Friday, November 26, 2010

It's Not Over til it's Over

Memoirs of Daniel: The Fallen has been complete for a couple of weeks now, the minor edits have been done for about a week, and it has been with the betas for a few days. Since that time, I have created a new blog dedicated to the stories that I'm writing (because MoD isn't the only one in the pipeline) and myself.

Feel free to have a look!

Jessi Heinrich

I will be updating this blog less frequently, and that one will become the main source of all information concerning my writings. Thank you all for following this blog and for supporting me as I finish the MoD series!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Watchers - Side Project

This is just a little experimental blurb on a short story that I'm considering turning into a novel. I started writing it for a horror anthology that was asking for submissions in regard to the apocalypse. It's not completely plotted out, but this was the beginning of Watchers. :)

Some foreign feeling sweeps through her. Starvation. Thirst. Perhaps a combination of the two. Whatever it is that twists her stomach and makes her groan out loud, is as desperate as it is unnerving. Days have passed without food and water. She and her brother, Peter, are quickly dying. Judging by the marks scratched against her cabinet, it has been forty five, or forty six, days since the eruptions. She only remembers eating some canned goods that had been stashed in a neighbor's pantry. Cold mixed vegetables. A slice of candied pear. But how long it has been since that meal, she couldn't possibly guess.

Her husband, John, died only moments after the blast of ash passed over their home. The curse of being asthmatic, though she figures that his atheist attitude is to blame. He was never a religious man, and he had never taken her scripture seriously. He's repenting now, she thinks. From the cold pits of Hell, she hopes.

Left with only her brother, Maggie attempts to survive. Not many have. Radio frequencies have been destroyed. The television is white and black with, what has grown to be, a comforting noise. Somehow, electricity hasn't been completely destroyed. But, Maggie isn't an engineer or workman. She only knows that after trying several times to make different appliances work, some have and some have not. Peter, bless him, has been out on the deserted town trying to find food, water and entertainment. They played Yahtzee some time ago, and when they discovered that the Beaufords died, they took Chutes and Ladders as a way to pass the time.

But Maggie doesn't know how long they will have to pass the time. They're dying, of course. The destruction of their town, their city, and probably the entire county, was only a blip of the catastrophic events that had taken place. If it was any different, things would be very different indeed. Maggie knows the time has come. She is ready. But she knows to bide her time. Wait. He will come. And it will be He that saves her. As He has always promised.

“I found James,” comes Peters voice from the foyer of the house. He sounds breathless and excited. Like he's lugging around a pot of gold.

It’s painful for her to turn her head, but she does and sees that clinging to Peter’s taut frame is a boy in his teenage years. James. A welcome face in her household. A young boy who leads the youth group on Tuesdays and Sundays. A God fearing boy, much like her oldest daughter, Sara. She so hoped that they would marry one day. But now, there is no point. Sara has been missing for days.

He's bleeding from the head, an injury that is buried under his unruly, dark hair. Dribbling down the side of his face, a bold, crimson fluid that threatens to stain her eggshell ceramic floor. New found strength sprung her up from the sofa.

"Get a towel for his head," she snapped. Her voice is raw and dry. Peter is busy setting down James' obviously weak body. "Peter - get a towel!"

As she approaches the youthful boy, Maggie is reminded sorely of her departed husband. They had similar eyes; not exact copies, but the color was only a smidge off the same shade of blue. Big. Lined with dark lashes. Sara would have been happy with him, she thinks. Her legs allow her - by gift of God, she is sure - to squat next to James and place her hand on his feverish forehead.

"It's a gift to die now, James," she tells him softly, patting around his face to keep him awake. "You know what's to come."

James merely glances past Maggie's shoulder. Peter reappears at her side, brandishing an old, dirty towel. "Last one left," he tells them. "The others were used to disinfect."

Maggie offers a scornful glare. "Disinfect for what? Peter, really. We aren't going to die of the common cold." A sigh in response, and then boots were clicking against the floor. She hears James chuckle, though she can find no humor. "It's like he thinks this is just a coincidence."

"It always is, to them." The harsh voice he speaks with is not the same. Less boyish. More frightening. The voice of the dying. Like his last breath was lingering. "Skeptics."


***

Forty nine days have passed, and James is still alive. He is moving more, talking more and has even offered them solace in the idea of a clinic down the street. He thinks it's dangerous and refuses to go, and Maggie agrees. But, Peter leaves. He has a wound from a Rottweiler that escaped death. The Gregorys never did train that beast correctly. Maggie knew that if John were around, he'd shoot it and put it out of its eventual misery. Peter, however, cursed and made way to the clinic.

On day fifty, Simon arrives. Panting. Covered in sweat. A sunburn that has turned him red stains his face, his lower arms and the bit of neck he has showing. He is a fool to wear such dark clothing. The sun is hot - hotter than they can remember it being. In the dead of winter, the temperature has reached the highest temperature of the summer. Simon is a fool. Maggie never did like him much. Another skeptic. He was a friend of Peter's. An old, army buddy. They shared many life and death experiences. Funny, Maggie thinks, that it has brought them no closer to God.

