Deleted scenes; every writer has them if they hae been writing for any length of time at all. Wow, this is a hard one for me. In the past, when I deleted a scene I really deleted it. I was dissatisfied with what I had written and unlike in my handwritten notebooks, I could hit the one magic button and it all went away.
I have a complete book that I have scrapped. I was trying to “fit in” with the writer’s group I was part of. They were writing Christian fiction, so I wanted to write Christian fiction as well. I had twelve chapters of a story that I felt needed to be told. A romance between a sweet girl that had never known love and a man who had loved and lost, and was scarred from it. I had the characters in my mind. I knew them as if they were people that lived down the street. I proudly brought my first part to the meeting, cleared my throat and began. At the close of the meeting, one of the ladies presented me with the CBA guidelines of words that aren’t allowed in their publications.
When I returned from the restroom , there were comments about failing. None of these seasoned writers would use the word “epic” but it was implied by the iciness in the air. I returned home and cried, a failure at my dream. I looked over the list, comparing it to the short bit I had and realized I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t write to their guidelines. I live a real life, not a candy-coated, sugary sweet life wearing a false face. The friends I have, the people I know, have real issues in their lives. Real problems that polite society would like to brush under the rug and pretend doesn’t exist. I felt like a failure and a traitor. My personal struggle with reality and what other people saw as acceptable were a constant conflict for a while. I had to come to grips with one of two realities. Either I forced myself into the mold of decent society, or I lived as the real me. The real me that is gritty, blunt, matter of fact, and yes, have lived a less than perfect life. I couldn’t betray the reality of the life I’ve lived and the struggles of those around me. If I was judged harshly so let it be. Behind those plasticene masks the other members of the group wore, I knew were lies and hidden secrets because we all have them.
I abandoned that first book, but not the characters. They begged and pleaded for their stories to be told. Sweet innocent Lexy does in fact meet with Kyle McIntyre, a man who’s been burned by love’s flames, but it’s not in the sugar-coated world that I originally tried to put them in. Theirs is a world of chaos, a world of supernatural affairs, and ancient magic that will either tear them apart – spirit from body, or unite them in the bonds of love for eternity.
Here’s the opening scene for that book:
Kyle McIntyre was drowning. Waves crashed over him as he struggled to stay afloat. Lightning crackled through the black sky, allowing him to see the monstrous wave that threatened to bury him in it’s icy embrace. Stinging pellets pricked his skin like thousands of needles. As he struggled desperately to keep his head above water, his hand touched something floating in the water.
He strained to reach the object. It was solid in his grasp, a large chunk of what used to be his sailing ship. The clouds of confusion were beginning to part, and he realized what must have happened. Panic tightened its grip. The slithering tentacles of fear invaded rational thought, enveloping him to drag him under forever into the black abyss. Where was LeAnne? What had happened? The mental fog made his head ache. In fact every cell in his body ached. Just then another bolt of lightning shot across the sky, and thunder rumbled so loud that he could feel it in his bones, and he was surrounded by water! His head threatened to explode with the lightning, and his mind muddled even more. His vision was blurred, but Kyle couldn’t decide if it was because of the rain, the salt water, or whatever led to his being in the water. Another crack of lightning. That was soooo not good. He turned around trying to catch the outline of shore. Another flash and he could see the faint outline of boulders ahead. Had he been so careless to run into the boulders?
Moments earlier, or what seemed only moments he’d been laughing and smiling with his fiance, discussing plans for their future. He’d seen the clouds building and decided to head back to the docks. It was his last memory before gasping for breath, in danger of drowning. He called out for LeAnn turning in circles, trying to scan the sea that surrounded him. A tension built in the air, it almost hummed with electricity. Another crack of lightning with blinding light. Too close! He had to get to shore. He felt something against his leg, and grabbed for it with his left hand, still holding onto the debris of the boat, he pulled it up in front of his chest.
NO! It can’t be! Please God, NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Kyle startled out of his dream. He’d had the same dream many times since the accident. It haunted him when he started feeling stressed. He let out an exhausted sigh, realizing that his schedule was booked for the next five to six months without any breaks. He really needed some down time. That was a problem. Kyle had agreed to this project at the urging of his Dad. A two year project that would become his Master’s thesis and guarantee a full time position at The University. It was his Dad’s idea, not his. Kyle didn’t have any real aspirations of his own, much less a plan for his future.
