Thursday, January 18, 2007

Coffee and the Cobbler: another fiction excerpt from NaNo

Sorry to do this to you two days in a row, folks, but I'm unbearably tired, and thought posting another excerpt would be a good excuse to give you an idea of what the book was supposed to be about. As well as saving me from trying to be clever and interesting in a new post at 2:30 in the morning.

The basic premise is that Will, a guy in his early thirties, has made an ambitious list of twelve things to change about himself in order to feel that he has a better life. This list has manifested as a set of New Year's resolutions, and when we meet him shortly after the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day, he has already broken eight of his resolutions. The novel follows his attempts, over the course of a year, to change his life. Yesterday's excerpt was from a part where he joins a gym.

Man, that plot sounds cheesy. I should point out that this is not really something I'm planning on whipping into a legitimate manuscript. This novel was written in November with no previous preparation or outline and remains unedited, except for some minor deletions below where the characters reference a story not contained within the excerpt. It was also largely written extemporaneously, and I often had no idea what was going to happen next, which was nice as an exercise, but not really where I want to live as a writer. This is from Chapter Four.

I'm posting these excerpts not because I believe them to be awesome, but because I kind of like them, and thought maybe I should post some fiction before sponsoring a fiction contest.

Like the last one, this segment features a character dropping the F-bomb. Consider yourself disclaimed.

I swear I'll post something new tomorrow.

* * * * * * * *

Their waitress approached; young, blonde and a little plump. Will guessed she was a new hire from the menu she carried with her as she approached the table, and from the way her eyes darted nervously around the room.

“Do you guys know what you’d like?” she asked. Her voice was much higher pitched than Will would have guessed.

“I’m ready to order,” Greg announced. “Coffee and the cobbler.”

“Wasn’t that a detective show from the 80s?” Will asked.

“What?” The waitress looked a little flustered.

“Coffee and the Cobbler. Nevermind.”

“I think it was on CBS,” Greg said.

“And for you?” She looked at Will, focused on getting their order so that she might sooner escape to her perch behind the counter, where she felt safe.

“Coffee and I think maybe some of the cheesecake,” Will said.

She took their menus and retreated.

“Coffee and the Cobbler,” Greg mused. “I think William Conrad was in that.”

“Jake and the Fatman. Although it’s probably fair to say that William Conrad probably had coffee and a cobbler from time to time.”

“I notice you didn’t say some cobbler.”

“Well, he was the Fatman.” Will stirred cream and sugar into his coffee. Greg left his black and took a long drink.

“So you’re working out. Quit smoking? Or your job? Dating anyone new?”

“Uh...no, no and no,” Will patted the cigarettes in his breast pocket. “I made a profile at a dating site, and I’ve traded a few emails.”

The waitress brought the coffee and desserts.

“Thanks. Can I also get a bread pudding to take home?” Will was planning to return to work on the non-profit group’s anti-smoking posters when he got home, and thought he might be up late working on it. He like to have something sweet for the middle of the night. The waitress walked away without responding. They watched her go.

“Did she hear me?” Will asked.

“Maybe she thought it was yet another hilarious comedy bit. Or you’ve failed yet again to make a new friend. So is Stacey officially gone yet?”

“No,” Will said slowly. “The thing with Stacey is...ah, fuck it. Nevermind.”

“Aw, c’mon. The thing with Stacey is...?”

"Ah. Fuck it. Nevermind," Will repeated. "Just forget it.”

“Sure, friend,” Greg said, narrowing his eyes and stretching out the words. “Consider it forgotten.”

5 comments:

That's so pants said...

No apology needed, just keep it coming.

I'll have the cobbler said...

Mmmm. Cobbler.

Cailleach said...

Nice excerpt - nothing much happens, but so much happens in terms of laying the psychology of the protagonist. We get more an idea of how he thinks and who his friends are.

The Moon Topples said...

T. S. Pants: Thanks for the encouragement.

Cobbler: I hope you were able to satisfy your hunger for a tasty dessert.

Cailleach: Sadly, the problem with the novel is there is an awful lot of nothing much happening. There sure is a lot of this sort of dialogue, though.

Cailleach said...

Yes, but, something does happen,(it does!) because that's the nature of human beans. Causality and all that.