Thursday, January 31, 2019

#15 INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTON- "Reduced" by Robin Tidwell

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****Robin Tidwell’s Reduced is the fifteenth in a never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt.  All INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links are at the end of this piece. 

Name of fiction work? And were there other names you considered that you would like to share with us? Reduced

Fiction genre?  Ex science fiction, short story, fantasy novella, romance, drama, crime, plays, flash fiction, historical, comedy,  etc.  And how many pages long?
Broad categorization would be science fiction, but it’s actually dystopian. Or maybe even women’s fiction…guess it depends!  300 pages.

Has this been published? And it is totally fine if the answer is no.   If yes, what publisher and what publication date? Yes—Reduced in August 2012.

What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? I started writing Reduced on February 1, 2012, and finished it in late July, so six months.

Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work?  And please describe in detail.  And can you please include a photo?   No photo, sorry, as we moved since then! I suppose the bulk of Repeat will be written here, so… My office while writing the first three was a 12x8 room that had been added on between the garage and main house. Hot in the summer, cold in the winter. One window that I couldn’t really see much out of, and two doors. Had to train the kids to not interrupt—and the husband! I worked at an oak partners’ desk on a desktop computer. The walls were all lined with full, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and I usually had at least one dog or a couple cats underfoot.  
My current office has only one wall of bookshelves, but two of windows. Also hot in the summer and cold in the winter…but I use a laptop, recently. And I have my grandmother’s antique typewriter nearby.

What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? I write directly on my computer, and do some editing as I go unless I’m really into the story; then I go back and re-read and edit then. I make notes by hand, while I’m writing as well as before, after, or sometimes when I’m taking a break. I generally start in the morning, after checking my mail and reading the news, and sometimes taking care of anything else that needs to be done. I drank a lot of coffee, and sometimes took a page out of Hemingway’s (ABOVE RIGHT)  book and had a little bourbon in the evenings.

What is the summary of your fiction work? Fiction or prediction?  A devastating biological agent is about to be released, to be tested in remote areas. Rumor has it, though, that there is more to this than meets the eye. One group makes plans to hide out, and survive, in case that rumor proves to be truth. Meeting at an abandoned summer camp near St. Louis, Missouri, a dozen old friends gather after the alarm is raised. Life becomes more precious, more tenuous, as time passes. Government controls tighten, people are herded into the city…or killed. Towns are obliterated. And soon, the enemy agenda becomes obvious.
Abby, like the rest, has special skills – each member of the group was chosen not only because of past ties, but also for their unique training and abilities. She will come face-to-face with death, bear the responsibility for a young girl, and endure the severing of childhood relationships in the most terrible way imaginable.
From mere concealment to reconnaissance to aiding a rebellion, where will it end? Will the entire region be decimated, and who will be left alive to know?

Please include excerpt and include page numbers as reference.  The excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer. This is from page one of Reduced:
She took the phone call out in the hallway.
“No names. It’s time. Are you okay?”
“Yes. I’ll be taking the side roads.”
“Good. Someone needs to be picked up. See you soon. Good luck.”
Abby tapped her Bluetooth and disconnected. She stepped back into the locker room and cautiously peered around the corner. The office at the far end of the room had the curtains pulled shut tightly; she knew what that meant. She closed her eyes for a moment, saying a prayer, but only for a moment. It didn’t pay at all to be unobservant.
She jumped when the curtain in the shower cubicle to her right moved slightly. A scarred, bleeding face looked out, directly into Abby’s eyes, and a pale hand clutched at the curtain.
“Go,” said the dying girl. “You can’t help us.” Abby turned and left.
She hurried down the hallway, ever vigilant. Her ears strained for the sounds of the living, her eyes moved rapidly as she watched for survivors. Or anyone. Finally outside, she broke into a run for her black truck parked in the back of the lot. She scanned the area, realizing how glad she was to have stopped in this particular parking space earlier in the day; there were almost no other vehicles nearby.
Checking both the bed of the truck and the cab before opening the door, Abby jumped into the seat, locked the doors, and strapped on the seatbelt. Making a rather wild turn and gunning the engine, she pulled out onto the road.
Be calm, she told herself; you have to think in order to survive. Once you get to where you’re going, maybe you can relax a bit. Maybe. Everyone else will be there too; you’ll be among friends—old friends, and good ones. The best. Well, most of them. Probably.

Can you give the reader just enough information for them to understand what is going on in the excerpt? Well, I think it’s pretty self-explanatory as the beginning of the first novel in the series…
Why is this excerpt so emotional for you?  And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt? I suppose because it’s the first book I ever started and determined to finish. It was a story begging to be told. I doubt that it will ever reach prominence such as Margaret Mitchell’s “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charms as the Tarleton twins were…” but it’s mine! And it still gives me goosebumps when I read it.

Were there any deletions from this excerpt that you can share with us? And can you please include a photo of your marked up rough drafts of this excerpt. No, as I recall, there weren’t any—and since I write on a computer, there are rarely any remaining mark-ups on any of my drafts.

Other works you have published? Two anthologies, Spirits of St. Louis: Missouri Ghost Stories and Solstice: A Winter Anthology; also So You Wrote a Book, Now What? And How to Really Get Organized: The Down and Dirty Way to Get Your Sh*t Together.

Robin is the author of REDUCED, REUSED, and RECYCLED, and lives in Missouri with her husband, Dennis. She has a rather eclectic educational background, and finally finished her B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies. She has held a plethora of jobs, appointments, and volunteer positions, and tries very hard to make it through one week at a time without a crisis.
Robin is available to speak to any size group. Topics include writing, editing, publishing, marketing, bookselling, and promotion. She is currently the president of the Missouri Writers Guild.

You can reach me through Facebook, of course, or Twitter @RobinTidwell, or on my website,


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