Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

storm moving across a field
November 27, 2015

Share 7 Lines - A Thanks to Our Readers

It was just Thanksgiving in the U.S., and that reminds me how thankful I am for our WITS readers. And in the spirit of giving, we want to give you all a chance to share your talent. You may have seen and even participated in a FB post, to share the first 7 lines of page 7 of your WIP (work-in-progress).

We're going to make it easier.

Share ANY 7 lines of your work in the comments below.  Please come back and give comments and encouragement to others - that way we can support each other!


158 comments on “Share 7 Lines - A Thanks to Our Readers”

  1. I'm read every post but rarely comment. Thank you WITS authors, this blog is one of my favorites on the web. Here are my seven lines.

    He draped his arm over her shoulder like it was their first dance. They crossed the corner and entered enemy territory. Troll waited for them. Standing atop the marble bench with his gun in his pocket.

    “Out for a stroll, Huh?” Finally taller than Weasel, not by much, but enough to look down his nose.

    1. Hi Angie. You have pulled me in. I find the fact that they danced into "enemy territory" intriguing and want to read farther to find out exactly what that means, especially since Weasel has a gun and seems to have been waiting for them. Good hook!

    2. Thanks for sharing this Angie. I love the draping the arm like it was the first dance. What a great image.

  2. I love WITS and look forward to reading many 7 lines from everybody - so here goes - the first 7 lines from A Town Called Hopeless, WIP in progress: Molly Mackillop stared into the flames of her grandmother’s pit fire as the sun rose before her, suffusing Calamity Valley in the orangey hues of another fall daybreak and filling her with comfort, until Crazy May spat on the flames and they roared.
    “Fire sizzled,” Crazy May said. “Man coming.”
    Molly curled her hands around the first mug of coffee for the day and shot a look at her grandmother. This was the problem a modern, down-to-earth girl had when she was a descendent of mystic, oracle soothsayers. No day started or ended as anticipated.

    1. My kind of story, Jennie. Humor and fantasy. The sentence "This was the problem a modern, down-to-earth girl had when she was a descendant of mystic, oracle soothsayers" is great. I'd read on just to find out more about that.

    2. Oh, I want to know more about this! Poor Molly indeed. It's such a drag eing the sensible one! Picky point: I'd say orange, rather than orangey, though maybe that's how your MC would think it.

  3. "When I get to be bartender in Hell," my Dad said, talking too loud. "I'm going to carpet the floors in politicians. Everybody will walk all over them, just like they walked all over everybody who ever voted for them. I'll need to build more rooms to put them all. Then I'll nail the lawyers to the walls. Hell, yeah, they'll be flailing their arms like they do in court, but all the moaning and groaning will drown out anything they say."
    "Hold on, Lucious," Jesse said. I recognized that voice. Ain't he over here almost every day before they go to work? "What makes you think you'll be charge in hell?"

    1. Dad may not end up being in charge in hell, but I like his ideas about politicians and lawyers!

  4. This is from my first Women's Fiction, Days Made of Glass, to be released probably in January:

    Harlie watched, frozen. The bull strutted, looking around, deciding. It might have walked to the open exit gate if the Pomeranian hadn’t challenged it with a cascade of furious yapping. The bull wheeled to the center of the arena, dropped its head, and with a heavy snort, charged. The Pomerainian held his ground, barking at the charging one-ton animal like a drunk with little-man syndrome.

    She didn’t think. Ducking between the poles, she judged the bull’s trajectory and ran on a diagonal that would allow her to scoop up the dog without getting stomped.


    1. I love the image of the Pomerainian challenging the bull and the phrase "barking at the charging one-ton animal like a drunk with little-man syndrome." I also like the action when "she" rushes in to save the dog at the risk of being "stomped." Most of all, I love the title. The title would make me pick up the book and thumb through it.

    2. Ha. I have little dogs and I know how they can challenge bigger dogs. I definitely visualized that pom yapping at the bull. I sure am hoping Harlie will not get stomped or gored either.

