Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rainy Day Blogfest

The Writer's Hole is having a Rainy Day Blogfest.  Here is an excerpt from my ms.

Mrs. Smelt sat at the dining table with a tea tray that held smoothly molded cups in front of her. Anne sat opposite her and poured herself some tea, listening to the morning rain that fell from the now darkened sky.

“She will die,” her mother said, not taking her eyes off of the cup she held in her trembling hands.

“Yes,” Anne replied

“Is it wrong for a mother to feel relieved?”

“No, it is merciful,” Anne replied.

“I love her.”

“I know. She knows.”

Mrs. Smelt looked up, eyes red but no tears.

“When she dies do not cleanse the body. Wrap her up in thick cloth right away and bury her the same evening. Her only fear was to infect her family and I want to make sure that doesn’t happen. We will have service for her in the morning.”

“Yes. That would be best,” Mrs. Smelt spoke softly.

“The room will need to be cleansed. You will need to make a new bed and bedding. Everything should be replaced.” Anne swallowed hard.

“Yes,” Mrs. Smelt said.

“I can give--“

Mrs. Smelt took Anne’s small hands in her own. Anne could feel the rough skin of a woman who labored for her family atop her own smooth ones. “There is no need child.” The woman’s voice was even. “She always enjoyed your company.”

Anne nodded. Forcing a smile, she stood up, gently placed the cup on the tray, and went out into the cold rain. She lifted her face to the cold drops. A semblance of awakening and sensibility swept through her. Anne had never understood how she was able to help those who fell ill and know when they would eventually die. Yet, she did know, and it drained her immensely. She kept this particular gift hidden from her family. She reasoned that the skill stemmed from her knowledge of herbs and remedies, but in truth, the skill came from her very essence. No one but Richard knew of it. She wrapped herself in her cloak, went to her steed, and rode home, thinking that she would blame him for her ruined shoes.


  1. Not sure what the genre is -- fantasy, I smell -- but I like the allusion that she can sense death. Gives it a mystical feel.

    I was a bit confused by who was talking when. Could be that I still haven't eaten lunch, but I had to do some re-reading to figure who was who saying what.

    Still, I liked the scene, and love the morbid premise.

    - Eric

  2. You do a good job of conveying some of the sorrow here, without letting it overwhelm things.

  3. Hello. An intriguing piece. Stylistically I didn't get a handle on it until the last paragraph, which opened up emotionally. Then, an unexpected, and welcome, moment of humour at the end.

    One small point: the dialogue after "Mrs. Smelt looked up, eyes red but no tears," seems like it's going to belong to Mrs Smelt. Only when she responds to it, did I realise it had been Anne.

  4. I have to agree that the dialogue was an eensy weensy confusing. Also, watch your duplication of words. Otherwise, I really liked how you put us -smack- into something so unthinkable that we are forced to find out "what the heck" This could be a very cool book - dark and moody perhaps.

    I have read other much longer passages, other places, that failed to convey "feeling" of any kind. I think you could be good at it.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. I found this intriguing.

    As I have a decidedly fantasy-centered approach, I felt you hinted at the old woman's daughter having become some sort of threat/abomination (harsh word choice, sorry :P) and the end is unavoidable. Just in case this isn't along the lines you want me to be thinking, I'm including my thoughts :P

    The sorrow was certainly well done, I agree with the others :D

    I think the dialogue is confusing because it is out of context...would love to read more!

  6. Thanks for your comments everyone!

    Yup, it is fantasy. Mrs. Smelt's daughter died of a contagious disease. I'll make sure to clean up the dialogue.

    Thanks again.

  7. To me, this was perfect. I got everything. And I loved the end - blaming the man that her shoes were ruined. The only this wrong with this was that it was too short. =D

  8. Thanks RaShelle. I'm glad you liked it!

  9. I too felt a bit confused in the beginning.. but the story per say, hooked me. What is her ability?
    Poor Richard..I hope he can stand up to the blame and come back with an interesting retort or two ;)
    Would love to see more..

  10. I don't know how I missed your entry since I went through each one to comment on them all, but I did.

    I felt the sorrow in this piece. I too was confused about who was speaking at the same point. Also, when Mrs. Smelt grabs Anne's hands it's jarring because they're holding tea cups and after the lady lets go of Anne's hands, Anne stands up and places her tea cup down. So maybe change it to a one hand thingy.

    Other than that, I was completely intrigued by this story. :D

  11. Thanks for your comment Ju, and thanks Brenda for catching the hands thing.

  12. I liked the somberness of it all; not that I like to be sad but...*grins*

    Wanted to thank you for visiting my blog. I agree about the notebook issue. Yikes!!

  13. I enjoyed this. I think if you want to clear up the confusion, begin with Anne and then Mrs. Smelt. I liked the sorrow, though, and the humor at the end.

  14. A great example of a "showing" excerpt rather than a "telling" one. All we need to know is revealed in the tight, well-written dialogue between the characters. Brilliant entry!

  15. I had no problem following the dialog and in fact loved how it made me concentrate on the journey of where you were going with the story. Yes, more, more of this story.

  16. Lovely. I love the cadence of your writing. Too many writers focus on the mechanics of tension and story, but ignore the things that make reading enjoyable - the sounds and rhythm of the words themselves. Someone once criticized me for apparently "falling in love with the words." Isn't that what writers are supposed to do?

    Thanks so much for participating!


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