Friday, January 18, 2013

Hot Chips and Sand 81-85 Second Draft Comparison

Hot Chips and Sand
Copyright © 2013 Mary Hughes
All rights reserved

            Vickie bit back that thought, but on its heels came another.   ‘I wonder if he’ll give the job to Mel Pinlow.’

            She keptUnless she was the one being unreasonable.[MH1] 
She eyed Cliff from the corner of her eye, without moving her head forward, but attempted to study Cliff with her peripheral vision. . He was sitting rathersat ramrod straight.  She turned her face slightly, then took a quick glance at him.

            Cliff’s, his jaw was set like iron.  Vickie felt bad,
Doubt and started going over what had just happened in her mind. misgivings washed hot and cold through her stomach[MH2] . She had been right, hadn’t she? He was allowing himself to be corrupted by the lure of the almighty dollar, wasn’t.

            Or was she just being a prig?  Immature, naive. Of course, if it weren’t for the almighty dollar she would have food on the table or a car or a place to live. Multiply that by all of HCC’s employees…maybe she was being immature. Or, not immature exactly, but naive. Maybe Mel was right, and she and her high‑handed attitude didn’t belong in the business setting.  Maybe, that boss that had fired her had been right.  Feelings should be covered upfeelings didn’t belong at work.

            Maybe Cliff was right.  There were thousands of people who counted on himCliff for their very livelihood. How did they and all their families weigh against one small country and one lonely deposed ruler?

He slowed to turn down . His competent hands turned the wheel onto a small lane marked private drive’. drive”.
The road was even lovelier, lined with large arching trees, giving it like the appearancecenter aisle of a wedding chapel aisle[MH6] .  Then, suddenly. Suddenly, the tree-lined lane gave way to a parking lot surrounded by small ponds, and over.
Across a footbridge was the corporate headquarters for Hawkesclyffe Computers.

            ItEven from here, it was the most beautiful building she had ever seen. The low, one‑story structure blended with its rustic settingthe flowers, trees and green lawn as if it had grown there. People walked, alone and in groups, through the greenery[MH7] . down garden-like paths. No one hurried, yet the air seemed full of quiet excitement and purpose.
As Vickie got out of the car, she saw Tess and Phil come out of the building, and waved to them. They saw her and [MH8] waved back. She looked at Cliff, wondering if he was going to fire her now or later. Cliff, oblivious to her mood however, was calmly taking her suitcases from the Mercedes and transferring them to her Ford. He’d parked next to her car and she hadn’t even noticed. She started toward him, to offer an apology[MH9] .

            “You’reTess rushed up. “Vickie, you’re going to love it here.” TessShe grabbed one of herVickie’s hands and started pulling her toward the building.
At the same time Phil put his arm around her in a fatherly way and started walking back. along. “This is what we’ve always talked about for our team. , Vickie. You’ve got to see the size of the offices!” .”
As her friends shepherded her away from the man who was so frustrating, yet who’d made it all possible, Vickie turned back.
Cliff had finished unloading the Mercedes. He saw her looking at him and smiled. “Go on, Vickie.  ,” he called. “Get used to the place. We’ll talk later.”
Hope rose suddenly in her chest. Maybe he was different. Maybe he did care. She felt like laughing. At least he hadn’t fired her.
The entry was a glass atrium two stories high and as big around as her apartment. The reception desk in the center, took up maybe twelve square feet. Everything else was casual meeting and relaxing spots and nature.
Greenery was everywhere, potted plants and trees and flowers. One whole side was screened in to a depth of three feet. Inside the large area was the whirr of wings; cheeps and chirps filled the air. Birds, brightly colored and of all sizes, filled it. Water fountains were everywhere. On the other side of the atrium was a big pool. Gold flashed. Vickie peered in before Tess dragged her away—there were hand-sized goldfish.[MH10] 
Tess and Phil were right.  She did love the inside as much as the outside.  took her on a tour. Well, more they dragged her here, then there, then to the next thing, exclaiming every time “You’ve got to see this!”
The offices were quiet, well‑spaced and well lit. Everywhere she turned, there seemed to be a window, and the roof was dotted with sky‑lights. There was an abundance of greenery inside as well as out.  even once they left the atrium.
The people therein the offices seemed as fully charged as those who were outside. She found out later that the people outside were not just on break; it didn’t matter where people wanted to work, outside or in.

            She then was shownFinally Phil said, “Okay, we’ve saved the best for last. Here’s where the people from her company werewe’re working.  Even though .”
“How good can it be?” she asked as they were ‘dragged her along. “We’re the vendor’, they hadvendor…good grief.”
Her jaw dropped. They’d been given offices every bit as big and nice as those she had already seen.  safari’d through.
“And wait ‘til you see your office!” Tess grinned in excitement.

