Time to Share a Snippet!!

We’re 20 days into the 2019 Winter Writing Festival, and participants have spun out thousands and thousands of new words, whether joining in the writing sprints or working in the privacy of their own writing caves. 

I love hearing folks in the Chat Room come back after  20 or 30 or 45 minutes of sprinting and say, “I wrote 673 new words!” or “I finished a chapter of my time-travel romance!”

All that wonderful writing didn’t exist before the Festival began, and now it’s HERE!!

Five years ago, during the 2014 WWF, I got nosy one day and asked folks to post brief samples of something they wrote during the Festival. We’ve got so many people writing so many different kinds of books–romantic suspense, gritty sci-fi, mystery, historical, paranormal, humorous, YA, women’s fiction, you name it. And it was awesome to see the huge variety of creation going on! I can’t wait to see some again this year!

Be brave today, and (in one of the comment boxes below) post a quick little taste of something you’ve been working on during the last couple weeks. It’s doesn’t have to be much: a paragraph or two from anywhere in your manuscript, or even just a single line that came out well. Even a story concept or clever bit of backstory that’s come to you. Let’s see a little of what’s sprung into being even during the depths of winter.

31 responses to “Time to Share a Snippet!!”

  1. Darynda Jones says:

    Oh fun!!! I can’t wait to read what everyone has been working on!

  2. Elisa Beatty says:

    Okay, I’m gonna be a big girl and go first.

    This is from my small village Regency WIP. Hero’s the local vicar, heroine’s the daughter of a local lord. They both know they have absolutely no business having feelings for one another, but…no one can stop them from bantering.

    They’ve just run into each other on the Village Green, and they’re talking about something the heroine did in the previous book in the series: deliberately scuttled an engagement her sister wanted to escape. (She got the vicar to translate some Latin terms for her in a law book she found, but she didn’t tell him why at the time.)


    “You might simply have been honest with me,” he said. “Had I known you were trying to forestall an unwanted marriage for your sister, I could have helped you in a much more straightforward way.”

    She blinked, apparently startled. “You could have?” She gave him an odd look. “You would have helped me?”

    “Of course. No decent clergyman wants to see a girl pressured into an unwelcome marriage. In point of fact, forced marriage is strictly against church law.”

    That definitely caught her by surprise. “It is?”

    “Absolutely. Had I known Annabel did not wish to marry Viscount Parkhurst, I never would have read the banns.”

    She stared at him incredulously.

    “Honestly, Miss Rosamund,” he said. “Britain is a civilized nation. Our women are not chattle.”

    She did laugh now, short and scornfully.
    “Tell that to my father.”

    Her brow creased with unhappiness, and a dark feeling settled over Thomas’s chest.

    “Miss Rosamund,” he said, a new concern creeping into his mind, “has your father—is your father trying to arrange some sort of marriage for you?”

    He was fairly sure he was asking out of selfless concern for her happiness. But his flesh chilled as though a sudden wind blew over him, and his blood throbbed with a force that made his skull ache.

    After a terrifying pause, she shook her head. “Not just at the moment, no,” she said.

    Thomas tried to ignore the pure rush of relief that went through him.

    Then Rosamund lifted her chin again, looking quite defiant once more. “But what lady in England has not felt such pressure?”

    Thomas stared at her. “What lady has not? You believe pressure from fathers to enter into unwelcome marriage is that common?”

    “Good gracious, Mr. Wilkins! Have you been living with your head buried in the sand? You don’t think girls are married off by their fathers every day to suitors they despise?”

    “Well, I…” He stopped to think. “Well, no. Not to my knowledge. I’ve performed dozens of weddings here in Birchford, and the brides have all been beaming. Every one.”

    Rosamund gave him a long, steady look that implied he had entirely missed her point.

    “Ah,” he said. “You mean it is different when money and titles are involved.”

    “Indeed. I wasn’t in London all that long, but I saw enough. The law may forbid forced marriage, but in practical terms, it might as well be the reverse. Fathers tell daughters what they must do, and daughters are not even aware they have rights. And even if they knew, their fathers hold the purse-strings, which makes freedoms quite difficult to exercise. Once a lady’s wed, her situation only gets worse—the husband is lord and master and legal owner of everything, right down to the lady’s own handkerchiefs and stockings and writing paper. Even of the children who are born! It’s quite a neat trap when you think about it.”