    3. I, too, like the image of the pom charging the bull. I'm glad to know this is coming out soon--I want to read more!

  5. Good morning and thanks! Desire's Embrace begins:
    “It’s mine!”
    “Give it back!”
    “No, get your own!”
    “Children.” As Morgan Latimar entered the kitchen, he admonished his quarreling children for the noise. It did not matter that their escalating argument was over who got the last piece of bacon. The scene was the third such episode in a week. Tensions were running high in his household. The situation needed a resolution. This morning, Morgan was on a mission that would cure their unruliness.

  6. I always follow and enjoy the posts in WITS. Here are the opening few lines of my work in progress--a mystery set in the past.

    The cloying scent of honeysuckle has reminded me of rotting flesh ever since the spring of '28 when I had to dig up the body of Mrs. Olivia Evelyn Pumphrey Hunt. Her remains were being raised in a misguided search for the truth behind her death and it was my unsavory task to find out what her body would reveal about that elusive concept--The Truth. Looking back, it's clear to me now that I was in no position to see the it no matter how it was present to me. Hubris had blinded me.

  7. The more eyes on my work-in-progress, the better...thanks for the opportunity.

    /// Bodean scratched out a check and pushed it across the desk. “Here’s the retainer. There shouldn’t be any trouble, and it shouldn’t take more’n a couple of weeks if you know how to do your job right.”
    Her new client heaved his bulk out of the chair and strode out of the office.
    “I’ll be in touch,” she called as the door slammed shut. She waved the $1,400 check in the air. “You, dear thing, have just saved my derriere.”
    Donnie walked in on her celebration. “What?”
    “Ruth’s Chris for steak tonight, Donnie. We’ve got a paying client.”

    1. Marilyn, this actually could be an opening. It sets a scene, gives a hint at conflict, gives an indication about what "she" is like and that she is having financial difficulties and it leaves open the question of what exactly her job is. I don't know what happens on the first seven pages, but if this is the first draft, in revision, you might want to look at opening with this.

      1. Thanks for your comments! Here are the opening 7 lines:
        “We bury our dead alive, don’t we?”
        Jo-Anna Konnor spun around at the sound of a raspy voice talking to her from the foot of the grave. A few steps behind her, a bandy-legged man leaned on two metal canes. Wispy strands of cottony hair fluttered across his forehead.
        “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die,” she said.
        The old man’s grey eyes brightened. “Thomas Campbell is a long-forgotten poet. I’m surprised that someone as young as you would know his work.”

        1. Hi Marilyn,

          Your opening is fine, but I still like the piece you put in the first post better. But that's just one opinion. Opening pages are so hard!

  8. I love this blog and read but hardly ever post.

    This is from Desperate Judgment, third book in the Judgment Series.

    She refused to meet his eyes. “It’s nothing you’d be interested in.”
    “You’re going to talk to me.”
    “Because something’s wrong, that’s reason enough.” Ashton stalked away.
    Anger closed on her, and she wanted to scream her fear and turmoil at him for abandoning her with a half-vampire bastard growing in her womb.

  9. So glad I found your blog. I study every post.
    I have finished a first draft during NaNoWriMo and I paused for a very long time before deciding to send out a few lines from the chapter I'm proofreading now. Here goes--

    Maureen took a deep breath as she walked down the lane to the stately Keedy house. With its sweeping porch held up by pillars two-stories high, old oak trees that hinted at the estate’s age, and shadows of fine thick draperies at the window, the house intimidated Maureen. She’d never been in a place so grand. Little Ernestine put her hand in her new friend’s as they neared the front door.
    “Go ‘round back,” Ernestine advised. “No use making a scene on the front porch.”

  10. Seven lines from Seven Secrets:



    Evelyn “Lyn” Morgan


    “Slow down.”
    The man in the driver’s seat battled the vehicle’s skid through standing water on the road. He manhandled the car through it and found a drier path near the middle stripe..
    “I thought you were in a hurry to get home.”
    His barbed words hit his wife. She wilted. Her head drooped. She bit her lips, keeping back her words. Alive, I want to get home alive.

    1. That's definitely starting off a story with a character in trouble. Engages the reader right away. I can definitely relate to being in a car with a scary driver, though not in that exact situation.

