A miniature picture gallery follows my text!
I’ve signed up to take part in the Dust It Off Bloghop, hosted by Cortney Pearson and Theresa Paolo. On 3 May, participants will post a 1-2 sentence pitch about a shelved manuscript. On 5 May, we’ll post our favorite excerpt, of 300-350 words. And on 7 May, we’ll post about what we learnt from this WIP.
Day One winners will receive copies of Robin Mellom’s Ditched: A Love Story and Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls. Day Two winners will receive a query critique from both hosts. Day Three winners will receive a full manuscript critique, not necessarily of the shelved manuscript.
I’m going to use The Diary of Anne Terrick, which I technically began in December 1988 but didn’t really begin in the form it eventually took till perhaps a year later. I finished it some time before I’d begun my first Atlantic City book and thus my genesis (primitive though it was) as a serious writer. The sequel got lost and was never finished, to my long-standing sadness and disappointment. In hindsight, though, I’m glad this project was discontinued. In 1992, I transcribed the book and revised and edited it a little bit, but alas, that’s one of the files on the disk that refuses to open on my external disk drive. Please keep in mind that I was a preteen when I wrote this!
Some of the stuff in this book is even more out there than some of the intentional spoof, satire, and dark humor in some of my Atlantic City books. Stuff like young Anne actually walking across the river into the freaking Sun and having some kind of religious or mystical experience there, Anne and her classmates meeting a young lawyer who’s supposed to be Abraham Lincoln while on lunch break (and he’s giving away tons of books!), a wagon train going from Plymouth, Massachusetts to Pocatello, Idaho in only a month (and not even during the prime traveling season), and an excessive amount of drawings and scenes about corporal punishment (both at school and at home), which I felt a strange, taboo excitement at writing and drawing. (Let’s just say that was a precursor to my adult interest in a certain related topic, and leave it at that!)
The book goes from December 1840 to May 1841, and Anne goes from age ten to eleven, though I would personally consider it young adult because of a lot of the subject matter. Looking back, she definitely seems a fair bit older, even taking into account how people her age were on average much more responsible and mature than their 21st century counterparts.
My attempt at a pitch:
Young Anne Terrick has begun feeling alienated from her family and community in Plymouth, Massachusetts in the early 1840s, and increasingly at odds with her teachers and parents. Shortly after an Indian raid on the town, she stages her own murder scene and runs away with some friends, picking up a number of relatives along the way, to try to make a new life for herself as far away from home as possible.
Hey, at least now I’m old enough to know the vast majority of what was in that book is completely unrealistic and laughable!
The book I wrote it in.
The title page, dated two days before my 9th birthday. Yup, that’s my legal name, except for the “Jinks Jr.” silliness. I always wished my middle name Ursula could be my first name, and even went by Ursula for a few years.
I think my handwriting was pretty good as a preteen. I honestly find it sad that nowadays many kids that age no longer write in cursive, or are even taught cursive as young as I was (second grade, if memory serves). Cursive always seemed so adult and mature to me, as compared to printing, which now apparently many adults do instead of writing cursive. Your mileage may vary. I’m admittedly very old-fashioned in many areas.