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First Draft Tears

“On your blog, why don’t you publish bits of it as you go along,” someone suggested, knowing that I am writing my first novel. I was opposed to doing so then,  but I am sharing now, although it’s not something I plan to do often. I am doing so because I wept as I wrote this morning.

In a way, I was astonished at myself for crying over words printed on a computer screen about a fictional character. But when I thought more about it, I considered again that novels come from the author’s mind–in this case, from my mind, and that the people in my novel are real to me because in one sense of the word, they are real people. I have seen their lives. I have cried with them, and I have clapped at their accomplishments. I have eaten meals with such people, and have sat in conferences with them. I’ve shared their struggles.

So, from a first draft of my first novel with the working title, The Soul of Abram Clark, I bring you part of chapter 10.

Richard beat on the floor, his two black fists, hammers.

For two hours, Richard and Sten sat on the floor immersed in conversation that was a mix of Richard’s vomiting out hate and fear and of Sten’s projecting hope and understanding. There was no balance in the conversation: Sten listened long and easy, while from Richard spewed a torrent of words and emotions, as though the walls of Hoover dam had split asunder and the pent-up Colorado had rushed to cover land and houses and farms and roads. Or perhaps the escaping river was of oil, black and greasy, that crashed boulders about and that decimated life and that wasted the landscape.

Finally, Richard was finished, emptied. His face was swollen, his eyes almond slits. The two men sat in silence on the living room floor of the Shepler home.

“Richard, Marjorie and I have spoken about this, and we are inviting you to live here with us, permanently. We believe in you and in your potential for success—even for greatness. There is something special inside you—something that you probably are not able to recognize yourself, although somewhere deep inside, my words may resonate with a tiny spark in your heart. Life has tried to beat it out of you and has tried to destroy you. You’ve been kicked around by your mother and abandoned by your father. Drug dealers have pawed over your young body and over your impressionable mind. You have been mutilated and bloodied.

But listen to me, Richard.” Sten again placed his hand on Richard’s shoulder. Richard’s head banked over. His eyes were closed. “You are a survivor. You are of strength. You are steel and of integrity.”

Richard lifted his head and looked straight now into Sten’s face.

“There is an intangible factor within you, Richard. You are destined to make a mark on this world—a positive mark. You will make this world a better place.”

Richard stared, unblinking. Tears began tracking down his mutilated face. He did not move. In an infinitesimal motion, he elevated his head.

“I’m investing in you, and I am positive my return will be of a thousand-fold,” Sten finished.

There you are, the first ones to read from my developing novel. I’m interested in hearing anything you might have to say.

(I don’t know where all those extra quotation marks came from, but I cannot get rid of them. Please ignore them. 🙂  )

By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 83 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 63 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

8 replies on “First Draft Tears”

OHHHHHH!!!!! You just explained EXACTLY how I feel about SO many people! The potential in a broken soul is huge and they can’t see it! It’s our JOB who CAN see it to reveal it to them! Oh, I must share this! Thank you! xoxo ♥♥♥you!

Tena, thank you for such an affirmation of my work. Blessings to you and yours.


WOW!! You already have me Hooked!! Can’t wait for the finished product! I’ll want an autographed copy, please! 🙂 🙂

Sharon, thank you for the complimentary words. Alas, the manuscript will likely never be a real book . . . but one never knows, huh. Love you.


unless we see earlier how his face got “mutilated,” the word is too strong. If we see how that did happen in earlier chapters, then disregard the comment. If not, perhaps ‘scarred’ would be a better adjective. Otherwise gripping! I always love your style.

Hi, Marthalee. So very good to hear from you. Trust all is well with you.

I appreciate your astute comment. But yes, in the earlier part of the chapter, we hear of Richard being beat by his stepfather.


Thank you, Melina and Gayla.

I don’t plan to self-publish this book and it is designed for the crossover market. Because I’m fond of being truthful, I know the chances of the book even picking up an agent are almost non-existent. Out of a hundred books that are submitted to a publisher 1/2 of 1 percent is ever turned into a book.

Anyway, I’m proceeding with it because I have an internal urge to do so, and because I enjoy it (well, some of the time.)

Thanks for reading and for commenting. 🙂


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