Thursday, November 5, 2015

Brain Freeze (Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge)

From Slocik Sketchbook,
Sharing scenes from my developing NaNovel every few days is part of the accountability I plan to practice during this NaNoWriMo. Plotting instead of pantsing helps with this. I know where Roger and his friends are going in the story, so I can write details of their story, piece-wise.

One of the surprises from my new plotter habit is that the story details are still created pantser-style. There's room for those unexpected characters to appear, well, unexpectedly.

That's what happened when an unanticipated character named Deevie Wilson arrived yesterday:

Forty minutes later, the cart was so full Grace had to perch on her mother's hip while Roger pushed it along. The huge woman behind the cash register threw an assessing look at the full cart, and asked, "New in Diablo? or new in Meteor?"
Ruby paused in the process of unloading the cart onto the traveling belt, although Roger kept working. "What do you mean, Diablo or Meteor?"
Roger answered from the depths of the cart, "She knows we're not tourists, Mom. We're buying too much. No motel room or RV refrigerator has enough room for all the cooler and freezer food in the cart. So we have to be local. If twenty-three miles away is local."
The cashier twitched her voluminous dress at the shoulders, lifting it away from her body slightly, and blousing it under the straps of her canvas store apron. "Yer son's right." She sounded surprised. "So yer new in Meteor then. Our local customers, I know'em. Tourists, they buy a pint of milk, quart at most, not several gallons. They sure don't have a gallon of ice cream, or six packages of ground beef in their carts!"
Ruby smiled at her. "Well, I'm Ruby Pierce, and this is my daughter Grace, and my son Roger. My husband is Peter, and I'm sure you'll meet him eventually. Although you'd be more likely to meet him if you worked at the hardware store." The two women shared a laugh at that. "We just moved to Meteor yesterday, and this..." Ruby waved her arm over the deeply-loaded traveling belt and half-empty cart, " supplies for the next couple of weeks."
"Yeah, so we don't have to drive forty-six miles to stock up." Roger muttered under his breath.
"Pleased ta meet'cha!" The cashier rested a beringed hand on her massive chest. "I'm Deevie Wilson, and before anyone tells ya different, it's short for 'Divine'." She said it, "DEE-vine." Roger could guess what other origins had been suggested for her nickname. Briefly, he wondered if she had been teased about her name when she was in school. Certainly so, if she had been as immense then!
For a second, Roger flashed on the idea that others had been as brutally teased and rejected as he had always been at his various schools. It was a mind-blowing concept, and he resolved to mull it over on the long drive back to Meteor.

Deevie serves the story's purpose by giving Roger a reason to move past his self-focus. I don't know if she'll show up again, but I hope so. There's a lot to her!

Being able to write little descriptive pieces doesn't always have to serve the passage of Roger along his character arc. It also helps when I want to write a flash piece for the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge, as I do in response to Charli Mill's prompt this week:

November 3, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a frozen story. Is the weather the source of freezing or is a character frozen by emotion or lack of it? It can also be a moment frozen in time. What does it reveal?

In this flash, Roger and two of The Mass "help out" at the local drugstore.


Brain Freeze

Jack Mass threw Roger a swift look, then with a cautionary finger against his lips, pulled him down behind the cashier's counter to crouch at his half-brother's feet. "Watch this," he whispered.

Gary stood behind the drugstore register, doing his job, while Jack and Roger peered through the slats of the counter. Darrell Harb slammed into the store and went straight to the Slurpee machine, triggering it to run into his mouth.

"Harb, you gotta pay...," Gary began, but he was interrupted by a scream of agony from the Slurpee thief.

"Adjusted the temperature down 12 degrees." Jack whispered.

Word Count: 2689 Day 5 and 12527 Total