Happy Halloween

A little scene, in preparation for my NaNo.  The official writing starts tomorrow!

**

Leon loved Halloween.  It was so much fun!  There were costumes and parties.  Children roamed the neighborhood, ringing bells to ask for candy.  Scary movies were all over the television.  It was, hands down, his favorite holiday.  He was in a good mood as he strode into his office.

“Nice ears,” Angie called, grinning.  Before he could thank her, she added, “Nate wants to see you in her office.”

Frowning, Leon tugged off the cat-ear headband and dropped it onto his desk.  The only reason Nate would need him was if he had a mission.  “On Halloween?” he moaned.  “Really?”

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About Ann Williams

This is the last character that I’m profiling from my upcoming NaNo…

First Impressions
Name: Ann Blakely Williams
Age: 30 years (Apr. 5)
Occupation: innkeeper
Summary: Loves a good challenge and has a natural skill with leadership.  She is very intelligent and uses her determination and sharp mind to achieve whatever goal she sets for herself.
Culture: Grew up in the big city and is used to the faster pace there, but has come to love the country life.

Loves
Family: none living
Friends: the women in her knitting circle
Romance: her husband, Henry
Things: the inn

Individuality
Flaws: dominant, sometimes impatient, can be intolerant, not always in touch with emotions
Graces: efficient, energetic, self-confident, strong willed, charismatic and inspiring
Quirks: something of a perfectionist
Skills: interior decorating, knitting, cooking, baking

Language
Diction: Speaks with crisp consonants and precise vowels; very careful with wording
Catchphrase: Don’t do that, honey.

Appearance
Body: somewhat short (5’4”), curvy form
Skin: lightly tanned
Hair: shoulder length dark red hair
Eyes: wide hazel eyes
Face: heart-shaped, fine features
Hands: small, stubby fingers
Unique Features: none
Movement: brisk, precise

Style
Fashion Style: chic
Colors: cool colors, browns, creams
Textures: silk and satin, velvet, smooth cotton, wool
Clothing: stylish jackets, slim line skirts and trousers, heels
Accessories: wedding band and engagement ring; locket her husband gave her
Entertainment: knitting, reading
Activities: hiking, cooking and baking

A drabble, to show a bit about her:

pie

Henry could smell a rich aroma as soon as he crossed the threshold.  A smile touched his lips as he headed into the kitchen.  Ann was just setting out the pies on the windowsill.

“Those smell good,” he said, coming up behind her.  He hugged her waist and pressed a kiss to her cheek.  “What’s the occasion?”

“Lizette will be here soon,” Ann said, smiling over her shoulder.  “I want to make a good impression.”

Henry hummed softly.  “Good idea,” he mused.  Frowning, he asked, “That doesn’t mean I can’t have some now, though.”

“When they cool,” Ann said, relenting.

About Henry Williams

Another character from my upcoming NaNo…

First Impressions
Name: Henry Williams
Age: 50 years (Sept. 15)
Occupation: innkeeper
Summary: Focused on the world around him, he takes his responsibilities seriously and is very dependable.
Culture: He grew up in the countryside and enjoys the slower pace that is typical there (as opposed to life in the city).

Loves
Family: a cousin who has three small children
Friends: none close, but friendly with everyone he meets
Romance: his wife, Ann
Things: the inn that he owns with his wife

Individuality
Flaws: inflexible, reluctant to improvise, worried about social status
Graces: warm and sensitive, very loyal, very personable
Quirks: randomly doodles on any available paper
Skills: accounting, business management, singing

Language
Diction: He tends to speak in a relaxed manner and uses a great deal of colloquialisms
Catchphrase: Is that so?