            ‘Her’Vickie managed to get her jaw retracted just in time for it to loosen again. This time it hit the floor.
“Her” office looked morewas the size of thea conference room they had been in only yesterday.  ‘Her’. “Her” desk was the size of an aircraft carrier.
Then she got the real shocker.  ‘Her’ secretary
A young, handsome blond man walked in, carrying a steaming cup of coffee. “For you.” He held the cup out to her with a smile. “Cliff says you like it plain,” he said, smiling..”
She stood there, staring at this polite, handsome, blonde young man. “Who are you?”
She heard Tess gasp, and knew that her friend’s matrimony radar was pinging off the scale, but the only thing she could think of was that Cliff knew how she liked her coffee. Cliff cared about how she liked her coffee. He must care a little about her, mustn’t he? Even if he didn’t care about anyone else?
She realized she had waited too long, and took the coffee from him. “I’m John,” he said.  “I’m your secretary. And before you ask, I type 90 words a minute.”
“I’m Vickie,” she responded in kind, “and I type 75 words a minute[MH11] .” John smiled at her. She put her coffeethe cup down on the aircraft carrier and held out her hand. “Pleased to meet you.”
He shook her hand with a firm clasp, one she returned easily.
“This is Tess, our lead designer, and Phil, our top project manager.” They shook hands all around, and Vickie started to settle back. John was so natural and friendly toward her.
She sighed. If only Cliff could be, too.
Vickie spent the rest of the afternoon touringwith John. First she toured the facilities, oohing without being dragged. She oohed over the company gym and aahingaahed over the gourmet subsidized cafeteria[MH12] , then meeting . Then John introduced her to Cliff’s people, and re‑acquaintingor at least the few dozen she’d be working most with. Then she excused herself to reacquaint herself with some of her own people whom she hadn’t worked with in a while.
She was winding the day up in the big office, and —her office, and her jaw still gaped a little at the thought. She pushed it shut absently with one finger. Wouldn’t want Cliff to catch her drooling.
The thought of Cliff made her wonder where he was. She felt better now. , more in control of herself. Maybe she could even face him without making a fool out of herself. She buzzed John. “Could you tell me how I contact Mr. Hawkesclyffe?”
John’s voice came through the phone. “Cliff? He left for England an hour ago. He’ll be gone three months.”
Vickie’s heart dropped suddenly in her chest.  He hadstopped. What? But…but he’d said they wouldthey’d talk, later.  In reality he didn’t
He hadn’t even saysaid good‑bye.  She
Her heart tried to start beating again, and maybe it did, but it felt very bad, angryso cold, like a block of ice. Her eyes stung and hurtshe alternated between wanting to pound the desk and confused. wanting to curl up into a little ball on her chair.
It was just like Ron all over again.  She still remembered that day, after one of theirShe blinked her stinging eyes. A hot, fat tear rolled down her cheek. They’d argued, ever‑increasing arguments.  She had…but she’d called his office finally, to apologize, to try to work things out. He was gone.

 [MH1]I'm going through a period where I don't think it hurts to make a character sensible :)

 [MH2]More showing versus telling.

 [MH3]I was trained to keep everything belonging to one thought together in a paragraph, and put the stinger at the end. 
Fact of the matter is, for speed-readers (who only read the 1st sentence in a paragraph), that stinger will get lost. If a sentiment deserves it, I now pull it into its own paragraph.

 [MH4]Unnecessary words.

 [MH5]The first thing I had to overcome to be published, and something I still work at, is what to imply versus what to spell out. I imply here that Vickie relaxes at the sight of the open fields, but that's based on my own commute home at the time. My experience is not universal, therefore I chose to spell out her relaxing.

 [MH6]The chapel aisle metaphor was good, but I think wedding chapel pops more. Not everyone will have seen a chapel but most of us will have an image of a decorated wedding aisle, if only from television.

 [MH7]On the reread, the image in my head was people whacking away with machetes :)

 [MH8]This is legitimate but seeing her first is not necessary in my opinion. Cliff seeing her would be charged with more importance but her coworkers can just wave.

 [MH9]Another thing I work at is not to have cars, people, or random body parts appear out of nowhere without explanation.

 [MH10]I'm an "action" writer--what's going on is more important to me that miscellaneous stuff. I like to drop right into the action of the scene. But setting is important. Think the couple-second establishing shot at the start of most television scenes. So I added this description of HCC. I had fun with it so it may have gone on a bit longer than necessary. I may trim it for the final cut.

 [MH11]I have to look up what's a good rate for keyboarding. This is from my typewriter days.

 [MH12]This second tour is probably a bit much. But I needed the information in it for a later scene so I left it here for now.

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