As a writer, I have always considered the process an experienced writer uses to write a novel can be nearly as interesting as reading the finished novel. So, on these pages, I will post a novel in progress, so that you can see all the editorial changes that I do when I am writing a novel. The following will be my series of rough drafts, as I write a fantasy novel.
The snow — exceptionally cold for the middle of October — the snow came down in heaps. By the shovelful. Josepha rounde+d he corner in her Saab, easing the breaks so she wouldn’t go into a skid. Last winter had been treacherous. This winter looked like the beginning of the ice age.
“Global warming!” she snorted under her breath, wiping the mist from the windshield with her gloved hand. But since when did the sky and the sun and the wind read those supposed scientific predictions?
“Too many arguments with my mother,” she grumbled as she slid the car into the driveway, turned off the windshield wipers and the heat and cut the engine. “I wish she wasn’t so ready to believe everything she sees on television!”
She trudged up the walk, noting that she would have to be outside again, right after supper with a shovel. This was not the way she wanted to spend her evening. She huffed and puffed up the three flights of stairs to her apartment, turned on the heat and made herself a cup of tea, waiting for the heat to kick in before she took off her coat.
The coat was old, dating from the 1950s, a treasure she had found at a second hand shop. It was getting frayed around the edges, but it was still warmer than anything she had ever owned before.
Catastrophe curled up at her feet. The cat had been part of a litter born in the downstairs neighbor’s apartment. As a kitten he had found his way up the stairs to her apartment, and decided he didn’t want to leave, even though Josepha had dutifully returned him to the home of his birth, several times before she was able to admit she had a pet.
She fixed herself a solitary supper — a cheese omelet with vegetables left from the day before, eating it with a science fiction book at her elbow.
The heat began to blow in through the register, warming her back. Between that and her mug of hot tea, she very nearly dozed off, until the phone rang.
“Hello?” She hadn’t looked to see who was on the caller ID, and felt a pang of disappointment when she heard her mother’s voice.
“Josepha, I’m sorry to bother you like this, but I need you over here tonight.”
“I can’t, Mother. I have to be at work early in the morning.
“Look, sweetheart, it’s important, or I wouldn’t ask you to do this. I need you here for a seance.”
“No…There was an i-intruder last night. Someone broke the lock on the door and I heard all kinds of stuff going on downstairs. I don’t want to be in here alone tonight.”
“You called the locksmith about getting an alarm put on the house?”
“I did, but they won’t be able to come around till next week.”
“You want me to move in with you till then?”
“Not really, no. but would you come over tonight?”
Josepha sighed. “I’ll be there in an hour.” She hung up the phone, put her coat and boots on and headed out thedoor to make a stab at clearing the front walk. Half an hour later, her hands burning with cold, she put an extra portion of kibble in the bowl for Catastrophe, packed a night gown and a clean blouse in her carry-all and headed over to her mother’s row-house apartment on the other side of town.
It had been built at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century. Brownstone facing on the outside, identical with the brownstone facing on the rest of the row of houses going down the block. Inside, her apartment was a tunnel of small, dark rooms, with dark paneling, wainscoting, that rose half way up the walls in all the rooms, including the kitchen. Over the years, her mother had furnished the place with antiques that would have been appropriate to the house when it was first built. She had even found a gas/coal stove for the kitchen, and had been tempted to have the heat converted back to coal, except it would have been far too expensive and messy, even for her mother who loved to dabble with old fashioned things.
Every time Josepha walked into that house, she felt as though she was walking into a time-warp.
What does Josepha want?
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