Thursday, May 5, 2011

Excerpt, Rinse and Repeat

Why don't you make to it easy on yourself tonight, Sara,  I thought to myself. Post an excerptIt'll be a quick and easy post.  If ever there were famous last thoughts...

If you've been keeping up with my blog, you already know that I like to regularly post tips and whatnot for fellow aspiring authors.  Tonight, my brain just wasn't working < insert sarcastic remark here> so I decided to post an excerpt from my unpublished novel--of which it turns out needs more editing than I originally thought.  Which brings me to #7 of my previous blog post:  Advice I've Encountered Along The Way .  The last time I revised, Enigma Black, I thought I was done--finally, it was perfect.  My how a difference only a matter of weeks can make.  Needless to say, I read the excerpt with renewed faith of how completely true #7 really is.  It's for a writer to set their work aside no matter how anxious they are to present it to the world.

If you don't believe me, I challenge you to sit down and write a short story (a page or two), then edit and polish that short story.  Your editing has rendered it perfect, right?  Okay, now take that perfect work of art and place it on your desk, inside a folder, or tape it up on the wall next to your Justin Bieber posters...don't judge.  Let it stay there unread for three weeks.  After that three weeks, I would be willing to bet your once perfect short story is now riddled with more errors than a Jersey Shore grammar lesson.  Why?  Simply giving your work a literal once-over isn't going to cut it especially if you've done nothing but stare at the same passages for an extended length of time.  After a while, your eyes grow accustomed to the material before them rendering the most obvious of mistakes unnoticeable.  The only way to remedy that is to look at your work with "new eyes" and those new peepers are only obtained after a lengthy retreat away from that material that wore them out in the first place.  In short:  Edit, set aside, edit, set aside, lather, rinse and repeat.

Enough of my ramblings.  The following is a small excerpt from Enigma Black (of which I'm sure will be revised at least a half dozen more times before I re-query or Kindle it):


Blake paced the sidewalk taking feverish drags off a cigarette out of the pack he’d managed to keep stashed away from Victor‘s prying eyes. Smoking--especially when it pertained to someone of his kind--was not exactly smiled upon back at headquarters.  “Damn it,” he grumbled to himself in a tone unintentionally amplified by the deathly still night.

He threw the half-smoked stub onto the ground stomping it out against the cracked concrete.  The burnt orange embers from the dying flame held his gaze hostage as they slowly faded into nothingness leaving him alone to his thoughts once more.  There’d only been one other time when a woman had made him feel the way he felt now and that had ended miserably. So why was he reconsidering changing his philosophy for this one?  Was she so different?  Yes, he already knew she was.  She was unlike any other woman he’d ever encountered.  Never before had a woman been able to both simultaneously intrigue and terrify him.  Try as he might, he couldn’t deny his feelings for her even though he knew he had to.  For the sake of the mission and his pride, he had to. 

But that was easier said than done. There was just something about the way she smiled that crooked smile of hers; the way her eyes penetrated his very soul.  She always had an impeccable, smart ass retort to even his most audacious comments and he'd been blindsided--to say the least--by how completely enamored with her he'd become since her arrival at the Epicenter.  Surely, her feelings for this Chase guy would cool down eventually. Especially after he found some other broad to shack-up with to take her place. Of course, she'll be devastated when that happens, invariably making him want to rip the guy’s head off for hurting her. Then again, if that were to happen, she’ll no doubt need comforting and he was her partner after all.
Running his hand through his disheveled hair, he nervously pulled out another nicotine fix, stuck it in his mouth, and lit it behind his cupped hand. Nerves always had a way of bringing out the chain-smoking-pacer in him.  Tonight was no exception. Ash formed on the tip of the freshly lit cigarette, teetering precariously from its edge, until loosing its battle with gravity and descending downward where it landed on the ground just slightly behind his footsteps.

“Just tell her now you idiot,” he muttered to himself. 

He had to tell her and he had to do it now, if only to maintain his sanity.  At the very least, it would give her something to think about; something to consider when she was struck with the realization that Chase would forever remain nothing more than just a fond memory. Perhaps then she would finally be able to look him; to enable herself to reciprocate those same feelings burning within him tonight.  Taking one last drag, he tossed the cigarette aside watching as it rolled into an awaiting storm drain. It was time to man up.

Shuffling back up the sidewalk, he hunched over to crawl through the remnants of the furniture store doorway, quietly making his way back to the mattress where she lay…sleeping.  He’d only been gone twenty minutes and already she was dead to the world.  He eased his body down carefully at the foot of the mattress making his best effort to avoid disturbing her.   There, in the deafening silence with his head resting in his hands, he listened to the melody of her slumber.  This was as close to perfect as he was going to get tonight.  Tomorrow, he thought to himself.  I’ll tell her tomorrow.

In that instant, she began stirring in her sleep, mumbling unintelligible words he couldn’t quite make out until a single, undeniable name escaped from her subconscious lips shattering any hope he'd been able to scrape together.

“Chase,” she moaned.

Damn it.

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