Life on the Fast Track – 12

12 – I know My Best Friend’s got my Back

Jasmine’s phone buzzed and she smiled when she checked her messenger.  Danny was

william-stitt-224290
Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash

checking in on her.  They had not seen each other for a week since he dropped her food at work.  But, he called and replied messages when she wrote them.  A little thrill went through her every time her phone buzzed now.  She liked it.

“So, this morning on my way to drop off an order, there was this discussion on the radio,” Terry said, as they strolled through the mall.  “Apparently, most women fantasize about celebrity women.  Who you’d do, the ideal one.”

Jasmine laughed.

“I’ve never wanted to be with a woman but if asked, I think I’d go with Angelina Jolie,” Terry declared.

“Coz, she has experience?” Jasmine asked with a chuckle.

“Her badass attitude would totally rub off on me, and come in handy when I pick fights,” Terry said.  “She would be cool in a fight.”

“Gal, what are you saying?” Jasmine asked stopping at the Body Splitz shop.  “You don’t think I’d have your back in a fight?”

“Of course you do, but you’re all girly looking,” Terry said, giving her a once over, then she laughed when Jasmine smacked her arm.

“I can scratch out eyes with the best of them,” Jasmine declared, strolling down the closest aisle.  “What’s with the fantasies?  Whose eyes do I need to scratch out?”

“Your man,” Terry said, a grim look on her face.  “Danny is interfering with my business.  Granted that he has every right, he footed the capital, still…it’s annoying.”

“Who is he trying to save you from?” Jasmine asked, stopping in the body wash section.  “Does it have anything to do with the races?”

“Yeah,” Terry said, taking a bottle of lavender body wash and smelling it.  She returned it to the shelf.  “Jazz, you’re going to have to deal with that part of his life, eventually.”

“I know,” Jasmine said, handing Terry her shopping basket.  She picked out a bottle of mint lotion, and smelled it.  “His racing scares me, gambling with this life every time he gets behind the wheel.  I can’t think about it.”

“Danny is not an idiot,” Terry defended her brother.  “He is not careless and knows what he’s doing, Jazz.  He doesn’t take unnecessary risks and insists on a clean race.  Which is part of the reason my business is an issue now.  Danny’s trying to weed out some thug from their circle.”

“Is that why he’s kept away for a week?” Jasmine asked, trying to keep her tone nonchalant.  The messaging and phone calls were great, but Danny had not come to see her once.

“Do I sense some frustration?” Terry teased.

Jasmine chose the mint lotion, mint shampoo and body wash, placing them in her shopping basket.  She picked out a coconut lotion for Terry and looked at her best friend.

“Maybe,” Jasmine said.  “In truth, Danny and me, we’re worlds apart.  I’m caught in between wanting to get close and keeping this strange distance we have.”

“Jasmine Lima, don’t try to tell me that you are not missing my brother,” Terry said, heading to checkout.  They paid for their respective products and Terry pointed a finger at her as they took their shopping bags.  “I know you.”

“Well,” Jasmine sighed.  “I’m confused about him, Terry, and that’s the truth.”

“First, not to sound biased, but Danny is a good guy,” Terry said, when they left the store.  “Second, I don’t remember the last serious relationship you had.  Who was it with?”

“Tyler,” Jasmine answered, hating to remember it.  She had loved Tyler.  Yes, if she was to really be truthful, she had cared about Tyler enough to want to keep him.  “That turned into a mess.”

“Oh that’s right,” Terry said, her eyes darkening.  “Shit, Tyler wasn’t straight, Jazz.  He messed you up.”

“I cared too much.  He—,” Jasmine broke off.  “I’m not sure what he wanted.  All I know is that he did what his brother said and it didn’t involve keeping me.”

“His brother?” Terry frowned.  “I never heard about Tyler’s brother.”

“Yeah, I didn’t want to admit that my boyfriend left me ‘coz his brother didn’t think I was good enough,” Jasmine said with a soft scoff.  “It’s humiliating.”

