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The Hunt for Elsewhere by Beatrice Vine: Teaser

The following is a teaser from Chapter Three of my novel, The Hunt for Elsewhere (c) Beatrice Vine. This is a raw cut from the draft as I have not yet begun the editing and rewriting process yet. Please let me know what you think of the cut and if there’s anything I can do to improve upon this scene. I’m sure there are plenty of grammar errors and overly “flowery” writing to be dealt with.

One thing: I am debating on whether or not I should switch from past tense to present tense for the prose. I’ve recently started writing in present for another project and I’m liking it. I’m not sure, however, if present tense will work for a long story. Beyond that, ugh… I’d have to run a comb through every sentence in the rewrite if I make such a change.

“We should settle for the night. We’ve already made it across the state border. New Town should be about two to three days away if we keep moving at this pace.”

“Really?”

The crow nodded.

“That’s great!” Saxton happily skipped about in a circle. “I’ll be home soon!”

Though he would never admit it out loud, Quill was relieved that he was very close to completing his task and being free of the burden he had willfully placed upon himself. When they sought haven beneath a cottonwood for the night, Saxton fell asleep almost instantly and Quill watched him from his perch. What would he do, he thought, if the kit’s family was nowhere to be found and he would be hampered with this fox forever?

A hoot and flutter of thick wings descended from above him. Quill looked up. It was his friend Echo, the owl. He greeted her with a small bow of his head. She returned the gesture in kind.

“May I speak with you?” Echo whispered, “Away from sensitive ears?”

He glanced at the dozing fox. “Yes, but not too far away.”

They flew three trees over, just close enough that Quill could watch for any danger approaching Saxton, and just far enough that Saxton would not be able to hear their conversation should he rouse from slumber.

“His fur is turning red,” said Echo, a frown forming between her large, orange eyes. “Before long, he’ll be a fully grown. If he decides to eat you, what will you do then?”

“He will not eat me.” He said this defiantly, but without true confidence. He said it more to himself than the owl.  

“That’s quite a leap of faith,” warned Echo. “Must I tell you the cautionary tale of the man who owned a giant python?”

“Watching the news through the windows again?” Quill said dryly. “These days it’s a load of rubbish.”

Echo rolled her eyes. “Be that as it may, a dead man is dead man. Partially digested, no less. Imagine the mess the landlord had to clean-up when the tenants noticed the horrible stench seeping through the floors!” She huffed. “At least in the wood, you can die with dignity.”

“You make it sound as if my premature demise is a forgone conclusion,” Quill said stiffly.

“Keep in mind a fox’s nature.”

“A fox’s nature is cunning, self-reliant, and opportunistic.” Quill paused and exhaled reluctantly. “I had been hoping that perhaps my influence might sway his view of things… I seem to have taken on a task greater than I thought it would be.”

“Yes, well, that always seems to be your problem.” Echo shook her head. Having known Quill since he first arrived in Montana, she wasn’t at all surprised by his current situation. “You should end this here, now, before it’s too late.”

“Too late? Please, I have time to waste.” Quill snorted, but then he grew visibly exhausted. “I just didn’t imagine this is how I’d be whittling it away.” 

“You’re getting old, Quill,” said the owl. “You ought to fly home now. This year might be your last chance to see what’s left of your family.”

“Perhaps.”

Unbeknownst to the owl and the crow, Saxton had awakened upon sensing that he was alone. Suddenly alert, Saxton softly called out Quill’s name to find out where he had gone. When no reply came, he raised his nose to the air and quickly found Quill’s distinct scent. He followed that scent until it grew stronger, and discovered the tree at which the two birds roosted and conversed secretively.

But his large ears were powerful, and his chest tightened upon hearing both the owl and the crow’s words.  Worse, Saxton recognized that the owl was right: he was growing larger and hungrier, and every so often felt enticed by the notion of attacking and devouring his one and only friend.

Saxton’s eyes narrowed at the word, ‘friend.’

Quill had mentioned that he might one day make one. Though the word was very alien to him, out of the blue Saxton knew what that word meant. He couldn’t, at least not yet, define that word verbally, but he could define it by the complicated feelings it left him.

