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Writing for "Reeling in Your Readers"
Lesson 7: Exercise
Beginning of story from Lesson 2:

Thinking to avoid the afternoon traffic, we finished chores early Friday morning, jumped in the car, and charged off to DL& A Mall. The sign at the entry to DL & A Mall (Dolly Land and All Mall) said, “We are open for all your needs 24 Hours a day.” It was Megan’s idea to arrive at DL&A early to avoid traffic.

There was a winter storm moving in.We had decided to stock up on snacks and groceries before it hit. It was 8 a.m. when we arrived. I could not believe it; the parking lot was stuffed full of cars. Most of the parking spots were full. Driving around the lot to find a parking spot irritated Megan. Finally, settled into a spot we exited the Renegade.

Rewrite for opening lines:

Megan banged on her bedroom door. “Bea, I’m starting chores early.”

Bea rolled over to see the clock better. “Holy crow it’s only 4:30 a.m.” She rolled out of bed and yelped when her feet hit the cold hardwood floor. Pulling on clothing at this time of morning was definite proof that Living with Megan could be a strain.

She dragged through the kitchen door stretching and yawning. Megan was munching buttered toast.

“We are not changing the feeding schedule.”

“There’s a big winter storm on its’ way. I saw the warning on the 11 o’clock news.”

Bea started pulling her long hair back into a pony tail clip. “So what?”

“I want some snacks, movies, and a snowsuit.”

Bea stared at Megan with an unreadable look. “You go, Neil will be here soon. We’ll do chores but, Puleeese! take the list from the frig.”

Lesson 7: Assignment

Bea watched Megan depart through the big picture window. Her thoughts faded to the first day Megan showed up.

Heat sliced over the area. She could still feel the sun beating on her sun screen coated cheeks. A new riding class of very young students mounted on schooling ponies waited for her. She greeted each child individually as she checked pony girths, tightened straps on hard hats, moved little hands into proper place on the reins ,and pushed little heels into position in the stirrup. After class Bea was talking to children who were excited to have survived the first lesson.

Megan walked up. “ The little girl on the brown pony looked too small to even be on a pony. I’m Megan, I was suppose to be here this morning but I lost my ride.”

Setting her tea cup in the sink she walked to the barn, Megan’s horse, Bert neighed to her. “Hi Bert, want some chow?” Bea started dishing feed rations into buckets that she set in a cart.

Neil sauntered into the barn, “Where’s Megan this morning?”

“She’s off on an early morning shopping trip to the DL&A Mall. News this morning says a storm is flying through here starting early afternoon today.”

“I saw the Watch last night did they upgrade it?”

“It’s going to be high wind and lots of snow. Can you stay over? We may need the help if it lasts more that 48 hours.”

“Yeah, I’ll go bring the ponies into the stalls and feed them.”

“Good I’ve got the crew covered in here.”

She wished she could pay Neil more he was always helping beyond the call of duty. He applied for the job when Bea advertised for someone to help with machinery. His former work consisted of mechanics for the military. He talked to the horses sometimes but rarely said much around people. Bea’s effort to wiggle more information about his life were rebuffed in a casual manner.

As she cleaned and filled water buckets she examined how she arrived at this place in her life.

After college she worked one year at a race track as a groom then four years as assistant riding instructor and general assistant of everything for other riding schools. Finally, her mother encouraged her to start out on her own. Mom even found the property, an abandoned riding school near a town with lots of local interest in horses.

After Megan showed up she edged her way into every part of the stable until Bea offered her a share of the profit, a room in the house, and a permanent stall for Bert. The two women were good friends. But it was hard work to keep the business solvent.

After Bea and Neil finished morning chores Bea called Megan’s cell phone. “Bring me a decent throw rug for the side of my bed.”

“I drove into the parking lot at 6:00. I’m still in shock because it was totally full of cars. There are people everywhere buying bottled water, packaged soup, and stuff to keep warm. One lady said school is out and they think the electricity will go down.”
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