Beginnings

For the past three years I’ve been writing a new story. I’ve mentioned it here a few times, but only briefly because I’m superstitious that if I talk about an infant story too much, it dies and I never finish it.

Three years. Granted, I’m a slow writer in the best of times. But this has been hard because I’m trying to stretch my wings as a writer and am not sure if I’m succeeding. This one has multiple perspectives and story lines. It’s darker than I’ve written before, and it’s scary. Well, my goal is to make it scary. I’m not sure it’s scary enough.

My editor has her fingers in the story now, and she’s challenging me to delete chapters, strengthen motivations, and work on the scene/sequel process. It became obvious the beginning was very rough and needed a lot of work. No surprise there because beginnings can be the hardest thing to write as they have so much to accomplish.

The idea for the story came from a news event, but I don’t think I could have written it without being in a darker place myself. Without saying, ‘these are the things I’m afraid of in this world’ and then trying to place those fears on paper.

Anyway, I am hoping to have the book available by the end of summer. Cover art is in the process and I’ll share versions here to get opinions. But in the meantime, below is the beginning. The prologue. It’s still in edit but I’ll share anyway. Comments, first impressions, and opinions are appreciated.

And of course it’s copyrighted.

Prologue

The Hole in the Wall wasn’t really a hole but a dead-end shaft with a steel door that could be barricaded from within and locked from without. And the Wall wasn’t really a wall, but a granite mountain deeply fissured and hung with a dark and shadowed forest curtain. One that went straight up, creating a sense of severe vertigo overwhelming anyone leaning back, and back, and back, to see the top. Here and there, stunted fir and cedar and hemlock twisted and bent waiting to fall.

Occasionally the Wall would free boulders to plummet down and leave deep impact craters in the forest floor.

Few rock climbers, hanging with harnesses and bandaged knuckles, knew the door was there, far below them where the forest washed up at the base of the Wall.

Curtis Jonason locked himself in the Hole five days a week. Some days he imagined himself a climber suspended in the heights, able to see for miles, see the rushing white water of the Skykomish River, speckled with daredevil kayakers. Or to gaze down on the tiny, tiny town of Index, Washington nestled a mile off Highway 2 in the Cascade Mountains. But he wasn’t an adventurer. And he had long ago come to terms with the reality that his adventures were only found in imagination and books.

Instead, each day, in cold weather gear, he unlocked the Hole with his smooth scientist’s hands, slipped into the dark, and bolted the door behind him. There, he would spend fourteen hours alone burrowed into the granite, a small stream rushing under his workstation, a flashlight his only illumination.

Alone with his machines.

morning star 09 006

Morningstar climbing route on a small portion of the Wall

14 thoughts on “Beginnings

    • That’s always a good sign. And a relief. Did you feel any sense of foreboding? I’m trying to make the setting a character as strong as the people.

      • Foreboding is a good word, I definitely felt that especially when reading of the risks taken in order to get to that mysterious door and wondering what might be going on inside…

  1. It is hard for me to critique. I am not much of a writer. And it is in the process of being edited. Anything i might add, could be in the process of being edited out or in. I will say, if it supposed to be dark, a little more mystery would be nice of where this scientist is. Only because, i know where Index is and have been there lol. But also, I dont want to locate it on the map….I want to wonder where this place is and feel lost in my imagination. Like in a haunted house roaming through dark halls. Or an abandoned shack in the woods. I am intrigued for sure! What is that scientist doing?! This space behind rocky walls where his only illumation is a flashlight. He must be carrying batteries on him. Or is it one of those self cranking ones? I am intrigued! 🙂 good job!

    • Or, anything you might add might be something not thought of yet. The first chapter gets more into what the scientist is doing. I just wanted a prologue that would introduce the character of the setting, if that makes sense. Since you’re familiar with Index, have you ever been to the Hole, or the Wall?

      • Ok a prologue. Told you i do not know what i am talking about lol. And no i have never heard of the wall or the hole. Just been there a couple of times with a friend, fishing. I thought it was beautiful. I do not climb exveot stairs in my home, which i sometimes fall up or down them. LoL.

  2. Lisa, congrats on getting so close to finishing your new work! I’m at the beginning of something new, afraid of the length, and afraid not to tell people, because it would make it easier to get lost in my doubts and give it up. But this is about you and your new, darker, scarier story. (Your description intrigues me!)

    Here are my first impressions of your prologue: I like the setting and the way I see it in my mind as you describe it. I love how you bring me into this natural place with the sceintist and the machines hidden inside. I wonder if he’s alone in his work or working for someone, some company, or the government. I wonder if The Hole in The Wall, the door, is largely unknown because it’s supposed to be, or if it’s unknown because the adventurers who enjoy the mountain, and the people who just look up at it, aren’t paying enough attention to know.

    I wonder if Curtis Jonason can be in the dark with only a flashlight and machines for fourteen hours a day, five days a week, without becoming a madman. Or is he mad already? And I wonder why he doesn’t delude himself, as armchair adventurers often do, into thinking that his seeming claustrophobic contribution (whatever it is) isn’t an adventure, too, in its way. All good questions I like having at the beginning of a story.

    I like scary ones. And I’m glad to hear your good news.

    • Thank you for the feedback and taking time to note this all down for me. I always, always value your comments. And I’m chuckling evilly thinking of the answers to some of your questions…Hope to hear more about your work in progress.

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