Today I will be starting the rewrite of the final draft of my novel Resurrection. I will be putting it out a chapter at a time, hopefully a chapter a day, for the next few months.
I have taken time to redo the plot, make some character changes and get a better feel for the emotions I want my readers to experience.
If you want to follow along, you can subscribe to the blog or just stop by. I would truly appreciate any comments and encouragement you may want to give.
This book started as a 2016 NaNoWriMo and it’s been an exciting ride so far. Life meant I put it on the shelf for a while, but now I am ready to write again and put it into a form ready for a final draft. Then, hopefully, I will get an agent.
Thanks for playing along at home.
This weekend I got my book back from the printer’s. My idea was to rearrange the 80,000 words of chapters into a different order to add to the suspense and mystery. Probably write another 20,000 words or so and be done with the rough draft.
I took an hour today to paperclip each chapter individually (most are between 500-1,500 words). As I was doing so I was also thinking about how the story could be better for the reader.
That’s when an uncomfortable realization hit me: The best “story” for the reader is not the “progressive” revelation story I have written, but one where the big revelations don’t come for quite some time.
Providing the pieces of the puzzle, but not the picture to see exactly where each piece might go.
To do this I will need to write a completely new story. Sure, I can use the words and some entire chapters I have written, but my protagonist has to change.
That realization was both discouraging and daunting at first. But then I thought “If this makes the story a better experience for the reader, then why wouldn’t I do it?”
Faulkner once said “you have to kill all your darlings.” In this case I need to create a world where the reader is compelled to read “just a little more” and that means taking my carefully crafted words and destroying them in service of the reader.
Now I am actually looking forward to the process.
Now the hard work begins…the whole book, now over 80,000 words, needs to be “rearranged” and then finished. Still I’m pumped about the process.
He took his seat for the daily gathering.
To his right sat a 28th level Paladin, veteran of battles too numerous to count. All of those memories melding into a mass of red in his mind. Today he thought about the joy he had in conquest, longing to not be here but on a basement battlefield.
When he looked to his left he could see Barbara, the effervescent blonde broker. Her phone sounded and she looked at the black-mirrored surface wide-eyed, seeking her next deal. He shot a smile in her direction but she didn’t look up.
Relationship coach Rachel sat across from him. Her mind was distant as she pondered how to help Alice repair her broken marriage. The hurt of infidelity was a rift difficult to mend. She would find a way to bridge the chasm.
To Rachel’s right Todd was taking his seat as well. He was still sweating a bit from the gym, despite the shower. Two-a-days. He opened his Tupperware and quickly plunged his fork into the mass of egg whites and brown rice packed at home, leaning forward as he shoveled to his mouth. The IFBB American was in three weeks, he had to be precise with his macros.
Amy was distant as usual, drawing her imagined world into her ever-present sketch book. She was never actually here at The Gathering, an unnoticed mist most days. But the black and white life the rest of the world saw was a deception, her true self lived in a world of vivid colors, swirling around her as she danced.
At precisely 8am the gate was opened. All of their headsets chirped to life. In unison they responded: “Thank you for calling tech support, how many I help you?”
This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.
The Byrd Rule
The Byrd Rule is a senate rule allowing senators to block bills that would significantly increase the US budget deficit for a period longer than 10 years. In practice this means any legislation the GAO projects will have a negative impact on the deficit for longer than 10 years is going to get blocked by the senate.
George Bush was elected President in 2000 based, at least in part, on his promise to ease the tax burden on middle-class Americans. In 2001 he signed the first of two bills aimed to deliver on that promise and colloquially known as the “Bush Tax Cuts.” Due to the Byrd rule, these tax cuts expired in early 2010.
In response to public demand, Barack Obama reinstituted the cuts, with minor changes, at the end of 2010 with his “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act,” extending them for an additional two years, then made a compromise bill permanent in 2012 with the “American Taxpayer Relief Act.”
Buried in the 1,500 legalise of the Bush cuts were changes to the inheritance tax provisions. These changes expired at the beginning of 2010 and were modified and reinstated again starting January 1, 2011 under Obama.
That left 2010 a particularly unique year where the inheritance tax no longer existed.
Jon Langston was a practical man. While inwardly grieving and unsure of himself contemplating his father’s rapidly approaching death, he still was conscious of the financial consequences. He met with his estate planner, Jeff Albertson, who was graduate of Harvard Law as well as a CPA, to find out how the estate would move forward after Dick’s death.
“Well, while none of us want to see Mr. Langston pass, if any person of means could choose the year of their death, this would be it” the Albertson said.
It was October 15 and Langston was pretty sure his father could not live out the year. He wasn’t sure he could live out the month. But Dick Langston was not to be underestimated. Jon had seen others do that many times before. He had a tenacity allowing him to often beat the odds. Jon mentally noted he might have to call Mr. Black into duty come December, if it came to it.
