Snazzy Snippets: Excerpts From My November ReleasePosted: July 11, 2015
Two wonderful bloggers, Emily and Alyssa, have started a new blog link-up where writers can share snippets from one of their works. To quote from Emily’s post, “It’s an opportunity for writers! Every two months, we post a prompt or question for you to share a snippet of less than 500 words. It’s designed to let you have fun, analyse your work on a smaller level, or just write something to join in.”
So because I finished the main edits on Lucid Dreaming on Tuesday, I’ve decided to share some of that with you. I love this story, you guys, and Melaina, the main character, is all kinds of awesome.
Snippet number one: A snippet that shows your MC’s personality
He spoke in a rush, as though that would make it less embarrassing. “I’ve been having these recurring nightmares, and I tried sleeping tablets but then I couldn’t wake up, which was worse, and the doctor referred me to a psychologist, but I rang them and they said it could be months before I get in.” The lamplight flashed off the lenses of his glasses, partially obscuring his bloodshot eyes. Fatigue lined his face. I guessed he was in his mid-twenties, a little older than my twenty-one, but it was hard to tell. “Honestly, I’m desperate.”
“I can see that,” I said. Despite my attempt to soften my tone, he bristled. I cringed inside. I didn’t have enough customers that I could afford to drive them off. “Look, Larry, I get it. You don’t really believe I can help you. You wouldn’t be the first customer to feel that way. So I’ll tell you what—if I can’t do anything for you, the appointment’s free.”
He blinked brown eyes that would have been nice, if the whites hadn’t been spider-webbed with veins. He was clearly trying to figure out the catch.
“Scout’s honour,” I added. Or Girl Scouts. Whatever. “What have you got to lose?”
“Nothing, I guess.” His fingers worried at the fringe of the orange throw rug where it hung over the arm of the chair. “Okay, what do I do?”
“The first thing I need you to do is relax. Would you like a cup of herbal tea?” He looked as if I’d offered him a ferret in a sock, eyebrows shooting towards his hairline. It was the most animated expression I’d seen from him yet. “It’s my own blend. Lavender and chamomile, and a few other things. Nothing illegal or dodgy. It’ll help you relax.”
“Okay. I guess.”
The pot was already brewing on top of the freestanding drawers in which I stored my minimal tools of the trade. Candles. Essential oils. A rainbow of small crystals Serenity had given me as a “rentiversary” present. A half-eaten bag of individually wrapped caramels. Herbs in little bags, neatly labelled with stickers. A few CDs of the sort you’d expect: rainforest noises, the ocean, whale song.
All flimflammery, of course. Except the caramels.
Snippet number two: A snippet featuring the villain
There are a few different options here, and some of them are spoiler-y, so I’ve elected to go with a non-spoiler-y one, from later in the same chapter as the above excerpt.
I closed my eyes and looked into Larry’s dreams.
I was expecting to find a tortured psyche, an aspect of his subconscious manifesting itself there. Daddy or mummy issues, arachnophobia, anxiety, even garden-variety stress: I’d seen them all at one point or another. I couldn’t fix his psychological issues, but I could put a temporary block on his dreams until his doctor’s referral came good.
That was what it usually was.
What I found was a thing.
It was an amorphous black cloud about the size of my torso. Greasy as a burger shop floor, it had yellowing eyes and writhing tentacles … if tentacles could be covered with fine hair and worm into your skin like something from a bad horror movie.
I’d seen manifestations of people’s nightmares before, more times than I could count. But this wasn’t part of Larry. It was an interloper — a blight.
“Hello,” I said.
The blight hissed like a feral cat over a broken-backed lizard that wasn’t quite dead. Around us, the dreamscape resolved into a rolling hillside, distinctly Australian in its gentle undulations. No sharp-edged peaks here. The grass underfoot was withered, not by the summer sun but by the blight’s corruption. A single eucalypt wept tears of black sap. Clouds loomed, obscuring the vast sky.
I wouldn’t have picked Larry for the rural landscape type. Sometimes you can never tell.
I stared. “You’re an ugly little grease-ball, aren’t you?”
The blight’s eyes were flat, uncomprehending and angry. I wasn’t going to be able to goad it into letting go. And I didn’t want to attack it while those tentacles were embedded in the reddish dirt beneath the tree. What if one of them tore off? That could result in residual badness for Larry, like leaving a bee sting under the skin to spit toxins long after the bee has died.
Still, the blight was only small. I could take it.
Snippet number three: A snippet that’s mostly dialogue
I don’t think I have any that are mostly dialogue, John Green-style, but this one at least has a decent amount. Context: It’s from the next chapter. Melaina’s mother is in a nursing home, and Ewan is one of the nurses that works there.
Ewan stepped back. When he spoke, his tone was reassuring. “She really is doing well.”
“Compared to what?” I asked, my voice sharp. If Mum were awake she’d chide me.
Ewan didn’t take my bad mood personally. “Compared to my other sleeper.”
There was an old man in the home who slept twenty-four hours a day. Was that technically a coma? I had no idea, but the nurse’s comment made me feel ungrateful. At least I got to talk to Mum sometimes. If I timed it right.
Oblivious to my thoughts, Ewan continued, “Her physical fitness is pretty good for someone as inactive as she is, although I admit she still gets exhausted easily. But she’s staying awake an hour or so longer a day than she was six months ago.”
“Really?” That surprised me.
He nodded, making a note on a chart that had been tucked discreetly underneath a small pile of magazines on the tiny table. “Yup. Doctor Willis didn’t mention it?”
“Nope. But he doesn’t work for me, does he?”
“Well, no, I guess he doesn’t,” Ewan said.
Something about his tone made me frown at him. “Is there anything else the doctor isn’t telling me?”
Glancing at me, Ewan put the chart down and crossed to the door, closing it. The jingling from the TV down the hall fell mercifully silent. He folded his arms across his chest, his gaze weighing me up. I tried to smile but nerves jangled in my stomach, making the expression feel forced. So I gave up and scowled. “Spill.”
“Doctor Willis has been talking to your uncle about drug treatments,” Ewan said slowly. “He was surprised they hadn’t been tried before. When I overheard them, they were talking about antidepressants.”
“They haven’t been tried because she doesn’t want them,” I said.
“I know that and you know that.” Ewan pointed from himself to me and then shrugged.
“Uncle Ian has power of attorney over her.” I clenched and unclenched my fists, the beginning of a headache pinching at my temples. “Has he authorised it yet?”
“No. And he can’t, unless she grants him enduring power of attorney, which I understand she hasn’t. Her medical treatments are still her decision.”
“But he can put a lot of pressure on her to agree.”
I must have looked determined or pissed off—probably both—because Ewan shifted from foot to foot. “Uh, hey, you didn’t hear any of this from me, okay? I could lose my job if they find out I discussed confidential information with you.”
So those are my snippets. If you want to take part, you can link your post so others can see it — just scroll to the bottom of this post and you’ll find the linky list there. (Sorry, I’m not sure how to link to it independently.) You can also paste the link in the comments below so I can go check it out.
And if you liked the sound of these excerpts and are a Goodreads user, you can add Lucid Dreaming to your TBR shelf here.
You know, if you want to.
No pressure. :p