Testing it out

3 06 2009

Hey guys. SOO, my guy came up with a pretty decent book idea. Well, he said it would be a funny movie, but being in the biz (ok, not really, but I can pretend I know what i’m talking about) I thought, no no. You write a BOOK first. Then you auction it off as a screenplay. Writers are lazy. Well, screen play writers. Maybe it’s not lazy. But everyone thinks they can write (including myself), and they can’t. It’s not being mean. It’s just a fact of life. When people try to hard, it doesn’t come out well.

I digress. So he comes out with this idea that circles our lives. A couple we are close with are also hunting for an apartment. So, he goes, “Wouldn’t it be funny to watch a movie about two couples fighting it out and looking for a house together.”

I thought, we coul dhave something here. What person in the USA couldn’t relate to hunting to that perfect place to live, being on a tight budget, and having friends. Whether or not I stay on a literal path with the premise for the idea, or veer off and just write whatever happens, I figured why not. Why not give it a shot.

There is a chance I’ll write this. Write another page or two, and forget about it until I find it four years later and cringe at my attempt. But who knows. Maybe this time it’ll happen. I have, afterall, been able to keep up with a blog for the most part. Something I’ve never been able to do longer than a month or two.

So here we go. This isn’t the start, middle or end. It’s just what I wrote. Please be brutally honest. Don’t spare my feelings. Im really asking for hard critism. Im asking you to pretend you don’t know me at all. Pretend you picked up a leaflet and this is what you found. As consumers. What would your thoughts be.

 

—————————————————————————————-

I sat in the restaurant quietly hoping my boyfriend wouldn’t call. I was cheating on him. With Cheesecake Factory. Never mind I had a (slightly) innocent salad. And it wasn’t the people I was dining with; friends from home were in town for the week. But spending extra money. How could I, he would most certainly ask. We just bought all that food. It’s ok. I admit it. I have a problem. I enjoy eating out too much.

My heart dropped when I felt my phone buzz in my bag. I don’t like lying, and I hate ignoring his calls. I felt the buzz stop and grabbed my phone. Curiosity always gets the best of me. It wasn’t Andy. It was my apartment manager.

My heart found its way back up to my chest and the pulse shook my hands.

“Not now,” I thought. “I know I vacuumed, but it was barely after ten. I had to. If she saw our carpet, she would have agreed!”

I had my excuses ready to go; they were becoming pretty standard now.

“No really, we were asleep. Yes at 10, I had to be up early.”
“The dogs don’t bark unless we tell them to.”
“We were running errands, we weren’t home, and, uhm, we had the dogs with us.”
“Come on, Ned, You know she is crazy!”

The last one was my favorite and probably the only truthful excuse I had in my bank.

For the past two months I had been avoiding the manager. Over all he was a nice guy, albeit pretty forgetful. I generally used this to my advantage. No, no, Andy wasn’t living with me, he just slept over a lot; Goalie was his dog, so technically I did NOT have three dogs, just 1 and ¾ of a dog; promising I would pay the extra dog deposit next paycheck.

We tended to just pretend we had no idea what he was talking about when the fact that we actually had three dogs living in our studio, I mean, my studio apartment. We had adopted Andy’s dog, Goalie, and she had given birth 2 weeks after before. Kayla was the result. But a 9-week-old puppy could hardly account for a full grown actual dog. She was in her pen most of the time anyway.

I pressed the button for my visual voicemail – who doesn’t love the new iphone features. Ah, technology.

“Hey, Mel, it’s Ned, from the apartments. Could you call me back as soon as you get this?”

Crap. My manager calls me for 2 reasons. The rare time I call in for something and he has to call me back, made rarer by his forgetfulness. ; And when the crazy below me called in yet another complaint.

I cringed inwardly and debated on my next course of action. Lunch was over, so stepping outside to make the call wouldn’t be rude. But did I really want to deal with this now? I texted Andy as a way to stall and think. I couldn’t actually call him. I was still, after all, in the restaurant. I’d be busted.

Ned called. Another complaint. I think…

I left it at that and, curiosity getting the best of me, stepped outside to make the call.

“Hey Ne… Hello?”
“Mel? You there”
“Hey Ned, what’s going on.”
“Heyyyy.” Ned liked to draw out his “hey” as if he were hesitant to talk to you, or as if you were an old friend he hadn’t seen in a long, long time. “So listen, I got your rent check and it was only for 950.”

I did my mental calculation here. OK, this was about rent. THAT, I could handle.
“Right, did I make it out to the wrong person.” (I can be airheaded like that).

“No, I just thought your rent was $995.”

PHEW! I wrote my old rent price down. Problem solved. I hurried off the phone, promising to rewrite the check, before Ned could remember that we promised to pay him that extra dog deposit. I also realized admitting my own mistake would mean heckling and jibing later on. I texted Andy back.

I made a mistake on the rent. And he asked us to keep it down at night. You know, crazy neighbor again.

Andy called back immediately. Dammit, did he not realize I did NOT want to get caught?
I let it ring to voicemail and waited till I was outside of the restaurant before calling him again. Sneaky, I am.

