Wanna Read A Chapter Of My Book?

A few years ago, I started writing a book. I worked on it (semi-) faithfully and I was really enjoying how it was coming together. At its heart, it’s a story about innocent teenage love in the Appalachian Mountains. However, in the real world I could feel my marriage starting to fall apart and lost interest and inspiration for writing a love story.

It still lingers in the back of my mind and I’ve thought about how much I would like to finish it. I wanted to share a chapter with you and get some feedback on what you think. Please feel free to be honest!

To bring you up to speed, Callie Grace is the main character growing up in coal country in the ’50s. She’s in her late teens and stuck somewhere between being a woman and a child. Johnny is new in town and came to the area because of his father’s job on the railroad. Margaret is Callie Grace’s sister who is jealous of Callie Grace and tries to make her life miserable. It it written in the Appalachian dialect so you may have to use your imagination with a few words if you’re unfamiliar with it. Please comment and let me know if you find this annoying or if you think it adds to the story. The story is loosely based on my parents and how they fell in love. Now, here’s chapter 11 where Johnny and Callie Grace sneak in a little time at their meeting place: the community spring…

Margaret sighed, grabbed the buckets, and huffed and puffed her way out the door. Momma was just pouring the cornbread batter into the skillet when we heard an awful racket. Margaret started screaming and hollering as she threw the buckets and they clinked their way down the road and half way to the house. She run up on the porch and into the house and slammed the door behind her.

“I ain’t a going, Momma! I just ain’t gonna do it! There’s a big old snake curled up there in the road, and I sure ain’t gonna get snake bit over a little dish water!” I really couldn’t tell if Margaret was telling the truth, or if she was just trying to get out of fetching the water. But I just had a feeling she was just trying to be lazy. But that would work out just fine for me.

“Momma,” I said, “I don’t mind atall to go fetch that water for you, seeing how we already got supper cooking and all.”

“Callie Grace, I ain’t gonna have nary one of my youngens snake bit,” Momma said looking concerned.

“Don’t worry Momma, after the fuss that Margaret just made, I’m sure no snake would be brave enough to stick around,” I said as I tried to hold a laugh back.

“Well, alright then. You go on and take them buckets. But if that snake’s still out there, you better hightail it back in here. You hear me?”

“Yes, Momma. I sure will.” I gathered the buckets up from where they had landed, and started toward the spring.

Sure enough, I never did see no snake. I hurried to the spring knowing that the faster I got there, the more time I could talk to Johnny if he showed up. When I made it to the spring, I took a look around. I figured that I had got all worked up over nothing cause Johnny was no where to be seen. I was busy filling up my buckets and thinking about Margaret and her snake, humming to my self again, when Johnny made it to the spring.

“Well, howdy Callie Grace! I wutton sure if you’d come seeing as we got to see each other today.” Johnny smiled and held out his hand. He was holding some dandelions and offered them to me. I just kindly stood there, thinking of how sweet Johnny was to me. “What’s a matter,” Johnny said, “don’t you like ‘em?”

“Thank you, Johnny. I love them. It’s just that, well, a boy’s never give me any flowers before.” I took them from his hand, smelled them, and blushed when I looked back to his eyes. His dimpled little grin warmed my heart. Just then, a thought crossed my mind, and I started to laugh.

“Callie Grace,” Johnny said as the crinkled up his eyebrows, “are you alright?”

I just kept laughing and laughing. “What’s so funny?” Johnny asked, starting to look a little worried.

“It’s just, well,” I said, looking for the right words. “Well, it’s a good thing Margaret didn’t come. Momma sent her to fetch the water but she said she seen a snake and refused to come. That’s when I stepped in and told Momma that I didn’t mind. I wutton sure if you’d come either, but I surely didn’t want Margaret to show up to meet you instead of me. ‘Specially seeing as how you picked some flowers. Why, if she had seen that, she might think you was sweet on her.”

“She’s not the one I’m sweet on, Callie Grace.” Johnny’s face started to turn red when he realized what he had just said. “And another thing, I don’t break no promises. If I say I’ll be there, then I’ll be there.” Then Johnny laughed a little. “I sure am glad that snake got in Margaret’s way. I need to hunt him down and give him a big old thank you.”

“Me too.” Knowing that I needed to get a going, I finished filling my buckets. “Thanks for the dandelions, Johnny, but I better head on home. Or Momma’s going come looking for me thinking that I died of a snake bite.”

“Bye, Callie Grace. I guess I’ll meet you here Sunday when you head off to church. I’m looking forward to it.”

“I’ll see you then, Johnny,” I said as I tucked my dandelions gently in my pocket and picked my buckets of water up and headed home. Funny thing, I never did see that snake on my way back either.

My parents…the real life “Callie Grace” and “Johnny”

So, what do you think? Is it worth finishing? 

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6 thoughts on “Wanna Read A Chapter Of My Book?

  1. I’m so glad to hear you’re getting back on the writing horse! I thought, and still think, that your story has lots of potential and is 100% worth finishing! I suspect the adversity you had to deal with since you last wrote on it will likely make the result deeper and more powerful.

    On the dialect front, I think most modern writers would recommend toning it down as much as you can while still maintaining the overall feel. You don’t want to put up barriers to folks who don’t speak Appalachian, but you do want to leave your story rooted in place. In this section, for example, I might leave in a few double negatives (“I don’t break no promises”) but take out things like “wutton” that are really just pronunciations.

    I really like the way you use the fake snake to facilitate their meeting! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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