View Full Version : Chapter 1 of new Novel

I survived
May 15th, 2012, 05:32 PM
This is a fiction piece losely based on my life although I never went into the foster care system. It is meant to be inspirational to other survivors and young adults who are going through abuse now. I'd like any input you could give me. Especially, since the abuse doesn't start in this chapter, is it strong enough to grab you so you'd continyou to read. Thanks for your input.

Three-year-old Lea could tell the moment grandma came to get her out of her crib from her afternoon nap that something wonderful was happening. Grandma was wearing a huge smile and when they went down the hall she could see Mommy and Daddy were dancing around the living room laughing and giggling. Daddy picked her up and swung her in the air. “Well, Lea,” he said, “Looks like you’re going to be a big sister pretty soon.” Lea had seen her aunts have babies and she knew they came from mommies’ tummies. “But Mommy’s not fat!” she blurted, making the grown ups laugh even harder. “The baby God put in my tummy is too small to make me fat yet, but it is growing and Mommy will be fat pretty soon,” Mommy said.
“Will I get to help take care of my brother, Mommy?” Lea asked.

“And how do you know its going to be a brother smarty pants?” daddy asked. “’Cause we already have one girl so its time for one boy. We have to take turns, right!”
“Well, we’ll have to see what God gives us, honey. But yes, you can be Mommy’s little helper.”

For the next several months the whole family was busy getting ready for the new baby. The guest room was changed into a nursery and decorated with jungle animals.

All of Lea’s baby things were brought down from the attic. Lea practiced getting bottles ready and changing diapers on her dollies.

Lea even gave up her crib and started sleeping in her big girl bed so the baby could use the crib. That was a scary thing to do and she was proud of herself for doing it.

Another scary thing was happening at the same time. Mommy was getting more and more tired and she had a bad tummy ache. She told Lea not to worry it was just part of being pregnant, but Lea was worried.

Sometimes Mommy was so tired she would lie in Lea’s bed and take a nap. When she woke up and was feeling better Mommy would tell Lea Jesus stories. These were special times and Lea learned that Jesus was the Son of God and he had died for our sins so we could all live with him in Heaven one day. Her favorite story was when Jesus had taken a little boy’s lunch and fed 5000 people with it!

Feb. 15th, 1995, an exciting date! Mommy is going to find out if the baby is a girl or a boy! She is going to have a picture taken of the inside of her belly and then they will be able to tell.

Daddy, Mommy and Lea all load into the old Chevy and drive down to the hospital. Mommy had to drink lots of water so the pictures would be good. Because of this she complains when Daddy hits a bump because she has to go pee. This makes Lea giggle.

They get to the hospital and check in. They are directed to the ultrasound department (that’s where they take the pictures of your insides). When they get there Mommy leaves to put a hospital gown on. Lea looks around and sees lots of other pregnant women waiting to have pictures of their babies taken. Usually, Lea thinks, hospitals are sad places. Places where you go when you have an ear infection or tonsillitis or when you fall off the swing set and hurt your arm. But today the hospital is a happy place. Everyone is finding out if their baby is a girl or boy.

When Mommy comes back into the waiting room Mommy, Daddy and Lea play a game trying to guess what all the other Mommies are having. Mommy has already guessed that hers was a girl but Daddy and Lea think it is a boy. Who ever is wrong has to buy the ice cream for the others on the way home.

Finally it is their turn and they all go squeeze in the small room. Mommy hops up on the table and lies down. The Lady with the Eeyore smock on rubs some gooey stuff on Mommy’s tummy and then starts rubbing it in with a metal tube shaped thing. Suddenly you can see the baby on the TV screen! First its tiny head, then its hand. It’s sucking its thumb! Now the lady is showing Lea where its heart is beating, thump thump, thump. Lea is so excited she is jumping up and down. “Is it a boy? Is it a boy?” she squeals” “Well, let’s get this little one to turn a little so we can tell,” replies the technician.

“It’s a boy,” she says but her voice has changed. It’s gotten lower and almost tired sounding. Lea hasn’t noticed it yet but Mommy and Daddy have.

“We win Daddy” “We win!” screams Lea.

“That’s great honey” says Daddy. “Mommy and Daddy have to talk to the nice lady now will you go sit with the nice ladies in the waiting room?”

One of the staff walks over to take her out of the room. Daddy didn’t sound happy. He sounded sad and scared. What was going on? All of a sudden the hospital didn’t feel like a happy place anymore.
Lea sat in the waiting room trying to be a big girl but she was scared and she didn’t know why. She needed her Mommy. She started to cry. The nice lady from behind the desk came and hugged her. It felt good but not as good as when Mommy did it. “Do you know any Jesus stories?” Lea asked. “They always help when I’m scared.” The lady smiled, put Lea on her lap and told her the story of Jesus and the children.

By the time the story was finished Daddy was back. Lea could tell he had been crying. “What’s wrong?” she screamed, throwing herself into her Daddy’s arms. “Why are you crying? “Is my brother OK?” “Where’s Mommy?”