  11. From Redshirted, the first story in "Seeing Red", a police procedural.

    The cloying odor of death wasn’t what bothered me as I signed the patrol officer’s clipboard and ducked under the yellow tape fastened across the door. It was seeing the name Frank McCoy printed on the sheet. I’d been chasing down dead-end leads on an ugly double-homicide for the last thirty-six hours, and I was not in the mood for his damn humor. Still, if I didn’t play the medical examiner’s game, I might never get out of here. I added my name under his, braced myself, and stepped into the apartment.

    “What do we have?” I asked, knowing exactly what I’d hear.

      1. Well, the 7 line limit cut off my first paragraph. But here's the rest. Does it help?

        McCoy raised his gaze from the corpse, which lay face up on the car­pet. He grinned, say­ing the same thing he said every time he showed up at one of my homi­cides. “He’s dead, Jim.”

  12. From When I Was Seven - my WIP

    When I was seven, Grandma came to our house to live. It felt like something familiar, yet something that’s hard to put into words. It’s as if when she came she left the front door open. Only you’re not sorry it’s open ‘cause you sense that spring has finally come. You rush to the door to discover that the world looks exactly the same as when you last looked, only it smells better and it makes you smile. And when you tell Mom, she looks up with tired eyes and doesn’t see the difference. But I did.

  13. Thank you, Laura and WTS, for this gift of sharing. Below are seven lines from my YA fantasy WIP. Siobhan, a sixteen ages old Faerie, has been forbidden to use her ability to create thunderstorms. Storm Magic, she has been told, is a dark art practiced only by Witches and Wizards. In this scene, from page 10, she is walking home from school on a particularly hot, sunny day:

    She took a quick survey of the glade. No one was around, not even an animal. Kayla was somewhere in the brook, but she'd never tell on Siobhan. And it didn't have to be a full-fledged storm, just a few dark clouds. Maybe a little rain. Some thunder. A touch of wind. A flash or two of lightning. Just the start of a storm.
    Raising her head skyward, Siobhan narrowed her eyes, "Thorni," she whispered, "ag sugrath lesh liom!"
    The feathery clouds thickened and crowded together, turning the sky the color of Dragon's smoke.

      1. Thank you, Laura, for your response. Siobhan is definitely impetuous and (in the beginning of the novel) not concerned with the consequences of her actions. She is the equivalent of 15-16 year old human girls, based on what I experienced in teaching high school students of that age. She's at a point of "maturity" where she, at moments, actually acts maturely, most of the time thinks she's an adult and wants to be independent, but then makes messes and looks to Mom to clean them up. During the course of the novel, she learns her actions have consequences (that affect others as well as herself) and learns that she's the one who needs to deal with them--especially when her actions put her family and homeland in danger.

  14. What fun!
    To Alexandria, Librarian of the Library of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt
    Dear Alex, Mirror of My Life,
    To be blunt - I live.
    Please forgive your errant sister for her deceit. I truly feared for my life from the Roman wolves. My only choice was to fake death. I thought the asp an aptly fitting and ironic end to my life as Pharaoh Queen, for you know my phobic fear of snakes.

  15. From an Unnamed WIP

    She leaned her had against the side of the wagon and let exhaustion and the gnawing guilty win. I shot a man, could have killed him. What kind of healer does a thing like that? The knot in her chest threatened to crowd out her heart.
    Gage McNair’s voice, deep, soft, and full of concern, registered in her tired brain. “Annabeth, your father told me you were too tired for company and probably out of charity with all men right now. Still, something urged me to come find you.”
    She watched him move ever so slowly—quiet and easy, like she might approach a skittish colt. “Let me give you a shoulder to lean on for a little. Jedediah said the world would be weighting heavy on you right now.” He lifted a hand out toward her. “Please, I’ll not betray your trust.

  16. Love WITS & tweet you often! Keep the great posts coming 🙂
    From A Season to Dance - represented by Les Stobbe and currently on submission:
    The studio was old—the best always were. The dark marley floor had seen years of pointe work, and the wooden barres looked worn—worn by sweaty hands holding tight to big dreams.
    “You are so beautiful,” the girl cast as Dew Drop whispered. Her cheeks turned pink, hiding most of her small freckles.
    A newer generation was dreaming now, but the ballet studio still was what it should be: a bastion of civility in an everything-goes world.

  17. The night was cold and clear, and the stars… well, they were stars. Hard sparks in the sky, indifferent to the small lives that dance out their short days on the worlds they survey. Maeve felt small, looking up. She had learned in school that the number of the stars was greater than all the grains of sand on Earth.

    You’re supposed to feel small. That the point of everything we are taught. You’re small, you’re… nothing. So do what you’re told, and don’t question. Wiser heads have already asked all the questions, found all the answers.

    - From WIP, working title: The Red Queen

    1. Sherryl, I love the way your first line changes an old image into a new one! Maeve is going to reject the statements about feeling small, isn't she? She's going to matter, I know it.

  18. I haven't yet started my next, eighth, novel. Title: Monksilver. How about this?

    "Come forward, child."
    The girl took an uncertain step forward and dropped another curtsey then stood, eyes lowered, surveying the polished, glowing oak floor.
    "Don't be nervous. Look at me. What's your name, child?"
    The girl lifted her head. "Marian, your Majesty."
    "And she is your ward, Sir William?"
    Sir William Aldermarston bowed low. "Yes, your Majesty."
    "And you think that, by placing her in our service, among my ladies, she will learn much to advantage her as she grows towards womanhood?"
    "I am certain of it, your Majesty."

  19. Okay, I'll play.

    Lieutenant Lord James Forster was impeccably dressed, undeniably handsome, and without a doubt doomed. He stood at attention before the court of inquiry and wished to hell that someone would start a war. Any time now would be fine.
    The admirals were arrayed across from him like the old ships of the line with all flags flying. This dim room suited them; he could almost smell the whale oil from centuries past. Even the damned dust motes circled the sunbeam in a stately manner.
    “My lords. I admit the fireworks display might have been... a bit too exuberant.” He spread out his hands in a gesture of appeal. “But it was only a minor consulate, really.”

  20. This is from the third in the series "The Late Sooner" entitled "Hard Times in the Heartland." It's my WIP.

    “You know, the lodge that meets here above the general store. Well, I was sittin’ here yesterday thinkin’ on your plight when I looked up and saw that Odd Fellows sign hangin’ off the buildin’ there. I said to myself, ‘Odd Fellows. That’s the ticket.’”
    Henry turned to look up at the Odd Fellows insignia. “I don’t understand. What do you mean?”
    “That lodge has an orphanage up in Liberty, Missouri. You know. Up by Kansas City. Join the Odd Fellows Lodge, and then you could send David there.”

  21. Hello: Love this post, Laura. Here's a WIP for my fourth book, The Duke's Magnificent Bastard. There's a prequel and this is part of a series.
    Hidden in the shadows of the columned portico, Alicia Montgomery groaned when Thorn Wick withdrew both his arms and tongue from her.
    “Never allow a man to kiss you like I just did. He will think you promiscuous and ripe for seduction.” His brow tensed and dark blue eyes scolded.

    They had been friends since the moment they met. How long was it now?
    Three years of admiring him in so many ways. The proud way he held himself and how his head seemed to touch the sky.
    Three years of flirting with him, when all she wanted was for him to accept her advances and encourage her.
    Three years of the final realization she loved him for his goodness, for the pride he exuded, and for the times he must have fought for every inch of respect from foul minded people.

      1. Thank you, Laura. Coming from you it means a lot. We met briefly at California Dreamin; this year. Thorn is super hot and a good man fighting all the odds. The prequel will be out March 9th. Am an avid fan of you and Margie.

          1. Actually, I belong to the RWA Chapter Yosemite Romance Writers, and we hosted Margie Lawson at our February 2015 Seminar. Margie highlighted Edits, Characterization, etc. She was phenomenal--not a surprise. Our President actually took an immersion class a few months ago and she says it has changed how she writes. I hope one day to take it two. Have two books being released early 2016. Obviously, I writer Regency primarily, my first love. Although I do write contemporaries which need polishing. So much to do and so little time, as they say. Are you going to RWA in 2016 in San Diego? And I read religiously all her Writing Hints on Writers In The Storm. Already, Margie has changed how I write.

      1. Hello Jenny: Glad to hear your comment. Needed special permission to get that title and it was approved to my delight. I hope it will entrance other readers, too. My publisher Wild Rose Press also has a rosette line, and I've used this for a prequel to the 'Bastard" book. It's more of a novella, but it is an indepth look into the heart and soul of a young man of seventeen, whose mother died in Barbados, and her deathbed wish is for her son to meet his father The Duke of Althorn. I've been fortunate with my publisher and love my editor, Cindy Davis, who has encourage me all the way.
        Have read some of your posts and it's nice to chat with you. Love Writers In The Storm and have printed almost every one.

  22. Thanks for luring me to comment as opposed to just read your posts . . . I mean, I feel a bit manipulated, but what the heck; I'll give it a shot.

    Not sure if you mean seven lines here or seven lines from a standard manuscript, or what. However, here's a PI story I wrote for my blog earlier this year. The title is "Michelle Maul, Private Eye" and it was an exercise in following the Lester Dent Master Plot Formula.

    “Mich,” Dan called out, “you have visitors.”
    Dan was my assistant and a good-looking guy I kept at arm’s length despite knowing he liked me. The feeling was mutual, but it was tough enough being a private eye and a female without adding office romance into the mix.
    “Who is it?” I asked just as two tall women showed their way into my office. They looked like they worked out a lot. Long on muscle and short on looks, I pegged them as someone’s enforcers.

    1. Nice, disperser! If this is the very beginning of the story, I needed just a touch of scene-setting...all it would take is to add to 'Dan called out', 'from the reception area'.

      Love the 'long on muscle and short on looks'

      1. Thanks, Laura. I appreciate the suggestion.

        Still, I think I'm happy with the inference from 'shoved their way into my office'. I'm told I'm stingy when it comes to scene-setting (my writing reflects my reading preference). Some people like it, some don't, but I thought in this case it fits the style of the P.I. narrative.

        By the way, I just recently discovered this site and I appreciate all the content.

  23. From Waltz with a Cowboy (soon to be indie-published).

    Sasha swiped at the trickle of sweat edging toward the corner of her eye before opening the back of the old, battered Trooper she'd clung to since her college days. She didn't know much about changing a tire, but getting to the spare seemed essential. She set a box on the ground and then looked over her shoulder as a movement caught her attention. A cowboy on an almost white horse shimmered into view across the prairie. Perfect…her very own knight but not in shining armor. This knight wore a canvas jacket and a sweat-stained cap with an unfamiliar logo on it. He stopped his horse next to her car. A black dog came to a halt at the heel of the horse. Horse, dog and cowboy stared at her flat tire.

    1. I like the title. What is the box she set on the ground? A box of old clothes going to good will? A box filled with groceries? A box of tools? And if she's had the car since her college days, it seems she would have had a flat before. As I assume its several years ago. These are just questions that crossed my mind when I read this. I also wonder if this is the cowboy she will waltz with.

  24. One silver nail pointed in Harmonia’s direction. Cautious Harmonia edged closer to the edge of the cave’s entrance. She was ready for the retribution of the fae.
    A sly smile shadowed her eyes and Harmonia realized the fae was pleased at the demise of the fire djinn. Harmonia self-confidence building she huddled against the wall letting the fae believe she feared her wrath.

    This is a first draft and i'm questioning the line or does it work.

    1. Having "the fae" be always in lower case gave me a bit of a POV hitch. Is there anyway to add a name? Especially if this person is pivotal to the story, it would be less confusing as:

      One silver nail pointed in Harmonia’s direction. Cautious Harmonia edged closer to the edge of the cave’s entrance. (Name's) retribution was legendary [draw this out and give me at least one very visceral examples].

      The sly smile shadowing (Name's) eyes made Harmonia's something do something (give me a physical/emotional reaction).

