Friday, October 5, 2012

Hot Chips and Sand 6-10 First Draft Comparison

Hot Chips and Sand
Copyright © 2012 Mary Hughes 
All rights reserved 

“Only if you keep chattering.” He swung themher up over the top of the roof‑line, turning and crouchingroofline, leaped over next to her, then turned and squatted behind the crumbling brick and pushingpushed her into the same position. From there they could quite clearly see the men below, who were arguing and pointing in all directions.  Another
“What now?” she whispered as another man stepped out ofinto the doorcourtyard and issued somebegan issuing something that sounded like orders in a stream of Arabic. The group split, some to the street and some back into the building.
The man rose to a crouch. “If we’re quiet, we should be able to escape undetected.”
“Yes, but where are we…going?” She addressed the last portionwas [MH1] talking to his rapidly retreating back. “Wonderful,” she muttered[MH2] . “. When I want to walk, he treats me like a sack of potatoes.  OnBut a gravel filled roof he leaves me.  Great.” ? Gone.” She took a tentative step onto the roof proper, and realized  Webster’s definition of pain didn’t really do it justice.
“Excuse me,” she called hoarsely. She waved after his distant form. “Oh, yoo‑hoo!” Tears came to her eyes as she took another step. “Quietly, he says. Fine. I’ll scream very quietly.” As she walked gingerlyinched [MH3] over the coarse gravel, she jollied herself on. “You can do it. C’mon, you live through Pinlow’s code reviews, you can live through this.”
As she was nearingNearing the other side, she caught the motionflick of a thrown rope out ofwith the corner of her eye.  Distracted,Her head jerked away from her feet and in that moment of distraction she stepped on a sharp edged stone. She stifled a shriek. Her foot recoiled automatically, throwing her off balance. She stutter-stepped trying to recover, trod heavily on a stone sharp as an awl, yipped and went down with a cry and a loud clatter. Stones dug into her flesh like full body nougies. A groan escaped her throat.
Shouts from the street below signaled courtyard and feet pounding in their discoverydirection wasn’t the best news she’d had all day.
He jerked [MH4] The man’s long fingers wrapped around her upper arms with a strong grip and he pulled her upright with a sharp oath.  Then he looked her straight in the face,. She met his eyes blazing.  Vickie prepared herself for the onslaught.  eyes, swallowing hard. He opened his mouth and she was sure he was going to carve her into hamburger. “How much do you weigh?” he growled.
“What?” She blinked in surprise.
“Due to your little outburst not“Not only did I miss my throw to the next building, but your friends have found us. I’ll have to jump, carrying you.” He paused, and breathed deeply. Vickie tried not to see the massive ridges of his chest expand.  “Again;“So how much do you weigh?”
She snapped her attention away from his powerful form, her mind clicking into automatic. One hundred fifteen, no clothes, but two days, no eating, maybe one hundred thirteen, and the run up the stairs, that counted for something, maybe one twelve, oh, except for the T‑shirts, yes, well, he’d know more about what they’d weigh than she, so make it an explicit assumption, so still one twelve, but no clothes, anything else?.. no?.. okay. “One hundred twelve pounds, naked. So how far away is the next…”
He snared her by the waist and started running.
It’s becoming a habit, she thought as he lifted her again, this time by the waist.  . I’ll never finish a sentence again without flying through the air.
“Hold on,” he cautioned.  .”
“To what?” she retorted, but it was too late. He built up speed in four paces, hit the edge of the roof, and jumped.
They flew over the street, suspended in time. Vickie looked around. She saw nothing but empty space in all directions[MH5] . It was like coming in for a landing at an airport flanked bynear the ocean.  You don’t see any land at all until you’ve almost touched down.  For just a moment, you thinkStomach swooping as the plane descends, you’re certain you’ll land in the watersink.
Vickie hadShe’d decided there was no next building after all when they slammed into the side of it. Dazed, she watched asfocused on his hand, gripping the crumbling roof ledge.
It slipped slightly, then more.  .
Which was when the first bad guy hit the fire escape below them.
“Hold onto my neck,” he commanded. .” His commanding tone pierced the ringing in her head and she.
She struggled crawling around his body to hang ononto his back, her arms wrapped tightly around his neck.
With both hands free, he pulled them easily over the ledge.  At the same time,
And met the first assailant climbed overbad guy climbing onto the top ofroof from the fire escape.
