# of pages written: 5.5 (so far)
# of times I’ve checked email/facebook: 3
# of days left to write 1st draft: 152
Thus far I have only posted non-fiction on this blog, perhaps making everyone (including myself) wonder if indeed I am a fiction writer. Well, here is some fiction, although I am posting it not as proof, but because I am in need of help.
I’m very good at starting stories. In fact, my brilliant and beautiful mentor, Amanda Boyden, author of Pretty Little Dirty and Babylon Rolling, once told me, “Eva, your beginnings are awesome. But your endings need work.” It’s true. Often, my endings are nonexistent.
The other day I went to the beach and sat there for a long time, staring at the ocean and sifting sand through my fingers. Then I wrote home and wrote part of a macabre story. As usual, I really like the way it begins, but I can’t figure out what should actually happen. You know, that thing called plot. I’ve tried several different options, but nothing seems to work, and I don’t know how it will end, except most likely someone will die.
So, here’s a fun assignment for you! Read this, and tell me what YOU think should happen! If I like you’re idea, I will use it and credit you as a co-author. I’m also hoping to get the very talented friend who did the illustration for today and Day 6 to illustrate this story. Added fun! So, without further ado, I give you….Untitled:
Bianca sat on the beach, sucking on a piece of rock-hard taffy and squinting into the orange sun as it sank into the sea. Her mother had gone off again with the lobster man, and there was no telling when she might be back, or if she would be back at all.
The wind kicked up, blowing sand onto Bianca’s lemon-flavored taffy. The girl stuffed it into her mouth and heard the unpleasant crunching inside her molars as she chewed. The sunlight formed a shining gold highway on the ocean, and the clouds along the horizon had turned pink, like the secret insides of a conch shell. Behind her the sea grasses rustled on the dunes, and above her head seagulls screamed as they fought against the wind.
Just then, Bianca noticed a small head bobbing in the blue water. Wondering if it was a baby drowning, she stood and brushed the sand from her black dress, her jaw still working the taffy. She couldn’t swim, and she was alone on the beach, so if a baby was drowning, there wasn’t much she could do. She watched the object float above the water. A baby head would have sunk by now, she thought. A moment later a curling wave tossed the head towards shore, and it washed up with the foam onto the sand.
Bianca ran down the beach to retrieve the head before it was snatched back by the sea. She picked it up, drying it on the front of her dress and brushing away the sand. It was the head of a doll, and quite a nice doll, too, despite being waterlogged and faded from the sun. It had large, green glass eyes with lids that opened and closed, and a fringe of real-looking eyelashes, although the lower lashes were painted on. The doll’s face was bleached white as a bone, and its swirl of plastic hair may have once been brown but was now a pale, grayish color, like that of dirty dishwater. It had a tiny, slip of a nose, and its pinched-up lips were the perfect cupid’s bow, faded from red to pink by the sun.
Bianca looked around furtively for girl fishers. These were old men in leaky, wooden boats who cast out lines with dolls or hair bows attached to ends, hoping to hook a little girl and lure her out to sea. But the ocean was empty, and so Bianca took her find and plodded back up the beach.
There was really no telling the sex of the doll, but Bianca decided she was a girl and christianed her Catamarina Marie. “You will have two nicknames,” Bianca said, shaking the head to drain some of the water trapped inside it. “You’ll be called Cat by your family – mainly me since I’m your mother – and you’ll be called Mari by your friends, if you ever have any.”
Cradling the doll in the crook of her elbow, Bianca sat down in the dry sand to examine her daughter more closely. She and Catamarina looked very much the same, she thought. Both pale as paper with large green eyes and small, pink lips. Bianca’s hair, cropped short for easy care, was the same nondescript color as the doll’s: somewhere between brown and yellow.
“I’m not sure what to do with you, Baby Cat,” Bianca said, stroking the doll’s smooth cheek. “I can’t feed you. You have no tummy. I can’t change you. You have no bummy.” Bianca giggled and wished someone was around to hear her rhyme. She always seemed to be at her most witty and charming when she was alone. Around her mother and her mother’s friends, she often pouted and cried and was a general nuisance.
Suddenly, Catamarina’s eyelids blinked and her tiny, painted mouth began to open. From it came a sputtering cough and a spray of seawater. Then she began to speak in a high and lovely voice…