Le Anne’s death had left him hopeless and alone. He was 26, in great physical shape, had a brilliant mind, but lacked the zeal or passion to make his own destiny. He hadn’t been excited about anything in his life since her death.
Deep down he blamed God for her death, for robbing him of his chance at happiness, and his future children. He never gave voice to those thoughts, but they were there. Buried so deep it was easy to deny them, easy to hide them under a carefully crafted veneer of indifference. He didn’t allow himself to feel anything, that way there wasn’t any pain.
The investigation had been heart wrenching. Kyle clenched his teeth, staring out the window as he remembered the accusations, the headlines. How could they accuse him of murdering her? He was tried and aquitted, but not before leaving bitter resentments over the whole ordeal. He was through with love, through with plans, and through with unfullfilled dreams. Kyle had given up on life, on himself. Nothing inspired him.
Emptiness. That was his constant these days. Everything else was just a big waste of time as far as he was concerned. Not like time in the gym. That was time well spent as he could see the results, feel the strength in his own body.
No, he hadn’t given up on God, God had given up on him. Maybe that’s why he’d agreed to this crazy project of his Dad’s.
After the trial, he’d thrown himself into this, glad to be leaving Scotland. He shifted in his seat, glancing at the woman asleep in the seat next to his. He turned to stare out the window again, into the pale blue sky. Below was a dull brown carpet of dead grass. A sarcastic chuckle escaped as he thought of the similarities to how he felt. Cold and dead. It was all just mindless motions.
Kyle let out a slow, steady breath and ran his fingers through his hair. His thoughts raced around inside his head. Trying to focus on just one seemed impossible as the jumble of thoughts seemed to move en-mass in a blur. He hated the down time he spent in flight. It allowed time for all those crazy thoughts to push their way to the front and demand attention. Thoughts of LeAnn, thoughts about this project, but mostly thoughts about what he would do once this project was over in roughly six months.
He knew that everyone expected him to be “over it” by now. How could he be? Life all but ended that day. Sure, he was still breathing and walking, but he was hollow. Keeping up the image expected of him, was wearing him down quickly.
He’d traveled throughout the UK, Canada, and across the U.S. It didn’t seem to matter how far he was from home, his thoughts always caught up to him eventually. All he could see was a dull, dry – dead like the winter grass in the fields below – future. Alone. Forever. He had wealth and a good bit of it but what good was that with a lonely existence?
Sure, he could find companionship. There were always plenty of ladies willing to fulfill his pleasures, for a time. He wasn’t interested in that. Fool that he was, Kyle was an old-fashioned sort. He was a one woman man, and his woman had died.
Kyle paused and blinked back the emotions trying to escape. ‘Wha’ am I suppose to do? I’ve been dead in the waters since that day. I can’t seem to kick start myself, can’t muster the strength to even try.’ He tugged the chain out from inside his shirt, staring on the gold band dangling from the end. ’I don’t have any sense of direction or drive. What’s the point really? Is it too much to have asked for a wife and children?” He stopped, his teeth clenched, lips tightened into his usual scowl, angry at the world. Letting the unspoken words wash over him. “Well, apparently it was!’
Carefully he eased the ring back inside his shirt, resting his hand on top of it, he gulped down the swelling emotions that suddenly seemed overwhelming. Bouncing his knuckle against his tightly clenched lips, an action that had become habit long ago to stave off emotional release, he made a decision. Whether it was desperation, or the result of hitting a personal rock bottom, he couldn’t say.
Kyle dared to squeak out a whispered prayer “If you are up there and have plans for me – lay it on me. I‘ve got nothing so if you‘re listening, I‘m open for ideas. And if you do have another lass for me, could ya kindly speed it up. I doona care if she‘s . . .” He thought about it then corrected himself. “I only ask that she love me.”
Hearing himself say it was almost a relief. The barely audible words were out there now. The core of his troubles laid on the line with that simple statement it had taken him so long to speak. “That’s all I’ve got.”
Kyle continued to stare out the window. Moments later the announcement came that they were landing at Lambert International field in St. Louis, Missouri.
Yeah, I think the rewrite is much better.
Write on my friends, write on.