Friday, December 7, 2007

Friday Snippet, December 7, 2007

Pearl Harbor Day. Our parents' 9-11. With all the rhetoric flying around, it's easy to see how we don't learn from history.

I've made a tough decision. If I want to become a commercial success as a writer, I need to start tailoring my work to what's commercially successful. Right now, juveniles are experiencing a renaissance because of Rowling.

I still wanted to deal with the theme of identity and choices, but I've restructured my current WIP to (hopefully!) appeal to a younger audience.

First draft. Please do not quote or repost anywhere. Thanks!

The first thing she remembered was the cut stone walls of the manor, and the way the sunlight crept across the marble floor. She narrowed her eyelids against the flood of light through the large window in front of her. A sidelight of colored mosaic on each side of the window cast fantastically mottled shades of color on her skin.

Outside, she could se the tops of trees. Upper floor, then. She moved closer to the window and looked down. A garden, meticulously laid out, with a hedge labyrinth at its end, farthest from the house.


“There you are, Sabri. Why have you hidden yourself away in the ballroom?”

Sabri? Somehow that name sounded strange—wrong.

She turned to see a girl of about seventeen years standing in the doorway. She stared while the girl watched her in turn with impatient green eyes. She opened her mouth to say something to the girl, and forgot what she would say. She looked at the room with its high ceiling and shiny floor and thought how it looked exactly as she expected a ballroom to look.

“Sabri? Sabriella? Are you even listening?”

She smiled a little. Sabriella. Of course. She had been Sabriella for fifteen years now and saw no need to change. So she opened her mouth and said, “Of course I’m listening.”

“Good. Mother sent me to fetch you. We’re leaving as soon as the carriage comes ‘round.”

“Where are we going?”

“Sabriella Charmaine, don’t tell me you’re listening when plainly you’re not! Mother told you not an hour ago that we are visiting the Millers. They have a sick child.”

“Hedi! Have you found her?”

Hedi turned her head and shouted. “She’s in the ballroom, Mother!”

“Well, both of you, come! The day progresses.”

Sabri followed Hedi from the ballroom onto a balcony that overlooked a grand entry hall. She saw that they stood on the third floor. She looked over the railing and saw the face of an older woman looking over the railing and upward from the second floor balcony.

“Coming, Mother,” Hedi said.

They descended a stairway wide enough to hold five people side-by-side. Mother met them at the second floor landing, giving them both a critical glance.

“Sabri, couldn’t you have combed your hair?” she said, and reached out her hand to brush Sabri’s hair away from her forehead. Sabri felt a jolt of something. Mother snatched her hand away with an exclamation.

“Ooh, static electricity!” Hedi said.

Mother shook her hand as if it tingled. She gave Sabri a searching look, then said, “Yes, of course. We should hurry before the day flies completely away.”

While they were being helped into the carriage by the family footman and settling onto the hard leather seats, Sabri whispered to Hedi, “Who are the Millers?”


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Ann said...

Ooh, I'm interested. Who is she? Where is she? And why doesn't she remember? Verra nice. :)

Gabriele C. said...

Castles, carriages and footmen - and static electric? I don't think the word or the phenomenon were known in what's it, Regency? Also, seventeen would no longer be considered a girl. But else I like it, there's that puzzle about Sabri and the things she doesn't seem to know but should.

cherylp said...

Hi, Gabriele. Static electricity has been a known phenom since 1600s. Ben Franklin just proved it existed in 1752. Thanks for the comments!

IanT said...

This sort of parallels the story about Carlie, doesn't it? Is that the idea - the Carlie story but YA?

It's a good premise - the stranger in a strange land. I think I preferred Carlie's intro; but then, I'm not a YA. :-D

On electricity/electrostatics, the first major Western experiments started off in the late 17th century, if I remember rightly from my university physics. Francis Hawksbee, and Otto Von somebody-whose-name-I-can't-remember! That's probably not very helpful, but a Google should sort it out.

I don't know what non-scientists called the phenomenon, though. It'd be interesting to find out!

Joely Sue Burkhart said...

Interesting start--I'm definitely wondering what's up, why she seems so confused and out of place.

Gabriele C. said...

Lol, I wrote stories during my Physics lessons, and we never got the history of any developments, either.

But I think the word electric sounds too modern. Might she not have called it magnetism? It's a related phenomenon and was quite popular in the 18th century.

cherylp said...

Ian - yes, it's related to Carlie story--just revised to be YA.

Gabriele--magnetism. Hmmm. That might be a viable choice. She could say "animal magnetism" maybe.