      Jaylee, I'd love it if you took us into deep POV here with italics [Example: Look at her. Just look at her, gloating at the demise of the fire djinn. Prepare to be set back on your ass, (Name).]

      Harmonia's self-confidence built even while she huddled against the wall, letting the (older/younger/whatever) fae believe she cowered in fear.

  25. Love WITS and all the wonderful writerly advice. Thank YOU for sharing what you know!

    This is my book's opening:

    Susannah Cressingham leaned against the New and Notable shelf in Hookham’s Circulating Library, closed her eyes, and inhaled deeply. Musty books. Bitter ink. Burnt wax. She concentrated on the tinkle of the bell above the door, the hushed whispers of other patrons, the scraped whooshing of pages being turned. It’d been three long years since she’d crossed this threshold, but Hookham’s was still a balm for her troubled soul.

    And troubled it was.

  26. Great post. Y'all always give the best tips. Here are my seven.
    Derrick froze afraid the man would turn and see him or come upstairs and find both of them. Instead, the man opened the door and left. A slow exhale and he rose from the spot where he’d observed. “You are not going to believe this.”
    Teddy stepped out from where he’d hidden. “What won’t I believe?”
    “That the man looked like exactly the same as the one on stage now.”

  27. I love this! All of you have shared such great seven sentences! Thanks!
    Here are seven lines from my last draft of Jack-In-The-Box:

    In the weeks and months to come, Marjory Anderson’s friends and family were astounded at the news. But on this day in early April, no one could have been more surprised than Marjory, because she was convinced that something was terribly wrong. As a last ditch effort to explain the terrifying spotting, the terrible tiredness and now the vise-like headaches, she had resorted to this. With a terrible ache in her heart, she had long ago thrown away her charts, and had tucked the thermometer into the linen closet. She had folded up her hurt and stuffed it into a box deep within her and decided never to open it again. But even though she could not admit it out loud, somewhere deep, hidden within her heart, in a box full of tears, there lay a trampled, tattered thread of hope that maybe – maybe this was the time. But this morning to make sure; she had rummaged through the linen closet to the very back, to drag out the very last of the tests.

    1. Thanks for sharing! I've walked this road to baby myself, and it is a terribly long path when it's not working. I love this bit: "..somewhere deep, hidden within her heart, in a box full of tears.."

      One thing - I think you can get more mileage from this paragraph with lots more white space and line breaks. It's a winner!

  28. I'll take a deep breath and throw mine out there. These are from a WIP titled A Certain Presence

    The sour stench of marigolds hung in the air and my mother held a fuchsia scented dryer sheet to her nose. Behavior like this made me believe she would never live with Kate and me.

    Specks of dust floated in the bright sunlight that poured through the barred windows. Barred windows were the only reminder we were on the fourth floor and not one of the residents could jump.

    Mom sat on a chair facing the T.V. with reruns of the Big Bang Theory and I brushed her long hair starting from the ends to the root. She had taught me how to get the snarls out early in the mornings before we began work in the garden on the compound. It seemed like eons ago she was the mother and I the child.

    1. Oh yes, Alice, this family has problems. You can tell by the details you chose to give that this is not a normal household, even before the mother came to the barred window room. When she was the mother and the narrator was the child, they lived in a compound and not a neighborhood, village, or town.

  29. from novel in progress Where I Belong. Anna, POV character, is by the bedside of her only daughter Lily who has just miscarried. women's fiction.

    There was no way to protect Lily, or anyone really, when life sent twists like this you never saw coming. Catastrophes lurked around every corner, waiting to pounce, to turn your life upside down. I’d been so pre-occupied with striking out on my own, saying I didn’t need anyone, that I’d forgotten a fundamental truth. This was what was important—my daughter lying here, the friends who loved me.
    Nobody was anybody without family. They were the only way to gird yourself against the shit life dumped on you. Otherwise, you spent your whole life alone, hiding from the darkness.
    And no cave was deep enough to keep you safe.

