Monday, February 9, 2015

Happily Never After - Chapter 1

Hey, guys!

It's Patricia, and I just want to give a nice, big, warm welcome! So happy you've found us, and if we can help in ANY way, please fill out the form on the sidebar!

Today, I am going to share with you the first chapter of my novel "Happily Never After".

Chapter One



As the sun rose over the country side, it laid a serene golden life-light over everything. It was so peaceful. Soft, gray-yellow, all over. First, slowly… then all at once, colors streaked the sky, the great ball of fire appeared in the sky.   

Ella silently slipped out the back door to the country farm-house in which she had grown up in. She tied a kerchief on her head, slipped into her boots, and then took off running. Tearing through the back fields of their property… Never stopping… Never looking back. She came upon a weather-beaten fence. She swung her leg over it, and then landed on the ground with a thud. Even that didn’t stop her. She kept going.

In the distance, sat a weeping willow tree. Its branches were familiar to her. She had sat in its arms as a child, and now it became her place of escape. Her escape from this life. This dreadful life. This life of dreariness and pain. Life hadn’t had much to offer Ella… And she was feeling its distaste for her.

She collapsed under the tree. Burying her head in her hands, she silently cried.

            “Oh, momma,” she gasped. “I’m trying… I really am… But I can’t do it! They hate me! And how can I be good to someone who hates me?” Rubbing her eyes, she continued, “They’re all I have left… You and papa are gone, and I am so alone. So alone. Why does it have to be this way, momma?” She silently cried for another fifteen minutes.

Then she stood, her neck bent to keep her hair from snagging on the willow branches. She tenderly placed a bunch of rather damp, but still beautiful wild-flowers on the headstone which she had been sitting next to.

Drying her tears, she bid farewell to her mother. “Until I need to escape again,” she said bitterly.

She took off at a brisk pace back towards the house. Her step-family would soon be wanting breakfast.

When she got back to the house, she removed her boots, and carefully placed them back where she got them. She opened the door just wide enough for her small body to pass through. When she closed the door behind her, and turned around, her stepmother stood there.

            “You’ve snuck out, again, I see,” she said with contempt. The woman sent a stinging slap across the girl’s face. As it smarted, more tears formed in her eyes.

Her stepmother was a tall woman. Green eyes, and slowly graying, brown hair (usually pulled into a tight bun), and sharply defined cheekbones. She probably was beautiful… But Ella couldn’t see that through the many bruises she had acquired from her hand over the years. All that was left was an ugly soul with a torturing character.

            “It stings, doesn’t it?” her stepmother asked. “That,” she curled her lip in distaste, “is exactly,” she paused again, “how you make me feel.”

            “After all this time… Since your precious father passed on, may he rest in peace, I have fed you, given you clothes to wear, and let you live in my house. And yet you still persist in betraying me.” She sent another slap across Ella’s cheek. There would definitely be a bruise. What’s one more? Ella thought bitterly.

            “We’ll deal with this later,” the woman said, turning. “My family will be wanting breakfast soon.” As she left the room, she added, “don’t neglect the animals. They need to be fed too.”

Ella bit back tears of frustration and loneliness. She cracked the eggs and then put the frying pan over the fire.

Sprinkling flour on the table, she began to knead the biscuit dough.




            “I heard that Prince Carl is back from studying abroad…” The prissy voice paused and then the speaker sighed. “What a catch he is…”

Ella entered the room, trays of food hoisted on her hips. She saw Abigail swooning over the prince and rolled her eyes.

            “You know… I quite fancy him,” the girl swished her blond curls, and widened her blue eyes dreamily.

            “Who doesn’t fancy him?” the other teenager replied.

            “Oh, Sandra…” Abigail said in a pitying voice. “It’s too bad that I got the blond hair. Yours is brown… Plain… old… brown…” The older sister said in an antagonizing voice.

            “I quite like my hair, thank you.” Sandra replied. “And I could care less about where the hoity-toity royals spend our money on their education.”

