be continued.
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