Show Me Yours, a Blogfest

Ooh, look! It's a post. Finally. I am aware that it's been a while, but I've been swept up in the NYE-slash-work-slash-revisions world that has now become my life. Anyways. A while ago, I signed up to a blogfest over at Falen Formulates Fiction, by the charming name of Show Me Yours. I know that to many northern hemisphere natives that it's only the 2nd of January, however, down here in Australia, it's the 3rd. Therefore, I am early.

I couldn't find an excerpt from my NaNo, mostly because I haven't touched it since the 1st of December. This blogfest deadline really snuck up on me, and I don't really have time to comb through and then edit a scene, so I'll be lazy and give you an excerpt from my novel, RETURN, which is seizing my sanity and my sleep. It's meant to be 500 words, but I'm feeling rebellious and shall give you 650 or whatever it is.

The Grog and Gruel was empty, or almost empty. Nightfall smothered the narrow pub, blackening the small front windows. Its regular patrons approached before briskly detouring down the street, having caught sight of the burly men standing guard at its entrance. It was, perhaps not the sight of the sentries themselves that repelled the patrons so promptly, but the big, horizontal 79's tattooed on the right side of their necks.

The pub's interior had been rearranged. Tables and chairs were heedlessly discarded, stacked the far ends of the narrow space. An inactive fan cast gaunt shadows across the white ceiling, the edges of the pub awash with pooled, yellow wall lights, aesthetics. Brawny men, perhaps not as intimidating as those posted outside, were arranged near the alcove exits at the front and into the kitchen; all were tattooed with the black 79.

A sole table was set up, the two occupants facing each other. Small, a dimmed lamp sat on the table cloth, emitting a brighter light that cast heavy shadows up the men's faces. A dinner plate was laid before each man, one meal steadily demolished, the other untouched.

Despite approaching middle-age, the older, weaselly man appeared boyish. He was ferret-thin with gangly limbs, a raw-boned face and bulbous eyes. He had long sideburns, stretching from a head of copped, mussed hair. His paisley suit was buttoned tight, his elongated shoes, crocodile hide, tapped lazily against the floorboards. he continually adjusted his cuffs; they were a fraction too short for his arms. His hands and wrists were drenched in self-tanner, seemingly glowing in the lamplight. More importantly, however, the back f his right hand bore the thick, black number - 79.

He brandished the numbers with each dip of his hands, fingers picking at the diminishing meal before him. His long, thin nose seemed razor-sharp as his head bowed. He popped the final bite on the plate into his mouth, and glanced up at his company. "Forfar Bridies-" Vesuvius Marcum grinned, teeth bared. "Me Mam made brilliant ones when I was a lad," he said, Scottish inflection guttural. He sucked each fingertip, smacking his lips. "You got grilled Loch Fynne kippers." He jabbed a finger toward his guest's untouched plate.

"You're not the eatin' type-" He raised his palms and lounged back, crossing one leg over the other. "I understand. Or maybe it's the menu." Marcum waggled his eyebrows, a peculiar smile fastened on his lips. "What did your Mam cook you when you were a lad? Oh, you probably had lots of sorts. Another half-caste like me - what are you? Irish, French, Bulgarian and - " He grinned. "A convict. That's right. Your father, direct descendant of a convict." Marcum roared with laughter. "I can't believe the irony."

The younger man across from him was unresponsive. He was in his twenties, had a rigid, upright stance, and sat with his hands in his lap, one leg crossed over the other. Small eyes peered out from beneath dark, curly hair, chapped lips pursed in sync with a furrowed brow.

Marcum stopped laughing. He cleared his throat, averting his eyes from those of his sinister guest, who, he noticed, smelled ever-so-slightly of gasoline. Perhaps, the young man had been incredibly handsome once, back when he'd been one of those do-gooders. Marcum could see that his mental deterioration had affected his appearance - he was gaunt, pale, and in all looked like a burn victim, rebuilt with plastic surgery.

Marcum adjusted his collar, then raised a hand, the mere gesture sending one of this men into the back for more bridies. "We haven't gathered in months." His eyes flashed up at his guest. "Many months indeed." One eyebrow rose. "Have we wreaked ample havoc, my tim'rous beastie?"

His guest said nothing; the corner of his upper lip twitched before thinning into a knowing smirk. The eyes of cobalt flashed upward, abrupt.

So there we are. Be sure to head over to Falen's blog, as linked to above, and check out some of the other participants of the blogfest. Like I said, this is a scene from my novel that I'm currently revising. I'm not sure about Marcum's name. I'll probably change it. I'll probably change lots, but whatever. Tell me what you think if you like, skulk in silence if you prefer.


Trisha at: January 3, 2011 at 2:39 PM said...

Nice excerpt! Hope you are going well with your revisions :) And happy new year!! :D

Michelle at: January 3, 2011 at 5:55 PM said...

Whoa, I liked this a lot. Especially the setup and the last paragraph - leaves me really curious and wanting more. Hope you win!

nindogs at: January 3, 2011 at 9:10 PM said...

Aw, thanks hon. Hope your revisions are going great too!

I don't know if it's a winning thing or not...But thanks!

Tony Benson at: January 3, 2011 at 10:34 PM said...