Appearance
Body: not very tall (5’7”); strongly muscled; in good shape for his age
Skin: lightly tanned
Hair: dark brown, somewhat messy; part on right side
Eyes: brown
Face: rectangular; firm brows
Hands: large, muscular
Unique Features: small but noticeable scar on chin
Movement: long, rangy steps; easy and relaxed in motion

Style
Fashion Style: casual
Colors: dark brown, black; jewel tones
Textures: smooth cotton, denims
Clothing: polo shirts, jeans, sweatshirts
Accessories: wedding band, wrist watch
Entertainment: reading, fishing, bird watching
Activities: running, hiking

A drabble featuring him:

apples

Henry smiled faintly as he watched Ann bustle around the hotel lobby, making certain that everything was perfectly set for when guests would arrive.  She set a basket of apples on the counter and placed a sign beside it.  “Help yourself,” the sign read.

“That’s a nice touch,” he said, nodding.

Ann smiled, shaking her head.  “I know you had fun picking apples with your cousin’s kids, Henry, but… Why did you have to get so many?” she said.  Then she headed over to adjust the logs by the fire.  “We’ll never eat that three pecks of apples, silly man!”

About Mary Carlisle

Another character from next month’s novel…

First Impressions
Name: Mary Carlisle
Age: 24 years (April 6)
Occupation: ornithology
Summary: sweet, outgoing, intelligent. She likes to be outdoors, in nature.  She’s a real country girl.
Culture: Born and raises in a small town in New York, she isn’t comfortable in the big city, where everything feels too close.  She likes the wide-open spaces and takes things at a slow, relaxed pace

Loves
Family: parents, large extended family
Friends: church, work, etc. she has loads of friends
Romance: husband (Robert)
Things: charm bracelet (Pandora type)

Individuality
Flaws: fiercely independent, unpredictable (not a planner), easily stressed, competitive
Graces: charming, sensitive, imaginative, curious, artistic
Quirks: left-handed, sneezes really loudly
Skills: trained in zoology, very good at knitting

Language
Diction: relaxed manner with a distinctly Upstate NY accent (sort of NYC, but not quite); uses a bit of country dialect
Catchphrase: Did you see that?!

Appearance
Body: slender, athletic build
Skin: fair, but tanned from being outside
Hair: long, blond
Eyes: blue
Face: oval, fine features
Hands: small, delicate
Unique Features: none
Movement: walks with big, heavy steps; somewhat clumsy

Style
Fashion Style: casual fashion style
Colors: browns, tans, greens, soft colors
Textures: soft knits (sweaters, etc.); brushed cotton
Clothing: tee shirts, jeans, sneakers; flannels, sweaters; relaxed skirts; turtlenecks
Accessories: wedding band, scarves, sunglasses
Entertainment: hiking, biking, boating
Activities: knitting, drawing

 

I almost forgot her drabble:

hat

 

“Do you think you’ll need another sweater?”

Mary smiled as she looked over at Robert.  “It’s not going to be that cold, silly,” she said, shaking her head.  Closing the lid to her suitcase, she added, “One will be enough, along with my coat, for cool mornings.”

Robert nodded and hefted her suitcase off the bed.  Stooping to kiss her, he said, “I wish I could go with you.”

“Next time,” she promised.  As she followed him to the door, she shrugged into her coat.  “What?”

“Bring my hat,” he said, settling the ballcap on her head.

She grinned.  “Sure!”

About Eduard Davis

First Impressions

Name: Eduard Davis
Age: 45 years (Mar. 3)
Occupation: scientist (expert in biochemisty)
Summary: social and generally cheerful; he’s a hard worker, with a direct and honest nature.  He’s not the sort to shrink from telling someone exactly what he thinks of them.
Culture: He was born and educated in Mexico, coming to the States later to follow his career.

Loves
Family: parents, sisters, large extended family
Friends: many friends, mainly among his colleagues
Romance: no one steady, yet
Things: walking stick (gift from parents)

Individuality
Flaws: can be stubborn, judgmental, focused on social status
Graces: loyal, patient and reliable
Quirks: very organized, tends to untie and retie his shoes if one lace gets loose
Skills: graceful dancer, trained in higher sciences

Language
Diction: He tends to use somewhat flowery and poetic phrases.  He speaks in a way that draws the listener in and makes them pay attention to him.
Catchphrase: You see what I mean, of course.