            “Oh, you’re just jealous.” Abigail said spitefully.

            “Girls!” their mother said, raising her voice on a warning tone. “Stop the petty arguing, please. It is giving me a headache.”

            “Yes, mother.” They both mumbled.

Abigail, tiring of trying to provoke her real sister about her looks, she turned to her step-sister. “Ella, what on earth have you been doing?” Her eyes squinted in a criticizing way. “You look like you’ve been sleeping in the fireplace.”

This got their mother’s attention. As Ella walked around the table, serving everyone their breakfast, she addressed her other daughters. “Ella snuck out again this morning. I don’t know where she went, but she came back absolutely filthy.”

Sandra simply made a ‘tsk’-ing noise and shook her head. Abigail, never passing up the opportunity to torture someone, dove head first into the drama.

            “Foolish girl,” she patronized. “Well, I suppose I can’t call you ‘Ella’ anymore… Since Ella means ‘Beauty’, and you are just about the furthest thing from that – all that dirt on you and everything – I will need to think up a new name.”

When Ella brought the food around to serve Abigail, she received a stealthily targeted kick in the shins. Again, for the third time that morning, tears formed in her eyes. Yet, she went on, scooping eggs and sausage onto her selfish rival’s plate. “I think ‘Cinderella’ suits you much better… Yes,” she hissed. “Cinderella it is.”

            Abigail’s eyes glinted with pleasure. She loved tormenting Ella. It was one of her favorite things to do. And she got away with abusing her every time. “How do you like your new name, Cinderella?” She asked, icicles forming in every word.

When Ella remained silent, Abigail sent her foot against Ella’s shin again. This time, Ella’s knees almost buckled. But she kept her composure. “Would you like anything else to eat?” Was the only thing that came out of the girl. Frustrated, Abigail stood.

            “I asked you a question.” For the third time that morning, her face was slapped. “I expect an answer.”

            “Abigail,” her mother said in a bored voice, barely raising her eyes from the book she was reading. “You are keeping the servant from her duties.” Then she raised her eyes ½ an inch. “Can’t you talk to her later?”

Abigail sank back into the velvet-backed, cherry dining-chair. “I suppose,” she sighed. “Go do your work, slave.” She taunted Ella. “And don’t forget, if you singe any of my dresses, you will be whipped.”

Ella scurried out of the room, her eyes lowered. Her heart ached from loneliness. Her body ached from abuse. And she had chores to do.


 I hope you enjoyed reading that as much as I did writing it!
I came up with the idea for this story a while back. I can't remember what I was doing, but it hit me like a semi-truck. Getting it down on paper was another story... ;)
In this piece, I use what I like to call A Word Picture. I have tried to make you see, not just understand. I have a few questions that I like to ask myself when writing a scene with lots of description.
1) What is my m/c feeling? - What are his/her five senses feeling? Do they feel a breeze touching their face? Or do they feel fire engulfing their hands? Do they smell freshly baked sugar cookies? Or do they smell freshly made cow manure? Do they see a peaceful, golden sunrise? Or do they see a raging forest fire? Do they hear soft, classical music floating around in the background? Or do they hear the loud screeching of tires and the crunching of metal?
What is their conscience feeling? Are they guilty, sad, joyful, tired, weak, or angry?
Put it to words.
 2) What does the scenery look like? - This is a little bit self-explanatory... But I do want to warn you! A lot of description can be a bit tedious to read. If you have too much, you may lose the interest of your audience.
3) Is there something else going on that my characters will find out about later? - Is something happening to your m/c's best friend, while you are writing this scene? Set your scene up so that your character's emotions can be molded into what you want them to be when they find out.
Well, that's all I have for you today! I must say... I LOVE working with this new blog... So fresh and new...
Anyway, make sure you're here tomorrow! Emilie is kicking off our first posting series! I'm sure it's going to be brilliant!
Love you all!
Keep writing!
~Patricia Rane




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