Pride and Prejudice: my ‘Zombie Deconstruction’

This doesn’t have anything to do with the book “Pride Good for Night Reading!and Prejudice and Zombies”

I got the book for Christmas. The cover drew me in and the mash-up between PnP and Zombies grabbed me! I read it at night to help me fall asleep 😉

Nope, this post is about something different.

This is something I tried out to get a handle on good story construction. Aka, “Plotting”.

Since it’s a stripped down, bare bones, missing brain and flesh, outline version of PnP,  I figured “Zombie Deconstruction” sounded good. I love Zombies, they’re very relatable right now, too. Although I could have just as easily gone with a “Borg Deconstruction”, I think I’m gonna commit to this one…because I’ve got this nice picture to go with it.

Here, for your writing exercise pleasure, My Zombie Deconstruction of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen:

1)     Building Anticipation for Meeting The Bingley aka “5 THOUSAND a Year!”

2)     Rich People Don’t Country Dance: Lizzy’s first introduction to Darcy

3)     A Fork in the Road: Wickham or Collins? Hmmm. Is there a door number 3?

4)     Netherfield Ball: a) Darcy Piques Lizzy; b) Lizzy Picks on Her Family

5)     Two Covert Ops: a) Operation Evacuation: Netherfield. b) Lizzy’s Operation Rehabilitation: Jane

6)     Lizzy Goes on the Lamb: a) A Glimpse of The Darcy (aka, 10 THOUSAND a YEAR, Mr. Bennett!) in His Natural Habitat; c) Yeah, He’s Pretty Much Still a Jerk; d) Surprise! He Wants to Marry Me… But Can I Ditch My Family First; e) Lizzy Reflects, Conclusion? “Although I loathe him… he HAS a point.”

7)    Circle the Wagons: a) Jane’s Melancholic Determination and Lizzy’s Frustrated Convicted…ness; b) When Frustrated In Love, Go Stand On a Really High Cliff…Hey, what could go wrong?

8)     The Second Round: Lizzy Vs. Darcy; a) Is the Beast Really a Prince? b) Darcy 2.0: Romantic Reboot; c) Uh-Oh. Silly Lydia and Her Whoring Around “Will Ruin Us All”

9)     All’s Well That Ends… a) Miraculous Intervention! b) Bingley aka “5 THOUSAND a Year!” Prevails; c) Darcy 2.0: Successful Reboot.

10) (Because all good blog posts must have 10 points)  Two Girls, One… Marriage Ceremony.

Well, that’s it. My “Zombie Deconstruction” of PnP.

I had fun working on it, and it really helped me see good plot construction. Now I’m going to apply it to my current NaNoWriMo novel which is eating my brain right now (Bad Zombie!) I hope this technique will help.

Have you come up with a fun way to “deconstruct” your favorite books to help in your own writing? Share a link or example in the comments!


NaNoWriMo Day 1!

I love NaNoWriMo.

I started my first one on November 4, 2007 and did not come close to finishing with just over 13,000 words, but I knew, as I put in that final word count, that I was hooked.

Almost four years later, after crossing the WriMo finish line not once but three times since, I’m still just as enthused as ever. I’ve approached the midnight hours of October 31 each year on a sugar high (what you think I won’t steal candy from my children? Bah!) filled with dread…but it’s the adrenalin pumped dread that only precedes the 30 Days and Nights of Literary Abandon! Even though I’ve started, now, as many times without an outline as I have with one and most times I don’t know the first word I’ll write until it’s on the page…

When November 1 gets here, I get excited.

I get excited to see where my imagination will take me. I get excited to find the story. I get excited to actually create something!

Of course, by the time it’s over, I’m just relieved I made it. I don’t even look at the M(e)ss I’ve written until after Christmas, most times. By then, the excitement is replaced with a new feeling of dread – that of trying to shape the M(e)ss into something coherant. I’ve got a 50/50 success rate going so far. If you count a half finished novel that is, nevertheless, impeccably edited. (Back then my Inner Editor sat on my shoulder from the start, so I never actually finished anything.)

But that’s a musing for another day! Today is NaNoWriMo Day 1, and the possibilities and excitement are limitless!


Are you a WriMo’er? Do you get excited to do it, too? Are you shopping a finished NaNoWriMo novel for publication? Has it helped your writing to participate? Tell me your NaNo History in the comments.

The Great Un-follow Social Experiment

Michael Hyatt, a man I respect a great deal,
took a step in the same direction as Chris Brogan and is ‘un-following’ all of
100,000+ twitter pals.

I was one of them.

Now, I don’t know Mr. Hyatt personally. When I first started
twitter two months ago, I despaired of ever finding any followers, as I have a pretty
small social circle. Through a twitter link I was introduced to Mr. Hyatt’s
blog and, as I’m both a Christian and a writer and he speaks to both, I
followed him on twitter to keep up with his blog posts.

Much to my surprise, he followed me back!

Now that was a huge lift to my twitt-esteem. Here was the
head of Thomas Nelson Publishing, following me back on twitter! Who wouldn’t
get a little lift from that?

Only two short months later, and I’m off the team. @MichaelHyatt is no longer
following me. But I’m not upset by that. Want to know why?

Because he was honest. He stated publically his policy to
follow back people who follow him. I found that out soon after he followed me
back. Even though it means I’m not ‘special,’ I still think he was gracious to
do so. And when he decided to implement the Great Un-follow Social Experiment, and
I was one of the first casualties, he was honest about that as well. In effect
he said, “Hey, nothing personal, but twitter spam is a huge Monster, and I want
to defeat it.” Gracious, even while disconnecting.

So, because @MichaelHyatt no longer follows me, does that mean I’m going to
un-follow him?

Absolutely not. I follow @MichaelHyatt because he is a
sharer of knowledge, a giver of insight, an inspirational leader. I followed him
without any expectation he’d follow me back. But as a newbie, I’m gathering a
social circle much slower than average. I could see this as a huge blow. But I

Because I am not my twitter feed.

I’m more than that. Just as Mr. Hyatt didn’t pay me any
particular regard in following me, he didn’t pay me any insult in un-following,
either. I will continue to follow his tweets, click his links and learn from
his blog posts.  Why?

Because I wish @MichaelHyatt well and hope he finds Twitter peace.

Meanwhile, I will continue to build my tribe, one important,
significant person at a time. Some may be ‘power users’ but most will be just
like me, slow-builders, low burners…  And
we will connect as we gain trust for each other.

Are you upset when someone un-follows you? Do you react by un-following
them? How do you handle un-following others? Tell me how you handle your social
interactions in the comments.

Forks shows his teeth

With a look back at Eddie, I walked through the door Forks
held open. He shoved it closed with a loud snap, leaving me feeling a little
less confident than I did in the main office. “I’m more of a hand-talker,
Forks, so if you could just remove-,”

“Shut up, Ellen Wiel.” The Sheriff slapped my file on his desktop, emphasizing his order. He shoved
a rolling chair my way, missing me by an inch or two.  “Sit down.” I stood still, gritting my teeth
and avoiding his rabid eyes. He closed the distance between us in a step,
grabbed my shoulders and shoved me hard into the chair. “In here, I’m the boss,
you little turd. When I say ‘Move’ you say ‘How far, SIR’,” he bent down to eye
level with me, “got that, missy?”

Holding my tongue between my teeth, I focused to the left of
him. Two long steps and he stood behind his desk, smoothed his shirt front and
sat down, rebar straight in his big leather chair.

“It’s Wiels,” I blinked and looked at the cord pull on his
window blinds.

His head twitched to the side, kind of like a buzzard does
taking stock of fresh road kill. “Excuse me?”
His voice was deadly calm.

I cleared my throat, “I said, ‘it’s Wiels’ – with an ‘S’ at
the end.”

He snorted and sat back then, “You been a thorn in my side
from day one, you know that Miss Wiels?” He emphasized the “s” on my name like
a hissing snake. I watched him fold his arms over his chest, studying me like I
was one of those speared frogs in sixth grade science class. “You know,” he
shifted, “I don’t like you much.”

Biting down on the insides of my mouth, I willed myself to
shut up. Couldn’t keep the spit from gathering in the back of my throat and cursed
my need to swallow. He focused on the bob in my throat and a slight smile
pulled the corner of his mouth.

“You go around this town like you own it,” the sneer cranked
from zero to sixty in his voice, “such big stuff when you’re showing off in
front of everyone. Bringing talk of drugs into my town. Breaking curfew. Back talking
your mama and daddy-,”

“She’s not my mother-,”

“That’s right – she’s your step-mother.”  He sat forward again, “That woman was good
enough to take you in, even though you’d been in all that trouble.”  He sat forward in his chair, his brow knit in
affected concern, “Juvenile detention, wasn’t it?” He flipped open the file, “That’s
what I figure. Oh, the records are sealed but anyone in law enforcement can
read between the lines, Ellen.” He directed a pitying look my way. “Truth is,
you ain’t wanted by no one, even your own kin, why I bet your mama kicked you
out and here you are causing a whole new mess of -,”

I shifted in my seat, “my mother didn’t kick me out.”

“-problems in a whole different home,” he went on like I
hadn’t spoken. “That’s pretty bad.  Mama
gives up on you, and daddy doesn’t know what to do with you.”

The tears stabbed at my lids and I blinked hard to stop
them. “I said,” I looked square at him this time, “my mother didn’t kick me

He shook his head, then removed his hat and wiped the sweat
off his forehead, “You can lie to everybody, but ain’t no one in this town
gonna believe you.”

I wanted to hit him. I wanted to knock him on the floor and
jump up and down on his chest and scream in his face. “I’m not lying.” I said it
loud enough but couldn’t keep the wobble out of my voice.

“How can you stand it,” he cocked his hat back away from his
eyes with the roughened tip of a forefinger, “how does it feel to know nobody
wants you around?” Shaking his head, he whistled lightly through his teeth,
“Shoot, if I had half the enemies you have around here, I’d wear body armor

I looked up, right into his eyes. Cold and hard, the color
of a well-oiled gun barrel, they revealed things that made me squirm in my
seat. “Keep on, Forks.” My voice sounded dry and tight. “You and I both know
how this all started,” the slightest pinch around his eyes told me I got his
attention, “If you’d done the right thing-,”

He rolled his eyes, “Rich – you talking about the ‘right

“Rich coming out of YOU, a kid comes to you to report a
crime – an assault-” He stood so fast the words stopped up in my mouth.

“You think anyone would believe anything you say against me,
little girl?” Before I could duck, his hands shot out over the desk and he
lifted me up to dangling like a half stuffed rag doll over his desk. “There’s
no police report, Ms. Wiels,” his voice was low and quieter than the pulse
throbbing in my head, “no witnesses, and no corroborating evidence.” He shoved
forward and let go at the same time and I fell into a heap in the chair. “And
do you know why, Ms. Wiels?” At this he sat back in his chair and watched me from
behind his laid back, politician smile. “Because there was no crime.”

My whole body shook, quaking right through my core. “So you
say,” I forced the words through my chattering teeth,” but you and I both know
the truth.”

The man leaned over the desk, mouth drawn up in a poor imitation
of a smile, “I don’t give a sawdust fiddle what you think you know. You understand?”
He sucked at his teeth and sneered at me, “Think anyone gives a damn what you
think ‘round here? You think anyone would shed a tear if you vanished into thin

That Forks didn’t like me, I already knew.  That he might actually take steps to get rid
of me, never occurred to me before. I stared down, watching tears hit my lap,
leaving behind dark circles. I focused on the first one, then another. “Whatever
you say, Sheriff…”

“One of these days, Ellen Wiels, you will slip up, and make
no mistake,” he sat back, crossed his arms over his chest, “I will catch you.
And when I do, you are going away for a long, long time. Do you understand what
I’m saying to you?”

Blinking hard, I swiped my sleeve across my eyes. “Oh, yeah,”
I stood up and fixed my eyes on him, “I hear you. Can I go now?”

He raised his hand like a gun and pointed at me, “I’ll be
watching you, Ellen Wiels,” and he made a soft “pow!” sound like we were little
kids playing a cowboy shoot ‘em up game or something.

I walked out of that office feeling the bulls-eye on my

Hello, My Name Is…

“Hello, my name is JuliaDAlexander
and I’m new to Twitter…”

A lot of writers make the claim, “I’m a newbie” when talking
about Twitter and other social websites.  As a fellow “noob” I’m learning as I go and seeing
the proof of things I’ve picked up at conferences and writing blogs about
building your platform through social media. It’s exciting, frustrating and
illuminating.  Some of the stuff I’m
learning, I wish I’d known as the awkward junior high student I was a long time
ago in a galaxy far, far away.  I’m sure
I’d have been slightly less …awkward.

I read a great post (found through twitter from @JeffGoins) by
Emilie over at  She
spotlights a story shared by a commenter on a previous post she’d written on
bullying. It’s a thorny subject to me, as I experienced (and , admittedly, dished
out) some of the same kind of pain in my day. Mike’s take on bullying – and he
learned it while he was still in school! – was so admirable, so enlightening, I’ve
got to share it. And I’d like to add a thought of my own, too.

Here’s the link:
Go, read it, then come back here. Go on. I’ll wait 😉

Okay. Wasn’t that a mature, uplifting way to look at the Beautiful
People in your school? Instead of envying the “haves,” Mike learned to find
specialness inside his own head and spirit. Instead of longing for a
relationship he couldn’t have, he built strong ones with people who shared his
interests and outlook. Instead of actively hating on someone who probably didn’t
even know his name, he let her go in peace and put his brain power to better,
more uplifting tasks.

Refreshing, isn’t it?

Wish I’d have learned that when I was throwing daggers with
my eyes at all the people I IMAGINED were my enemies.

Here’s the thing, though – and while “Mike” alludes to this,
I’d like to emphasize it – not only may those who’ve endured suffering become the
deepest, most interesting people… some of the greatest works of art throughout
history came from these kinds of people.
Dig into the background of one of your favorite musicians, painters,
writers, etc. and chances are good you’ll discover a dark element to their
past. People who’ve suffered and grown through it have something to say. And
usually find some way to say it!

So, if you are one of those tortured, bruised and beaten
souls… First, make it through. Find someone to talk to. If you seek those who
love and care for you and then OPEN UP, you WILL make it, I can guarantee. Don’t
suffer in silence. People love you. You CAN do this.

Second, when you are in the right place, and you are strong
enough…  Write it. Paint it. Scream it
into the recording software you got for Christmas. Jam it on a guitar. Bang it
on a piano. But get it down, somehow.

Because someone somewhere needs YOUR ART to tell them, “You
are not alone.”

Friendly Fire is an oxymoron

“You think you can fill this out, Ell?” Eddie slid the forms
he’d written my name on at least a dozen times before across the desk, “I’ll
get us some Joe.” Station house coffee is about the best coffee in Pierce County,
so I readily agreed and set to penning in my information. Scribbling in the
answers faster than a slacker who’d memorized the answer key to a standardized
test, I tossed the pen onto the desk, sat back and closed my eyes.  Pictured Delbetter trying to start that truck
of his and cussing the air blue when he couldn’t.

“ So,” Eddie barked and I jumped, “why don’t you tell me
what you did to Delbetter’s beater?”  He
folded into the squeaky office chair and slammed down a manila file folder, my
name sharpied down the side.

I smiled. “Why, Deputy, I don’t know what you’re talkin’

“Cut the crap, Ell,” he leaned forward, “strictly OFF the
record.” He stared me down, and broke into a grin, “Spill.”

Look, I’m as vain as the next criminal mastermind, being
particularly proud of hitting the three-time, all-district star pitcher
Delbetter smack in his swollen ego. Truthfully, I couldn’t help myself.

“Alright, first? I pulled all his fuses and superglued them
to his headliner.” I laughed at the mental picture of him trying to pull all
those fuses without marring the vinyl. “Then I dumped a bunch of confetti into
the vents and set his fan speed on high,” the deputy laughed out loud, “so when
he DOES get his fuses back in and starts the car, the vents’ll blow the paper
all over his cab.” I sat back satisfied that Eddie appreciated the humor of the

He shook his head, and then struck me with a hard look,
“what were you doing under the truck, Ellen.”

Shi-take mushrooms. Deputy did it again. Disarmed me with
that ‘just one of your pals’ thing he always did. “It ain’t that bad, really,

“So you can go on and tell me, then.”

“I –uh, I wrapped a zip tie ‘round his drive shaft is all.”
I squirmed in my seat.

Deputy Eddie Bishop was no more’n four years older than
me.  He’d been a senior at the LaFoy K-12
school when I’d first transferred in during the first half of eighth grade.
He’d looked out for me during that first year when I was kind of kicked around
for being the new kid, appearing out of nowhere like some kind of cartoon hero.  He was always nice and I always repaid him by
telling him to stay outta my business. Even back then, he had a kind of
authority with everyone. Even the teachers.

He was a natural for law enforcement.

I cleared my throat and sat up straighter in the nicked up
wooden chair, “Alls it does is make a clicky noise, Eddie. Delbetter’ll be
scratchin’ his butt for a week and then he’ll figure it out.” Biting the inside
of my cheek to keep from laughing, I chanced a look at the Deputy.  A slow smile spread over his face. Not what I
was expecting. Finally he laughed and leaned back in his chair, stretching his
long legs in front of him.

“Nah, he won’t, Ell,” he stared at his coffee cup, swirling
the contents absent-mindedly, “he’ll have it figured out ‘afore he leaves the
parking lot.”

For a moment I just stared at him. “And how will he do that,
Deputy,” I glared at him, “thought this’s all off the record. You gonna rat me

He pulled his feet down and sat forward again, “First of
all, young lady,” he opened the file folder and pulled out a sheet covered in
tightly packed lines of print, “I’m a sworn officer of the law. You already
know,” and he held up the sheet which I now recognized as my list of
altercations with his department, “anything you say can be used against you.”
He slid the sheet in front of me, “So, I don’t ‘rat people out’.  And finally,” he stretched his arms up and
clasped his hands behind his head, “off the record means off the record, Ell,
how the hell long you known me?”

I glanced down at the list. “How else is he gonna figure it

“Ah hell,” he laughed again, “Gary Delbetter’s been ‘round
engines his whole life, first click, he’ll climb under that truck and spot that
tie right off.”  He turned to the
paperwork and made red marks beside the places I was supposed to sign. An
unnecessary kindness, as I was pretty familiar with them, but nice all the
same. “He’s prob’ly home right now.” He glanced up and slid the papers over toward
me. “Sign on the lines, initial at the check marks.”

Staring at the forms, I kept my still-cuffed hands folded
best I could over my chest. Only thing I had to look forward to, and Bishop had
to go and ruin it. “How’m I supposed to sign anything with these things on?” I
raised my hands and shook the cuffs.
“Dang Deputy, I ain’t done nothing illegal-,”

“Uh- Ellen, you broke into a vehicle belonging to someone
else, and that means-,”

The big door in the back swung open and the Law of Pierce
County, Sheriff JT Forks, stood framed in it so the late afternoon sun lit him
like an old time Hollywood star. “Well, Ellen Wiel,” he shook his head, “this
is a surprise,” he said. He jingled his way into the room, money and keys in
his pockets announcing his approach. He grabbed a paper coffee cup and poured
up the last dregs in the pot. “What’s it been, a week, week and a half? Some
kind of record for you, idn’t it?”

Bishop’s head swung around and he cast a wary eye on his
boss. A much repeated rumor around town said Bishop and Forks didn’t care none
for each other. Something about Bishop’s outsider attitude and tendency to keep
to himself, although I suspected it had more to do with Forks’ general attitude
of superiority to anyone and anything not directly related to him or his way.

Eddie shifted around in his seat and gave me a cautionary
look. “I was just finishing up processing a minor complaint, Sheriff.” That was
another reason Forks had no use for Eddie Bishop. He was about the only person
in LaFoy who didn’t address the Sheriff as “sir”. Well, aside from me.

“Yeah, Forks, Eddie just brought me in on a formality, it’s
not like-,” another warning look and I shut up.

Forks eyes narrowed and he studied me like something on the
bottom of his shoe. “A formality, huh?” He walked over to the desk and flipped
the cover on the manila folder, “Bishop, I’d like to see Ms. Wiel in my
office.” Not a request, an order. Eddie’s brow knitted and he glanced back at
me and bit the inside of his cheek.

“Yeah, sure, Sheriff.” He stood and fished the keys to the
cuffs out of his pocket and started toward me.

“That won’t be necessary, Deputy.” Forks stared
hard in my direction, his lip practically twitching with disgust.  Eddie nodded and stuffed the keys back into
his pocket, then fell in step beside me toward the office. We reached the door
and the Sheriff stopped Eddie with a hand to his chest. “Alone, Deputy.”

Free giveaway – Chicken Soup for the Soul…

If you are a tween, teen or young adult, you might find a wealth of good stuff from the latest edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Just for Preteens.  As a contributing author, I received a box of ten books and I’ve had a chance to read some of the stories.  The ones I’ve read so far are inspiring, uplifting and full of hope and good advice.  Even as an adult reader – and mom of a tween and young teen – I found some encouraging words as well!  I would recommend Chicken Soup for the Soul, Just for Preteens to anyone who happens upon this post.  Pick one up when it hits stores on Tuesday, July 26, 2011.

I’d also like to give one copy away.  Leave a comment, tell me about yourself and leave a link to your blog, twitter, or homepage.  I’ll randomly select one of the commenters to receive the free book!  (We’ll discuss how to get it to you in email) One commenter will save 14.95 + tax retail or 10.00 online and get some encouraging words, too!

The view from the underside of a truck

Me and trouble, we’re on a first name basis.

Before the age of 16, I’d been hauled in and questioned on charges
of arson, destruction of property, B&E with intent to cause bodily harm,
disturbing the peace, and countless “police encounters” – the name with which
Sheriff Forkes gussied up routine police harassment. Oh, and I was pulled over
by Deputy Benz – during Driver’s Ed class
–for speeding.  Everything dismissed for
lack of evidence. Except for the speeding ticket. That cost me thirty bucks and
a stern talking to by Judge Patterson.

I’m good at getting into trouble, but I’m better at getting
out of it.

But this?  A whole new
dimension.  I’d enjoyed a long streak
skating outside lawful society, but I’d hit the end of the road.  Maybe I shouldn’t be putting this down on
paper, but I’m afraid if I don’t do it now, I won’t get another chance. So,
here goes.


A strong hand latched onto my booted foot and yanked me out
from under the truck. “What the hell you doing under Delbetter’s car, Ellen
Weils?” Deputy Eddie Bishop looked down at me, blocking the sun.  I squinted, trying to make out just how mad
he was. “I’m driving through the school parking lot and I see these little
boots stickin’ out from under Gary Delbetter’s pick-up,” he shifted, and the
sunlight blinded me, “I said to myself, ‘Eddie, who’s boots you suppose those
are?’ and only one name come up, Ell.”

“Eddie,” squeezing my eyes tight, I groped in the air,
“gimme a hand up, ‘fore you yell at me?” He grabbed my hand in his rough one
and pulled just as hard as he had on my foot, nearly yanking my arm out of
socket. “Dang – how big you think I am?”

“Quit avoiding the subject, Ell.” He gathered his sinewy
arms over his wide chest and just squinted at me.