“Hey Unn. It’s ok. I just wrote down the wrong amount and he wants us to just be quieter.”
“Mel, we didn’t DO anything last night.”
“Er, yea, but we vacuumed kind of late. So. You know.”
“Doesn’t he know she’s crazy?” Rob pressed.
“Well, yea, but you know, he hates getting the calls as much as we hate hearing the top of her broom on our floor.”
“Oh, Ok. I’ll talk to you later then Unny. Miss you”
“You too.”
Click.

I turned to my friends, who were now standing outside with me. Jules handed me the card I left behind to pay my portion of the bill and my receipt.

“All clear?”
“Yea,” I exhaled. I heard the stress on the “e” that my friends in California loved goading me for. East coast accent. Ugh. “But, I promise you this. I can’t keep running around. We’re done. I’m talking to Rob tonight… We’re moving out by July.”

My threat was toward no one but me. I just couldn’t handle it any longer. I loved Andy, even with his neuroses and inability to be on time for anything that did not directly affect him, and of course, the OCD tendencies when it came to cleaning. I loved our dogs. I wasn’t getting rid of them. And as much as I did love my little studio overlooking the Glendale Foothills, I knew, I couldn’t last in 500 square feet much longer. It was time to get serious about house hunting.

I bid farewell to my friends and told them I would meet up with them later that evening. I got back to the office and signed up for a rental service immediately. Andy and I had half-heartedly looked through craigslist.com for 2 months. We knew when the complaints started coming in we would have to move out. Not to mention for our own sanity. Andy still had his apartment, but it had become more of a storage space than anything. A very expensive storage space I might add. It was time to move on this.

I called Andy and told him what I did.

“Awesome,” he exclaimed. “I’ll give you half of that later.”
“No worries,” I said. I was relieved he was on board. I’ve never thought he didn’t want to move in with me. I just held, in the back of my mind, that he was a guy, and sometimes, these steps were a bit frightening for them. Sometimes it took time. Sometimes you had to go slow, let them think it was their idea. But we were running out of time.
“Don’t tell Nancy.”

His statement took me by shock. What does he mean, don’t tell Nancy. Of course I was going to tell Nancy. Nancy and her husband Rob were also house hunting. Either of us wanted to buy, so we would constantly share house rental stories, laughing about insanely small closets and impossible bathrooms,  in between our giggling about her husband’s and Andy’s shared quirks. We weren’t catty. We were just girls. And if you dealt with what we did? You’d have to laugh to. Just to keep our sanity. All girls do. I think.

“So, why can’t I tell Nancy?” I pushed.
“Because we’re paying for this. So we can get better listings. If you give her our login and password? They may steal a house from under our noses.”
“Touché.”
“Look, we’ll give them the password. We’ll just find out house first.”

And so it began. We loved our friends. Every couple has that one go-to couple or friend that is in the same lot of life as they are. Who understand the grievances you go through on a day-to-day basis? Who understand you when you cry, “My dog redecorated our apartment with her poop again!” or “I swear she PEED in my bag!” These are the couples and friends that can laugh at the daily antics that parade through your life without turning a nose up or a judgmental eye. And now? This very couple, the one girl I bonded with since my move a year prior, were now our elite enemies. He was right.

We needed. A. House.

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12 responses

4 06 2009
janey

Rowdy- that was really GOOD.!
i loved it. write more soon.!

4 06 2009
lara21167

I loved it too, Rowdy. Love your writing style and the plot idea is great. I also love the realism in it. Now the one thing I got confused about is Rob and Andy. In the phone conversation after Mel talked to the Landlord. Reread that part. I think you mixed up the names.

4 06 2009
lara21167

And I think we will give you a little push now and again to keep this going. I really think you have something here.

4 06 2009
janey

yea. i got confused there too. im home from school.
im goin to go later. i have doctors appointment.
and. mom has a meetin with one of my teachers.
he lied on me and i got in trouble. he gave me a pass to leave class and then he called the house and told my mom that i walked out of class.
gRRRRR.

4 06 2009
janey

Abusive Love

My rainy days fade away
The smile in your eyes makes my heart skip a beat
When you talk, I hear Angels sing
But when you scream, my heart stops, and breaks
When you hold me, i feel loved, secure
But when you hit me, I hurt, feel used
You wipe my tears, I could give you the world
You cause my tears, I hate you
When you kiss me, I fly
When you strike me, I shatter, or,
You shatter, my world, my dreams, my love
When we’re together, I can’t imagine use being apart
I am trapped in your abusive love

hey. just wrote this.
im trying to write a poem everyday to see how many i end up with.
let me know what you think 🙂

4 06 2009
Witchypoo33

Goldie…your plot and the way it’s set up is really good; the beginning really grabs the reader’s attention, (everyone loves to read about a character who periodically does little, “naughty” things that he/she keeps from their partner…makes that character seem more human). I could relate to your main character very well, like I’ll bet most women could. I had to reread the Rob/Andy part also; did you intend for Rob to be the male half of the couple you and Andy have so much in common with? Just a couple of little, minor grammatical thingy’s…that’s what editors are for, right? Anyhoo…your setup and body are very sound, very entertaining all the way through. I’d read it if it were in book form. Keep at it, Goldielocks.