Appearance
Body: average height, athletic build
Skin: medium complexion, tanned
Hair: very dark brown
Eyes: brown
Face: oval, strong eyebrows
Hands: large, muscular hands
Unique Features: slight limp
Movement: graceful, confident; erect

Style
Fashion Style: vintage style
Colors: grays and blacks, some soft colors
Textures: soft wool and cotton
Clothing: fashionable suits with ties
Accessories: pocket handkerchief, flower at lapel, hat
Entertainment: theater (concerts, plays); fine dining
Activities: dancing, reading

Leon Jones

Another character for my upcoming NaNo…

First Impressions
Name: Leon Jones
Age: 32 years (Mar. 12)
Occupation: photojournalist
Summary: gregarious, street smart, flirtatious, snappy dresser
Culture: a farm boy by birth, but he’s worked hard to smooth off those rough edges.  He comes across as sophisticated and refined.

Loves
Family: parents, young sister, elder brother
Friends: Nathan Donavan (co-worker)
Romance: nothing steady or significant
Things: pocket watch that belonged to his grandfather

Individuality
Flaws: can seem arrogant, sometimes stubbornly close-minded
Graces: an honestly good man who wants to help others
Quirks: shoots his cuffs when frustrated, chatters when nervous
Skills: self-defense, sharp shooter

Cardinal Sin
Pride | Greed | Envy | Wrath | Lust | Gluttony | Sloth

MBTI
Extravert / Introvert | Sense / Intuition | Thinking / Feeling | Judging / Perceiving

Language
Diction: speaks in a precise, careful manner; faint Vermont accent
Catchphrase: I’m sure I’m right.

Appearance
Body: lower side of average height; average build
Skin: rather fair
Hair: dark brown
Eyes: brown
Face: chiseled features
Hands: long fingers
Movement: confident, certain

Style
Fashion Style: rather formal
Colors: more browns and blues than blacks and grays
Textures: soft, smooth fabrics
Clothing: suits with ties; khakis rather than jeans, polo shirts
Accessories: pocket watch, tie bar, pinky ring
Entertainment: theater (plays, ballet, opera), concerts
Activities: reading, photography

 

pumpkin

Leon was tired.  It had been a long and day.  He wanted to take a long bath.  As if he could just wash the problems of the day away.  He knew it wasn’t that easy.  It never was.

He opened the door of his apartment.  Then, as he closed the door, something rubbed up against his calf.  Chuckling, he flicked on the light.

A small marmalade tabby was rubbing itself against him.  It blinked up at him before returning its attention to his leg.  “Hey, Pumpkin,” he said.  Stooping, he lifted the cat into his arms.  Life wasn’t so bad.

About Andrew Smith

Here’s the first Character Worksheet for my upcoming NaNo

First Impressions

Name: Andrew Smith (Andriy Surikov)

Age: 30 years (Oct. 17)

Occupation: writer

Summary: quiet and unassuming; somewhat shy with little interest in socializing; he’s tense – nervous about something

Culture: Born and raised in Kyiv, Ukraine, he’s been living in the States for the last six years.  He still has some of the old-world charm going on (kisses ladies’ hands, bows slightly when greeting men).

 

Loves

Family: parents and siblings dead, one estranged uncle with wife and child

Friends: no friends to speak of, not very trusting, has trouble making friends

Romance: wife dies before action of story (Sofiya), toddler son also dead (Dmitri)

Things: carries small acorn trinket box with him everywhere, it was a gift from Sofiya

 

Individuality

Flaws: anxious; can seem callous or selfish

Graces: clever, droll wit

Quirks: sometimes talks about things that only interest him

Skills: theft, gymnastics, firearms, self-defense, speaks several languages, degrees in higher sciences

 

Language

Diction: speaks with crisp consonants, sometimes overly polite, has some trouble with certain idiomatic phrases; implacable foreign accent (sort of British, but not quite)

Catchphrase: “Did I say that correctly?”

