The Novel

I’m not going to finish my novel by June 1st. This writing a book thing is hard. Really, really hard. Like child birth kinda hard, complete with back pain from all the hunching over the keyboard.

Today I laid down to take a nap and I was flooded with ideas. My characters began swimming and talking and I decided to listen. I fed my family, packed up my computer and headed out where I promptly grew totally overwhelmed because my fingers cannot type fast enough.

I know where the characters are going, but getting them there takes time and I’m impatient and frustrated and wish I could just get it all out at once. Instead, I type a few pages, my heart starts beating really fast, my pulse quickens and I literally feel like I’m falling – like I’m leaning into the finish line and my feet can’t keep up.

So I have to step away, take a break, then dive back in. Do you know how slow this is going?

I’m almost to 200 pages and their stories are just ramping up. This is the longest labor ever in the history of all time.

Would you like to read one more sneak peek? Okay, good. Because this girl’s story is my favorite and it is the story I simply can’t get out fast enough. So here you have it – this is a bit more of Luda’s story. I first introduced you to Luda in Sneak peek #1. Her story is complex and full of beauty and pain and grief and joy. Isn’t that how life goes?

Beauty and ashes all mixed together.

(Disclaimer – This is the unedited, first rough draft. It’s not perfect, but it is coming out and that is a step in the right direction.)

Leaning back, I turn my face up to the ceiling and take in a long, deep breath. The pieces all began to fall into place. “So my mother was not a whore,” I say, less to him and more to myself. Every single image of my mother that I’d conjured up as a youth came flooding back. Her laugh that sounded like a thousand bells. The sound of her voice singing softly over me. The way her hair swung loosely over her shoulders. Could these be real memories? Could it be that the very few moments I had with my mother had been stored inside of me all along?

“I’m sorry, Luda,” Alexei says quietly, breaking the silence. “I’m so sorry I wasn’t there. I’m sorry that I failed you…and your mother.”

I nod, then ask one last question that has been pressing against my heart like a vice. “What is my mother’s name?”

Alexei’s eyes widen. “He never even spoke her name?” he whispers.

I shake my head no. “He only spoke of her when he was drunk and he always referred to her as ‘My darling,’ in those rare moments. I have never heard my mother’s name.”

“Marianna,” Alexei said and a gentle smile spread across his face. “Your mother’s name is Marianna.”

I nod and my eyes fill with tears. “Thank you,” I whisper. “Thank you for giving my mother back to me.”

Alexei reaches across the table and grasps my hand. “You are just like her, Luda. You are going to be an excellent mother just like she was.”

I nod slowly and allow a smile to form. The first genuine smile I’ve given in months. I look at my stomach and breathe in deep.

Like your mother.

For the first time in all my life, I feel peace.

©Kelli Stuart, May 2012

My new goal is to hit 200 pages by June 27 when I head to California for a writer’s retreat. I’m going to finish this thing, you guys. It’s actually going to happen!!!!

If it kills me…

And it just might…

But let’s hope not because I really need to finish this before I die…

The End.


  1. CAN’T WAIT!