Friday, February 6, 2009

How to write a short story- Rough draft Thus Far

This is another rough draft of my short story. I know I still need to work on the vocabulary. I would like feedback to see what you like to see. Thank you.

Hi, my name is Sue. I work on a dude ranch outside of Cody, Wyoming. It sure is pretty country. There are lots of pine and spruce trees and some quaking aspens. One of my favorite things to do on my days off is ride up in the trees on my horse, Jack.

I have always had a good life. I had two wonderful parents who did the best they could for us, it is mighty hard to make a living out here in the sagebrush of Wyoming. My nine siblings and I had all we could want, but we always knew our parents sacrificed a lot so we could have shoes to wear to school and a set of nice clothes for Sunday meetin’ time. I knew a lot of kids only had shoes with holes in them, because their families couldn’t even get them repaired.

Although I have had that good life there has always been something troublin’ me. And that is the Sunday meetin’ time. Those Circuit Rider preachers were always hollarin’ and makin’ me feel like God was goin’ to get me if I looked cross-eyed at the neighbors. I had done some readin’ of the Bible and from what I gathered the Old Testament God was like that, but not the God of the New Testament.

I ain’t been livin’ at home for nigh on twenty years give or take. I left when I was sixteen, so my family wouldn’t have to support me no more. I knew I could find work as a dishwasher or cook at one of them fancy dude ranches up near the park, Yellowstone National Park.

This ranch I’ve been workin’ at has been real good to me. It has been around since the late 1800’s and is still goin’ strong here in the 1950’s. I started out a dishwasher, then helpin’ prepare the food and now I’m the boss over ‘em all in the kitchen. It sure is lots of fun. Once in a while I get letters from some of my friends and they don’t get the days off like I do.

I have been havin’ difficulties with my relationships with God. I still see him as I did when I was livin’ at home, scary. I can feel God trying to work on my heart every day. I have been thinking that I would take my next day off and ride up to my favorite spot along Libby Creek to learn more about God and really listen with my heart.

I know there is a lot of information in the Bible and I can just hope God will lead me to the right knowledge. I need to know all about God’s existence, love and my worthiness. Sometimes I don’t believe any of it and sometimes I feel as if I know all of it like the gray hairs on my head. I heard Romans was a good book of the Bible to read. I’m not sure though. It just doesn’t seem as if one book of the Bible would be enough to change my mind. It could be though.

Tomorrow is my day off. As soon as I rise in the morning I will pack a breakfast and lunch and ride Jack up the creek to my glen. I’m shore the iris and other purty flowers will be able to help me and git me out of this sorry state. Well, I am going off to cook the night meal for all the dudes and dudettes and think about what I need to take with me in the mornin’

The kitchen I cook in is shore good. It has all the latest equipment and the larder is always full of all the fancy foods these city folk like. I’m jest so glad there are people to do the dishes and milk the cows. I jest take the menus to the missus and have her o.k. them so I can have the girls cook them. Tonight it’ll be pan-fried trout and wild dandelion salad. I thought we could make wild strawberry shortcake too. We don’t have too many folk here right now, so it won’t be so difficult for all of us to get it done and I can make shore everythin’ is in order for tomar’.

Golly, did I git to bed late last night. There was so much to be done in that thar kitchen. I had to boil eggs, wash the greens, and make shore thar was a perfectly done list. Those girls don’t know nothin’ so that list had to be written out minut by minut. I don’t want the missus to get mad at the girls. Those poor things have enough problems, they don’t need more.

I’m glad today is my day off. I aim to head off to the hills as soon as the sun comes up. That’ll give me time to get my breakfast ate and pack a lunch. I need to git a thermos of water and some bread and meat. I’m needin’ a simple lunch, because I’s gots lots to thank ‘bout today.

I am a bit nervous about goin’. I am not shore what it is I am supposed to read. I don’t know what I should ask. I jest don’t know. Perhaps it is time for a prayer now.

Dear Lord,
I’m comin’ to talk to you today. I want to git to know you in the way I hear everybody talkin’. I just don’t see how you have ‘nuff love for everybody, especially a poor uneducated fool like me. Please give me the courage and the knowledge to get to know you. In your name I pray, Amen.

I guess I had best get my satchel, Bible and git my meal decided. I think I’ll be takin’ a loaf of bread and a chunk a cheese. I will get some water out of the creek to drink and fill up the thermos so it will be nice and cool.

Glad I got up early, so I can git out of here, before anybody asks where I am goin’ and if they can go along too. Glad Jack is on the pasture and he can be ridden bareback. I can just git Jack over to one of the stumps and hop onto his back. I shore love the gentle horse I was able to earn ‘nuff money to buy. I’m glad I don’t have to pay for feed, the mister just lets me keep Jack here for as long as I’m here.

It shore is a nice ride up Libby Creek. It is flowing at is usual speed and the green leaves reflecting in the water are just marvelous. The glen looks just like it did a week ago when I tried my first talk with God. I had a lot of doubt that time the last time I tried to come to terms with God and his existence, but I prayed a lot this week. I read the book of Genesis and I now know Satan was the one who was leading me on. He really did cause Adam and Eve, Cain the cities Sodom and Gomorrah among many other a lot of problems. I have read what God has done to those who do not obey him and I do not want that to happen to me.

I thank today I will work on reading the book of Romans and the book of Psalms. Last night after I was done with my work I took a glance through the Bible and saw different chapters in Psalms that looked as if they could help me understand God in a more personable way. I aim to banish Satan from my life forever.

I know I should pray before I begin my work with God. I remember the one I said earlier and I think it should be similar, but I don’t know if he likes repeats, so I’d best say it different.

Dear Lord,
I’m now here at my special glen to talk to you and read about you. Please give me the courage and the knowledge to get to know you. Show me where in the Bible I am to begin. In your name I pray, Amen.

Lord, I am now going to open my Bible. Please lead me to knowledge I need to know, before I read in Psalms and Romans. 1 Chronicles 4:9&10 is what I have decided to look at. “And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me and thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.”

That is interestin’. Why would they put that part in the middle of a bunch of chapters that list name after name. Perhaps I should change the words into a prayer that would benefit me and as time passes I can always change the words to the situation.

I wonder how many people read about Jabez and if he has influence their lives. If I had not asked God what to read I doubt I would have read it. I have just skipped over names in the past. I must not do that anymore. There will always be real gold in the areas where it looks like there is no gold.

I think my new prayer will be: Lord, that thou would bless me indeed, and enlarge my knowledge of you, and that thine hand might be with me and thou would keep me from evil, that I may not grieve others. In Your name I pray, Amen.

If the Bible mentions this man in just two verses and God cares so much for him then he must care for me like that too. That really helps me to believe that God cares for me. I wonder what I can find when I read Psalms.

I guess I was right all along to fear God, ‘cause it says in Psalm 111, verse ten that the fear of the lord is beginnin’ of wisdom. I guess if we understand him and do as he says his praise is always ours.

I’m in trouble then. I’ve not been understandin’ him and I’ve not been followin’ his commandments. I had better read the Ten Commandments again and see what it is I’ve been doin’ wrong.

I know I’ve not been keepin’ that Sabbath holy. I’ve not been as I’m confused as to which day is the Sabbath day. Some peoples have it on Saturday and others on Sunday. I guess I will just have to choose a day to go to church, so I can begin to follow all God’s commandments.

The other commandment I used to have a problem with and I don’t now is lyin’. I’m so glad I don’ do that no more.

I’d best follow all the commandments and read the Bible.

I am feeling very good about what it is I am doing. I know Jesus is a wonderful person and I am forgiven of my past sins. I should decide what church is the best for me and talk to the minister about being baptized. I want to be born again and become the best Christian I can be.

Thank you Lord for speaking and being with me today. I am going to go back now and start my new life.

1 comment:

  1. That looks like a really good start to a story. I like the overall premise of having her going on a journey physically as well as spiritually. I also liked that you quoted a verse that's read less often rather than something more typical than John 3:16. I think people will pay attention to it more. The background information you gave, like about the horse, was interesting and helps me get to know Sue better. I also liked her "Dear Lord" prayer - it seemed very natural and fit in with her character.

    Some suggestions: The story seems to need to be longer. You mention that she's going on a horse ride and it looks like we move from one day to the next day, but I get no sense that Sue is actually doing anything or that any time passes. Perhaps putting in some outside stuff with third-person omniscient narrator would help. (i.e. saying "Sue went to bed. The next morning, she got up and fixed her breakfast. 'I am sure nervous...' ") That would also help me with the setting because while she did describe the place, it seemed a bit flat since she wasn't moving around in it.
    Also, I think it would be interesting to see how she progressed in her thoughts about God. She starts out not knowing anything, reads a couple verses, thinks about the Ten Commandments, and all of a sudden she wants to get baptized. It seemed a little hasty and if it did happen that quickly, it seems like there would be more going on than Sue let on. I don't know about you, but it took me at least seven years to work up to being baptized.
    The final comment I have is regarding the language. I really like your use of the vernacular - i.e. greens instead of lettuce and double negatives - but I feel that if she can spell "information" and "relationship" she can spell "get". My creative writing teacher suggested for me that we use regular spelling, not trying to write in an accent, but keep the interesting words. Maybe you could make a comment about her thick redneck accent to help people understand how she talks. I suppose that you could do the bad spelling but then you'd have to do it all bad spelling. George MacDonald did that but it's really difficult to read things when they're not spelled correctly. Plus my TA also said that people will think you're making fun of them if you do that, which makes sense.
    I think this is a really good beginning to a story and I really look forward to seeing what you make of it!