"I've got ramen noodles and a box of freeze-dried apricots." Simon always has a bounce in his voice. Even facing this death, there's nothing that keeps him from being droll. Yesterday, a rafter from the church fell towards him, but he hopped away from it with a shining grin. Rubbed Maggie the wrong way. People should be fearful, not playful.

"Noodles," James says, extending his hand for the hard bag of food. "Might brush some of this gunk off my teeth."

Maggie stares at her last can of vegetables. Spinach. The thick, green, watery kind. She hates it. Always has. Her mom's voice rings in her head, eat all of your spinach so that you can be strong. "I'll
stick with the spinach," she says in a tetchy voice. It lost its dryness when James found unpolluted jugs of water in the Honer's garage. Another miracle from Him.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blanking at the End

Whoa. I made a huge push since the last time I updated MoD. Last update - 4 days ago - I only had 69k. Thank you NaNo for the motivation to write more.

That said, the book is quickly coming to its end and I find myself filled with excitement and a wee bit of sadness. There are still more books about Daniel to come, but this one is the stepping block for the others. It's the book in which we first meet Daniel and his brethren, the different worlds that exist in the expanse of infinity, and really get to feel what this series is going to be about. (Trust me, I've slaved over that feeling for four years).

I'm finding it very difficult to think about the end of the novel. I know what is going to happen, how it's going to happen and how the next book starts. Writing it, however, is painstaking. Like someone is taking my brain hostage and refusing to allow me to finish.

I'm sure all it will take is to get "in the zone," but really, I didn't think it would be this difficult to get to the end.

On another, more awesome and positive note: I was contacted by Cortnee Howard, founder and editor-in-chief, at The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog about becoming one of their staff contributors. I did accept, because, really, how freaking cool is that?! Seriously, when I first got the email, I looked like a psychopath and then immediately updated Facebook with caps lock status updates about how excited I was about the whole thing. Kind of glad they couldn't see that. Probably wouldn't have come off as very, uh, professional. Not that I think they're stuffy by any means... but it's the rule of thumb to always present yourself as NOT CRAZY when you first speak to people. Something I have trouble with everyday. :P

I don't have all of the details yet, but what I do know is that I'll be posting an article of sorts at least once a week about the tumultuous experience of an upandcoming author. Of course, I've already been trying to go through ideas of what I'd actually write, since immediately upon accepting their generous offer my mind went blank. Ha. The incredible mind of Jessi at its best once again.

Just in case Cortnee, or any of the other staff/contributors over at BDCWB, see this blog posting: thank you again for the opportunity and I'm very sorry, in advance, that I'm batshit crazy. :)

I definitely need to develop that whole brain-to-mouth thought filter people keep telling me about.

Stats time!!


Word Count: 73,798
Word Pages: 294
Approx. Book Pages: 295
Completed Chapter Count: 28
Musical Preference: Anberlin, 30 Seconds to Mars, Something Corporate
Excerpt: After a moment of quiet deliberation and threat from Daniel’s narrowed eyes, Tobiah allowed them passage into Araboth. “I don’t like doing this, you know.”

“None of us like what we’re doing,” Daniel mumbled, trudging forward without pause.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Stats & Ramble

There are three things that I'm absolutely sure of: my plot is fantastic, my characters are phenomenal and the execution of the story sucks big time. Before you go "nooooo D: It's ah-mazing! You're a fantastic writer!", you first have to understand that an idea is only the very minimal beginning; it's the way in which you show the story that really resonates. There are places in this draft copy that are awkward, poorly written, skeleton-like, and nonsensical. That's what editing is for!

So, while it looks like I'm coming to the end of the story, the journey to getting it published is still very far away. Between editing, novel swap, querying agents, selling the book, more edits, revisions, and possible rewrites, I'm having trouble even looking at Memoirs of Daniel as if it's plausible to earn representation.

Of course, that won't stop me from trying and continuing to improve the story, but... just food for thought. Maybe with the next 5,000 words, I'll feel back on top of the world again. Ah, the tumultuous life of an author...


Word Count: 65,470
Word Pages: 270
Approx. Book Pages: 261
Completed Chapter Count: 26
Musical Preference: Radiohead, Anberlin, Celtic Woman, 30 Seconds to Mars
Excerpt: There was no more pain, but his entire body was physically incapable of moving from the exhaustion that he felt.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Official NaNoWriMo Kick Off!

Well, it's that time of year again, folks! 50k words in 30 days. I have to admit, I kicked off WriMo a few days early, and intend to finish a few days early as well... I've got 10,055 words since I started on Tuesday, just where I'm supposed to be after 6 days. So, the stats on official day one!

Any encouragement would be very, very kindly welcome. You have no idea how frustrating it gets to write day after day after day after day and feel like you're not getting anywhere. So - hot coffee at midnight, surprise food-drops, and anecdotes are all appreciated through the month of November! :D


Word Count: 58,824
Word Pages: 237
Approx. Book Pages: 168
Completed Chapter Count: 23
Next Chapter: Chapter Twenty Four: Nephilim
Musical Preference: Lifehouse, Aerosmith, Bob Segar
Excerpt: “Begged. The night before we fought. He begged for me to kill him.”