An excerpt from "Far From The Madding Crowd"
Gabriel had always known that when the fire was lighted and the door closed one of these must be kept open -- that chosen being always on the side away from the wind. Closing the slide to windward, he turned to open the other; on second thoughts the farmer considered that he would first sit down leaving both closed for a minute or two, till the temperature of the hut was a little raised. He sat down.
His head began to ache in an unwonted manner, and, fancying himself weary by reason of the broken rests of the preceding nights, Oak decided to get up, open the slide, and then allow himself to fall asleep. He fell asleep, however, without having performed the necessary preliminary.
How long he remained unconscious Gabriel never knew. During the first stages of his return to perception peculiar deeds seemed to be in course of enactment. His dog was howling, his head was aching fearfully -- somebody was pulling him about, hands were loosening his neckerchief.
On opening his eyes he found that evening had sunk to dusk in a strange manner of unexpectedness. The young girl with the remarkably pleasant lips and white teeth was beside him. More than this -- astonishingly more -- his head was upon her lap, his face and neck were disagreeably wet, and her fingers were unbuttoning his collar.
"Whatever is the matter?" said Oak, vacantly.
She seemed to experience mirth, but of too insignificant a kind to start enjoyment.
"Nothing now,' she answered, "since you are not dead. It is a wonder you were not suffocated in this hut of yours."
"Ah, the hut!" murmured Gabriel. "I gave ten pounds for that hut. But I'll sell it, and sit under thatched hurdles as they did in old times, and curl up to sleep in a lock of straw! It played me nearly the same trick the other day!" Gabriel, by way of emphasis, brought down his fist upon the floor.
"It was not exactly the fault of the hut," she observed in a tone which showed her to be that novelty among women -- one who finished a thought before beginning the sentence which was to convey it. "You should, I think, have considered, and not have been so foolish as to leave the slides closed."
"Yes I suppose I should," said Oak, absently. He was endeavouring to catch and appreciate the sensation of being thus with her, his head upon her dress, before the event passed on into the heap of bygone things. He wished she knew his impressions; but he would as soon have thought of carrying an odour in a net as of attempting to convey the intangibilities of his feeling in the coarse meshes of language. So he remained silent.
She made him sit up, and then Oak began wiping his face and shaking himself like a Samson. "How can I thank 'ee?" he said at last, gratefully, some of the natural rusty red having returned to his face.
"Oh, never mind that," said the girl, smiling, and allowing her smile to hold good for Gabriel's next remark, whatever that might prove to be.
"How did you find me?"
"I heard your dog howling and scratching at the door of the hut when I came to the milking (it was so lucky, Daisy's milking is almost over for the season, and I shall not come here after this week or the next). The dog saw me, and jumped over to me, and laid hold of my skirt. I came across and looked round the hut the very first thing to see if the slides were closed. My uncle has a hut like this one, and I have heard him tell his shepherd not to go to sleep without leaving a slide open. I opened the door, and there you were like dead. I threw the milk over you, as there was no water, forgetting it was warm, and no use."
"I wonder if I should have died?" Gabriel said, in a low voice, which was rather meant to travel back to himself than to her.
"Oh no!" the girl replied. She seemed to prefer a less tragic probability; to have saved a man from death involved talk that should harmonise with the dignity of such a deed -- and she shunned it.
"I believe you saved my life, Miss ---- I don't know your name. I know your aunt's, but not yours."
"I would just as soon not tell it -- rather not. There is no reason either why I should, as you probably will never have much to do with me."
"Still, I should like to know."
"You can inquire at my aunt's -- she will tell you."
Keeping an audience involed in your story involves a wide range of points but maintaining a good pace up for your story is critical. Ballencing description with action is a constant back and forth (with most editors perfering less description and most authors wanting more). Nothing can answer the "how much" question except for experience and listening to your audience.
An excerpt from George Eliot's "The Mill on the Floss" that caught this author's eye in the reading.
Mr. Tulliver did not willingly write a letter, and found the relation between spoken and written language, briefly known as spelling, one of the most puzzling things in this puzzling world. Nevertheless, like all fervid writing, the task was done in less time than usual, and if the spelliing differed from Mrs. Glegg's---why she belonged, like himself, to a generation with whom spelling was a matter of private judgment.
After taking a break from authoring for a few weeks it is time to start editing. "Discovery" will start going under the knife next week. Here is a snippet of the unedited version.
The road did prove to be easier going. And the grin on the nurse’s face was worth the cranky servicemen. They had reached a rise in a recently clear-cut area just as dark began to fall. One of those clearings had come to the sky, a hole in the dense clouds that stretched just to the visible horizon giving about ten miles of clear sky in all directions. To the west stretched the vast rolling Pacific; dark, ominous, and uneasy in the approaching night. Freeman suppressed a shiver, they had taken out Hitler’s sea wolves, there was no need to fear the dark waters anymore. To the east the patchwork of timber forest that had fed the needs of a nation at war. Above them shone the rain cleansed night sky with Polaris twinkling as it ever had, no matter the madness of the men beneath him. They tramped on, trying to reach the crash site they had been sent to locate and begin the probably futile search for the missing crewmen. Suddenly the still of the night was broken with a hoarse cry of fear when one of the men shouted and pointed to the northwest. Without pausing to think Chief Petty Officer Freeman barked orders for the men to seek cover. He was vaguely aware that, much to her disgust, the nurse was swept up and carried off to safety as the battle hardened warriors found shelter in the stumps and fallen trunks. The most experienced private crouched beside him already with a note pad and pencil handy. The airman had his compass out and up and lined up even as he tossed his wrist watch to the private.
All traces of his accent were gone as he called out the bearing.
Freeman snapped out the numbers not bothering to check on his assistant. The younger man knew what was needed from long hours in the European theater tracking the Luftwafta roaring towards their targets.
“Two fists over the horizon exactly,” one seaman shouted out and the recorder deftly added that information to the current bearing and time.
“Father in Heaven it is like liquid gold,” the nurse murmured reverently from where she crouched in the debris. “Like the course of an angel.”
“More like a V2 coming in over London,” growled one of the privates.
Today was spent herding small children and coaches at a Lego Robotics Competition at Evergreen Aviation Museum. The robots were for the most part small, practical looking atomatons that served their purposes with more practical skill than finesse, as one might expect from robots made of Legos. There was certianly copious ammounts of story inspiration to be had from delightful little quips spoken as seriously as only second graders can speak to "incidences" that had the coordinators gnashing their teeth and checking the venue insurance policies.
Nope, no math jokes today. I genuinely stayed home and baked pies. Three pumpkin and one apple. Why didn't I spend the time writing? Well I am avoiding post NaNoWriMo burn out. Stay safe folks. Safe and happy.
In defiance of the enchroaching darkness of the winter solstice this author is fortifying her house with ligths, apple cinimon scent, pine boughs, and bright colors. Pictures will be posted tomorrow if as I suspect I will be trapped inside by the coming ice storm.
When building a science fiction world mechanizaton of some sort is very frequently going to come into play. Even in post appocoliptic, espically in post appocoliptic, settings the voice of an artificial lifeform can be a major plot point, a clue to the nature of the world, or a minor MacGuffin. So when builing a world remember that that annoying robo call from an insurance company has a place as well.
Betty Adams is an up and coming author with a bent for science and Sci-fi.