Janey…intriguing poem; I hope it’s not based on personal experience, though. Is your Mom going to back you up with the teacher? Good luck, Sweetie.

Take care.

4 06 2009
Witchypoo33

Oh, yeah…just looked at it again; Rob is Nancy’s husband. Got it.

4 06 2009
lara21167

Janey great poem. Do you keep all your poems? You should maybe you can get them published someday. Hope your Mom backs you up with your teacher. Let us know how it goes.

4 06 2009
monkeyspeaks

Hey guys. Thanks for the comments and for the critism. Keep it coming. Let me know if there is something you would want different. Yes, Witchy, there are definitely typos and grammatical errors. I’ve never been fantastic with them. Its not that I don’t know the rules to an extent, but I’m horrible when it comes to proofing and with this? I figured just get it out. I can proof later down the road. Yes an editor would take care of that for me, but I woul dhave to actually get paid first. Hahaha. And sorry about the Rob/Andy mix-up. I think there are a few factors that led to that. 1) Andy was originally Rob, but I didn’t like the idea of Mel dating a guy named Rob. It’s nothing against the name, one of my best friends is a Robert. I just didn’t see the names matching up that well. So I switched to Andy and made Nancy’s hubby Rob and may have switched things up. Then the other issue is there is no real character developement. Since this is just a quick blurb, there’s no way for the reader to understand who is who and the dimensions of each character. Bear with me. Im hoping to develope them as I go and hopefully some stories will bring it together.

I thikn I need at LEAST 100K words for a full manuscript. 250 words is one page (double spaced pages) which would come out to give or take 400 pages in a typed manuscript. The pages in the book would vary though according to typeset, font, and page size. So a manuscript with 400 pages could turn into a 200-350 page book. I think. Not including editing out stuff. And I think I would need AT LEAST 200 to make it worth it so I’ll shoot for 100 – 150K and go from there.

As of right now I think I am just going to write what comes to me. I dont mean I’ll only post now and then. Im hoping to be able to keep this up when I have the time to and just post stuff here and there as it comes out.

In the past, when I’ve tried writing, I tended to think I could jsut start at the beginning and go from there, but it never works. So right now I think I’m just going to write bits and pieces in no particular order as inspiration hits and then decide where to go from there.

I don’t know if I’ll keep the “plot” of this short as the main plot and write a chronological story, or if I’ll Keep them as short glimpses into the characters lives and antics with some sort of flow from one to the next circa Jen Lancaster style.

I thikn I just see all these online bloggers writing fictional stories that are the equivalent of a soap opera or trashy romance novel. Im not saying I don’t enjoy them. I just think they’re very generic. Girls meets boy, girl pines for boy, unexplainable things happen, etc. I think Cosmo is the closest to what I like. It’s about her finding love but she injects real life into it. I just dont see any humor behind any of the stories out there online and the reality is humor is a MAJOR part of life. Even if its just funny to who it’s happening to, and I believe a good writer can make the readable out of the mundane. Like this story. Honestly? The reality of it is mundane. Who hasn’t battled a manager or an annoying neighbor. So my idea is to take real mundane lief and make it readable. I also have to figure out how to fictionalize everything enough so no one gets offended. Like I have great stories thanks to a certain sister, but she’s so sensitive and my guy is so protective, that i’ll have to tread on water to make sure it comes across with the humor that I want without being cruel.

I don’t know. I love my job. I want the career I’ve started. But for years something has been telling me its my calling to write. Its not that I think I’m very good (im not saying this for compliments at all, i undetrstand people think I write well. its just a personal critique), it’s just, I seem to work best when I can do it on my own but have a deadline to meet. NOT to mention, I would love to be a stay at home mom one day, but I want to continue to contribute financially, and what better way to do that than a book? So I figure if I have my career started and start writing as well, I can mix the two eventually and always be able to work at something in between anything I may or may not write. And if I only write one novel and leave it at that? Well then I’ll have my career to fall back on after.

Who knows.

4 06 2009
lara21167

Rowdy just from what you wrote and your blog entries, I think you have potential. And alot of great writers write sporadically as things come to mind. You can piece it all together when you’re done.

4 06 2009
janey

Lara- yes i keep all my poems. i have a full folder and two journals full of them
im actually joining a poetry contest monday after school.
i submitted my poem today. and my mom is totally backing me up with the teacher. he’s been giving me trouble all year. so tomorrow i have a meeting set up with my principal, teacher, guidence counselor, and my mom

5 06 2009
Witchypoo33

Hey, Goldie…just a thought: with your guy’s sister, instead of making her a character she could identify as herself, can you change up her “identity” enough so that she can’t whine about it? Does you guy support you in what sounds like a possibly contentious relationship with his sister? I mean, I completely get that he’s protective of her and is a loyal brother; do you also reap the benefits of his protectiveness? Just wondering about the dynamics; family crap can be weird all the way around. I don’t think I’d be crazy about her, (or anyone else I wasn’t expecting), hanging around my personal space on nights that I just want some peace and privacy to unwind. You know?

Take care, Sweetie.

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