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The Meet So Long Ago

A lot of things were done yesterday after I finished putting out yesterday’s post.  Number one among them was getting a little too toasted at Sunday brunch.  What’s this, you say?

Yep.  After leaving the coffee shop I stopped at a local restaurant for brunch, decided to have a nice meal of steak and eggs, and then figured on having a beer with that meal.  For my drink selection I picked a stout called Dragon’s Milk.  One might believe that sounds as dangerous, and they are right.

Mother of Dragon's Milk at your service.

Mother of Dragon’s Milk at your service.

Oh, did I mention that it’s eleven percent alcohol?  Probably slipped my mind, as did much else after lunch, which saw me having a second Dragon’s Milk.  Yeah, I was pretty messy after strolling out of that joint, and it was a good thing I only need walk about five blocks to get home.

When I arrived I decided to lay around a while before getting into a little work on the computer and a whole lot of hydrating.  Oh, and I almost screwed up the first draft of B For Bewitching as I was preparing the Table of Contents for a beta reader.  And by “screwed up” I mean I nearly trashed the manuscript when I got a little carried away and ended up dumping the majority of the story under one chapter.  After a couple of panicked moments I went to the backup–which Scrivener makes automatically–and restored everything to its original condition.

It was only after I watched Moneyball and streamed the pilot of The Americans, which I must point out I’d never seen and which had another of those cold openings that tell you little but that I enjoy greatly, that I got back into the editing.  And this brings me to a special section of the story, because this is the first face-to-face between a couple that will, for the next three quarter of a million words, spend a lot of time with their faces pressed against each other.  Yes, this was the “first” meeting of the Lovey Dovey Couple, although we know better, yeah?

I ended up rewriting most of this, as well as chopping out fifty-seven words in the process.  You can see the changes right away, where I did the job of hacking up the first two paragraphs:

 

The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015, by Cassidy Frazee)

From the moment he’d left the hotel and headed south down Baker Street—humming that song because it was necessary—he found himself on a short walking tour of London, armed with his Nokia phone, his backpack, and the few wits he possessed.

One thing he’d not taken into consideration, and that was no matter how close one hundred meters seemed on the Google Maps screen, it was a lot further on foot. Like the trip to the tailors: the map showed it to be about four hundred meters of straight line travel, or about four-fifty once one started cutting around blocks. That converted to about a quarter of a mile, and that didn’t seem far at all.

 

That was the old; below it the new:

 

From the moment he left the hotel and headed south down Baker Street—humming that song because it was necessary—Kerry found himself walking the streets of London, a city he’d never been in alone, armed only with his mobile, his backpack, and his wits.

One thing he didn’t take into consideration, however, was that no matter how short one hundred meters appeared on Google Maps, it was a lot further on foot. Like his trip to the tailors: the map showed it to be about four hundred meters of straight line travel, or about four-fifty once one started cutting around blocks. On the screen it didn’t seem far at all—

 

Right off the back you can see the first paragraph was rearranged, while the second was altered and shortened.  A lot of stuff ended up like that before I was over, though some of it was more subtle.  Take, for example, their first introduction.  Here’s the before:

 

“Uh, huh.” Kerry though that perhaps the girl would maybe smile, but no, she continued her quiet examination of him standing before her. She slowly crossed her legs. “And what of your accent? You’re not from the UK, either.”

“No, you’re right.” He stopped casting glances at his feet and looked directly at the girl. “I was born in the U.S.—California, actually—but a couple of years ago my family moved to Cardiff . . .”

“Cardiff?” The girl spoke the word with a heavy whisper.

“Yeah.” Kerry was pretty sure he hadn’t misspoken the name of his adopted home. “I’ve been there a couple of year.”

Silence returned, and it seemed to Kerry as if the shadows around the girl had almost thickened. She set her book aside and slowly stood. “I’m sorry; I’ve been so rude.” She stepped out of the shadow and for the first time Kerry saw her in better light. She held out her right hand. “Annie Kirilova.”

“Kerry Malibey.” He hesitated before shaking her hand lightly. It was the first time he’d shook hands with a girl his age. He’d shook hands with women before—like with Ms. Rutherford at the house—but he’d never done this with a girl, and it made him feel sort of funny inside.

 

And now the after:

 

“Uh, huh.” She didn’t take her eyes off him as she slowly crossed her legs. “And what of your accent? You’re not from the UK, either.”

“No, I’m not.” He stopped casting glances at his feet and looked directly at the girl. “I was born in the U.S.—California, actually—but a few years ago my family moved to Cardiff—”

“Cardiff?” The girl spoke the word in a heavy whisper.

“Yeah.” Kerry was pretty sure he hadn’t misspoken the name of his adopted home. “I’ve lived there since 2008.”

Silence fell over them as if the shadows around the girl reached out and grew thick around them both. She set her book aside and slowly stood. “I’m sorry; I’ve been so rude.” She stepped out of the shadow, and for the first time Kerry saw her in better light. She held out her right hand. “Annie Kirilova.”

“Kerry Malibey.” He hesitated before shaking her hand. It was the first time he’d shook hands with a girl his age. He’d shook hands with women before—like with Ms. Rutherford at the house—but he’d never done this with a girl, and it made him feel lightly funny inside.

 

You feel funny around a girl, Kerry?  You better get used to that.

Throughout most of the intro there were a lot of necessary words, so those were removed or rewritten.  The best thing, though, is that I get to reread this stuff that I wrote almost three years ago, and realize that it wasn’t bad; in fact, it was pretty good.  It only needed a little polish to make it better.

And there's a bit more polishing to do before my kids get to school.

And there’s a bit more polishing to do before my kids get to school.

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8 thoughts on “The Meet So Long Ago

  1. By the way, I’m not sure about this because , you know, I’ve never considered myself a ” native ” speaker ( I was an ESL student in elementary * English as Second Language * ), and so you have to correct me if I’m wrong…….from ” It was the first time he’d shook hand with a girl his age. ” to ” It was the first time he had * shaken * hand with a girl his age” ?

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