Monday, November 12, 2012

Ha ha! Made you look!

The lovely Marian Allen tagged me this week. And here is the game: 

Tagged, you’re it! Who remembers that game? In this take, the requirement is to copy several paragraphs from your current manuscript with the word ‘look’ in it.

And while my last post technically qualifies, I'm going to give you more of SWUP: Slightly Weird Untitled Project. In this installment  the boys are being civilised. They don't know why. (Pantser confession: neither do I.) 


You have to learn, the Captain says, and this is what happens.
Bootlaces go under and over and under and over all the way to the top of your boots, and you make a bow by pressing your finger down on the crossed-over laces and wrapping them around again.
You hold your fork in your left hand and your knife in your right. You don’t use your teeth to cut your food.
You don’t use your fingers to eat it.
There are clothes to wear in the day and clothes to wear in the night. You don’t wear clothes twice in a row. Clothes get taken away to get washed. When they come back they are clean and flat. You check the black letters on them against the ones written on the inside of your arm -- Ryan -- to make sure they are yours.
You call everyone except Mitchell sir. 
You look at them when they talk to you.
You are moved out of the hot shed. You are given a canvas cot to sleep on in a building in the middle of the Settlement. It is a small building. It has four rooms. You share a room with Mitchell. The Captain’s room is right next door. The other two rooms are empty. At night they lock you in. 
You piss in a trough in front of all the sirs, but you use the cubicles when you need to shit. 
There is toilet paper and zips and elastic and buttons and soap and taps to remember. You have to get them in the right order as well. 
You don’t drink from puddles. 
You don’t eat stuff off the ground.  
Toothpaste tastes of burn. You put it on the brush and make a ch-ch-ch noise on your teeth until the Captain tells you to stop. If you don’t, you’ll have to go back to dentist. 
The dentist hurts. It takes two Men to strap you down in his chair, and he digs his fingers into your jaw until you can’t help but open your mouth. He clamps it open too, and tells the Captain he’s not paid enough to get bitten by some feral fucking kid, and the air from the mask smells wrong. Then your bones dissolve and you don’t care that the dentist’s blue gloves taste bad on your tongue and in the back of your throat. 
Afterwards, your whole mouth hurts and tastes wrong. Your jaw aches. So do your arms and your ankles where they strapped you down. So when the Captain listens to you make the ch-ch-ch sound with the toothbrush, you don’t care that it tastes of burn. 
You’re clean and dressed and you say sir and answer to the name they gave you. 
You’re being civilised. 
This is a good thing. This is a proper thing. 
Their eyes shine when they tell you you’re being civilised. 
They don’t tell you why.

And I'm passing the challenge onto some of my favourite bloggers: 

Marsha from Marsha's Musings
Miss Cole from Miss Cole Seeks Publisher 

Show us what you've got, ladies! 


  1. Is this an excerpt or lesson on life? :PP

    Again, you have such a brilliant sense of description with a no nonsense approach. Loved it.

    1. A little from Column A, and a little from Column B.

      Also, we all need a little direction when it comes to shoelaces, right?

  2. Just how many of these pantsing projects do you have?

    Love the language and mystery as always, and that bit about the dentist's gloves is such a key detail.

    Thanks for the look at what's SWUP. :-)

    1. I think I wrote this after a trip to the dentist. Hence the taste of the gloves, and the general aggression I've displayed there.

      I have a GAZILLION pantsing projects on the go. A GAZILLION! It's not healthy. Send help.

  3. Very nice excerpt. I always hated that glove taste, too.

  4. Awesome. Two things I hate. Trying to teach how to tie shoelaces and the

    I think I have way too many paragraphs in my current wip with the word 'look'. But I'll play this week.

    1. Excellent! Can't wait to read it :)



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