During their meeting, Langston felt the vibration of the second phone in his pocket. He didn’t bother to check who was calling.
“I need to take this,” he said to Albertson. “Give me the room.”
It was a command, not a request and Albertson felt a bristle of anger shoot through him. He showed no visible emotion as he rose from his desk and exited his office.
“Mr. Black,” Langston answered, trying to sound calm and authoritative. He was anxious. Tab Carter scared him, possibly more than the predicament he currently found himself in with the preacher.
“You need to get Reeves out on bail. Arraignment is this afternoon, Roy White is his attorney.”
Langston started, “Now just a minute….” but Black had already disconnected.
Langston gave himself a second to catch his breath and get his emotions under control. He returned his burner to his pocket, noticing the slight tremble in his hand. He exited the office and through the lobby, not sharing a glance or a word as he passed Albertson.
He climbed in his black Mercedes and pulled out his “legal” phone, telling Siri to call Jack Thorton’s private number.
“Mr. Langston, what can I do for you today?” Thornton had a measured, pleasant tone.
“Tell me how I can get Reeves out on bail today without anyone knowing it’s me.”
“Certainly, Jon. I already looked at the docket. He should be arraigned this afternoon on the charge of murdering a deputy. The bail could be up to $2 million, maybe more.”
“Shit.” That was a lot of money. Langston felt his was already spending far too much on this debacle and this was many times what he was willing to part with. He also didn’t have $2 million laying around he could just access unnoticed.
“Of course,” added Thornton, “if Reeves never made it to trial, any money you put up for bail would be returned to you by the court.”
Langston was processing how he could access that kind of money. He had about $250,000.00 in his secret “rainy day” fund, syphoned off slowly over the years. He was pretty sure Dick didn’t even know about it.
“I’m not sure I can come up with $2 million on short notice without drawing unwanted attention. Attention neither of us wants,” replied Langston.
“Well, he will probably be given cash or bond. You can do a $2 million bond for $200,000.00, but even if there is no trial, the bondsman will keep it for his fee. You’ll never see it again, no matter what.”
Well, fuck, thought Langston.
“Let me make some calls and see what I can put together quietly. I’ll call you back. His attorney is Roy White. Is he someone we can work with?”
“I don’t know him, but I checked up on him already. He’s a small town criminal attorney. Pleads out almost all of his cases. He hasn’t been in front of a jury this year. One thing about criminal attorneys, they are all a little bit criminal themselves. I’m sure we can get him to work with us.”
“What about the Judge? Can we get to him?”
“Judge White is up for reelection and this case is making state headlines, maybe national. We’ll have limited influence unless we give him something big.”
“OK, well Jack, play through the angles. I’ll call you back soon once I figure out how to put together some money.”
“Jon, we’ve got this. It’s all just details,” replied Thornton.
“We better” replied Langston, disconnecting.
Jon started the Mercedes and began the drive back to Langston Farms. He drove without thought through the beautiful hills and painted fall trees. His mind was processing how to put together the money he needed. When he arrived, he didn’t respond to Mary’s greeting and retreated to his office, closing the door behind him.
Warning: This is an erotic story and not for anyone under 18 nor those with a heart condition. You can see the chapter index here.
The pattern of Watcher’s seduction continued every few nights. Pam found herself longing for his 10pm texts. She wondered if on the nights he didn’t text if he were pleasuring, “watching,” some other woman. It made her jealous.
Watcher would tease her for an hour or more and Pam would pleadingly text “please let me come.” Often, when she did, he would tease her longer, not allowing her release until he chose the time and method.
Then after two weeks, the texts stopped. For ten days she heard nothing from Watcher.
“What’s wrong with you?” Emily asked across the table at Barney’s.
“Nothing…” lied Pam. Watcher made her feel young. Sexy. Desirable. The whole part of her she had put away when she got pregnant and married at 18, she now was experiencing with him.
“You’ve been so happy lately. Heck, it seems like Shae’s promotion didn’t even phase you. Now, tonight, you seem pretty down. Actually, you’ve seemed down for the last few days.” Emily was perceptive about her friend.
Pam didn’t know what to say, and couldn’t tell her about Watcher, but her emotions were close to the surface. “It’s just…well…I met someone and we’ve been texting and now he’s…disappeared.”
“I’m so happy to hear you’re trying to date! He’s probably just busy. You’re a catch, he’s not going to find anyone like you. Who is he? How did you meet? Dish, girl, dish.”
“We aren’t dating…we’re mostly, well, just texting.” Pam was trying to figure out what she could say and still appear she wasn’t being reckless with some ax murderer.
“‘Texting’, huh? You mean you’ve been sexting with some guy? That’s kinda hot.” Emily didn’t miss a beat.
“Well..I guess the texts are a bit sexual.” Pam wanted to change the subject before she got in any deeper. She looked down at the menu. “Do you want to order one entree and split it?”