Daddy said “Mommy’s just changing clothes, she’ll be right back, your brother’s OK right now. The rest we’ll tell you when we get your ice cream OK Hon. Give Mommy and Daddy a minute.”

When Mommy came into the room they all walked quietly to the hospital garage. Lea was grasping Mommy’s hand so hard it hurt, but she was terrified to let it go. When they got to the car she refused to get into her car seat until Mommy agreed to sit in the backseat with her, holding her hand. They went to a drive-thru to get the ice cream, none of them really wanting to be in public and drove home.

When they got home they sat Lea on the sofa between them and tried to explain what they had just found out. “Lea,” Mommy said “You remember how tired Mommy’s been and the bad tummy aches Mommy’s been having?” Lea nodded dumbly.

“Well,” said Daddy, “The Drs. Have found out why Mommy’s been feeling that way.” “Do you remember when we showed you pictures of babies growing inside their Mommies and there was that long tube that went from the Mommy to the baby?” Lea nodded “The plasen something it feeds the baby.”

“That’s right” said mommy “The placenta well Mommy’s placenta is very sick. It has a disease called cancer. This cancer can make both Mommy and your little brother very sick” “

Can the Drs. make it all better?” Lea asked. “We don’t know” Mommy answered honestly.

“Will you…Will you.. you die? Whispered Lea.

“I might Mommy replied as she hugged Lea and they both cried. “But if I do you know I’ll be waiting for you in Heaven”. “Lets pray now” Mommy said. Lea bowed her head and folded her hands. “Dear God”, Mommy said, “I ask you to heal me from this cancer if that be your will but if you have other plans for me I ask that you always remind Lea that I am in Heaven looking down and taking care of the daughter I love so much. Amen”

Lea felt so alone she just curled up in her Mommy’s lap, sucked her thumb (something she had stopped doing months ago) and fell asleep. Eventually Daddy took her and carried her gently to her bed for the night.

The months continued to go on and Mommy continued to grow, as did the baby inside her. On Mommy’s good days they would go shopping for boy clothes for the baby. After all, Lea was quick to point out he couldn’t wear her old clothes. Mommy would ’baby’ proof the house, which meant a lot of Lea’s big girl toys had to stay in her room where the baby couldn’t get them and hurt himself.

On her bad days Mommy would mostly stay in bed and read Lea stories or teach her how to read them herself. The bigger Mommy got the more bad days she had. Lea overheard her parents talking and knew that the cancer thing was growing on the placenta too.

On May 21st Lea turned four. Mommy, Daddy, and four of Lea’s friends all went out for pizza to celebrate. Mommy pretended it was one of her good days but Lea could tell she was very tired. Daddy called Grandma to come pick Mommy up and take her home. Lea didn’t have much fun after that and was glad when it was time for her friends to be picked up.

When she got home Mommy insisted they all come up to her room and open presents. Lea was happy with a new baby boy doll and some new books but Mommy was being really sneaky about the last gift and Lea was super curious about it. Finally Mommy gave it to her to open. Inside was a beautiful Scrapbook Mommy had made all about their life together, starting with ultrasound picture that showed she was a girl! It had her baptism and all the birthdays and Christmases. It even had pictures of all of them playing out in the snow, Daddy and her playing catch. It was the best gift ever! Mommy seemed really happy for the first time in a long time.

As the last month of her pregnancy went by Mommy became completely bedridden. She was in pain almost all the time. Lea had begun to notice that the prayers had begun to shift from “make me well” to “take away the pain” and sometimes even a direct “take me home.” Lea knew that Mommy and Jesus were the smartest people in the world but she still didn’t want Mommy to go home without her!

Finally on June 7th Mommy told Daddy, “The baby’s coming! Everyone jumped into the car and hurried to the hospital. On the way there Daddy called Grandma to sit and wait with Lea while Daddy went in with Mommy. When they went into the hospital they all went up to Labor and Delivery. Grandma told Lea “That’s where the babies are born”.

Mommy was wheeled into a room with Daddy following and Grandma and Lea found a space in the waiting room.

A short time later Daddy came out and told Grandma it was going to be a C-section because they didn’t want to rupture the tumor on the placenta, so it should be any time now. Lea didn’t understand any of that except anytime now and she began to get excited.

What happened next terrified Lea. Bells were ringing announcements were screaming from the intercom and people pushing machines were piling into Mommy’s room while Daddy was fighting as they tried to push him out. For a while you could hear doctors yelling orders and machines whining. Nurses ran in and out carrying bags of liquid. But suddenly all the noise stopped. People started walking out of the room. No one would make eye contact with the family. One loan Dr. walked up to Daddy and said “I’m sorry we did all we could. We lost them both.”

Daddy slumped into the chair his head in his hands. Lea ran up to Daddy crying “Are they dead?”

