Friday, December 14, 2012

Hot Chips and Sand 56-60 Second Draft Comparison

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

Ha.  You’d likeWouldn’t that, wouldn’t you.  You’d still like be convenient. Cliff tocould still be youra knight in shining armor, champion of the little people, doer of good deeds. Well, face it, Victoria Lynn. He’s not. He’s a corporate dweeb, just like Mel Pinlow. A corporate overlord dweeb, but a dweeb.”
            She sighed.  And I have got to get Cliff.  Why could she  off my mind.[MH1] 
She clicked on the radio to drown her inner doubts. Just because she never behavebehaved like a cool, rational human being around Cliff, just because she wanted him?  And now to have him asbe a hero but he was a client.  No, she countered…well, Mel was probably right; Cliff wasn’t going to havehire her work with him now. Not after she proved how easy she was to work with, how accommodating.  She wondered if she would still
Will I even have a job after herthat stunning performance[MH2] .?
She drove on instinct, keeping only the barest amount of concentration on the road. The rest of her mind wandered through a kaleidoscope of Cliff, anger, regret, Cliff, embarrassment, fear, Cliff. Always coming back to Cliff.
            He How could he pick her up for dinner when he didn’t even know where she lived.  How could he come and get her for dinner[MH3] .  What restaurant had he said?  Maybe? If he expected her to meet him there.  Well, she wouldn’t.  She didn’t have to go. at the restaurant, that wasn’t happening. She didn’t have anything to wear, anyway. Maybe she should go out and buy something, something. Something stunning, something that would set him back on his heels. I’ll show him, boy oh boy.
No, no, no. This would never do. This was a business relationship, and would stay that way. Not like Ron. Well, she and Cliff would never get that far because she wasshe’d probably fired. screwed up the contract.
Oh, great. First Cliff was like Mel. Now he was Ron. Who was this man, really? Why did he behave like Mel GibsonJames Bond [MH4] one minute and Darth Vader the next? And why couldn’t she keep him out of her mind?
Just then a sharp beep from the car behind her cut through her absorption. She peered into the rearview mirror to see a.
A sleek red car riding her bumper.
            “I’ve got a machine gun, you’d better back off“Back off buddy,” she called out to the unseen driver. driver, an undefined but big hulk. “I’ve got a machine gun and I know how to use it.[MH5]  Since she didn’t have her window open, of course hethe driver didn’t hear her, but she felt better.  ‘Stupid sports car,’ she thought. . Why didn’t he pass? She nudged the gas pedal slightly.  and opened up some space.
The red car immediately closed the gap.
Vickie smiled grimly. “So, you want to race, do you?” She nudged the gas again, just to make sure.
Vickie’s blood started pounding in her ears. She forgot work, forgot Mel, forgot even Cliff. Her attention zeroed in on the car behind her and the road in front.
She floored it.[MH6] 
Tess had said Vickie’s car fit her personality perfectly. Vickie didn’t agree with that, but she took inordinate pleasure in the innocent family sedan with the super‑charged, V‑6, race‑car designed8 engine.  Not to mention theThe fact that she had speciallyshe’d tuned it herself to original racing specs? Bonus. Not that she ever raced, of course. But sometimes it was nice to have the extra power, to give someone a surprise. Like now.
The sports car crowded her unmercifully. Vickie’s blood started pounding in her ears.  She had forgotten work entirely, forgotten everything but the car behind her and the road in front.  She accelerated sharply up the two lane, hugging the curves like spandex on a belly dancer.
            She The rush of speed thrilled through her. She loved going fast, loved the way it made her blood burn pure and oxygen smell sweet. When the blaze of racing adrenalin had consumed her anger she looked into her rearview.
He was still there.  The miserable show‑off. 
Miserable suckbag showoff.
Ahead of her loomed a large, slow‑moving truck about to enter a blind curve. Well, she’d just lose him now. .
She downshifted[MH7] , darted out around the truck and pushed the pedal to the floor. The car jerked, then roared into passing gear as she careened around the tractor‑trailer. She cut over and immediately started breaking[MH8]  to make braked into the sharp curve.  She was just about to congratulate herself when theShowed him.[MH9] 
The low‑slung red car jetted past her, directly into the curve.  She thought heHe was going to be pavementso fast the wind of his passing buffeted her car.
Her jaw dropped. Pavement pate for sure, but amazingly.
Amazingly, the car followedgripped the corner as if it were banked. like glue, brake lights blaring.
            Well, at least he wasn’tOkay. He was fine, her anger had burned away, and he was no longer crowding her tail, she thought. . All was right again in her world. She settled back to a more sedate speed.
And found herself right on the red car’s bumper. “What do you thing you’re doing!”?”  she screeched at her windshield. “You topped 90ninety miles an hour to pass me! You just nearly killed yourself for the privilege of going faster than me!  Well,. So get going!” She waved her arms at the idiot, trying to make direct mental contact so he would know exactly what she thought of him.  “Where’s myFor one moment she wished she really had a shotgun,” she grumbled, wishing fervently for. Or a tank.
            TheAbruptly the red car pulled abruptly over to the side of the road.  With murder on Spurred by her mind, Vickietemper,[MH10]  which had been let loose again, she pulled off the road ahead of him, jammed the car into reverse and backed, spitting gravel, to where the sports car.  was idling. She threw open her door, which was nearly taken off by the irate truck driver as he blasted past.  Vickie’s first choice invectives [MH11] wereHer swearing was swept away in the whirlwind of the truck’s passing.
She slammed her door shut and marched, teeth clenched, to give the driver of the red car a part of his education he had obviously missed.
“Where did you learn to drive, you moron? Why did you pass, and then slow down? I should have hit you, and watched that fancy car shatter in a million pieces. You’re lucky I don’t carry a gun. Of all the stupid, overbearing,…”  the words caught in her throat as the door opened and a long, tailored, trousered leg captured her attention. As the man got out of the car, she followed the line of his leg up past the lean hips, over the massive chest, pausing, incredulous, at the broad shoulders unhampered by padding.
She knew before she looked whosethat body and didn’t need to see the owner’s face it was.  But , but she looked anyway.
His eyes cut into hers with the force of lasers.  She felt her ownHer anger drain outdrained leaving her feeling limp and defenseless.  Damn. very small. And her day had been going so well. She wondered, almost idly, how small he was going to carve her.
“Are you trying to kill yourself? You can’t get out of dinner that way. And, I might mention, Jerry and I signed the contract, so you can start packing after that. . Now would you prefer to drive home sanely, or shallwould you like to ride with me?”
She blinked. Met his eyes. “In your car?”
“Does that interest you?” The corner of his mouth quirked. “Yes.”
“Can I drive?”
“No.” The quirk developed into a smile. “Maybe later.”
“Well…all right. Later?”
“You’re persistent. I like that.”
She had no fight left.  Tired, feeling very small with her eyes about level with his tie, she bentwent back to her car to get her head forward.  Immediately she felt strong arms around her, helpingthings from the backseat. “Mel calls it stubbornness.”
“I lived a while in Missouri. Stubbornness isn’t a bad thing.”
He helped her into the passenger seat of the sports car.  She watched as he , ran up to her car, leaned in to take something, locked the door and ran back. to his side and got in. He ran easily, she noted.  So much energy.  She felt even dressed in more drained than beforea pair of loose pants.
He swung intostarted the car, plopping her purse into her lap. She stared at it as he and moved smoothly into traffic.  They had been He drove quite competently, his long fingers sure on the wheel. They’d been driving about five minutes, her staring at his hands, when she remembered to give him directions.
            “You have to turn“Turn at the next intersection.”
“I know.”
            Wonderful.  He even made conversation unnecessary.  She gave up completely, and lay her head back, exhausted.[MH12] 
            The man was incredible. He had pulled her, single‑handed, out of Middle Yemen. He had, single‑handed, charmed all the people in her office. He had, single‑handed, wormed his way irrevocably into her life for however long this project lasted.
            She had no doubts now, Ron or no, that she would Or rather, however long she lasted on it.
But even past the project, she wondered if she’d ever be free of Cliff.  Good lord, she had thought of little else but She’d dreamed about his bare chest and how good he smelled since returning from Middle Yemen. . Now she would see him, the vision of his athletic form immaculately tailored, in her would joint those dreams.
            And he could care less about her.  That much was obvious from the raking over he had given her.   She felt theDefinitely not professional.  Please don’t let this end like Ron. A seed of pain begin deeppulsed in her heart.  She knew before this was over,Ron’s rejection had made her miserable; Cliff was so much more man. If she let herself follow her attraction to him, the end would have a massive woundbe even worse.
But still she washad to survive going to dinner with him. She pulled her professionalism around her like a protectively cloak. No emotional crap. Keep your head up, keep your eyes open and cover your ass. And your heart.
When they got to Vickie’s flatapartment, Cliff waited outside for her aswhile she changed.  Professionalism, Vickie.  You learned it with Ron.  Keep your head up, keep your eyes open and cover your ass. And your heart.
She rummaged in her closet for something stunning, but not too provocative. Men had it lucky, she decided. They wear a suit to work, they wear a suit out, it can be the same suit. They don’t have to change, and save half their money to buy golf clubs, or something. whatever guy things they bought. Women not only have to have the suit for work and a dress for going out, they need matching jewelry and make‑up and shoes and purses.  for each. What a racket.

