Over the years, I amassed a large collection of HOW TOs, written by writing coaches, agents editors. I must say that I've gleaned a little/lot from each of the books I've read on the subject. to be honest with you, I couldn't finish reading all of them . . . if at all. Since my attention span is short, I need to be grabbed and quickly. A couple of books that did that for me. One of them takes me through a point-by-point of on how to apply story physics to your novel. Larry Brooks latest novel, Deadly Faux, which I bough as well as Story Engineering, and Story Physics. Loved them all for the volume of information they offered.
Why am I telling you this? Because before I was in the dark. Then I was enlightened.
Because, after reading my first few chapters of my novel, Stolen Truth, Larry Brooks suggested that my story would greatly benefit if I changed from third person omniscient POV to first person. At first, I resisted. And resisted some more. I finally broke down. And, oh boy! What a difference. My voice has changed from carefully crafted and stiff delivery to a flowing and heartwarming and intimate narration. And I was released from restraints. Imagine?
Since having given birth four weeks earlier, I was in the habit of waking up at six o’clock. Only this time it was different. The rays of the Southern Berkshire, September sun, filtering through the sheer curtains, were too bright. And the nightstand clock displayed one p.m. in neon green. I should had felt thankful that Todd or Connie had let me rest this long, knowing how little I’d been sleeping since Benny was born. My thoughts turned to Connie, the midwife, a tall and thin woman in her sixties who Todd hired. She showed up one day and took care of everything with the precision of a sharpshooter.
I tried to rise, fighting an unfamiliar dizziness and an upset stomach and immediately collapsed back on the pillow. I lay there listening to the sounds in the house. The silence felt weirdly exaggerated. Not that I could have explained the kind of quiet it was, just felt wrong. Usually, I’d hear Benny’s gurgles or cries. I imagined him in his baby-blue cotton P.J.’s with a pattern of miniature smiling teddy bears, face all scrunched and his little hands fisted.
For some reason, I couldn’t shake the prickly chill that ran down my spine. No baby crying, no coffee brewing. None of the usual clutter noises coming from the kitchen. Just silence. Dead silence and why was I covered in sweat, and feeling awful?
I needed to get to my baby right away. With that thought, I struggled to push aside the covers. In the effort to get to my feet, my head made loops, my vision blurred. Nausea roiled in my stomach. I collapsed, landing on my knees. The floor was cold beneath me as I crawled slowly to the bathroom, hoping I wouldn’t throw up before I got there. Odd. Something about the way I was feeling that didn’t make sense. I tried to remember the previous night. Just Todd and I were having dinner in front of the fireplace. Everything else remained buried in my groggy head. Disoriented and weak, that’s what I was feeling. Also a dry mouth. I experienced almost every symptom I had had when I was date raped in college. Luanne, my best friend, found me naked and unconscious in the back of my dorm. The psychiatrist at the time had explained I had suffered a state dissociation from Rohypnol. But now, as I was busy crawling on the floor, feeling miserable and my stomach in a boil, I wished Todd would bring me ginger ale, something my mother used to do when I was sick in bed as a child.
Where was Connie? Maybe Connie was in the kitchen preparing Benny’s formula. I fought to linger on that thought, to anchor it down. As insane as it sounded, I had a deathly fear that something was going to happen to Benny when I wasn’t in the room with him. He could smother in his blanket while sleeping, or cough and end up choking.
In the bathroom, I vomited into the toilet. Still on my knees, I crept back toward my robe at the foot of the bed, yearning to get to my baby as soon as possible. It took an effort to control the shakes and more of an effort stand upright. But I managed to push the bedroom door open and shuffled down the hall toward the unfamiliar stillness.