So, today is #WIPWednesday, and even though I've not been all that attentive to my writing of late, I still thought it would be a nice idea to update here with my turtle-paced progress.
Where Things Stand
Inigo and Linley have met, clashed a few times, and then separated on a bad note. She flees her up-north retreat and returns to her downtown apartment in Detroit a twice-bitten woman, again reminding herself about men in general and that it is best to stick with what she knows -- what she's best at -- and not to tempt fate anymore.
Upon her return, she learns via a phone message that her stepsister has been arrested on drug trafficking charges and is currently in the Wayne County Jail with bond set high enough that only someone of Linley's means would be capable of handling -- which is what the phone call is about -- her estranged stepmother asking for that cash.
In the rough draft, I didn't go into any flash-back details about her awful childhood spent with a wicked stepmother and an even more nasty stepsister, which is why I became stuck with the progress of the story. It occurred to me that a worn-out Cinderella Aspect was being implemented without my knowledge or consent.
So, I'm worried.
Do I continue on with this premise and hope that the readers will forgive me? Or, do I scrap the idea and try coming up with a new and inventive way to have our Miss DSO Flutist encounter some form of angst to make the story more exciting?
See, the plot I had in mind (before realizing it sounded too Cinderella-esque) was for Linley to break down after thinking about that horrible past, and then getting really angry at having been manipulated and treated so badly during those innocent years, to deciding that her stepsister can rot behind bars for all she cares.
Thinking that she's capable of moving on and not worrying about it anymore, she discovers that there are news reporters surrounding her apartment building, anxious to get the classy lady's take on her sister's plight. She's stuck inside the apartment with her unwanted memories and too much wine.
This is when I have Inigo arrive to innocently save the damsel in distress.
He manages to sneak Linley out of the apartment, and she's willing to leave with him since she'd initially gone up north to think long and hard about her decision to quit the DSO and join another symphony in Europe.
Her internal goal has always been to distance herself from her stepmother and stepsister, so leaving Detroit and America were too tempting not to pass up.
Now it seems like the right thing to do and the best decision she's ever made.
So, she gets into Inigo's rented SUV and stares blankly out the window; not really knowing why she's with him after what occurred at the hotel up north, where they are headed -- together, or what Inigo's intentions might be.
They return to the house up north, where Iliya is waiting anxiously to see Linley in the flesh so that when their little sister phones again for a status update, he can honestly say that her friend is fine, safe, and not affected by the shocking news about the big drug-ring bust being shown on every news channel across the nation and around the globe.
While she's on this suspended leave up north, word reaches her about an indictment against her when the State Police show up to cart her back down to Detroit. Her sister has implicated her in the drug ring in retaliation for Linley's not having posted bail.
Linley is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
Now she knows for certain that her career with any orchestra is destroyed and her life's work is over. She has nowhere to go, no one to turn to for comfort, and no way of thinking clearly in order to save her own hide from 20+ years behind bars for a crime she didn't commit.
And that, my dear friends, is as far as I've come in my current WIP.
A Rough Draft Snippet
Upon leaving the bathroom after her shower, Linley was instantly saddened to discover that Inigo had, in fact, left the apartment. Had he said goodbye at the door and she hadn’t heard him? Doubt made her shake her head and pout on her way to the bedroom. More tears surfaced to make her sniffle, and although Inigo’s hang-over remedy had worked to clear her head a little, stifling the urge to bawl like a baby made Linley’s head feel more stuffy than before.
After plunking down in front of a vanity mirror to apply some mascara, Linley ripped a sticky note from the mirror and set it aside to concentrate on her make-up routine. Seconds later, though, she paused applying a foundation to frown at the yellow note. Had she, maybe, written down the stupid things she had said and done last night to remind herself never to get drunk again?
Reaching for the sticky note, Linley frowned at the unfamiliar and somewhat chicken-scratch message.
“I’ll be waiting in the lobby, so don’t fear having to work your way through the gauntlet of reporters that are camped out downstairs. I.”
Linley smiled before she let a wellspring of much-needed excitement bubble to the surface. So, Inigo hadn’t left her after all. He was waiting for her in the lobby and would make a terrific bodyguard and shield to hide her face from so many gawkers, reporters, and cameras.
"My hero," she gushed.
After applying some lipstick, she stopped to stare at herself in the mirror and pouted. Where, exactly, was she supposed to go? And, why was he planning to do anything with her when it wasn’t necessary for him to get involved? She feared her stepmother more than she did the reporters and didn’t want to run into the old bat under any circumstances.
Sad and angry, Linley turned aside to avoid having to look at herself anymore. Even a second’s pause brought back memories she worked so hard and for so long to ignore.
As much as she wanted to believe that hating both the stepmother and the stepsister wasn’t as cruel and heartless as it sounded, Linley still felt heartless at the thought of walking away for good. And, reminding herself of the many well-adjusted people who had done just that wasn’t working to give her some much-needed reassurance, either.
“It isn’t my fault that Heather got busted,” she whispered on her way to the closet. “And, it isn’t my responsibility to pay her bail and finance her trial, either.” Which, Linley knew, was the only reason why her stepmother would try and contact her now. The only time that woman ever got in touch with her was to ask for something. Money, mostly. Heather had been getting into trouble with the law for years now, and Linley still didn’t care about the reasons why. If Heather wanted to take drugs and do illegal things, that was her business.
“Gawd,” she breathed and set a purple, short-sleeve mini dress atop her bed. “It’s such a good thing that I retired when I did, or this would have forced me out on ugly terms.”
Linley slid the dress over her towel-clad head and started to pull it down when another thought hit her and she stopped moving. “I wonder if this will affect my chances at joining the London Symphony now?”
Linley pulled the dress down over her behind and hurried back to the vanity to fix her hair by sliding her fingers through the damp curls and letting it air dry the way she tended to do in summer. She thought some more about her dwindling chance at being hired to play for the London orchestra but also reminded herself that she had left the DSO because her interest in remaining as an orchestra member had begun to wilt.
She took one, last look around the rooms of the apartment that she would probably never enter again and sighed aloud, letting the tears build on her exit. Inside the elevator, she realized that it was like ending another chapter in the book of life before embarking on another one. It gave her a bit of a thrill to know that there was no plotted course for her to follow this time and that she was letting the chips fall where they may for the very first time.
"Maybe my life will actually become a bit more sweet," she quietly mused, smiling at the descending golden numbers above the steel doors. "Or, maybe I can actually get to write it the way I want it to be read this time and not have to live it the way that someone else expects for it to go."
A winsome sigh escaped as the doors rolled open, and with an orchestrated din of shouting, camera clicks, and shuffling feet against the highly polished parquet flooring behind him, Inigo stood before Linley and beamed a teasing smile at her, using his big body to block her view -- and those anxious to see her -- just as she had imagined he would do.
My handsome, strapping male of a hero.
Word Count: 38,630
Writer's Block: high
Mood: upward battle