    1. Stunning prose here! True too, Maggie. Much needed in today's world. Thanks for sharing.

  30. A Room Of My Own

    The voice in my heart said, “Go to Arizona now, Janine. It’ll be all right. Really.” A vision opened with soaring mountains, creek-split canyons and blood red sunsets. Children, eager to read, write and calculate the worth of their lives, motioned me through the doorway of a quaint school building, made warm with stucco—the pinnacle of my teaching career.


      1. Thanks so much for the words of encouragement. And just so no good dead goes unpunished (LOL) here are the second 7 lines:

        Heat shimmers on asphalt. There are no kids in sight. The mountains hide beyond a brown haze. The buildings crouch ready to trap the unwary. Was I totally delusional, thinking a few years of teaching in rural Northern Arizona should be the next step in my retirement plan? I imagine the pierce of beady eyes and the stink of slavering breath rising from the road that leads to the parking lot. I poke at my forehead. Stop that Stephen King stuff, Janine.
        “Who’s Stephen King?” Reg Fickett, my old college mentor asks. I haven’t heard from Reg since I was a struggling first-year teacher. He was alive then.

    1. First, I love the title. I also love the word choice: soaring mountains, creek-split canyons, and blood red sunsets. I like the fact that the school is made with warm stucco. Of course the ending of the lines adds tension.

  31. Thanks for the opportunity. Here goes ...

    Phil wasn’t sure how long he’d been at it, but sometime during his studying and writing, the sun had come up. Rubbing his neck as he walked into the living room, he stopped when the cracked window frame caught his attention. He shifted his gaze to the bloodstains on the grey damask sofa and then up to the ceiling, zooming in on the bullet hole. Most days now, he could pass by without noticing these reminders of his past. He knew some people thought it strange that he never patched the hole or removed the stains.
    "Shhh, man, I wish I could put all that in this sermon," he thought as he made his way into the kitchen. Returning to his desk with a fresh glass of water, he tried to get back to work. "If I did tell that story, they’d probably kick me out of the church."

    1. We're there with Phil, stiff neck and all. But then...YIKES! bloodstains and bullet holes. Laura's right. It pulls the reader in to find out more.

  32. I have 4 wips, hard to choose just one. I am going for the one I just started. I enjoy your blog. I think this is the first time I'm lured to comment.
    I really enjoyed reading everyone else's 7 lines. This is great!

    This is from 'The Painted Wish' from my Younger Fates Entire Series:
    The painted soup turned liquid and started to steam, the bowl fell off the painted table and smashed to the floor, splashing soup all over.
    Behind Raggie, Wonder giggled.
    Regale said laughingly, "If you're going to grant wishes that way, little sib, you'll have to turn the table real first."
    "What in the Thunderlands!" the moral complained, spinning towards the noise and mess.
    Raggie unmaterialized the soup and bowl before the mortal finished his spin.

    1. Lots of commotion in this scene, lots of action. The soup turns liquid--not just real. The dialogue sounds genuine and original. I love the little sib part.

  33. Our Laura browbeat me into sharing. All I have to say is, be glad I didn't include the seven lines detailing alternate words for genitalia.

    I've got a nun nurse (Agatha) working in a clinic that caters to the adult film industry and she's being trained by the doctor on staff (German) on her first day.


    She glanced at the chart as she spoke. “We’ll step out for a minute so you can get undressed. Remove everything and open the drape toward—”

    Sally kicked off her shoes, wiggled the dress up over her hips and swept it off in one smooth motion. She glowed, pink and naked, from her bright hair to her sparkling jewels.

    Agatha’s breath whooshed out in a rush.

    German eased on gloves, his voice full of cheer. “You’ll find that most of the talent will just strip. I’ve learned to appreciate it. It allows us to process patients more quickly.”

    1. These lines set up the scene/story quickly and concretely. I love the language, “Agatha’s breath whooshed out in a rush. I must admit that at first I thought the doctor’s nationality was German rather than his name being German.

  34. Here are the first 7 lines from page 7 (much easier to follow the set-up than to pick something!) We are at Versailles, in the 18th century; the main character is Maguerite, a woman of obscure but noble family who is now a duchess.

