Friday, April 25, 2014

Day 15 - A Different Beginning

Yesterday's excerpt was what I think is going to be the opening of In Flight. However, I might save that whole chapter for a flash back, later in the book.  The chapter (not the excerpt) depicts a horrifying event in Angela's childhood, which drives the whole story, and turns out to have a mystery surrounding it.

You know how yesterday I mentioned that it can be a good idea to give more information up front, so that things make sense later?  Well, sometimes it's the reverse.  Sometimes too much information clouds what you're trying to write.  It's like I mentioned in the series about opening images and the first act of a story -- the audience can only take in so much. The flashback makes for a good opening, but it means I have to set up the character and her life AGAIN when I start in on Chapter 2, which is twenty years later.  I have to set up her life now, all the while the audience is thinking about what happened in the previous scene.

So here is an excerpt of the other opening -- if I started the story with what is now chapter 2, twenty years later.  It leaves out some key info, not to be mysterious, but because it really isn't necessary yet.


Chapter 2 (or 1) - Twenty Years Later

cover concept
SOMETHING HAD TRIGGERED the dreams again.  Angela wasn't quite sure what, but as she awoke she still felt the haunting images -- and though they were images, she felt rather than saw them -- her father's hand disappearing at the edge of the cliff.  It looked, in the dream, like a cut-out of black construction paper, mottled, yet with a clear edge against a night sky, each finger delineated, outstretched.  It sank, stiff, not moving, out of sight.

In real life it had been too dark, and raining, and she had been tumbling and disoriented.  She saw him go over, but he'd only been a mass of black, with glimmers of the rain glinting off him.  All she had seen of his hand was a flailing blur, and maybe a glint of a ring reflecting.  Probably his wedding ring.  Funny that the ring was not in her dream.  But maybe that was her subconscious making a comment.

She didn't like to think about it.  For twenty years she'd made a concerted effort not to think about it.  That was probably why the dream was so stylized and unreal.  Why the ring was gone.  Why her father was reduced to a paper cut out.

From long practice, Angela tensed every muscle in her body and pulled herself into a ball, making a full-body fist, and then threw her arms and legs out, kicking her blankets off, and twisting herself right out of bed.

It did not cast off every remnant of the weird melancholy of the dream, but it would do.  A little caffeine and a shower would take care of it.  She'd skip breakfast.  The croissants at work were better than anything she could make for herself.  There was bound to be a misshapen pain au chocolat or something held back from the morning customers.

Just the thought of work turned her back into Angela, and not that little girl on the cliff. 

But the thought of the dream still bothered her.  Something had triggered it. And though it might be something harmless, she had learned in many years of hiding and running that instinct sometimes saw things before her conscious mind did.

So my progress today is unmeasurable, as I pull the many pieces of this chapter together. I'm not sure why it's difficult, but I notice that everything I wrote after the excerpt above is fragmentary.

I think the issue, once again, is TMI.  I need to keep it simple.  She loves her job.  It's like home -- except that she treats it more as a hideout than a family.  She's the mouse that lives in the baseboards, enjoying the familial atmosphere while feeling invisible (and safe) herself....

See you in the funny papers.

No comments: