Saturday, 19 April 2014

OH!! Okay!

Well, yesterday, I finished my short story, West by Train. At least, I wrote "The End" on the end of the document, copied it into my document holding all my competed first drafts of my short stories and wrote my author's note. But last night, I was thinking, and I felt that WBT was missing a point for parts of it. There was one scene I had added that I liked, but it didn't seem to have much a of a point. And I don't want to introduce something about a character and then not do anyhing about it, not tie it in with something else.

So ya'll know what I'm talking about, I'll give you the scene. I admit, it's not perfect, and it might seem downright awful, but here it is.

After the midday meal, Miranda went for a walk down by the creek. After walking a long way, she saw Jonathan sitting on a log that stretched across the creek, staring out at the landscape, the fast- moving water swirling beneath his feet. She would have left as quietly as she had come had he not looked as if he might cry over something. She crept closer and saw that there were indeed tears in the man’s eyes. His shoulders were bent, as if a great weight was sitting heavily on them.
“Sir, are you all right?” she asked, climbing up onto the log to sit beside him.
He whirled on her and for a moment she was frightened by the look in his eyes. Then he relaxed, seeing it was her. “Oh... Mira. Well, not really.” He gave half a smile. “I’m just having bad memories.”
‘Memories?” Miranda put her hand on his shoulder.
He took her hand in his and pulled her close. “About the war. They come to me every so often, though it’s been nine years.” He passed a hand slowly over his eyes as if to block out the fearful images that stood before him.
Miranda’s skin prickled. The war had ended when she was only two years old, so she did not remember any of it. Had Jonathan been a soldier? “Were you in the army, sir?”
He nodded. “Yes. How I wish I had not been. There are so many tragic things that come to me at night, or even during the day, that I wish would go from my mind forever. The dying words of a friend; the twisted face of a man mutilated by a shell; the roar of artillery pounding and destroying and killing.”
His fist clenched, hurting her hand. She winced a little and he immediately let go. “Oh, Mira, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
Miranda smiled gently, but said nothing, only leaned against him, reveling in the fatherly way he held her. She could almost imagine... but nevermind, he was talking again.
“I think the battle we fought at Antietam and the one at Gettysburg were two of the worst. At Antietam, a boy named Timothy who shared a tent with me and two other men had his leg blown off. He was only sixteen.”
Miranda shuddered. “Did he die?”
“No. His friend Jeremiah, who saved him from more seriously injured, was killed by a shell, but Tim survived, at least as far as I know. But I don’t know for sure. Gangrene might have set in.” Jonathan put his head in his hands. “Also at Antietam, Brian was killed; a father with five children, one of whom he had never seen.” His voice broke and Miranda put her arms around him, her eyes misting.
“Then there was Gettysburg,” Jonathan continued. “The fight lasted three days, and so many men died. Mira, it was awful. I have nightmares about it sometimes. I had one close friend, a seventeen year old by the name of Nathaniel, and he survived Gettysburg, only to be wounded at Cold Harbor, in Virginia. Gangrene set in, and his last words to me were, ‘John, please write my sister Fanny, and tell her I love her, and have gone home.’ Then he slipped away.” Jonathan stopped talking, his shoulders shaking. Miranda was crying as well, not knowing what to say. What sort of nightmares haunted Jonathan she dared not imagine; even his retellings of war scared her badly.
“I’m sorry, sir,” she whispered. “I’m sorry. I’d love to help you forget, if you want.”
He put his arm around her. “Thank you, Mira.”

And then the story goes on, in the same scene, but leaving behind all Jonathan's memories. Now granted, I did put in a bit at the end with Miranda saying she wanted to help him forget, but something was missing.

Miranda is an eleven year old girl with a pa that dumped her on the orphan train. She and another boy have been taken in by a couple who don't have children, and she is convinced they only took her in so she wouldn't have to be sent back to New York. She desperately wants their love, but is sure they don't want her.

Now, that is all well and good for the story, but I wanted more. And now I realize what I need to do. Miranda has to have a problem. She has to feel that she needs to hold back. She wants someone to love her, but when she realizes that the Grassels don't want her, she has to lean on something. She has to be strong, to recede back inside herself. SHE MUST BE STRONG.

But then Jonathan tells her about his bad memories of the Civil War. She sees his pain, and understands that, though a grown man, he is weak, like we all are. And she's weak too. Pulling back won't make her strong and shut out her want for love. Jonathan has pain, but he lest it out. She needs to do that too. She has to let go of the pain that came with her father leaving her to go west on the orphan train.

Well, I guess it sounded better in my head, but anyway, it was nice to write it down. Miranda thinks she needs to pull back to keep strong and save herself from pain, but she really needs to let it out. Let it ALL out.

"Let it go, let it go! Can't hold it back anymore!" ~Frozen Only it should be don't hold it back anymore, not 'can't.'



This book ain't finished. Not yet.


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