Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Barbara M Britton’s UNTIL JUNE is #189 in the never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION


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****Barbara M Britton’s UNTIL JUNE is #189 in the 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


Were there other names you considered that you would like to share with us? Originally, Until June was titled, Left for Dead Lodge. This title sounds more like a young adult horror novel. My boys loved that title. Then, I changed the title to War Torn Hearts. This one was my Mom’s favorite, but it sounds like a romance novel. 

          I have some romance in my story, but the book is not written as a romance where the characters have an attraction to each other from first sighting. I finally settled on Until June because Josephine agrees to take care of Geoff Chambers until June.
What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? I began writing my story in 2009. I had only begun writing in 2007. I knew nothing about crafting a novel or how to publish a novel. Until June was the second manuscript I had finished. Every chapter started with Josephine waking up in the morning and every chapter ended with her going to sleep. I also covered a span of several years in the book. Needless to say, the manuscript did not sell. I shelved the story for many years while I took writing courses. 

          I tinkered with the story as I wrote other manuscripts. I inserted conflict at the end of the chapters and shortened the time frame at the lodge. I also made my characters a few years apart in age instead of 8 years apart. In 2016, I worked on the novel for a contest. And in 2018, I sold my story to my publisher after making some changes for the Christian Fiction market. Notice it took 9 years for my characters to see the light of publication.
You’ll also notice that this is not Biblical Fiction—a genre in which I am multi-published. I loved the story so much that I pursued it even though it wasn’t what I was known for as an author.

Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work? Please describe in detail. And what were your writing habits while writing this work? I’m a terrible typist. I’m also a Boomer, so I did not grow up typing on a computer and looking at a screen. I write every novel on a pad of paper and type what I have written (slowly) into my computer. When I do the transfer to my computer, I edit what I have written. Since I am not bound to a desk or an outlet for my laptop, I can write anywhere. My living room (Above RIGHT) works well, and I also meet fellow writers at a Barnes & Noble café to do writing sprints.
Since I’m in a café and I live in Wisconsin, I drink hot chocolate while I write.
Music plays a huge part in my writing. I have a theme song for every book. When I need to get into the emotions of a character, I will listen to a song that portrays the mood I need to capture for my story. “When You’re Gone” by Avril Lavigne (LEFT in 2019) is the song I used to show Josephine’s growing connection to Geoff. I usually listen to music before I begin writing, but not during my writing time.


Click below to watch the “When You’re Gone” video.

I write in scenes which are a chapter in length. I know what needs to happen next and I try to stop writing in a place where I know what is going to happen. If you stop writing when you’re at a loss for the continuation of the story, it may be daunting to get going again.
I’m a person of faith, so I pray before I write each scene. I always keep a pad of paper near me as you never know when a snippet of dialogue or an idea for a scene will hit you. I’ve been getting ready in the morning and my characters pop in my head and have a wonderful conversation that I write down immediately or it is lost forever. This makes me sound a little crazy, but it’s the way my writerly brain works.
Please include just one excerpt and include page numbers as reference.  This one excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer. Following is an excerpt from page 227-229. This scene became a “Black Moment” scene where Josephine and Geoff were ultimately split apart.
“It must have been lonely for you,” Brice said, his gaze solely on Geoff. “It’s too bad you couldn’t have returned to Juneau sooner. Got caught up in all that story business, did you?”
“Not ex—”
“Geoff encouraged me to write about his injuries.” She set the tea service on the table. “We’ve been busy, too. Going to the mine. Entertaining family. I do earn my keep.”
Brice scoffed as if he had a piece of chicken caught in his throat. “Don’t you mean you’re kept to earn.”
“You’re mistaken about our arrangement.” She ignored etiquette and poured Geoff a cup of tea before their guest. She fought to keep her hands from shaking. She would not give Brice the satisfaction of knowing he unnerved her.
She reached to pour Brice some tea, having half a mind to pour it on his head.
Brice lifted the saucer closer to the pot.
Scalding liquid splattered on Brice’s hand.
Brice flinched. He cradled his hand in his lap. “Stupid girl.”
She jumped backward as if she had been burned. Brice’s curses rang in her ears. “I’m sorry.”
Geoff struggled to stand.
“Let me wrap it for you.” She raced to get a cold cloth.
Returning, she reached to cover the burn. Brice jerked. His forearm struck her in the stomach.
She stumbled backward and dropped to the floor
“Don’’t touch me,” Brice shouted.
“Jo, “ Geoff gasped.  “Are you-?”
She didn’t let Geoff finish.
“See to your friend,” she said as a bruising ache radiated through her tailbone.  “He doesn't want to be hauled by the hired help.”
She sprinted through the kitchen and out the back door.  Humiliation stung her eyes. She raced toward the water, cutting through the Douglas firs, letting the woods hide her from Brice and Geoff.  She didn’t want to face either of them.  The spill was an accident.  Brice’s hand would heal, and another apology would drain any self-esteem she had left.  She kept running, following the curve of the inlet.  Her lungs burned hot form her hurried pace.
Resting against the crumbling bark of a tree, she looked up at layered pine branches stacked to the heavens. She felt small and insignificant. Is that what Brice had wanted? If it was, he deserved a prize.
Movement caught her attention.
A twig snapped.
She froze.
A bear moved through the underbrush.
Keep on going.
The bear lumbered away. Brawny muscles quaked beneath its shiny black fur.
She released her breath.
Branches rustled. Growls ricocheted through the woods. Riley snapped playfully at the paws of a bear cub. The cub cried in protest.
“Riley,” she called, hoping to interrupt his chase.
Her dog broke his pursuit. He bounded toward her.  Too late.
The mother bear began to charge straight for Riley.  Straight for her.