    Now Thomas was the one standing and staring like a village idiot.

    A neat trap.

    Did things really look so dire from a lady’s point of view?

  3. Susan Craig says:

    Just a bit of opening text…

    The sleek black, multi-buttoned telephone jangled. From beneath Egyptian cotton sheets, a slender arm groped toward the bedside table, lifted the receiver a few inches, then dropped it back in its cradle. With a groan, Diana Lennox sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes, resisting the impulse to bury herself back under the covers. Outside the windows of her suite, the New York skyline rose dark against the brightening sky, and rectangles of warm yellow light radiated from silhouetted buildings into the early morning chill.
    Her suitcase lay atop the hotel dresser, ready to be repacked.

  4. Heather McCollum says:

    Here is a snippet of my 17th century Scottish romance:

    Shaw’s palm itched to pull his sword, but with the soldier holding a musket, and Alana and the bairn behind him, he thought better of it. “Are the king’s men ordered to harass Scottish wives, or are ye just looking to meddle on your own?”

    The soldier’s gaze followed his frame as if sizing up an enemy. No, Shaw didn’t carry a musket, but his sword and muscle were just as deadly. “Colonel Dixon wants to talk to the both of you,” the soldier said, his dull red coat marking him as an enlisted man. But was he working for or against the crown?

    “What business does he have with us?” Shaw asked.

    “That babe you happen to be carrying.” The man nodded to where Alana had stepped out next to Shaw.

    Shaw kept the enemy in his line of sight. “What would an English soldier want with a Scottish bairn?”

    “Nothing, if she is a Scottish bairn,” the soldier replied, trying to mimic Shaw’s accent. “We are looking for an English princess that someone abducted from Whitehall Palace.” His gaze moved down to Alana. “We would return her to her mother who cries for her stolen daughter.”

    Clever man. He was playing to Alana’s heart as a woman. Would she start to believe him?

    “I have a son,” Shaw said. “And he is mine and my wife’s. Look for your lost princess elsewhere.”

    A second soldier strode up behind the first. Alistair had said that there were eight in total.

    “I would take a look to see that it is a boy,” the second man said, his suit and bearing of higher rank. “Then we will be happy to let you journey on your way.”

    “That’s Colonel Dixon,” Alana whispered behind Shaw.

    The courier who had handed off the bairn to Shaw with the letter had said that some of King James’s men had mutinied because of his Catholic ways. Yet they still hid behind the power of the crown, wearing the uniforms and using their rankings. As he’d seen at the river, those wearing red army uniforms still wanted to kill the innocent bairn. If in fact, the queen or king wished for the child to be returned, why didn’t they send another message with a royal seal? If the child was taken and killed, the Sinclair clan would be blamed, losing any hope of regaining their castle and lands.

    “Ye want me to strip my bairn down in front of ye?” Shaw asked, his voice thick with disgust.

    “It is a simple request,” the damn colonel said, his teeth set close together. “To prove the babe is a boy.”

    “And what next?” Alana said, stepping to the side. “Ask me to lift my skirts so you can inspect that I gave birth?” She shook her head. “We are two faithful, God-fearing people, husband and wife with a child between us. Let us on our way.”

  5. Jennifer Jung says:

    This is a super small snippet and keep in mind it’s also my super rough first draft, but here’s where I ended yesterday and just have too many ideas about the conversation that’s about to happen.

    The heroine of our story has been told that her ancestor who was a prophet that was believed to know so much because she basically time traveled to visit her descendants may have been talking about her in a set of prophecies that are coming true, but she isn’t convinced.
    I’m going I have to channel your guys’ amazing ability of making us feel and see what the characters are seeing and feeling. Re-reading these paragraphs, they could do better at that. Too excited about the next part to do it now.


    A silence had fallen all around me. The air that had been filled with mist from the crashing waves further down the beach and the breeze seemingly ever-present sweeping the shore stilled. Everything was stopped and held in place, like I had pushed pause on reality. I took a deep breath, part to keep myself calm and part to just make sure I was still alive and still able to move, not frozen like those around me.

    I took another step forward and looked around. I could see further down the beach than I thought I could and all was still and quiet in every direction. She stepped forward then. I’m not sure where she even stepped forward from, it’s like she just walked into my line of sight and thus into reality. It was Time Walker.

