Effing Feline’s head is empty #wewriwa

Photos: DepositPhotos

I, Effing Feline, have a blank mind. I’m running out of things to write about, so I’m going to try a trick that Ed, my pet human, read about while I was keeping his lap warm. The trick to open a novel at random and plunk your finger (or paw) somewhere on the page. Whatever sentence you touch, you try to fit into your fictional character’s conversation.

It sounds crazy, I know. The idea is that humans, being an inferior species to cats, don’t stay on topic very well (unlike cats, who can concentrate singlemindedly on sleeping for hours). Inserting something random can add authenticity to fictional speech.

My superior feline version of this is to open The Saint of Quarantine Island and choose a random word. Next week I’ll riff on that word. To build your anticipation about what wisdom I’ll be imparting, I’ll tell you the word my paw selected right after this message from my sponsor.

The boat reaches Echo Bay soon after Billy jumps into it from the cliff. Janet speaks to the boat’s driver.

“Do you know the jumper?”

“Billy’s Kwakiutl, like me, and he lived on Gilford before the plague arrived. Fireworks hit Gwayasdums village real hard, so those who could, packed up and left before the island was quarantined; Billy’s the only one of us left. He’s as crazy as the worst of them when he’s soaring, and when he’s isn’t soaring he’s wild, you know? Comes from being an orphan and seeing too many people die.”

“Does he have Fireworks?”

“Yeah, I guess it comes from that, too.” He reversed the motor to stop the boat’s motion. “Let’s go.”


“To save the little bugger, what else?”

Effing Feline here again. And the word my paw landed on, the word I’ll discuss in dazzlingly brilliant detail next week is —

Are you sitting on the edge of your seat yet? Move to the edge, hiss it!

Here it comes. Drumroll, please —


What the heck? What can anyone say about the? Ed, this is a really lousy way of choosing a topic. I demand a recount!

Be sure to visit the other great writers in Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday.

The Saint of Quarantine Island

Maybe you’ve read about viruses that turn people into zombies. But how about a virus that turns people into madmen, some of whom become creative geniuses?

from The Saint of Quarantine Island by Edward Hoornaert



  1. Cara Hartley · · Reply

    “The” as a word choice would probably be just my luck too.
    I like Billy. I want to learn more about him. Chaotic characters are always fun.

    1. Because of the nature of the disease (Fireworks) that he has, Billy isn’t always chaotic like this. Sometimes he’s pretty normal, other times severely depressed. Sometimes all three in the same day.

  2. Pretty easy, Effing….

    Better get back to napping now…

    1. That’s a goo suggestions, Lisabet, but I’m not sure he needs any urging to take a catnap.

  3. Charmaine Gordon: July 5 2020 nine a.m.

    Sounds like something is going on and I don’t have a clue.. Just one of those days. Have fun, my friend.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Charmaine.

  4. nancygideon · · Reply

    “the” really saved that scene. Words would have fallen to chaos without it! Loving this book, Ed. Such a unique concept. I, for one, would NOT be on that boat!

    1. Neither would I, but then bad decisions make for good fiction, right?

  5. Well I’m glad Billy’s going to be saved. He’s a very intriguing character. Especially now that we’ve gotten some more background on him. Please tell Effing that “the’ is such an innocuous word he can then do anything with it that he pleases. 🙂

    1. This is how I bring these two main characters together, by Janet helping to rescue Billy.

      As for “the”, you say Effing can do anything with it that he pleases. I think it pleases him to sleep on it.

  6. This story has as many twists and turns as the madness the disease sets off, I think! You always keep the narrative moving forward and the excitement high. (So will they be able to save Billy I wonder?) Great snippet…

    1. We’re only in the first of 49 chapters, so there are many more twists to come. I think a reader would have a hard time figuring out what’s going to happen next.

  7. Glad they’re going to help … if he survived the fall, of course.

    1. They’ve already seen him thrashing around in the water, so they know he survived . . . so far, at least.

  8. I’m glad they’re going to save Billy, but I also remember his whole reason for jumping was to relieve the newcomer of her stuff. Fun stuff!

    1. That’s a good thing to keep in mind, that he felt he needed to hurry to beat others to the punch and “borrow” her belongings. That implies there may be others waiting in the wings to appear onstage.

  9. I like Billy and I’m glad they are going to save the little bugger. 🙂

    1. I like Billy too. If I could’ve figured out a way to make this whole novel about him, I would have . . . but it simply isn’t his story. He’s the most important secondary character, though.

  10. Cathy Brockman · · Reply

    I can’t wait to see what. You one up with lol

    1. To find out, tune in next week, same time same station!

  11. Elaine Cantrell · · Reply

    I’m glad they’re going to save Billy. I’d hate to see something happen to him.

    1. You care what happens to him. That’s a good sign, from my POV.

  12. I”m glad they’re going to save Billy. Liked the snippet

    1. I’m glad you’re glad!

  13. Oh, it sounds like Billy has done this before, and that it’s not the least bit unexpected.

    I am wondering about the boat driver, if he lives on the island, if he’s insane too, or has run so many trips across to the island that he knows all of their business. Hmmm…

    Effing, I’m not sure anything you say is random. lol

    1. Okay, some background that hasn’t made it into the snippets. The driver, who is sane, lives on Vancouver Island, not the quarantined island. The government pays indigenous people with boats to deliver supplies. He knows of Billy because, as he says in this snippet, they’re in the same tribe and trust me, one Kwakiutl knows all the other Kwakiutls even in other villages.

  14. I get the feeling everyone on the island knows Billy but might not ‘know him’. If that makes any sense. I imagine this water rescue may not go exactly as planned.

    1. I’d say you’ve nailed Billy’s notoriety.

  15. Well, Teresa read my mind and asked questions I was wondering, and you answered them. So the only thing left is Effing’s struggle with building a conversation around ‘the.’ A suggestion: “The cat in the hat.” They are going to an island to become genius writers. You got to admit. Dr. Suess, you have to wonder if he lived on this island at times…

    1. Dr Seuss? Nah. The evergreens there look nothing like truffula trees.

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