When he thought of Quill, he thought of his father, a protective and practical figure familiar with the ways of the world. Yet Saxton admitted to himself that Quill was far better than his father. He was kind, patient, and displayed an enlightened sense of knowledge that far surpassed that of Saxton’s family. With Quill, Saxton enjoyed the luxury of asking him questions without fear of being reprimanded. He felt safe and happy with the crow. He would do anything to return the generosity the crow had given him, even lay down his life

That was when Saxton realized he couldn’t- wouldn’t – remain.

Treading lightly on the soil and dry leaves beneath his feet, Saxton scurried away before the birds could notice that he was even there.

When Quill returned to the tree Saxton and he had rested at, his heart leapt to his throat. At the bottom of the cottonwoods, Saxton was nowhere to be found. Feeling that his eyes might be deceiving him, Quill circled the tree two times before acknowledging that the young fox had indeed left.

Instead of feeling grateful that the fox’s welfare was no longer his problem, Quill felt a wave of dread. He took to the air.

“Saxton!” The crow hollered. “Saxton, where are you? Saxton!”

Hearing Quill’s cries, Saxton began running. Quill had taught him the directions of north, east, south, and west, and with this information perhaps he would be able to locate his mother, father, brother and sister on his own. He hastened his pace, sprinting, hoping beyond hope that the crow would never find him.

 

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Facebook Page for Betty Vine

Quick post:

I have a facebook page for Betty Vine, which will be featuring occasional updates on “The Hunt for Elsewhere.” I realize it’s a bit confusing because “The Hunt for Elsewhere” is being written under the pen name, Beatrice Vine. The reason for the distinction is due to the different genres that I plan to write under each pen name. Betty Vine will be the dominant name I will use on the internet.

Here is the page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Beatrice-Betty-Vine/115188301892415

If you’re interested, please take a moment to “Like” the page. It’s small and relatively empty at the moment, but it should start filling up with more interesting things as time goes on. I’ve just recently added an album on the page featuring a partial cast of my characters.

Thank you!

 

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Reasons to Read The Hunt for Elsewhere

Thanks to my good friend’s (Jayden Woods) advice I decided to create a list of reasons to read my story. Hopefully, a reader will agree that my book fulfills these reasons.

1.) It’s ultimately a story about becoming an adult: the importance of the decisions we make, the knowledge we choose to use or ignore, and the values we choose to uphold.

2.) The story paints a world that is not black or white. There is no good or evil in the story so much as there are characters with strengths and weaknesses that define their choices, which may or may not affect those around them.

3.) It adds to the lore behind animals that repeatedly appear in fables and fairy tales. For instance, though the main character, a fox, is still as cunning as he was in Aesop’s “The Fox and The Crow,” he is also capable of empathy because he chooses to try to understand others rather than care for only himself. An added benefit: understanding the motivations of others inherently strengthens one’s cunning!

4.) The characters are sympathetic and diverse. They range anywhere from bitter yet devoted, to wise yet naive, to brave yet insecure. I am sure that different individuals will be able to connect with at least one character on a personal level, even if that character makes only a brief appearance.

5.) There are multiple adventures the main characters encounter, each of which are parallel to issues that exist in human society today. Even if a child might not completely understand the sociopolitical parallel, adult readers might and therefore may appreciate the book on a different level.

6.) The story stresses the importance of compassion, courage, and loyalty, and that everything else is trivial in the grand scheme of things. These are themes that most people enjoy and love to read and reread countless times.

7.) I am excited to write the ending, which probably means getting to that ending, as a reader, will be worthwhile.

 

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The Hunt for Elsewhere: Progress Report

I have made it to chapter twenty of The Hunt for Elsewhere. This means I am getting close to the finish line. I have the end of ACT II and ACT III to go. Thank goodness. I made it through the morass that is the second act.

For the moment I would like to express some concerns. The story is the way I want it to be, but I have strong misgivings as to whether or not anyone would actually be interested in reading it. My reasons for these concerns are three-fold:

1.) My characters are animals. Aside from children, do any young adults or adults read stories about animals anymore? I’m a little scared I’ve chosen an outdated type of storytelling, and if not, that this method is stereotyped as not serious reading. The only young adult to adult readers I can imagine being remotely interested are those who are into anthro or furry, which, unfortunately, carries some negative connotations. Mind, I don’t care if someone identifies as a furry or not, but I am concerned about the consequential public perception of the book.

