Friday, March 15, 2013

Hot Chips and Sand 116-120 Draft Comparison

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

Cliff was watching her with the strangest expression on his face. That confirmed it for Vickie.  She had. She’d blown it, and only biting her stoniest professional mask, deeply ingrained since the experience with Ron, held[MH1] tongue hard kept her from bursting into fresh tears.

            “Look, Vickie, “Vickie, sweetheart[MH2] . You’re exhausted.” He took her wet cheeks in his hands. “John told me you were working too hard. I want you to take a vacation. Company‑paid. Take two weeks, go to New York shopping, or the Florida beaches, or the French Riviera…”
“No, no…” Vickie couldn’t believe it.  She knew better, but deepDeep [MH3] down, sheshe’d really thought this time might be different.  Love was indeed blind.

            BecauseBut here he was, trying to get rid of her. Oh, it was couched in the nicest of terms, but it confirmed her thoughts; he considered her an embarrassment. She had proven she couldn’t play the corporate game.
If only she could cover her feelings would, and they’d stay buried.  IfOr if only she truly didn’t care about him, sheand could just treat this like anotherany other facet of her professional life.
If only she could be as smooth about this as he was.
Anger, love, and obstinacy. Inside of her, Vickie felt a seed of resistance start to grow.  She did care about him, and ifIf he really wanted to get rid of her, he was just going to have to firedo it for real, not just nudge her out. She dug in her metaphorical heels.
“Shopping is nice, Cliff, but that’s not how I relax.” Beat this, Mr. Hawkesclyffe. “Strangely enough, I find coding very restful.” Check, Sir Humphrey.
Incredibly, he smiled. “I understand completely.  Strangely enough, that’sThat’s how I relax, too.” He started gathering up the picnic things, talking as he worked. “Okay, you need to get away from the front line for a while, and to be honest, I could use a break from the heat, too.” He finished packinglifted the packed basket [MH4] and opened the truck door for her. “Here’s what we’ll do. The disk utilities are designed, but not coded. Between the two of us, we could get that code knocked out by Friday next.”She got into the truck, wondering what she had gotten herself into.
She got into the truck, wondering what she had gotten herself into[MH5] .
“It’ll be fun to be mucking about in the code again. Great idea, Vickie!” And he started the truck and took off.

            Wonderful.  NearlySomehow, being obstinate had gotten her nearly two weeks of working intimately with the man who made her forget her own name, but who cared for her not in the least.  Simply wonderful.
Check mate, Victoria Lynn.

Chapter 8Eight
Vickie looked up with slapped [MH6] her tablet’s keyboard in disgust. “This miserable piece of junk is never going to work. The code simply won’t execute, no matter how I beg!”
It was two days into their vacation.’ ”. In those two days, no mention had been made of the disastrous picnic. Vickie had put on her most effective corporate mask, and Cliff seemed relieved. At least he was superficially cheerful. —she couldn’t tell if it was real or artificial. His mask was perfect. As they worked together, though, her mask began skewing, then slipping dangerously. He was just so damned personable when he put his mind to it.
Cliff sighed and checked the clock on his watch. screen. “Vickie, I think we both need a break. It’s almost—Dodo you realize it’s nearly eleven? We must be the only people in the building. Even Operations has turned over to the off‑site watch.”
“Oh, my goodness. I’ve got to get the rest of this code checked tonight. It looks like another all‑nighter for me.” She hadn’t been able to sleep the last two nights, anyway. Every time she drifted off she had hot dreams of Cliff.
“Not if I have anything to say about it.”happening.” Cliff said. rose and clapped his laptop closed. “I can’t have you getting burned out on me. I hereby issue an executive decree that you accompany  me to the company gym. I’ll meet you there in about ten.”
“Cliff, I really don’t think—”
“Part of the problem. We’re too fuzzy to think.” He reached over and punched her tablet’s sleep button. “Nine minutes, now.” He strode out.
Vickie had stared, incredulous, at his departing tight butt before scampering after him. When she reached the hallway he was already gone.
Swearing, she headed for the company gym. She’d seen the compact but completewell-provisioned workout area when she first came. John had said, “People can blow off the accumulated tensions of the day here. It functions as an outside place where networking and play can take place in a safe environment. There are no titles here, and whatever is said here stays here.”  Her guide had likened it
She stood outside the gym, vascilating. While she was sick to a watering hole, but without the alcohol. death of code that wouldn’t work, did she really want to spend sweaty time with mounds of muscular Cliff?
Well. Put that way, the answer was obvious.
Vickie came out of the frankly cramped locker room wearing (*leotard and tights, her Reeboks*)[MH8]  squeaking on the floor. She felt at the same time undressed because of their body‑hugging nature and dowdy because they were two year’s colors out of date. Her self‑consciousness was not aided by the new bandanna headband she had spent several minutes adjusting in the mirror and was certain looked ridiculous.
She looked around and spotted Cliff moving gracefully through the first exercises in the (*tao‑she,*)[MH9] , the unusual martial art he practiced.
Vickie remembered clearlystared. Those were the same movements, he’d used that night in the sweltering heat of Middle Yemen, and how . Moves that had been devastating the effect had been onfor their opponents.

