Getting back to Amber: An excerpt for #WIPpet Wednesday

The holiday season continues to take its toll on my writing progress, that and the fact that I’ve been spending more time on the big translation project again, now that Nanowrimo is over. But today I had to go into town to do some more Christmas shopping, and yesterday I had grandma duties. (I am constantly amazed at the folks who can write while having small children around! I don’t seem to have the concentration necessary. My own writing ambitions went on hold when my kids were young.)

Anyway, since Sunday, I’ve gotten another five pages of the translation finished, as well as 1000 words on Amber’s story. Not the kind of progress I would like to be making, but maybe once the festivities are over, I’ll get back to my normal rates of production.

So, on to Amber and WIPpet Wednesday. WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts. My math today is easy: 12 + 18 + 13 = 43, which means I’m giving you 43 sentences from my still unnamed thriller. Some expletives in this scene, which I edited for public consumption, and of course WordPress. It’s not a statement of any kind, the neighbor Trish just suddenly turned out to be that kind of gal. πŸ™‚

When I last shared something from Amber’s story, the cops were investigating the scene of her husband’s murder. This is shortly after that:

“Ma’am, we’re investigating a murder in the neighborhood last night, and we were wondering if you heard or noticed anything out of the ordinary at around eleven pm.”
The woman’s eyes went wide. “Oh, s***,” she said instead of answering. “Oh, s***. Was it Amber? Was she the one murdered?”
“Why do you think that?” Brent asked.
“She was here until shortly before eleven. But then she noticed the time and said she had to get home, since she had to teach today. Oh s***. She never showed up for work, did she? There are no fences between our plots, only woods. Did someone get her right there, between our back yards?” Tears were coursing down the woman’s cheeks that she didn’t even seem to notice.
“Amber wasn’t the murder victim,” Jude told her. “It was her husband, Richard Merritt.”
“Oh, f***!” The woman covered her mouth with one hand and turned away from them, her shoulders heaving.
“Ma’am, may we come in?” Brent asked. “Since you seem to have been the last person who saw Amber Duchamp, we need to ask you some questions.”
She waved them in without a word and sat down heavily on the couch, dropping her forehead into her fists.
Brent and Jude sat down in the easy chairs opposite and waited until she looked up again.
“Could we have your name for the records please, Ma’am?” Jude asked, his pen and notepad ready.
“Patricia Schwarz.” The woman’s voiced sounded numb.
“Ms Schwarz, you said Ms Duchamp was here last night?” Brent asked.
She nodded.
“What was the reason for her visit?”
“She was showing me pictures of their trip to the Canary Islands during spring break.” The neighbor dropped her head into her hands again. “Oh, God, they were so happy.”
“What makes you say that, Ms Schwarz?”
“What? She was showing me pictures of a dream vacation she’d just taken with her husband, telling me stories of dolphins and volcanoes and tapas while we shared a bottle of wine. She was as happy as I have ever seen her, and that’s saying a lot, since Amber is such a happy person to start with. Was. I hope you’re doing everything you can to find her.”
The tears were coursing down Patricia Schwarz’s cheeks again, and she wiped them away absently with the back of her hand.
“When exactly did she leave your residence?” Brent asked, while Jude took notes.
“I don’t know exactly. Amber saw the time on her netbook and said it was almost eleven so she had to get going — she had to get up early in the morning. And shortly after she left, that irritating heirloom of my husband’s struck eleven.” She gestured toward a wooden mantel clock that ticked gently in the background. “But I can’t tell you exactly when she left. Why would that matter? She’s missing and you need to find her, right?”

Total first draft, only edited for expletives and a couple of word repetitions I noticed when doing a quick read-through. So go ahead and have at it!

I would be curious as to which project you guys would prefer seeing excerpts from, this one, or A Wasted Land. If there’s an overwhelming preference one way or the other, I will try to comply. πŸ™‚


26 thoughts on “Getting back to Amber: An excerpt for #WIPpet Wednesday”

  1. This is rolling along nicely. Amber’s character is very clear-cut in this scene. Her stronger reaction to finding out the husband was the victim, however, made me immediately suspect they had something going on.

    A Wasted Land is more to my tastes but I’ll read anything so long as it’s good. πŸ™‚

  2. Nice; I think the use of expletives was appropriate considering. I mean, the cops show up telling me one of my neighbors was murdered, I’d be dropping F-bombs like crazy.

  3. I’d probably react a lot like Patricia there. Though I keep it clean in public, at home and when truly frazzled I’m worse than the bastard child of a sailor and trucker.

    Merry Christmas. πŸ™‚

  4. I don’t know Amber’s story at all so maybe I’m missing something here – I know the policeman said the neighbour was the last to see her – but that’s a big leap to ‘missing’- it hasn’t been that long the policeman hasn’t said she didn’t turn up for work – maybe she was called to a sick relative or something – last to see her ‘alive’ or she’ hasn’t been seen for some days’ or . . . I thought that bit too ‘jumping to conclusions’ from the neighbour – I’d be taking her in for questioning:)

    neighbour very suspicious – why did she leap to conclusion it was Amber? – didn’t turn up for work? – Get news like that why would think it was Amber unless you have prior knowledge? (of course this might be explained in the bit before. Strong character but I don’t believe a word of her’s, she’s good at the tears though:)

    as I say not having the prior story I might be way off the track here if so – forget I even opened my mouth:) all the best

  5. I think the expletives add something to this scene, particularly as it seems that Patricia’s reaction is far stronger to the news that it’s the husband who’s been murdered rather than Amber.

    The only issue I had was the fact the police never specifically said that Amber was missing. Patricia seemed to jump to this conclusion with no real basis and that just jarred a little. Great emotion though.

      1. Oh I love great catches, especially when they agree with mine πŸ™‚ Great scene, Ruth. Packed with raw emotion. Love it.

        Happy Christmas to you and your family. X

  6. Trish is definitely overwrought here. The scene itself is clearly raw, but you’ve definitely captured a strong sense of both her character and Amber’s as seen by her.

    Yeah, December doesn’t seem to be a great writing month. I’ve been trying to break that trend, but… you’re doing great in my book with that.

    And I’m with Kathi on the choices. I’ll read anything as long as it’s good. But yeah, I do find I like A Wasted Lan a bit more. Perhaps because it’s more polished already….

    1. Ah, well, then back to the more difficult writing project. πŸ™‚

      Just kidding. I really do need to finish it so I’ll have more books in the Pendragon series, and you guys prefering it to may foray into another genre just might be the kick in the butt I need!

  7. Ruth,
    I like Trish. Some people tend to be loose with the expletives, and to jump to hand-wringing conclusions…it could be, though, that she does have reason to know about those woods between the houses, and a powerful reaction to the news that Amber’s husband is dead…

    I’m wondering….

    After the intense planning of October, and the intense writing of November, I’m in need of renewal, refilling, and reconnecting with the world outside my own skull. December is a wandering and restful time, and I am gathering loosened and frayed ends back into the weaving. Instead of fighting it, I’m learning to flow with it. I haven’t written any new words in days, other than quick blogposts, but I feel things coalescing and gestating, and, once they’re ready for birth, there will be a surge of new words – and they’ll be better for the time to grow naturally…

    I am really enjoying both WIPs. I like watching this story being born, and the more polished snips from A Wasted Land, too.

    I also like surprises!

    Merry merry Christmas season to you and yours! =)

  8. 😦 Sounds like Amber and her husband were a happy couple. I hope the good cop will see that right away. And I hope her poor neighbor will not become a victim as well for having been the last one to see her, or some such thing.

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