Monday, February 16, 2015

Happily Never After - Chapter 2

In last week's Monday post I shared with you the first chapter of my WIP. Today, I will share with you the second one.

Chapter 2


A small figure, bathed in moonlight, perched atop the weather-beaten fence. She squinted her eyes, straining to see into the distance. Flicking her long, raven, black hair over her shoulder, she hopped to the ground, but crumpled, landing on her tush. Moaning in pain and frustration, she twisted around and grasped the fence. Pulling herself back up to standing position, she leaned on the fence.

A few moments before, Snow had stumbled over a gravestone, which was under a large willow tree. Who puts a headstone way out here? And under a tree…

Her leg had been twisted and banged up pretty badly… She had been able to drag herself over to what looked like a wooden fence.

How was her plan going to succeed now? She could barely stand on one leg, let alone two. So much for being free. So much for escaping… She muttered to herself.

In the distance, she could see the shape of a large farm-house. Taking her cape of, she wrapped it around her leg. Gritting her teeth and setting her jaw, she tied it tightly in a knot. She groped around in the darkness until she found a long stick. It was about 4 feet long and 5 inches thick – perfect for the use of a crutch.

Then slowly and painfully, she made her way through the fields and approached the farmhouse. The dim light of a single lantern illuminated the kitchen window. Peeking in, Snow saw a girl sitting in the fireplace. Her eyes were squinted from the tedious task which she was working on, and she was hunched over a bolt of material.

As silently as anyone on a crutch can, she waddled over to the barn. She quickly opened the door, and slipped inside.

The smell of animals greeted her, and she welcomed it. She was out of the wind, and was already feeling warmer.

There was a shaft of moonlight shining through the only window; and several moonbeams came through the crack in the ceiling. Just enough light for her to make out the shape of a ladder on the far wall. She carefully made her way over to the ladder to examine it further. She was hoping for a hayloft, in which she could spend the night in. Snow shifted her gaze upwards, and was not disappointed.

She leaned her crutch against the wall, where she could use it in the morning. Gripping the ladder with both hands, she used her strength to inch up the ladder. It was only moments, but it seemed like hours before she reached the loft. The sweet smell of the fresh hay and the comforting warmth it brought her helped to relax her battered body. She felt safe, which was a feeling that she hadn’t felt in months. Slowly, her eyes closed, and she was soon dreaming of sweet, precious things. Things that she doubted that she could ever achieve.


Snow’s eyes fluttered open. Light was streaming through the roof and the cracks in the walls. She bolted upright. She had overslept. Now how was she going to get out of here? Then she noticed something… There was a girl – the same girl who she had seen the night before – sitting a few feet away from her.

            “Shhh!” the girl said soothingly. “Who are you?” she whispered.

Snow frantically looked around. “Are we alone, or are there more?” she asked.

The other girl nodded. “In complete solitude…” she added dramatically, smiling at her. She was very pretty. Blond hair, and deep green eyes. “I’m Ella,” she brushed a loose curl from her eye.

            “How do I know I can trust you?” she asked.

            “Well, I haven’t told anybody yet, and I’ve been watching you for quite some time.” Ella replied, smiling warmly. “I promise,” she paused, “I of all people you can trust.”

“Who owns this property?” she wondered.

            “Technically, I do…” Ella replied. “But my stepmother, Lady Hesperia, and her daughters, Abigail and Sandra have pretty much taken over…”

            “What happened?” Snow inquired, noticing a bruise that Ella had on her cheek.

            “Well, my mother died when I was 12 years of age… My father remarried, as he thought it was best that I have a mother.” She paused, painfully. “He died about 2 years ago… I was but 14.”

            “I’m sorry,” Snow apologized tenderly. “My mother died when I was a baby, and my father also remarried. He died shortly after…”

            “What happened to your stepmother?” Ella flicked a piece of straw off of her apron.

Snow’s face hardened at the mention of her… “She doesn’t fancy me. In fact, she ordered her huntsman to cut out my heart and bring it back to her.”