“What is this brother’s name?  I’ll see about him,” Terry scowled.  “Tell me, Jazz.”

“It’s over and done.”

“I don’t care.  What if I date him?  Come on, I need to know his name.”

“Fine,” Jasmine said, amused.  “But dating my ex would be breaking the bff’s code.”

“Not your ex, his brother,” Terry clarified, making a face.  “Will you just tell me the bastard’s name?”

“Adrian Anderson,” Jasmine said.  “A pain in the ass is what he is, thinks he is some sort of ruler of the kingdom.”

“Anderson!” Terry gaped.  “Are you sure?”

“Yes,” Jasmine said, walking out of the mall into the cool evening.  “He came over to my house once to get Tyler.  It wasn’t pretty.”

“Oh no,” Terry shook her head and got quiet.

Jasmine stopped to look at her.

“What?  Is everything alright?” Jasmine asked.

Terry looked at her and smiled, though she seemed preoccupied to Jasmine.

“Yes, everything is fine,” Terry said.  “Come on, let’s go have something to eat.  I’ll treat you.”

“I feel like eating barbequed chicken,” Jasmine said, wrapping an arm around Terry.  “Real juicy and spicy.”

“So specific,” Terry laughed.  “I’ll take you to the Passion Fruit.”

****

“Stop!” Jimmy laughed.  “No more kungfu jokes, Danny.”

“Why?  You used to love those old movies.  What happened to that whole collection?”

“I don’t remember.  Lost in the junk in the storage room,” Jimmy said, sipping on his beer.  “Where’s Terry?”

“She went out earlier,” Danny said, changing the channel on the big screen to a football game.  “Probably getting back about—

Terry slammed into the house and dropped the shopping bags she held on the floor.  She stared at Danny, who was reclined on the couch, her expression made him wonder what had her in a tiff now.

“What?” Danny asked, sipping his beer, giving her a wary glance.

“Go to Jasmine,” Terry ordered.

“What’s happened?” Danny asked, sitting up.  “Is she hurt?  Why—

“No,” Terry said.  “But, I think you should be with her.”

“I messaged her a few minutes ago.  She said she’s fine, staying in this evening,” Danny said, relaxing.

Terry gave an impatient sigh and moved to sit next to Jimmy.

“Do you care for her, Danny?”

“You know how I feel about her.”  Danny frowned.  “Terry, I’m trying to find a way to pull Anderson out of our lives.  It’s better to go back to Jazz when it’s over.  Who knows what he’ll do?”

“Forget it.  She used to date Anderson’s little brother, Tyler,” Terry said.  “She told me they broke up because Anderson ordered it.  He knows her.  He knows where she lives.  It would be better—

Danny got up, threw the remote on the couch, meeting Jimmy’s gaze.  He was out of the house before Terry finished.

“…if you went to Jasmine.”

***

To be continued….Thank you for reading ^_^

←Previous Track

A/N : – If reading for the first time, this is an ongoing serial story.  I will link them all in one tab for easier reading at Track 15.  Enjoy!

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Writing Resources – Plotting Romance Novels in Nairobi

I’m in a dream that one of these days I’m going to walk into a Nairobi bookshop and find a full aisle filled with romance novels, or fiction set in Nairobi.  So all of you shy Kenyan Fiction Writers, typing away in the middle of the night in your houses, get creative, even though you have to self publish e-books online, until you can manage to get them printed.  Don’t be afraid, and just write. Be Brave as Dora Okeyo and if you already have published, share the link so I can read it.

Today, I’ll focus on Romance Novels.  I know you read them, we need more Kenyans Writing Them.

The Romance Novel

A romance novel consists of a central love story that ends in a Happily Ever After.

1. When writing a romance novel, you place emphasis on a romantic relationship between your two main characters, and restrict your use of subplots to those that support the romantic conflict.   What does this mean?

E.g. If your main characters are John and Terry, anything that happens in your story should be to support John and Terry’s budding relationship to the end.  Don’t include scenes in the story that will not supplement their relationship.

