25K update on “Sunlight, Stained Glass, and a Sinner Sanctified”, my novel for this month’s National Novel Writing Month (NANO)
Yippy Skippy! I have made the halfway point in Nano! At this typing, I am sitting at 25, 533 words! 24K to go to the finish line. It’s at this point that I usually hit a proverbial wall… this year is no different. So, I’m taking a few minutes to relax, regroup, renegotiate the plotline, etc.
A very few have asked if maybe my opening scene of an explosion taking out the church wall, window, and half the choir is so appropriate given what happened in Texas. To them, let me say this… it is what it is. The opening scene is a continuation from the last scene of the last novel from a different point of view. In that context, the damages to the church are as ‘collateral’ damages.
While horrific, how better to start a story that’s based on the hope and restoration of a community, a church, a congregation, and at least one (possibly more) sinful souls in the process. When do we see hope the easiest? When we feel hopelessness the most. So, when do we feel the most hopeless? Usually when our world/ our reality is shattered through some crisis (be it minor or major). So, I begin S3 (abbreviated title) with that in mind, starting with a major crisis.
The story line is about the Restoration of Hope… with that comes Faith. Of course, Faith springs from the concept of love. Throw in a smattering of Grace, and I think I have the makings for a good story to be told. Not quite sure how it will all play out at this point, but it is playing out, one word at a time.
So, if you’re interested, below is an excerpt from Chapter Three. Enjoy…
“Sunlight, Stained Glass, and a Sinner Sanctified” Excerpt…
James Killdeer slipped into a folding chair in the back of the basement level fellowship hall. It was very crowded and cramped for the congregation and would be for some months, yet. Inwardly, he shook his head. It never ceased to surprise him that these church folk would find a way to meet, even if their sanctuary virtually destroyed. Nothing, it seemed, would stop them from meeting on this Sunday morning. It was something he did not quite grasp. It had only been three weeks since they had lost so many of their parishioners.
He looked down to the bulletin that had been placed in his hand. It was all laid out there in black and white; the lives of this group of people intertwined with the ageless traditions of a church service. James, being a bit less than familiar with church as a whole, thought that the whole procedure of the service seemed to be so hollow. After all, what did these people get out of two songs and a sermon, anyway? Did they really believe that if they went through some kind of motions that they would live for eternity. If they did, then they were more gullible than he thought. Eternal life was a myth. Everything was born, lived, and died. All anyone had to do to confirm that was drive out to the cemetery and look at all the stones.
He shook his head slightly as he turned the bulletin over and read the list of community activities. Bible study, small groups, choir practice. Wait. Choir practice? There must be a typo. Have the choir was either dead or on the disabled roster. He sighed, not understanding these church people at all.
Music began to play from an electronic keyboard in the front corner as people found their seats and became quiet. Reverend Walford stepped to the front of the room, where a music stand now served as his pulpit.
In front of him was a small table serving as a temporary altar that contained a single candle and an offering plate. James frowned still more. He was not getting what these people were doing at all. This whole set up was nothing like that late night church he had watched on the television, nor was it like that church he had seen when he was up in Covington. Not, it was not at all like he expected a church, or a service to be.
The Reverend was dressed in slacks with a shirt and tie, but he wore sneakers. Where was the Reverend’s flowing robes and smelly incense? Where were the so-called communion wafers and the communal chalice of wine? This definitely was not like any kind of church service he had ever seen before or heard about before.
As the congregation rose to sing a hymn, James could literally feel the music clear into his bones. As the voices rose around him he felt like an insulating blanket was being tightly wrapped around him. What it was supposed to be insulating him from, though, he had not a a single clue. It was almost like being in a life-jacket bobbing in the lake during a storm. He had had to do that once or twice. It was not a fun experience. By the time that the hymn ended, he was feeling very disconcerted and his hands were shaking.
James sat along with the others, folding his arms over his chest and tucking his hands into his arm pits to hide their shaking. The last thing he wanted was to show one of these Jesus freaks that the music bothered him. Oh, wouldn’t they have a heyday with that, he thought. It was a wonder that he did not just bolt out the door before anyone could notice. But, he had made a decision to stay for the entire service, even if it killed him.
After all, he needed to be able to read these people if he was going to succeed in his ultimate plans to fleece the church for every penny it had. It would serve them right after the way that they had treated his mother and him. As far as he was concerned they were just a bunch of red-necked hypocrites. He was so swirled with his own thoughts that he was finding it a little difficult to focus on Reverend Walford’s voice as he began to read from the bible he had opened and placed on the music stand.
Hope you enjoyed….