Well, I’ve finally started editing Ivy Inquisitive.I’ve finished the prologue and part of the chapter one (for the first time; there will be many drafts after this one).
As you can see, Makenna Pithey has updated my cover. Thanks, Makenna, it looks awesome! 🙂 I think that’s what gave me the drive to start editing … or, you know, reminded me that I actually have a book I’m supposed to be editing. 😉
Between November and now, I’ve been planning out what changes I want to make. I’ve decided to remove quite a few characters and subplots to simplify things … and now I worry about having enough material to make 50,000 words. Hmm.
What’s my greatest weakness in editing? Punctuation. Seriously. You’ll find commas scattered like legos (I have two little brothers) and semi-colons thrown in like baseballs (see last set of parenthesis) in my novels.
And here’s the promised-in-the-title excerpt.
NOTE: contains spoilers for those of you who haven’t read The Dressmaker’s Secret.
Chapter One: The Good Times Came
Alice and Ivy Knight were crouching outside the drawing room of Pearlbelle Park’s drawing room.
Alice, the eldest, had her ear against the crack at the bottom of the door. As she concentrated on the noises within she tugged on her long, neat black braids. Alice’s skin was a healthy pink, her legs and arms a bit too long for her body and altogether awkward, her eyes black with an intelligent look and surrounded by dark lashes, her face was oval but unfortunately quite plain.
Ivy, who lay on her stomach with her face resting on Alice’s left leg, was quite the opposite and no one would have suspected them of being sisters, let alone twins only half an hour apart in age. Her hair that had been a beautiful golden blonde since childhood that was now speedily darkening to dark brown. She had round, dark blue eyes with dark eyelashes and eyebrows like her mother. She head was as perfect in shape as Alice’s, but the face on it was delicately angelic.
Mr. and Mrs. Knight were in the drawing room talking with the other adults residing at Pearlbelle. It was late, about ten, and Alice and Ivy should have been in bed, but Nettie was living with her husband and child at the gatehouse and Mrs. Knight hadn’t brought herself to hire a new governess for them yet.
It may have seemed that Ivy – her eyes tightly closed, her breathing steady and quiet – was asleep, but that was not the case. Ivy was wide awake and dreaming, for though many thought her brainless, Ivy possessed a brain, a brain that thought, though it may not have reasoned, and she used it, though most of the time never on anything important.
But today Ivy was having important dreams … or they seemed to her much more important than ones of the past. These were real dreams, not ones of tower-locked princesses and their dashing heroines on chestnut steeds. For she had seen a real Knight in Shining Armor now. And he was sitting on a leather-covered chair behind the door in front of which she sat with her sister.
Last year Mr. Knight had come into their life to stay. She knew this because her mother had told them at the time. He would never leave because he was their mother’s Knight in Shining Armor and this was their happily ever after.
Suddenly, Alice leaped to her feet and dragged Ivy away as Mr. Knight opened the door and walked out. When he reached the stairs, Alice ran to him, pretending to have been waiting on the top step.
“Papa!” she exclaimed.
Mr. Knight picked Alice up and kissed her. He was a tall man with black hair and eyes, handsome in a way but not strikingly so. He had kept himself in shape and he lifted Alice – awkward limbs and all – with perfect ease.
“You haven’t come to kiss me goodnight,” Alice complained.
“You’re not in bed,” Mr. Knight replied, refusing to put Alice down despite the fact that she obviously thought herself to be in a very undignified and unladylike position.
“Are you really going to get me a full-grown mare?” Alice asked trying to look innocent and unknowing, but she made the mistake of being frank instead of working around him for an answer.
“How did you know that, little miss? No, I needn’t ask. I know you that well. You were listening at the door, weren’t you?”
“Well … yes,” Alice admitted. “Are you?”
“Yes, my little eavesdropper,” Mr. Knight said laughingly, finally setting Alice down with a parting kiss on her forehead.
“Was she listening again?” Miss Chattoway, Alice and Ivy’s mother, demanded, sternly as she walked out of the drawing room.
“Yes, but don’t get angry about it, love. I’m sure we didn’t say anything she shouldn’t have heard,” Mr. Knight replied.
Miss Chattoway, trying to remember if their was something Alice shouldn’t have heard, raised her dark eyebrows for a moment, then lowered them. They remained arched in a critical way on her white forehead below her golden hair. She was tall for a woman – about five foot eight – with blue eyes, a perfect figure and complexion, dark pink lips, and long dark eyelashes; always immaculately, tastefully, and brilliantly dressed. She had heard more than one man call her the most beautiful creature on earth, she knew this to be true, and so was vain about her appearance.
“I don’t want you to do that any more, Alice,” Miss Chattoway said, but had an idea that her words were unheard. Alice seemed to think that the world would fall apart if she did not know everything about it and manage everyone in it.
“I won’t, Mama,” Alice replied, not exactly sure what she had promised.
“Now, up to bed with you,” Mrs. Knight said. “I’ll follow in a minute.”
As Ivy followed Alice up the stairs, she heard her mother say to her father, “Where does one find a good governess anyway?”
“They’re hard to find, but I could start looking,” Mr. Knight replied.
Ivy sighed. She didn’t want a governess. She was sure she’d hate anyone who tried to teach her but Nettie.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The next day, Ivy was awakened by the late morning sun shining on her face. Turning her head to the right, she saw that Alice’s bed had been vacated and made, probably by Anna who was picking Alice’s nightgown off the floor and folding it with studied patience.
Ivy found her mother on a rocking chair in her sitting room gazing absently at the flickering fire. Ivy crawled into her lap. Mrs. Knight’s arms slipped tightly around her.
“I’m glad you’re alone,” Ivy commented.
“There are always people now. I want just you.”
Mrs. Knight kissed Ivy’s forehead. “What do you want to do now that you have ‘just me?’”
“Just this,” Ivy said.
“It is sort of pleasant, isn’t it?” her mother commented, brushing Ivy’s hair with her fingers. “I suppose you want a story?”
“Very well. Once upon a time -”
Just then, there was a knock at the door. Ivy sighed, wishing her mother would tell whoever it was to go away.
“Come in,” said Mrs. Knight.
I did everything in my power to get all the errors out and polish it up … but I’m sure there are plenty of typos and other things I didn’t pick up. This is only Draft 2 and I published The Dressmaker’s Secret at Draft 14 … so, yeah. It needs a lot of work. 🙂
Don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments if you see errors or other things (like awkward sentences) … and I’d love to have your opinion about the excerpt in general.
Is it a good first chapter? A little too much description of characters? Any other thoughts? Criticism won’t hurt my feelings as long as it’s destructive – I mean, constructive. 😉
p.s. As you can see, I changed Reveries’ theme … do you like it? I’m still working out the quirks, so bear with me and let me know if something isn’t showing up, etc. 🙂