“Yes and I don’t want to see you, you remind me to much of her. Get away from me I never want to see you again!” Daddy said.

“Grandma walked up quietly and took Lea in her arms, held her tight, and they both cried as they walked away.

May 17th, 2012, 11:49 PM
It's a very clear read! I can see the little girl, Lea, as vivid as anything, all rosy and happy. Those last few lines are a bit sudden. I don't think I was quite ready for it.

Daddy slumped into the chair his head in his hands. Lea ran up to Daddy crying “Are they dead?”

“Yes and I don’t want to see you, you remind me to much of her. Get away from me I never want to see you again!” Daddy said.
Daddy's words come out of nowhere. There's not even a mood change, which is jarring and sort of confusing. It's an interesting technique, but in my opinion perhaps some foreshadowing, even just one or two words before that would help smooth the transition. Then again I am not familiar with what effect precisely you were trying to go for and it may be spot on. To me it doesn't quite fit.
As a whole the work sets you up for quite a shift in tone too! There seems to be a more mature read in the next chapters I am sure! Readers might not be ready for it, but maybe they want that roller coaster effect! It's quite something, though to me I am sort of out in the blue about it. Hope to catch more of it and see how it turns out! It's a great topic and your writing feels like a great mode for understanding what you want to convey!

Shorty Dawkins
May 18th, 2012, 03:34 AM
Daddy slumped into the chair his head in his hands. Lea ran up to Daddy crying “Are they dead?”

“Yes and I don’t want to see you, you remind me to much of her. Get away from me I never want to see you again!” Daddy said.

“Grandma walked up quietly and took Lea in her arms, held her tight, and they both cried as they walked away.

I agree with Stellar, to a certain extent. There appears no justification for Daddy's response to Lea. What if you had him stare at her for a moment and feel the pain of his loss of Mommy? Then you could see why he says what he says. I assume we will learn more in succeeding Chapters about Daddy, and how he deals, (or doesn't), with his relationship with Lea, but something didn't ring true about it, at least as starkly and abruptly as you put it.


May 23rd, 2012, 12:19 AM
Hi, after reading, I wasn't very sure whether or not to reply. some aspects of the story line seem unrealistic. But then again, since it's loosely based on your experience it could be real after all, and I don't want to sound insensitive by discrediting your actual experiences. Sometimes, reality can be more "unbelievable" than fiction. Please bear that in mind after reading my comments :)

- 3y old seems an unrealistic age. A bit old to be still in a crib, a bit young for her parents to explain her the cancer and the possibility of death.
- Even if she were older, I think most parents would bring up the possibility of death either way, and insist that mommy is just sick but everything will be ok. You know, put of the bad news until it's absolutely inevitable. And even then, only gradually.
- Then again, this could be intentionally and even necessary to the story, but in such a case, you should work on make it more conceivable, like perhaps, by painting the parents out to be mentally unstable.
- This could be me personally, but if a story doesn't intrigue me or make me curious on the first page, I don't continue reading. A common mistake I see, is that people tend to want to "build up" their story. Like a diesel that needs warming up. I much prefer a story that starts full throttle. Sure it's a bit confusing at first figuring out all the details and setting and relations between characters. For example, if you'd start your story the day they found out about cancer (a traumatic unnatural event), you have a much higher chance of captivating your readers..

Anyway I hope my comments aren't discouraging. I really hope you continue. Inspirational stories have a lot of potential, and while you're writing for the sake of inspiring others, you never know it might actually help yourself as well accepting the past :)

June 10th, 2012, 06:12 PM
It has a dramatic start and a good amount of action, which WOULD have pulled me along the story except for one thing; I think you're depending too much on the dialogue to tell the story. It makes the dialogue sound unnatural, because they seem like vehicles to tell the story rather than people with their own thoughts and desires. I think the problem stems from your dependence on a toddler's POV. You might consider either making her older, or using someone else's point of view. Or, just concentrate on the setting more. Describe the room we're in, have the parents talking back and forth about the new baby, but don't give the whole thing away. Leave us with some questions unanswered so we wonder, what happens next?

Abdul also does bring up a good point, that you may want to consider starting with the traumatic event. But if you feel that this is the real start of the story, I would just suggest to work on the dialogue, say it out loud to yourself, and constantly remind yourself that these are real people. Ask yourself what they are thinking. Because I don't believe that a real person would say something like: “Yes and I don’t want to see you, you remind me to much of her. Get away from me I never want to see you again!” I think he might just push her away and become offish in some way, but even he may be confused why. Maybe have more faith that the reader can figure this out without it made so obvious.

Some good drama and action though, keep it up.

June 15th, 2012, 06:13 PM
Nice touch at the end, but I feel that it was too boring in the beginning. If you're going to make a first chapter, you need to grab our attention. Starting with a typical everyday story isn't good enough. That's why a lot of writers start with the end and then move directly back to the beginning. I did like the dialogue, though. It was very authentic. Nice work. Just make it more interesting.