The Devil in the Green Dress


Today, I had something rather special happen to me. I’ve been working on rewriting The Night Girl for most of this year so far, and it’s pushed forward quickly on some days, and dragged on others. Before today, I was over 45,000 words in, but I didn’t get the feeling that the story was really clicking together. This past week, I spent less time working on the story, but I was spending more time thinking about the story.

Then, this morning, as I was heading to the gym to do my workout, something struck me, and I said to Erin, “You go on in. I’ve thought of something, and I need to write it out.”

So, I skipped gym. That’s bad. But in the span of half an hour, I’d written over 700 words. That’s good, I think. By noon, that had grown to over 1,000.

At the end of the day, I now have added 2,700 words to the story, which now sits comfortably over 50,000 words. Around 1,400 were salvaged from an earlier draft, so that’s still 1,300 words that just came forward, new. And I think they’re good words, too.

Now, I am tired, and sitting in front of this computer, wasting time on Twitter and on Facebook, but I’m not ready to go to bed, just yet. I don’t want this feeling to end.

These are the times that I’m reminded why I love writing and why I am a writer. These are the days you live for.

Anyway, here’s a small sample of what I wrote, as Perpetua meets the person who might be the main antagonist for this story. Maybe.

“Miss Collins?”

Perpetua jerked up. Beneath her, Scooter squeaked. She found herself staring at a tall woman in a green dress. She stood at the other side of her desk, her arms folded across her chest, her head tilted, giving Perpetua a look that was equal parts appraising and disdainful.

Perpetua hadn’t heard the woman enter.

“Miss Perpetua Tallulah Collins?” she said. She worked her mouth over the name as if she were tasting it.

Perpetua drew back a breath. “How do you know my name?”

The woman tilted her head. “We like to be informed.”

She had blonde hair pulled back in a bun and sparkling green eyes. Thin, fine eyebrows arched, and she pinned Perpetua with a glare. Her green dress ended at her knees and she had green shoes with heels.

The silence was getting more uncomfortable as it stretched. Perpetua struggled to fill it with something. In the end, she said, “I-I’m sorry. But who are you?”

“Christina Bell.” The woman came forward and leaned on the desk, towering over Perpetua. “Director of the St. Brigid Social Club and Cultural Institute.” She tilted her head hautily. “Toronto branch.”

Perpetua sensed that she needed to correct the height difference between the two of them, so she eased her seat back and stood up, keeping her eyes on the woman as she would a wild animal, though the metaphor gave her pause. So, she looked closer, at the sparking green eyes that were hard to look at, and even harder to look away from. At the long, thin arms and the long thin fingers, beautifully well kept and manicured, that were still just a little bit too long and just a little bit too thin. Then Perpetua looked at Christina’s mouth, the thin lips, and the teeth that looked normal but still suggested… fangs.

“You’re a faerie,” she said.

Christina’s smile tightened. “You’re very perceptive for a human.”

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