Monday, February 4, 2013

Bouncer Post #125

Genre: Literary Fiction
Word Count: 90,000


ROCK WILL YIELD is a work of literary fiction about relationships beginning and ending, families forming and disintegrating, and principles colliding with people. The novel is narrated by three interweaving voices.

Stephen James is a gay man who loves a woman. When their marriage fails, Stephen is despondent until he meets a man who offers him a second chance at love. But even as his relationship with his partner deepens, Stephen struggles to forget his ex-wife, and on his trips to the city for visitation with their daughter, he begins spending more and more time with her. When his partner asks Stephen to start a family, Stephen has to decide between the man who wants to move forward and the woman he can't get past.

Higen Nishida’s future is set, defined by the expectations of his culture and his family: upon graduation, he will return to Japan, work for the family law firm, and enter into an arranged marriage. Then he falls in love with the football team’s star tight end. As their relationship develops, Higen’s future plans are unsettled, and he must choose between breaking promises and breaking hearts.

Raven Madison is attacked and blinded following a moonlit tryst on the beach. As she struggles to adjust to life without sight, her already frail emotions are further agitated by the romantic attentions of Jack, the one-night stand she never expected to see again. Raven questions Jack’s sincerity, and his touch triggers violent flashbacks. Bit by bit, his steady devotion wins her over, and she falls in love. But when Jack proposes, Raven panics. She must decide whether to face her fears or lose her love.

First 250:

Maximilian the cat is off exploring the yard, which is teeming with crickets and cicadas. Bats are snatching mosquitos from the air. A possum is foraging by the fencepost. Maximilian will live with Danni and warm her lap on cold days, hunt the field mice she refuses to kill.

I wanted to see the sunrise, but I don't think I'll make it. Two handmade envelopes sit beside me, handwritten letters inside; I hope that Grace and Danni will understand, and that Truth will not forget me.

Two pills every twenty minutes. Not so close together that I'll vomit them up, but close enough to do the trick. I've lost nearly all the dexterity in my hands, and my eyelids are cumbersome. I find myself fighting it.

Ants crawl between the blades of grass around my chair — or perhaps they are only shadows cast by the clouds passing in front of the moon. Across the road, a street lamp taints the sky.

My lips are numb now, my lips and my extremities. I can feel the wind moving over my bare legs, my neck, my cheeks; Gabriel used to love to kiss my lips, to tickle them with his stubble. But Gabriel is gone, murdered, the funeral closed casket.


My phone rang.

"They caught him."


"They caught him, Stephen."

I opened my mouth to speak, but only air came out.

"It's over. It's finally over."


"I thought you'd want to know."

I nodded, hung up the phone, braced myself against the doorjamb and waited, but nothing came. An hour passed, two. No tears. No relief. I called the police looking for details, but they wouldn't give me any information; I "wasn't family."


  1. This is gripping, and I'd love to see where this story goes. It seems you've created some really compelling characters! I know you're up against a lot of sci-fi and YA entries, but I really hope one of the bouncers is up for some literary fiction, because I think you deserve to make the next round. Good luck!

  2. I don't like the first paragraph of the query. I'd lose that and jump in with the first character's story. If you need to include the information from the beginning, put it at the end, after the stories. I'd also like a little indication as to how the three characters' stories link up or parallel each other.

    The writing is great and it sounds like something I'd enjoy reading.

  3. I'm a huge fan of stories that weave multiple viewpoints and do it well. This sounds intriguing! I like your query and couldn't wait to get to your pages. But I get what Kate is saying about how their lives connect. I was guessing that Raven was Stephen's ex-wife and Higen was Stephen's new love. Pure speculation so maybe some clarification would help wind it all together in one final paragraph? I would love to read more!

    Best of luck!

  4. This is quite the intriguing opening to your story. I like all the little details the character sees while the pills are kicking in. I also liked the rhythm of the dialogue in the next scene, especially without any dialogue tags. Best of luck in the contest!