I love the descriptive bits and the gradual building of suspense. Definitely left me wanting more. Good stuff, thank you.

Margo Benson at: January 3, 2011 at 10:41 PM said...

Really like all the detail and the sinister build up. Good luck with the revisions.

nindogs at: January 3, 2011 at 10:46 PM said...

Aw thanks guys. I'm about to check out your excerpts now.

Ellie at: January 4, 2011 at 12:03 AM said...

You have a real talent for description and I loved this line, 'The eyes of cobalt flashed upward, abrupt.'

Good luck with your revisions. I'm about to start work on completing my nano novel!

Jon Paul at: January 4, 2011 at 12:31 AM said...

Very nice scene! Good luck with revisions and Happy New Year!

J.C. Martin at: January 4, 2011 at 2:07 AM said...

Loved the setting. Brilliant imagery, I can see that pub with the guards in my mind's eye! You've certainly piqued my curiosity of what the 79 tattoo is about. Well done!

Just one tiny thing I noticed in the paragraph beginning "Despite approaching middle-age": it's not prevalent in the rest of the excerpt, but this paragraph seemed to have a bit too many adverbs. My Control+F highlighted 6 of the little blighters. I'm not at all anti-adverb--one every few paragraphs are fine--but perhaps consider trimming them down in that para.

Thanks for sharing!

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) at: January 4, 2011 at 2:16 AM said...

ooh very nice! I liked the description of smelling ever-so-slightly of gasoline. Also, i really like Marcum's name and don't think you should change it. But, of course, you know the character better than i

Rebecca T. at: January 4, 2011 at 4:13 AM said...

interesting. I wanted to know what the deal was with the 79s and why they're alone in this little restaurant and what all is going on!

Summer Ross at: January 4, 2011 at 6:38 AM said...

You do very well with settings, you can see everything very clearly. i enjoyed the read.

nindogs at: January 4, 2011 at 10:04 AM said...

Thanks. Good luck revising!

Thanks for the read! I'm about to check out yours.

Thanks for your advice! Like I said, I'm currently revising. When I'm editing all my "seemingly"s and "apparently"s disappear - I'm somehow very unsure about facts when I write.

It might be something simple, like dropping the M on Marcum or something like that. (:

Haha, thanks. I'm about to read your excerpt.

Oh, thanks. I'll check out yours in a moment. (:

Elizabeth Twist at: January 4, 2011 at 10:11 AM said...

I hope your revision continues to go well. I loved the detailed description of Marcum - it somehow made me even more curious about his dinner partner. Thanks for sharing this!

Hannah Kincade at: January 4, 2011 at 11:26 AM said...

I like the name Marcum. I think it should stay. I love the accented dialogue. It's not always done well but I could hear yours very well. Well done!

Thanks for joining us!

nindogs at: January 4, 2011 at 12:16 PM said...

Thanks - the dinner partner is indeed a curious bloke. (:

Oh, thanks. Marcum's is really the only accented dialogue I've done.

Stephanie at: January 4, 2011 at 1:49 PM said...

Hope your revisions are going well. I know your plight well since I'm in editing process as well. (sigh-will they ever end)

This was descriptive - the scene quite clear. I'm curious to know more about the guest and what the 79 tats mean. Great job

Jessica Lei at: January 4, 2011 at 2:54 PM said...

I liked your sentences. WHICH, I know, is a weird thing to say--but a lot of people don't pay attention to the construction of them. So while I read this, I kinda noticed a nice flow, and it was in the sentences. Interesting set up :) Great construction, with the suspense and the descriptions. Thanks for sharing!

nindogs at: January 4, 2011 at 8:08 PM said...

Oh thanks, and I hope yours are going well too. They are indeed everlasting.

Haha, I was always told a compliment is a compliment. So thanks!

Bee at: January 4, 2011 at 8:59 PM said...

Your writing captures the atmosphere perfectly. I'm intrigued.

kelworthfiles at: January 6, 2011 at 10:01 AM said...

Hey, thanks for sharing! I'm definitely intrigued and like a lot of things that are going on here, but there's something about the voice that just throws me off every once in a while, possibly just because you haven't finished polishing the language. I'll include a handful of samples, with the words that seemed most 'off' to me marked with *asterisks*:

'Tables and chairs were heedlessly discarded, *stacked the* far ends of the narrow space.'
'...awash with pooled, yellow wall lights, *aesthetics*.'
'*Small*, a dimmed lamp sat on the table cloth...'
'He had long sideburns, stretching from a head of *copped*, mussed hair.'
'...he said, Scottish inflection *guttural*.'
'...sending one of *this* men into the back...'

I do definitely wonder what's up with these 39 people, and can totally picture Marcum as a kindred soul to Badger from 'Firefly' - maybe even played by Mark Shephard, or does he not fit the picture in your head? Good luck with it and your revisions, in any event.

nindogs at: January 6, 2011 at 3:30 PM said...

Aw thanks.

Thanks for your input. Looking at the bits you've highlighted, I'm thinking some of it's a typo issue. But some of the words do indeed sound off. Thanks for the advice and I can definitely see Badger as Marcum. (:

The Golden Eagle at: January 7, 2011 at 10:10 AM said...

I hope your revisions go well!

I like your excerpt a lot--now I want to know what happens next! Thanks for sharing.

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