That night she went to bed early, trying to put her mind at rest and stop thinking about Watcher. At precisely 10pm, her phone alerted.
“I want to see you.”
“Where have you been?” Pam typed. Thinking how out of control she was being. Watcher was obviously manipulating her.
“I want to see you.” Watcher repeated.
Pam was frustrated and angry, there was no way she was going to meet a man she had never spoken to, she didn’t even know his name. She did something she had never dared before. She clicked “Call” on his number.
The phone went to voicemail.
“I don’t want to talk to you, I want to see you.” Watcher replied.
“I am NOT going to meet you.” Pam was defiant.
“I don’t want to meet you, I want to see you.” Watcher clarified. “Go to the balcony.”
Pam’s house was in a lightly wooded area with a few more homes, all spaced a hundred yards apart or so, with the small patches of woods between. Outside her bedroom door a balcony overlooked her living room with a vaulted ceiling. The opposite wall was windows, looking out to a small wooded area with a neighboring house behind. The lower windows had blinds, but the upper windows were unshielded.
For the first time Pam realized any time she was on the balcony, like when she walked from her shower naked to her bedroom, anyone in the woods below could see her.
Had Watcher been there, seeing her? The thought both terrified and excited her.
“NO!” Pam texted back, realizing just how vulnerable she was.
Pam waited anxiously for Watcher to reply. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to tell him off or experience the pleasures again. She stayed up until midnight.
There was no reply.
Warning: This is an erotic story and not for anyone under 18 nor those with a heart condition. You can see the chapter index here.
When she woke the next morning, Pam checked her phone once more to assure it was truly a wrong number. No new texts. She felt relief.
She dreaded going into work today. She knew she was a hot topic of conversation, and she wondered how people would view her situation. Would they see Shae as the conniving bitch or would they just assume “Reliable Pam” just wasn’t suited for the job?
She stood in front of her full length mirror after getting out of the shower, giving herself a pep talk.
“You look good. The 23 pounds you’ve lost have given you back your figure. Your breasts are firm. Two grown kids and you still look good.” She wanted to look young, desireable, to turn men’s heads again as she had when she was younger.
“Hell, I’m going to turn some heads today.”
She pulled out a pair of pants she had never worn. She was a size 10 now, but she had bought these in a fit of optimism and they were a size 8. They were snug and made her butt look good. She put on her push-up bra, the pretty one she had spent too much money on and rarely wore. She pulled on a sleeveless top she had worn a few times before, but always with a sweater and scarf. It was too low cut.
From the back of her closet she pulled out her black heels, normally reserved for holiday parties.
Once she fixed her hair and makeup, she apprised herself once more in the mirror. “Damn, I look good. Fuck the haters,” she said to the reflection.
As she walked from her car to the office, she saw two delivery men unloading paper supplies by the door. She managed to sway her hips a bit as she walked by and could see them watching her pass in the reflection of the glass door.
She smiled to herself.
All day she noticed the reactions of the men. More than one of her male coworkers looked at her cleavage before catching themselves and looking her in the eye. She still had it.
Work was still hard, the wondering what people were thinking, saying behind her back, but today she showed them. She was more than “Reliable Pam,” she was a sexy, smart, accomplished, young woman.
She was still feeling the sexual buzz from the day as she readied herself for bed. Just as she turned off the light, her phone buzzed a text.
“You looked sexy today.” It was the same number as the night before.
Pam was paralyzed. It wasn’t a wrong number. Was someone stalking her? As she tried to figure out a reply, another text: “I enjoyed watching you.”
Is this Em trying to boost my confidence? Is this someone else from work? One of the men? It was frightening and yet a little bit exciting.
“Who is this? You need to stop!”
“You wanted to be watched and wanted today. I watched you. I want you.”
“Emily, is this you? This isn’t funny.”
She called Emily.
“It’s late for you to be calling, what’s up?” Pam had the habit of being asleep by 9pm most nights. Emily sounded concerned.
“Have you been texting me?” Pam tried to sound calm.
“No, why, did you get a text from my number? I haven’t texted you since this morning. Maybe someone hacked my phone!” Emily had no understanding of technology and lived in a perpetual fear of being “hacked.”
“No, it’s not that…” Pam wasn’t sure she wanted to tell Emily what was going on. “It’s nothing, I just got a text from an unknown number and I thought it might have been you. Probably a wrong number. See you tomorrow.”
“You can call me Watcher.” The text lit up in her hand.
“Watcher? Really? That’s the best you can do?” Pam still thought this must be a joke. She wasn’t going to show fear only to find it was some co-worker messing with her.
“It seems we’re both watchers. You have observed from a distance your whole life, now it is your turn to be observed, seen, appreciated, lusted after.”
“Who is this?” Pam wasn’t sure she wanted to know.
“I’ve told you.”
“I’m going to block you.”
“You can, but then you’ll never experience the pleasures I will lead you through.”
“I’m not responding. Goodbye. Don’t contact me again.”