Ella’s eyes widened with shock and horror. “How horrid…” She sighed. “And to think, I thought my situation is terrible.”

Snow looked puzzled. “What’s wrong?”

            “My stepfamily doesn’t really fancy me either… They’ve deemed me their workhorse and they abuse me constantly.” She sighed again. “But I shouldn’t complain. If there is one lesson that my mother taught me, it was to brace yourself and do what you have to do. After all,” she continued, “they are my family…”

Snow suddenly snapped out of a daze. “I should be leaving!” she attempted to stand, but failed miserably.

            “Oh, you’re hurt!” Ella said sorrowfully. “What happened?”

            “On my way through the fields which are behind your home, I stumbled over a headstone,” she winced as Ella started untying the cape. “I don’t think it’s broken… Just bruised.”

Ella shook her head. “This is definitely broken.”

            “How can you be so sure?” Snow asked, panic rising in her voice.

            “My stepsister – Abigail – broke her ankle a few years ago… She was prancing around in ridiculously heeled shoes, and she fell over a chair leg.” She carefully rubbed the bruise. “Since the family had little money at that time, I, of course, was the one to tend to her.”

Hot tears began to form in Snow’s eyes and soon spilled out onto her cheeks. “How can I travel on a broken ankle…?” she moaned, more to herself than to Ella.

            “You’re not,” Ella got to her feet. “You’re going to stay right here.”

            “But I can’t!” Snow protested. “What if they find me? You’ll be in serious trouble… and besides, I can’t just ask you to take care of me for 6 weeks, or however long it will take for it to heal.”

            “8 weeks… And I don’t recall you asking me. I think I volunteered,” she smiled softly. “I have to make breakfast for my family now…” She walked over to the ladder. “Just sit tight in here for the time-being, I’ll be up afterward. And I’ll have food for you.” She began the dismount. “I will also set your ankle while I’m up here later.”

            “What if they find me?” Snow asked.

            “They won’t… I’m the only one who comes to the barn.”

And with that, Ella was gone.

Snow sighed with relief. Not only did she have a place to stay and recover for the time being, she also had a new friend. And she had never had a friend before.
Often times, I find that the second chapter is more difficult to write than the first. The first chapter is used to get to know a little bit about your characters, to reveal the tiniest details about your plotline, and to kickstart the action. The second chapter usually wakes me up, slaps me on the face, and says, "Welcome to the real world."
I've narrowed down a few of the reasons why the second chapter is harder to write.
  1. The story is really 'started', if you know what I mean. You've had your big sha-bang party as the first chapter, and now it's time to wake up and start writing. The more 'fun' part is done with, and you have to write (basically) a whole novel now. Not to say that after the first chapter is written, the rest is a chore... I'm not saying that at all! Writing is something that I enjoy immensely, and I often do it after I get my 'real' work done. You know... Geometry homework, chores, and all that jazz.
  2. You have to get more into your character development, which is hard. Keeping track of details, is often times a chore, I'm not going to lie. But the character list that I gave you in Post #1 of My Character Crafting Series is awesome for keeping a straight record of the nitty-gritty details that everybody loses track of. Again, thank you, RWD, for such an awesome list!
  3. You still have inspiration, it's just not as inspiring as when you wrote your first chapter. Like I said before, you've already introduced some people, and a little bit of your plotline... Now it's time to do the rest. And the second chapter is the first step in writing the rest of your novel.
Remember, you're not going to get a novel overnight. It just doesn't happen that way. It certainly would be nice if it did... But it doesn't. Please, please, please, if you've learned nothing from this post yet, please keep in mind the phrase "Take things in baby-steps". If you've seen a baby learning to walk, you probably know what I am talking about. The same thing goes for writing. As you learn to write, you will probably fall a few times, here and there. But as you get more and more sure of yourself, it will gradually begin to show itself in your writing! You CAN do it, just keep working!
Keep writing!
~Patricia Rane

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