Vickie found herself depositeddumped on an asphalt surface this time.  ‘Must be movingMoving uptown, she thought. A sharp smack and the sound of a body hitting the tar brought her headeyes up. Two more men had come over the top, but the first one lay on the roof, out cold.
She watched, fascinated, as the big man made a graceful leap, kick, turn, thrust, all motion fluid and flawless, felling the two smaller men. He waited a moment for the last of her kidnappers to reach the roof. When no more came, he peered cautiously over the edge of the fire escape, then at her.
They’veHe’s gone to get reinforcements. We’d better move.”
“Don’t you ever stop to… no wait!  Put me down!”
The man didn’t pause at all, scoopingscooped her up as thoughif she were a sack of kitty litter. Bundling her in one hugely muscled arm, he swung over the side onto the fire escape, leaping down the metal stairs in great stomach-dropping  bounds of three or four at a time. Vickie hugged his naked shoulders and hid her face in his neck, breathing his scent. .
And breathed in his scent. Warm, masculine, it was skin and sweat and a hint of spice.[MH6] 
He ran easily, covering ground fast.  It was not fast enough.
, but a group of men in fatigues careered around the corner into the street behind them. The shouts were in Arabic, but Vickie didn’t have to know the language to translate, “There they are!”
Vickie heard the “Damn.” The big man swear, then she spun to his right and Vickie was unceremoniously dumped into a darkened doorway. She peered around the corner.
There were four new ones, men she had never seen. They wore some kind of army uniforms, like the ones out of Mission Impossible. These four carried guns.
Vickie’s rescuer swore again, then charged. The soldiers unslung their rifles, but and Vickie’s heart leaped into her throat[MH7] .
But before they could shoulder themand aim the guns, the big man had bulled into the first one, sending him ricocheting into the two next to him.  The fourth one fell under aA heavy fist felled the fourth.
The man wheeled and dived for theVickie’s doorway.  Vickie drewShe squeaked and jumped back, alarmed. . It was all that saved her from a set of cracked ribs becauseas the man careenedplowed into her, unslowed.
“What the hell doShe shoved at a wall of muscle[MH8] . “Are you think you’re doing…?”  trying to smash me flat…?”
The tattoo of machine gun fire stopped her.  Vickie dartedShe ducked a trembling glance around the corner.
The man jerked her back. “There are two dozen more coming around the corner,” he whispered furiously, simultaneously pounding.” He spun and slammed his massive shoulder againstinto the old wood door. It did not give.
Vickie huddled in the far corner of doorway.  Feet, ears on the ring of running feet hitting the pavement rang. They were coming closer.  , closer. She moaned hugged herself. She did not know what the dictator Fahrrad wanted with her, but it wouldn’t be good.
Her rescuer gave one tremendous lunge at the door, which. It creaked loudly and Vickie could almost see it bow inward, but it did not break.  HisThe man’s face contortedtightened, and he slapped his palm against the old wood. “Damn.”
The roar of a truck racing up the narrow street raisedturned both their heads.  Vickie glanced quickly at theThe man, then looked strangely at him.  He was started grinning like a banshee. demon. “Come on,” he ordered her, grabbing.” He grabbed her by the wrist and propelled her into motion.
Seeing as their lives hung in the balance, Vickie generously decided to postpone making an issue of his caveman tactics.  In steadInstead, she concentratedstumbled alongside him, concentrating on keeping up with his long‑legged stride without tripping herself up. She noted with consternation that his feet, though also bare, were not giving him any trouble on the uneven surface of the street. She suddenly realized that she only heard the slapping of their feet against the roar of the truck, and cut a quick glance behind her.

 [MH1]One of the things I edit for is to make my language more immediate, which generally means more casual.

 [MH2]I also edit out unnecessary tags.

 [MH3]Another thing I search for are all examples of Verbed xxx-ingly. Most often these can be improved by replacement with a single strong verb.

 [MH4]Yeah. He’s not a complete jerk ☺

 [MH5]This is a pacing choice. In the middle of all this action, this one thing scares the stuffing out of her. To get that across I had to take it out of the action, literally suspending time.

 [MH6]Here’s an example of show/tell. Breath in scent is telling. Describing the scent lets the reader experience it.

 [MH7]There’s been a movement to closer and closer POV. This is to get more inside her skin, to experience the bodily feelings she is.

 [MH8]When I started this decades ago, Vickie was pretty kickass. But by today’s standards, not so much. This gets her in the action, pushing back.

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