2. Your choice of language is important.  Most romance readers read a story to live vicariously through your characters.  So, make sure your character’s words, thoughts and experiences are as he/she would experience them.  Put your reader in your character’s thoughts.  Confused?

E.g. Terry squashed herself into the full matatu, and tried to ignore the fact that she was practically sitting on air between two chairs.  She felt sweat trickling on her forehead, and blew air upward hoping to dry it off.  Her blouse stuck to her skin.  She took in a deep breath and grimaced as the stench of  sweat filled her nostrils.  Lord help her, she shouldn’t have run to catch the matatu after all, now she was going to be smelling like a sweaty pig all day.  Someone tapped her shoulder and she turned to her right to find a pair of amused dark brown eyes watching her. It was John, her neighbor’s son.  The guy she’d had a crash on for as long as she could remember….

The example above, while very raw gives you an example of what I mean.  Put your reader in your character’s thoughts.  It makes for an entertaining experience.

And now the most important part:

Plot or Story Arc

Basically, this charts the direction of the events in your novel.  The low points, the high points, the conflicts, complications and resolutions, those delicious events that keep your reader moving from one chapter to the next.

How to get started

1. Know the length of your story. 

1. Short Story – 7,500 words or less

2. Novella – 7,500 – 40,000 words

3. Novel – 40,000 or more

Read about the merits of each length story.

2. Characters: Once you know how many words you want to write, create your characters.  Know their names, and how many of them you’re going to have in your story.

3. Plan your Story Arc – Plot

a. Parts of  a Plot:

1. Introduction of the Plot

– This is the introduction or the setup of your story.  This is the part you introduce your character, e.g. quirky Terry, you tell us about her life, what she does, where she lives, and also include the inciting incident that starts the story. Your main characters meet here, due to an incident, or a situation…it’s your imagination….make it fun and write a great first meet. (cute first meet)

2. Rising Action

-I call this the meat of the story. After the introduction, this part of the story is where you have your characters getting to know more about each other.  Introduce the conflicts, making the stakes rise for your two main characters. They could be cultural, economical, social, e.t.c or even personal conflicts that work to pull your two main characters apart.

Learn more about Rising Action.

3.  Turning Point (Climax)

– Your characters make some decisions resolving some of the conflicts arising in the rising action.  It is a major turning point because you fully develop the relationship despite the foreboding consequences.  E.g. I’ll be with you even though my parents hate you…okay that’s weak, but you know what I mean. You can have your characters facing off with the parents at this point with something major at stake.

4. Falling Action

– This occurs after the Climax, and refers to the consequences of the decisions made in the Turning Point.  E.g. Someone gave up something in the turning point and therefore both characters are miserably apart or one is locked away in jail or at home….hmm…well, my imagination is off today, you might have a better one.  Basically it leads to the dark moment in romance novels when the romance seemed doomed, or over. Lots of tears to be shed.

5. Resolution

– This part includes the dark moment, your characters are struggling, and all seems over, but then a solution is found and your characters can have their happily ever after.

Your job Dear Budding Writer is to take all these parts of the plot and create a great story, that will have me the reader staying up all night to get to the ending. 

Further Reading:

The Essential Elements of Writing a Romance Novel

Tomorrow, we’ll look at Conflicts and why they are such a huge part of the plot.  You can’t have a story without conflict, otherwise the plot will just lay flat and your reader will be bored to tears.  So, Stay Tuned.

Kenyan Fiction Writers

On a side note, don’t be afraid to write Fiction.  We’re in an age where you can’t say there are no publishing avenues.  If you can get online, which is everybody now, you can publish, or share your stories for others to enjoy.  Writing fiction, be it Romance, Mystery, Contemporary, or whatever, do it, so that we can flood the market and make it common place to find fiction written and set by Kenyans.

If you’re unsure how, ask, the questions will be answered, or you’ll be directed to those who know more, right?  Right.  Keep Writing!!