Why is this excerpt emotional for you as a writer? And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt? This scene would ultimately change from its original state. In the photo of my legal pad, this scene is written where Brice leaves after his visit and Geoff apologizes for his friend’s bad behavior. That’s okay, but there’s no heightened tension, and Geoff and Josephine are still at the lodge playing cards.
In the excerpt above, Brice belittles Josephine and Josephine flees from the lodge humiliated. Josephine is placed in a precarious situation with a bear and is injured, forcing a separation from Geoff.
The scene above has more conflict and heart-tugging. Throughout the novel, you see Josephine’s sacrifices for Geoff, and you cheer for them to possibly have a future together. That fairy tale has to be placed in jeopardy with a “Black Moment” or separation to keep the happily-ever-after in doubt.
I was personally able to relate to Josephine in this scene. When you take care of infants and children, it can be exhausting. Very little gratitude comes your way from a fussy baby or a defiant child. In the moment, you can feel your work is insignificant. Josephine has poured months of her life into getting Geoff healthy, but Brice doesn’t understand her sacrifice.
Were there any deletions from this excerpt that you can share with us? In the photograph of the original scene, Geoff and Josephine talk about the “splattering tea” incident. When I rewrote the scene, the incident happens, and we ‘see’ how it affects Josephine. Her insecurities are brought to the surface and she has to defend herself. My characters couldn’t go to bed and have everything be fine. I needed a cliffhanger of sorts and Geoff has to decide between the man he was and the man he has become, and which man he is going to be in the future.
You’ll notice in the margin of the photograph, the line “I’d forgotten what it’s like to be afraid of you.” I used that line in a later scene where Geoff finally steps up for his caregiver and shows his transformation into a gentler man (Geoff isn’t a morphine addict at this point).
On paper, it’s easy to insert phrases and thoughts in the margins that you can add to your story later. If the right word doesn’t come to me, I write several synonyms on the paper and I can choose the correct word later. I also have plenty of evidence that these novels are my babies.

Anything you would like to add? I’m happy to answer questions on writing and publishing. Thanks for spotlighting my novel.

Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She is published in Biblical fiction and enjoys bringing little-known Bible characters to light in her stories. Look for Barb to venture into Historical fiction in 2020 with “Until June.” Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America, and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate.
Find out more about Barb’s books at http://www.barbarambritton.com/books.html
You can find “Until June” on Amazon, B&N, and wherever books are sold. Libraries can order the book, too.

Barbara M. Britton
 “Providence: Hannah’s Journey”~ Harbourlight Books~ October 2016
“Building Benjamin: Naomi’s Journey”~ Harbourlight Books~ February 2017
“Jerusalem Rising: Adah’s Journey” ~ Harbourlight Books~ November 2017
“Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey” ~ Harbourlight Books~ October 2019
“Heavenly Lights: Noah’s Journey” ~ Harbourlight Books~ February 2020
“Claiming Canaan: Milcah’s Journey” ~ Harbourlight Books~ April 2020
“Until June” ~ Crossover Books ~ June 2020


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08 13 2020
Screenplay
“Igor and Frankie”
by Jim Picariello

#184 Inside the Emotion of Fiction
08 14 2020
Short Story
Short Story “Breaking on the Wheel” from the Short Story Collection No Call Too Small.
by Oscar Martens

#185 Inside the Emotion of Fiction
08 20 2020
Romance
A Secret, a Safari, a Second Chance
by Liz Fielding

#186 Inside the Emotion of Fiction
Mystery and Psychological Fiction
Falling Woman
by Richard Farrell

#187 Inside the Emotion of Fiction
Children’s Picture Book
MAC AND CHEESE AND THE PERSONAL SPACE INVADER
By Jolene Gutierrez

#188 Inside the Emotion of Fiction
Screenplay
JUDE COLE
By Janelle Marie Evans

#189 Inside the Emotion of Fiction
Historical Christian Romance
UNTIL JUNE
by Barbara M Britton
http://chrisricecooper.blogspot.com/2020/09/barbara-m-brittons-until-june-is-189-in.html

1 comment:

  1. I believe Until June will have a huge impact on readers, Barbara! Thank you for answering the call to write it!
    Good luck and God's blessings
    PamT

    ReplyDelete