    • Jennifer Jung says:

      Does anyone else get almost like a cold-feet (but with excitement) feeling when they introduce a character or scene they’re already in love with to their actual manuscript? I have such high hopes about this next conversation they’re about to have that I literally haven’t put anything on the page in a whole day. That amasses to probably a few hours worth of sketching the scene, getting thoughts from Pinterest and just staring at the page and computer.

      • Elisa Beatty says:

        Oh, my goodness, yes!! It’s always terrifying.

        I think any artist knows that feeling, of having a beautiful vision inside, and so many obstacles to making it live on the page (or the stage, or the sculpture, or the canvas…).

        But it’s all-important to GET THAT FIRST DRAFT OUT THERE. Then you craft to get it (closer) to that first imagined vision.

        Never apologize for first drafts! Just jump in and WRITE them!!

    • Jennifer Jung says:

      Had to make a few changes right away. Still super rough, but better me thinks…

      A silence had fallen upon us. The air that had been filled with mist from the crashing waves further down the beach and the ever-present breeze sweeping the shore stilled. Everything was stopped and held in place, like someone had pushed pause on reality. I took a deep breath, part to keep myself calm and part to just make sure I was still alive and still able to move, not frozen like the people around me.
      I took another step forward and looked around. Everything was still and quiet in every direction. She stepped forward then. I’m not sure where she even stepped forward from, it was as though she walked into my line of sight and thus into reality. It was Time Walker.

    • Susan Craig says:

      This gives me good goosebumps! Excellently eerie!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      What a fascinating, complex concept!!

      And I also really like the strange, suspended quality of what she’s experiencing. Very intriguing! Really like the lines “She stepped forward then. I’m not sure where she even stepped forward from, it was as though she walked into my line of sight and thus into reality. It was Time Walker.” *shivers*

      Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Lenee Anderson says:

    It’s 1816 and David, a cavalry major, is investigating a murder. He’s interviewing the madame of a high class brothel.

    “Royce is not a common name. French, is it not? Are you any relation of Lord de Royce?”
    “He’s my brother.”
    “The de Royces have been penniless for generations. You cannot afford anything I offer here. So what is the real purpose of your visit? And why did you bring a Runner into my house?” Her ingratiating demeanor slipped away and suddenly, we were all business.
    “We’re investigating the murder of a farrier from my regiment, Henry Whittaker, and his mother, Mary. I’m hoping you would help us.”
    Rising from the armchair, she slipped by me and took her place behind the ship sized desk, resting her forearms on the green leather top and interlacing her fingers purposefully.
    “We entertain many officers, but I was not aware the Army assisted Bow Street in such matters.”
    “We don’t.”
    “Is the killer a threat to the public’s safety?”
    “I don’t believe so.”
    “Then, pray, what is your interest in assisting Bow Street?” I failed to correct the assumption that I was assisting them. In truth, LeRoy had let me have my head.
    “One of the victims was a farrier in my regiment,” I said. “The man accused of that murder is my colonel.”
    “And he is innocent.”
    “Completely,” I stated confidently.
    “Of course he is.” Her irony was evident. “And what assurance do I have that your friend downstairs will not close me down?”
    “That’s not our intention. We’re trying to find a murderer. Whatever activities you conduct here are your own affair. You have my word on that. As a gentleman.”
    She was not reassured. “I do not trust the word of gentleman. And I do not know you or the value of your word, so I can hardly be convinced.” I didn’t have any reply to this outpouring of cynicism and though offended that my honor was distrusted, I could see her point. “And what do I receive in return for this information which may or may not be helpful to you?”
    I lifted one eyebrow. “We don’t close you down.”
    “A gentleman does not resort to blackmail.”
    My coat pulled tight across my shoulders as I shrugged. “A gentleman can still be a bastard.”
    She leaned back in her chair, head slightly to one side, quietly assessing, an Old Testament queen deciding whether or not to throw an impudent suppliant to the lions.
    Be careful, I heard LeRoy’s warning again. Madame Rosenbaum had never asked why she alone would be able to help me or how I had gotten her name. My gut said she knew more than she let on and she was playing a slippery game.
    After a long silence she said, “Very well.”

  7. Elisa Beatty says:

    “A gentleman can still be a bastard.”

    Fabulous, Lenee!!

  8. Susan Craig says:

    Lenee!! I like your hero’s attitude…”though offended that my honor was distrusted, I could see her point.” 🙂
    Not all historical heroes have to be stuffy about their honor. Huzzah for you!


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