Yay! I did it! I got my checklist (that we are not calling an outline) done! I have 11 major "things" that need to happen to forward my story to it's happy conclusion. My characters now have somewhere to go, and I can't wait to have them all pile in the bus and get this show on the road.
I will leave you with my first few opening paragraphs of my book, since I have nothing new to share with you. It's important to hit the ground running when you write, because the first two sentences can either turn someone off, or get them excited about turning the page. So, I literally have Elizabeth run right out of the door without a word to anyone.
See you all soon!
No quicker did Elizabeth open the door, then did Mrs. Bennet step forward with an exaggerated expression of great felicitation. Elizabeth, having spent all her humor trying to convince Mr. Collins that her refusal to his marriage proposal was indeed sincere, had none left for her mother. She simply stepped around the lady and strode as calmly as she could manage through the vestibule, and out the front door.
Not far behind, Mr. Collins appeared at the breakfast room door with a look of self importance, mixed with the after effects of straight vinegar. He caught a glimpse of Elizabeth’s white frock disappearing around the corner. Mrs. Bennet turned toward him hoping for clarification.
“Mr. Collins?” Mrs. Bennet asked as she tried to decipher his odd expression.
Elizabeth had not even stopped to pick up her bonnet. Her legs would not let her tarry. They moved swiftly without being instructed. They carried her further and further away from Longbourn, and that horrible ridiculous man. “Almost as soon as he entered this house…” How arrogant! How insulting! How self-serving can one man be? And how could he accuse her of being bashful? Had he not observed her for more than one second? Or did he see only what flattered his shallow mind?
Without any thought beyond driving the memory of Mr. Collins’ nearness and his breath from her mind, Elizabeth picked up her skirt and hastened into the trees. She had no destination, and no will to return anytime soon. Her mother and her ever-present nerves would be in similar spirit no matter what time she returned. Charlotte Lucas was due to come by and relive the Netherfield ball minute by minute, but Elizabeth would not regret missing the reveling. Too much had happened. This morning. Last night. Oh, last night! Elizabeth’s head was full of it, and did not get one wink of sleep. Mr. Collin’s superior timing had only added to her misery, and she was exultant to be free of everyone. Of everything--even if only for a while. She would take all day, she determined as she gauged the sky, before its vastness got lost behind the towering firs, and gave no thought whatsoever to her thin muslin or delicate slippers.
The trees provided desperately wanted shelter. Her face was flushed, and the coolness of the shaded wood was the answering remedy. Elizabeth had felt exposed out in the open; exposed to Mr. Collin’s insincere overtures, her mother’s unbridled tongue, her sisters’ wild behavior, the poorly concealed contempt emanating from Caroline’s and Louisa’s smug faces, and his inescapable eyes. Those eyes. Why she could not get Mr. Darcy’s stare out of her head even now, was beyond her comprehension.
Though she ran to escape, uncontrollable thoughts kept stride and swirled around her head. The unexpected and very intense dance with Mr. Darcy would not leave her alone. Though they sparred, he very gently held her hand. Though his face severe, there was something altogether different in his eyes, almost soft. Though she accused, the way he looked at her seemed to be communicating to her something far beyond their spoken conversation. This would not do! If ever she could disappear, she wished it would happen at that very moment.
She picked up her pace along with her gown and even dared to clear small boulders and fallen branches without any fear. This might not be acceptable behavior for a woman of almost one and twenty, but the surge of release Elizabeth felt with each stride and bound kept her from caring one straw what the trees and woodland creatures would think. She filled her lungs with the scents of moss, earthy lichen, and sharp resinous sap. The damp coolness of the ground spread quickly through her house shoes and chilled her feet, and it gave her a certain measure of boldness. If the tiny beasts were to have a forest ball this evening, she was happy to give them all the scandalous conversation they would need.