 [MH1]This change makes Vickie a more active heroine.

 [MH2]Phrases introduced with a filter word like wondered, thought, felt, saw, can usually be made mroe immediate by chopping off the filter.

 [MH3]The order is generally cause-then-effect, but in this case  I switched the order because the reader didn’t know there was a question--Cliff doesn’t know where she lives. I wanted to explicitly state the question before answering it.

 [MH4]Okay, this is tiny ,but a comparison should balance. Two fictional characters balance better than a real person and a fictional character.

 [MH5]Starting off with the gun makes her look psychotic. Building the paragraph from reasonable to machine gun makes it more obvious it’s hyperbole.

 [MH6]Again I had answered the question--will Vickie have the power to evade the jerk--before the reader even cared. So I brought the crowding and blood pounding up. A small change but it spins more impact in.

 [MH7]Even though the car I modeled this on is automatic, this is cooler


 [MH9]She was just about to congratulate herself. Oh, the foreshadowing.  Why? Why not let the reader enjoy Vickie’s second of guilty pleasure before trouncing it entirely? This is a small example of making it worse for your characters. Doesn’t have to be dramatic. Well, of course it IS dramatic, but...well, you know what I mean.

 [MH10]Hyperbole can look like psychosis. Worse, “murder on her mind” is just cliche.

 [MH11]Yes, I really wrote like that. What can I say? Too many college term papers.

 [MH12]Another change to bring her into this century.

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