 

Appearance

Body: short (for a man); athletic build

Skin: rather fair

Hair: blond (naturally strawberry blond); falls down over neck and ears, parted on left with long fringe over forehead

Eyes: blue; soulful

Face: oval, full lips, expressive brows

Hands: large, strong

Unique Features: scars on back

Movement: graceful, certain, confident

 

Style

Fashion Style: relaxed; clean cut

Colors: mostly black and white, some dark jewel tones

Textures: favors smooth, soft materials (cotton, linen)

Clothing: crisp white shirt, dark trousers, heavy sweater with polar bears and snowflakes

Accessories: acorn trinket box, glasses; wrist watch, wedding band

Entertainment: reading, writing

Activities: plays guitar, sings

 

Here’s a drabble, to show a bit of his character…

sweater

Andy heaved a soft sigh as he frowned out the window.  The sky was gray, overcast with clouds that threatened rain.  Wind swirled in the trees, shaking leaves from the branches.  Cold as it was here, it was bound to be worse in Vermont.

Shaking his head, Andy added a couple long-sleeved shirts to his suitcase.  Then, he closed the lid.  He paused at the door to shrug into a black sweater with polar bears facing each other.  He felt safer in this sweater – as if he were calling on the protection of the Great Father just by wearing it.

It’s that time again…

Each year since 2006, I’ve spent the month of October preparing for National Novel Writing Month.  This year is no different.  I’ve already signed up.  I’ve got my title (Crossing Paths).  I’ve got character images, setting ideas, dialogue prompts and such like on my pinterest page.  I’ve got a blurb.

I’m going to be spending this month getting to know my characters a bit more by writing drabbles featuring them and crafting character outlines.  Meanwhile… here’s what I do know about my story:

My blurb:
When he checks into the Bayview Inn, Andrew Smith is only looking for a dry place to stay for the night.  A chance encounter in the lobby may change his life forever.

Andrew, called Andy, is the main character.  There are five other major characters in the story.  There are, very likely, a host of minor characters that I’ll dream up as I need them.  I got the idea for this story from a prompt that I found online a few years ago.  I took it and ran with it in a completely different direction.

The basic idea is that Andy is going to meet someone at the Bayview Inn that he knows and who knows him.  The last thing he wants is to encounter someone who knows.  Why?  Because he’s on the run!  He’s hiding from… something.  I know what he’s hiding from, but I’m going to work on making that something of a mystery, at least at first.

One thing that I’ve learned from doing NaNo for so long is… what I think I’m going to write in November and what I actually end up writing is, at times, completely different.  I’m a discovery sort of writer, so that’s all right with me.

So… Are you going to participate in National Novel Writing Month?  If so, what are you writing about?  Are you a plotter, a pantser or (like me) something in between?

Nature

Last part!

**

Illya sat close to the base of a tree.  He could hear the wind rustling through the leaves far above.  He could hear birds twittering to each other in the bushes nearby.  He could hear the chirping of a cricket in the underbrush.

All around him, there were the sounds of nature.  He couldn’t, however, hear the one sound that he wanted desperately to hear.  He shivered as he pulled his coat a little closer over his chest.  Then, he closed his eyes to listen harder.

There!  The snapping of twigs as some walked towards him.

“Illya?”

“I’m here, Napoleon.”

Guess

Nearly out…

**

Illya was soaked, but he made it to the other side of the river in one piece.  Now, it was a matter of getting to the rendezvous.  The question was: would he make it there before or after his “ride” did?  If whomever was sent to pick him up arrived first, would they wait for him?  That was anyone’s guess.  Although, Illya supposed it really depended on who they sent for him.

He was making his way up the slope when his communicator warbled.  “Kuryakin,” he said, pausing to lean against a tree.

“It’s Napoleon.  Wanna wait there?”

Illya sighed.

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