    Her calm threatened to collapse at that thought. She writhed into a tight ball. Oh, no. No. She couldn’t do it. She simply could not go to mass right after killing a man, however little she’d meant to kill him, and however good her reasons were. Is there a priest in Versailles who can be trusted to keep the confession sacred? Probably not.

    “Madame?” The girl was staring at her, shifting from one foot to another. Servants at her level were supposed to be nearly invisible and wholly silent. I must look almost as dreadful as I feel, thought Marguerite.

    1. Lots here both in description and characterization. Plot is intense, too. I'm really curious. I like your choice of words: calm threatened to collapse. My only thoughts are could someone writhe into a tight ball?

  35. Thanks, Laura, for opportunity to share a few lines from ASYLUM, a dark suspense saga. From page 1, October 1974:

    From the second floor of Delito's home office, Rosa descended 
the grand staircase with quiet grace, like she had nearly every day 
for more than sixty years.

    Her fist tightened around the scrap of paper clenched in her disfigured hand. The newspaper masthead dated 1900 had been left on her desk during the night—a cryptic message from someone connected to her past, someone employed at Delito. Secrets were bound to surface. Something wicked was sure to follow.

    1. Good. I see the scene unfolding, getting the reader interested in what's to come. My only comment: You have fist tightened around scrap...clenched in disfigured hand. Perhaps you want a disfigured fist and not both tightened fist and disfigured hand. Hand denotes it's opened. A fist is a tightened, or rather balled up hand.

  36. I thank you for this opportunity, too, Laura. Here are the first 7 lines of my memoir about attending college as a mother of five. I started at a community or junior college and won scholarships to an Ivy League.
    7 lines:

    “We don’t go to college,” Dad told me as I prepared to graduate from high school, just as he had told my brother before me as he graduated. Not many in our blue-collar neighborhood in the late 1970’s went to college right after high school, especially the females. I took secretarial courses like most of my girlfriends. It was expected. It was encouraged. “College is for the rich,” Dad continued. We never heard of community colleges or attending college part time, and God forbid we should ever borrow money for education. It didn’t make sense—to my family. We didn’t go looking for scholarships

    Thank you all for any comments you may offer. I'll go back and read and comment on other people's seven lines.

    1. I can totally relate. I graduated in the early 70's and went to a business school. And a few short years later my skills were part of the stone age and I felt like a dinosaur. And I would definitely read on to find out what you took and how you managed with 5 kids.

      1. Thank you so much for your kind note, Willis. You are VERY brave, my dear. My twins, the youngest of 5, were in second grade before I tried to handle college. My oldest was in 8th and has a learning disability and needed to be retaught each night in addition to doing homework with the other four younger children.
        Bravo to you, Willis. What did you study?

        1. Definitely hats off to you, Victoria. What a challenge. I never felt that I was in any way heroic, just lucky. There were other women, some with as many as five children and in the middle of divorces, so I was lucky.

          My major was Professional Teacher with concentration in special education. I taught and administered thirty-four years and am retired now.

          What was your major?

          1. Good for you, Willis. I got to know the special education department intimately at school, advocating for my daughter and making sure she was in the highest level courses possible for her.

            I graduated University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor's in English, creative writing concentration. I have an associates in Communications. I substitute teach pretty much 5 days a week and write Y.A. short stories, essays, and poetry, and of course this memoir about attending college as a mother of five.

            Thanks again for your kind words. They are greatly appreciated.

  37. Victoria, did you ever discover the trouble with your eldest? Your comment about reteaching each night rang bells with me. Our youngest son couldn't learn and had to be retaught each day--until he was ten. Then we discovered he was allergic to the carpet in his classroom, and the petroleum-based plastic desk, and various other things. After allergy treatment by Dr.Doris Rapp (Author of "Is This Your Child") he went on to be on the honor roll all through Jr. High and High School.

    1. Oh I'm so glad for you, Sally. No, we discovered in second grade that our daughter has a learning disability complicated with ADHD and social interaction problems. Her family are her friends and support. She just learned to drive and she's 30 and holds a job. We love her beyond measure.

      Thank you so much for your comment.

        1. Yes, indeed, Sally. I thank God every day for her job, for her co-workers understanding her and helping when necessary.

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