Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Summer Change By Melissa Wray

At the end of February I learnt a really valuable lesson. To always back up my work in more than one spot. One night my USB stick stopped working. It had ALL my writing on it, including the manuscript I had been working on. Did I freak out? Yes! Did I cry? Nearly. Did I mange to retrieve it? No!

Luckily some work was saved in various stages on the computer but not the most important one. Summer Change was about 20,000 words on its way to completion, never to be seen again.

Well, not quite. I managed to type up around 5,000 words from handwritten notes I had in my notebook. Then I brainstormed all the chapters I could remember writing. Next was trying to rewrite what I had lost. Thankfully it has all come together. I even know the direction the story is going.
So Summer Change is back! It is longer and better than before. I am over halfway there, with 42,000 words tapped away on the keyboard.

Do you know what I have discoverd along the way -besides backing up my work? That goal setting works. For the month of May I have been setting word targets each day. If I don't get there, then it gets tacked on to the next day. Boy has it helped make me productive. Goodbye social media distractions - hello writing progress!

So today I thought it would be fun to share an extract from my work in progress;
Summer Change.

    My unexpected visitor looks over the menu. I try to ignore her and watch the boulevard across the road. It is getting busy now as holiday makers stroll along. There is a busker setting up his station for the day. He settles himself against the palm tree and adjusts his guitar. The twang from the strings waft across the road.    
    What are you having? Mum asks.
    I look at her, then back at the menu. A waitress moves in our direction with a notepad and pen, poised.
    Ill have the Caesar salad and a skinny cappuccino, Mum orders, smiling at the waitress.
    Im not hungry, just an apple juice please, I order.
    Shae, says Mum, in her most restrained voice. You should eat some lunch.
    Well if Id known you were taking me for lunch I would have had a smaller breakfast.
     I glare at her. She just arrived a half an hour ago, unannounced. No call to let me know she was coming. No notice about her first visit since she dumped me here. Meanwhile Im just expected to drop everything and spend the day with her.
    So hows your holidays? I heard you went camping? She tries another attempt at conversation
    Its just fine and dandy stuck here all summer. I smirk.
    Dont. Dont expect me to be happy to see you. You ditched me for the entire holidays for some made up reason. You guys said you would ring every day. Didnt happen. I dont see you for two weeks! Wheres Dad?
    She swallows hard and takes a sip of water. It hasnt been two weeks and your father is a bit swamped at work.
    Thats funny because I thought they closed down for three weeks over the Christmas break.
    We are at a stalemate and I am not going to give an inch. My parents are hiding something from me. Im not sure what it is and I dont understand why they wont just tell me the truth.
Mums mobile rings and she snatches it up. She checks the caller ID and her eyes swing my way, then away again.
    Ive got to take this, she says, standing up.
    I roll my eyes as she walks off. What a surprise. Her visit being interrupted by a phone call more important than her daughter. I know thats not true and I know Im being a brat but Im mad. The worst part is I dont know which parent I should be directing my anger at.
    I look over at the boardwalk. There is a big white bus with Queensland Community Corrections along the side blocking my view. Several people are unloading bicycles off the trailer at the rear. There is a group of guys standing around, clipping on their helmets. A tall guy moves off to the side. He throws his head back to put a helmet on and my breath catches. Mason faces my direction and I shrink inwards. If he looks my way there is nowhere for me to hide. But he doesn't see me. Instead he fastens his helmet securely. Then he collects one of the offloaded bicycles and joins the rest of the group. They finish getting ready and set off along the path. Ive ridden it heaps of times. It travels all along The Strand and around the waters foreshore. I watch until they are just a speck in the distance. What is Mason doing getting off such a bus? Community corrections, is that some kind of volunteer thing?

    So who was on the phone? I dare her to come up with an excuse.
    Actually, it was your father.
    What? Why didnt you let me talk to him?
    Lower your voice please. She keeps her eyes down.
    Call him back, let me talk to him, I demand.
    I reach for her phone but she snatches it from my reach.
    Shae please. There are some things you dont need to know what just yet.
    What does that even mean? I stand up.
    I need you to trust me and not ask questions. I promise we will tell you whats going on soon.
    Her face is pleading and I almost feel sorry for her.

What do you think her parents are hiding???


  1. Losing my work is absolutely my worst nighmtare! So sorry it happened to you. I make a point of saving my work on Google docs so it is saved somewhere online, just in case....

    1. I will have to look into Google docs, thanks for the suggestion Leti.