I shifted, raked a hand through my hair and tried, “I heard
a funny sound comin’ from under it,” I gestured out to the overgrown field
bordering the school lot, “thought it might be a ‘coon or a skunk.” His face
didn’t move, only his eyes got squintier. “I swear, Eddie, that’s all I was doin’.”

“Heard that all the way in the classroom, then?  School’s not over for another,” he yanked his
pocket watch chain and glanced at it, “another hour and a half.”

Oh. “Well, uh,” I
thought hard, keeping my mouth running, “I had a uh,” and it came to me, “a
science paper due and I left it out in my-,”

Bishop caught my slip the same time my brain did. He just
shook his head, losing the battle with a smile fighting for possession of his
mouth. “Out here to the parking lot, huh?
Where the cars park.” His
mouth lost the battle and forfeited the war as he laughed out loud. “You ain’t
got a car.”  He shook his head again,
“Nice try, kid.  Wanna go for another?”

Now he was making me mad. “I got a bike, Deputy.” I swung my
arm over at the bike rack, “Right there, in the bike rack.  See the one with the saddle bags?”  He swiveled his gaze in the direction I pointed, and squinted back at me.

“Huh. You heard a tiny varmint paddin’ around over here in
the dirt parking lot from all the way over there.” He pursed his lips and
rocked back on his heels. “That’s some powerful hearing you got, there.”

I was about to spin a powerful story of how my failing
eyesight actually made my hearing more acute, when the school bell announced
free period. At the top of the front steps I spotted Gary Delbetter – owner of
the vehicle in question – looking first to the Deputy’s cruiser, then to
me.  His face clouded over, “Hey!” he
stalked towards us.

“You know what,” I grabbed the handcuffs on Eddie’s belt,
“you should haul me in.  I was up to no
good,” I yanked at his cuffs and pulled on the back door handle of the cruiser
at the same time, “you gotta take me in, Eddie!”  The Deputy just stood there, so I pulled open
the door and dived into the back seat just as Delbetter reached us. He lunged
at the back door and Bishop finally moved. Not much of a move, just a step to
the side, but his powerful body effectively checked anything Delbetter had in
mind.  Like pounding me into chopped steak.

“What did she do?  What did she DO?” Delbetter’s face turned purple. The Deputy talked in a
low voice I couldn’t make out through the safety glass, but Delbetter’s came
through loud and clear. His red face showed off white nostrils flared out like
a bull’s. He jabbed at the glass, fighting to get around Bishop as my
gossipy classmates pressed in for a better look.  I bit the insides of my mouth to keep from
laughing.  Watching the King  of LaFoy School lose his cool amused the hell
out of me.

The good Deputy had enough and stepped around the car, slid into the
seat, started the car and backed out carefully. As we pulled out, Gary shoved
his face into the glass separating us. “You’re goin’ down, Hell-on!”  He jabbed a finger at me, “You’re goin’ DOWN!”

Delbetter ain’t no prophet, but he spoke more of the truth than
even he knew.

“So, what are you working on?”

You walk in, punch your floor number and just as the doors close, the Big Name Agent speaking at the writer’s conference you’re attending steps over the threshold to join you.  Big Name Agent turns to you and says, “So, what are you working on?”

You? Break out in a cold sweat.  Yeah – you’ve got less than a minute or two to convey your entire opus in the span of an elevator ride and you stammer, “Uh, uhm, well, see there’s this girl…”

That’s right. The dreaded “Elevator Pitch!” Have you figured yours out yet?

Here’s mine: A girl in Juvenile Detention for a crime she didn’t commit fights to escape and uncovers the truth about the Sheriff who put her there.

Story Title: Hell on Wheels

It took me most of seven months to come up with that one. Seven months for so few words. But that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Fine tuning, cutting to the bone, smelting away all the excess until you’re left with concentrated writerly goodness. (I’d like to tweak mine still…)

Are you afraid of the Elevator Pitch? Have you tried to come up with one and given up? Or do you have a killer pitch you’re just itching to try out?