            She felt herHer stomach start to tingle. warmed, tingling. The effect was devastating on her, too.

            A He moved fluidly from one position to the next, seemingly effortless, but a light beginning sheen of perspiration marked the actual exertion involved in the fluid motions of the tao‑she.  ‘. [MH10] He doesn’t sweat, ’ she raised a mental eyebrow, ‘he only perspires. Fascinating.
Cliff finished the exercise with a slow rotation of his torso. His back rippled under the thin singlet he wore.  She A tide of lust rose in her, quickly clamped down on her rising libido [MH11] as Cliff strode over, smiling in welcome.
“I’m sure you’ve seen this equipment before, but I still need to explain its operation to you. You wouldn’t believe the hassle my insurance carrier gives me about such things.”
Vickie listened and nodded politely as Cliff pointed out the stations of the Universaluniversal weight machine sitting in the center of the room, the free weight stations, (*the stationary bicycles,*), [MH12] and the stair climbing machines. “Of course, you know how to use a running track,”.” Cliff said as he pointed to the three lanes circling the room.
“Yes. Yes, it’s all coming back to me now,”  Vickie said with a small hint of acid in her voice. “I think I’ll start with a little stretching and something aerobic, and then hit the weights.”
Vickie went over to the wall, where a rack of weights was marked by a horizontal bar. She was slightly irritated that even with her firmest mental discipline in place Cliff’s simply exercising could cause her so much distress. wretchedness. It wasn’t fair that he could be so exciting.  A rebellious thought overtook her.
Unless what he did to her she could do to him.

 [MH1]She'd just been having an incredibly impossible time putting on her corporate mask. I needed something a little more concrete to stop her from breaking down.
 [MH2]Here's an example of natural dialogue versus natural-sounding (but furthering-the-story) dialogue. Sure, we say "look" to get people's attention but it's a garbage word in the story. Sweetheart tells us his heart is going out to her.
 [MH3]She knew better sort of cancels the sentence before it even gets started.
 [MH4]Here I switched a non-specific action with a very specific one--it will make an immediate picture in the reader's mind (hopefully of muscles bunching :) and still conveys the idea that they're finishing up.
 [MH5]Again, we're taught as writers to save the payoff for the final sentence in the paragraph. That doesn't work if a) the ereader is too small to let the reader know the payoff is coming or b) your reader learned the technique of reading the topic sentence (1st sentence in the paragraph) to see if it's worth reading the rest of the paragraph. Here's this nice juicy payoff, but if for some reason your reader has decided the paragraph isn't worth it, he/she will miss it.

I put important information (that I don't want the reader to miss) in the first sentence.
 [MH6]looked up-boring. Slapped. Now there's a verb.
 [MH7]Oh, I miss the days of inches-thick stacks of greenbar. I still sigh over the lost comedy potential.
 [MH8]Needs updating.
 [MH9]Needs something cooler.
 [MH10]I'm not sure if it's better, but this sentence originally started with a descriptive phrase. I changed it to start with action. Somewhere along the line I learned description must be sprinkled on top of action.
 [MH11]This is a point I can't make often enough. Your reader is reading in sequence, in English left-to-right. If you put the consequence before the action it will interrupt her/his reading and may even cause confusion.
 [MH12]More updating needed.

No comments:

Post a Comment