A to Z Challenge: F is for FIGHT

posted in: Various Musings | 1

For the A-to-Z April Blogging Challenge, I’m writing a story, aiming for 1000 words a day (every day except Sundays). Continuing today with part 4 of a story about the character Codie Snow. 

If you’re new to this series of posts, you might want to start here:

NOTE: This is awesome and funny. Author Rebecca Noon (who is also participating in the challenge) caught that in one of my A-to-Z posts, the DV couple’s child called in the incident, but by the next post, the couple was old (retirement age). That just shows how my crazy writing process works, and—I told her in a comment—that’s why I never publish a first draft. My continuity is often all over the place, and that’s one of the things I look for when going back through a draft. In this instance, I can tell you exactly what I did and why. When I began describing the couple, I figured they were in their thirties or forties, nothing unusual, but yesterday I started thinking it might be better—perhaps more unexpected, maybe funnier or maybe even darker—if the couple was a lot older. I thought, if nothing else, I’d have something different to work with. I didn’t go back to see what I’d already written before, so I didn’t remember that I’d already given the couple an age, only to change it a few paragraphs later. I’ll keep writing with them older now, though, since I’ve kind of committed to that, but when I go back and revise, I’ll need to decide which I prefer. If the couple is going to be older, I’ll just need to change the setup. If they’re younger, I may have more rewriting to do. Either way, it’s fine, but it’s definitely one of those things that gets fixed during revision.

Making errors like that one speaks to the “pantsing” process. If I had a tight little outline, it would be harder to make mistakes like that, but I prefer to write the way I do, because I let the story flow more. It feels better to me that way and more natural.

Something different I’m doing right now as well is “letting readers in” long before I normally do. I usually (to use Stephen King’s metaphor) “keep the door closed” until the first (or second or third) draft is done. Why? Because I need what’s in my head to remain uninfluenced by others until it’s all down. This is different, though. This is fun and I’m also sharing as I go! I’m also writing a lot more slowly because I’m “talking about it” while I write…rather than just writing. And I guess I’d better get back to the story at some point!

Even though Breske apologized for inadvertently trying to arrest Codie, she didn’t act sorry. In fact, the waves of indignant anger washed over Codie like nausea. But Codie decided to play it cool, grateful that nothing more had happened. Pete asked Breske to get the woman’s side of the story while he talked with the man. Then he looked at Codie. “You stay there and don’t move.”

Codie felt her eyes grow wide and she nodded. She couldn’t tell if he was angry at her or not, and she tried not to feel a bit of irritation herself. When she’d first talked to Pete about going on a ride-along, she’d made it quite clear that she’d wanted to see the action. Sitting in a cop car, staring at a house and listening to a lot of nonsensical chatter on the radio with nothing to do and no idea of how long she’d be doing said nothing sounded less fun than lying in a dentist chair while some tech scraped on her teeth.

And she was pretty sure other people would have gotten to follow him inside—whether that would have been male citizens or just people not Codie, she wasn’t sure, but she suspected he was trying to protect her.

Pete asked the man a couple of questions, but it was a matter of minutes before the woman’s voice started rising again. Codie figured Breske’s prickly-pear attitude didn’t help the situation much, but the woman was riled up already—Breske just seemed to make it worse. “I told him I’m tired of him sittin’ in that damned La-Z-Boy day in and day out, watchin’ TV we can’t afford and drinkin’ beer we can’t afford. He’s—”

“Dammit, woman,” the man barked back. “I earned them comforts!”

Pete was on the one side, asking the man to give him his attention, while Breske was doing the same with the woman, but it was no use. This was an argument the two seemed destined to play out. The woman continued screeching, but then Pete moved over to block her some and he once more got the older man’s attention. “I just need to know if either of you is in danger?”

“Mean am I gonna kill her?” Pete’s face didn’t change, and Codie was impressed, because she could feel the incredulity changing her features—either that, or she was going to start laughing at any moment, because the situation was becoming comical. But then the man said, “No. We fight all the time, but she’s just extra feisty tonight.”

Feisty. Yeah.

Pete asked, “Describe what you mean by fight.”

“Bicker. Having words, you know.”

Pete nodded. “No physical altercations?”

The man grinned. “Eh. She’s not worth the effort.”

Codie could barely register the action as it happened, but the woman suddenly pushed herself past both Breske and Pete could stop her. The woman started slapping the man on both sides of his face repeatedly, as though she were a boxer training with a speed bag. Codie had no idea what had set her off this time, if anything, but she wasn’t surprised when Breske cuffed her and started walking her out the door. Codie figured the woman kept yelling all the way toward Breske’s cruiser, but her voice faded after a bit.

She and Pete stayed with the man a bit longer and Pete took a full statement, telling the man his wife would probably be out the following day but that she’d probably have a restraining order against her. “That means the two of you shouldn’t be around each other.”Codie Snow-F

“Her bark’s always worse than her bite.”

Pete tried doing some low-grade counseling with the guy, but Codie could tell her friend felt out of his league and uncomfortable as hell doing so. Once they were back in the car, he told Codie that they sometimes arrested both parties in domestic violence situations, but here it was clear who the aggressor was. He typed out a quick report on a small laptop and then they drove off. He arched an eyebrow before glancing sideways at Codie. “You do know who’s the cop here, don’t you?”

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the next part! Remember, this is completely unrevised and (mostly) unedited and will likely change quite a bit before publication…but I thought you might enjoy a glimpse into my writing process.

UP NEXT: G is for GOING Somewhere