2.) The animals and the situations they find themselves in are an allegory for human nature and human society. I’m very self-conscious that my… ‘commentary’ on religion, politics and relationships might be too on-the-nose. I consulted my significant other about this, and he assured me that a classic like Animal Farm was very much on-the-nose as a commentary on communism. Nevertheless, I don’t want this story to be preachy so much as I want it to be honest.

3.) Tone. I try to shift between humor and drama, but I wonder if the shifts are too drastic. I don’t want the reader to be thinking: What am I reading? Is this supposed to be a Disney movie or something like Watership Down?

I am pleased, however, with my characterizations and the budding friendship my two main characters share. I know I will go back for revisions, but I think my characters are being sculpted as I had envisioned them before I began writing. I think this is the one aspect of my novel that is strong. Not perfect, but strong.

As for the quality of prose, it vascilitates from methodical to just right to melodramatic (or ‘flowery’).  Again, this is what revisions are for. I’m wondering if I should have someone read my first draft raw before I reread my work and make preliminary revisions. There are pros and cons to both methods, and I am undecided.

Just recently, I needed to go back to something relatively easy, so I finally wrote another chapter to the fanfic, Two Stools. As usual, I felt incredibly guilty afterwards (like an addict that needed one more hit), but it was very nice to write something without worrying about the details and quality. Too bad that the fandom is dying out. I don’t think I have many readers. Oh, well. At least, its a calming exercise.

Comments or thoughts from anyone are appreciated.

 

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Bronchitis and Future Updates

My apologies for the lack of updates. Recently, I’ve had fever and bronchitis. I’m no longer feeling very ill and I actually made a trip to the gym this week. Unfortunately, I think the gym might have aggravated my lungs because I’m coughing with frequency again.

For any readers of Two Stools and an Empty Bar, I haven’t forgotten the project, but it has taken the backburner. I’ve been struggling writing the 15th chapter of my young adult novel for two weeks, and I’ve finally completed it. At this rate, I have to play catch-up to ensure I finish my novel by the end of this year.

Work has been getting increasingly busy, and so my motivation to write political essays has somewhat declined. My interest, on the other hand, remains very high, and I hope to eventually write about the financial crisis and capitalism. However, like fanfiction, this is being set aside for my primary project.

As far as bar and restaurant reviews are concerned, I only review places I definitely want to share with others. Recently there’s been a drop in places that I’ve found interesting enough to write about, but that may also be due to the fact I haven’t been visiting new venues as much recently.

I believe that’s it. Hopefully I’ll stop hacking up mucus soon.

 

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Original Novel: End of Part I on the Horizon

I don’t know if this counts as a milestone or not, but it certainly feels like one for me. I am now working on the last chapter of Part I of my childrens/young adult novel. No, it’s not Part I as in Part I of a trilogy, it’s simply Part I of the novel itself. Yeah, I know. Big whoop, but let me explain.

I spent the greater part of the end of March wrangling with writer’s block and hiding in fear that this project would once again hit the garbage bin barely forty pages in. Fortunately, I confided in my significant other, who advised that I keep the parts I felt boring, but necessary short and sweet, and keep moving faster toward the parts I looked forward to in my outline. You’d think this solution would be common sense, but it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything in prose. In screenplays, you can cut in the middle of a scene and jump somewhere else to move the action along. Novels? Honestly, I’d rather not push the “experimental” envelope since I’m just a rookie/wannabe writer. I don’t have the credentials to play hardball without looking like a pretentious ass.

Oh, wait. Too late.

So here I am, on the last chapter, and feeling very worried this chapter won’t be excuted the way I’ve imagined it. And I’ve imagined it enough times to recite the dialogue out loud. OCD, but true. I’ve already begun creating the most critical scene. It’s the part of the novel I’ve been aching to write for the longest time. It needs to be written. It has to be written, and yet I feel reluctant to step off the edge of the very precipice I’ve created and let the real ride begin.

UPDATE: It’s finished. Time to bring out the big guns.

 
 

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