Decorating for Christmas

So i realized that I should have posted this WIP snippet last week considering it was the week of Christmas and all. The last two weeks have been a bit crazy for our family…

In this scene, Jay comes over to Lacey’s house to help her decorate, because 1) he wants any excuse to be with her, and 2) she’s stuck by herself over Christmas break. Why is she stuck by herself? You can read the excerpt that led to that predicament by clicking here. 

I had previously entered my manuscript into a first impressions contest in September and I wasn’t supposed to tell people until I knew the results (in case the judges accidentally stumbled on my blog or Facebook profile, I guess?) I didn’t win but I did get professional feedback, and my scores ranged from 7s, 8s, and 9s. Hooray. Professional feedback is all I wanted.

Anyway, I posted a handful of excerpts out of order. Sorry about that 🙂

And now, to bring you back into the holiday spirit, again 🙂 For Wipet Math, I have 300 words (30 x 10), and because anything super short wouldn’t have made sense, and there’s a POV change directly following.

With the room enveloped in sunlight from the open curtains, they decorated the front room, kitchen and entry hall with the various candles, tinsel, and stockings, while Christian Christmas music played in the background. She’d almost objected when he turned the dial to a Christian music station, but decided not to let it bother her for the time being.

Decorating brought back cheerful memories from her childhood—before her family fell to pieces. It wasn’t often she thought of the good times she’d had with her family. While they set up candles, and worked together to tape tinsel to the mantle, the classic Christmas songs she’d heard a hundred times over the years, transported her back to the days when she and her sister would decorate around the house together. By this time, Joel was too old and apathetic about it to want to do it together anymore.

“Are you okay?” Jay held a hand on her shoulder. She blinked and the image of the Christmas tree in her childhood home faded from memory, along with her sister’s smiling face.

She sucked in a deep breath and forced a broad smile.

“I’m fine,” He stared into her eyes with concern, as if testing her words. “Really,”

“Okay,” He turned away and finished lighting one of the candles on the coffee table.

After they finished decorating, they chose a movie, popped it into the DVD player, and made themselves comfortable on the couch.

“Is the invitation to go to Matt’s family’s home still open for tomorrow?” Lacey inquired as she leaned against him, his arm wrapped around her shoulder.

“Yeah,”

“I’d like to join you,” He turned and smiled down on her, his brown eyes shining. She could get used to those beautiful eyes, that constant smile.

“That’d be great. I’m looking forward to it.”

—-
I’m going for nostalgic – ish, particularly in the 2nd paragraph. If you have any advice in that respect, it would be appreciated 🙂

Happy reading 🙂

 

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15 thoughts on “Decorating for Christmas

  1. I’d try introducing another sense to the memories. Scent is a big one over Christmas–pumpkin pie, spices, the smell of the candles or the tree. And smells have a way of triggering both memories and the emotions that go along with them. It doesn’t have to be much, but would also sink us deeper into the character’s POV.

    And congrats on the high scores. Well done. 🙂

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  2. I related to that second paragraph quite a bit. My family hasn’t fallen to pieces, but due to various circumstances, I do find it hard returning home for the holidays now. You conveyed that contrast between the nostalgia and the now really well.

    (apologies if you get this comment twice, my computer froze just after I tried posting the first time, so I have no idea if it went through or not. Feel free to edit this bit out if this is the only one.)

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    1. No worries. I am glad that the paragraph spoke to you. That is what I am going for 🙂 Also when reading the entire story itself, it reveals more of Lacey’s character. I feel you on the crazy family drama. This is the first holiday season in a while where no negative drama has ensued, amazingly.

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  3. I like the contrast between their current situation and her memories. She’s feeling nostalgic, but at the same time, she’s also being forced into something slightly uncomfortable (the Christian radio station).

    Saw the comment above about naming the movie—I’ll be honest, I really don’t care what movie it is unless it’s a) relevant to the plot or b) makes her have more memories of something. A more specific memory about the Christmas decorations would be far more interesting.

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    1. Thanks! I hesitate to name movies because copyright I have absolutely no idea how that works. I do agree adding in details like that does help..it’s also hard to choose which movie ha

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  4. What if one of the candleholders or other decorations was one that she and her sister had used?

    I have a very tarnished and somewhat battered little silver bell suspended in a snowflake. Two decades ago, my fiance and I bought it at a jewelry shop; the plan was to buy a new silver ornament every year. Only he died the following April, so that didn’t happen, but I still have that little bell.

    My eleven year old daughter put it on her tiny tabletop tree this year – and I was awash in the memories of another time and another life…

    It could be just that simple – a decoration, a scent, the movie – if something is a direct link to her past, you can engage the senses – and that will evoke a strionger sense of the blending of now and then…

    A lovely snippet. I like the comfort Jay offers, and the simplicity of their being together…it fels very homey and right.

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      1. The memories aren’t so painful, now. There’s something profound about him giving me the rest of his life, and my having been there for someone, that way . I know I can do that, because I already have.

        Glad I could help you make this lovely little scene a little more real. Can’t wait to see it when you’ve worked your next round of magic! =)

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      2. Great! I will do a repost then sometime, when it’s edited. 🙂 I am almost done with this MS. I can’t even count how many times I’ve gone through it, but I left comments so now I just have to find a weekend where I can sit down and attend to all the comments that are more than just minor fixes.

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      3. I have so much left to learn about revisions – and that’s going to be a big part of my 2016 goals…but, right now, being within a weekend of done with anything longer than a short story seems a good way away…

        I’ll look forward to your updated post. Best of luck finding that weekend you need! =)

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  5. 7’s 8’s and 9’s! 🙂 Way to go!

    As far as the second paragraph, I’d name the sister and say “Jane would string popcorn and cranberries on a thread while (the MC) would dutifully set up the manger,” or some such. Get specific with what they would do to get that nostalgia. Also don’t forget to name the movie they picked out, even if it’s a name you make up, details make a story come alive IMHO – as long as they’re not over done.

    You have my interest in the story and it’s not the sort of thing I normally read, so that’s saying a lot.

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  6. Awww. Christmas memories. 🙂 So often bittersweet. I get the feeling Jay is not exactly resisting the urge to form a relationship as well as he should be. >.>

    Congratulations on getting high scores!

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    1. l;ol. Yes, by this point, he’s already asked her out, and this is I think their 2nd date, if you want to call it that. But if you click on the Excerpts category, I’ve posted an excerpt from a previous chapter where they went ice skating. Thank you so much. I was happy with the scores. Winning 1st place was not my goal. Pro feedback was the goal and I am just glad most of it was encouraging 🙂

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