Every Once In A While, You Get It Right The First Time

coverThis chapter’s pretty tight as is. A few tweaks and I’ll be happy.

 .

Using my unreleased manuscript An Angel On Her Shoulder, I am showing you my techniques for reworking a story into a more readable, more enjoyable piece. It’s 45+ lessons in about 45 days. (To start at Chapter 1, click HERE.)

To view it best, bring up the two versions in different windows and view them side by side to see what was changed.

Then give me your thoughts in the comment section, where I’ve added a few other thoughts on storytelling.

 


Chapter 30 “FINAL”

 

This was the kind of weather that helped put all those ships on the ocean floor.

The big rains from the hurricane were going to come soon, and they were going to come in force when they did, but right now it was beautiful out. A little lull before the storm—because a nice, calm evening could fool anyone into thinking that all hell wasn’t about to break loose in a few days.

I got into my car and headed south on the interstate.

Ybor City is funny in a way other places aren’t. The things people really wanted to find aren’t advertised. It takes patience, and waiting for the right moment, the right person to ask, and then maybe you can find what you’re looking for. I had discovered that by mistake one night after a parade. Mallory’s krewe had a designated party bar, and we were all supposed to meet there after a parade, then a string of bar hopping would ensue. But I got there late and went to the wrong place.

The krewe started at the piano bar as planned, but it quickly proved to be too crowded and not rowdy enough. That lead to them disembarking to the first of many other packed bars, with my wife texting me which one was up next. But krewe members in pirate costume get to walk right in. We civilians have to stand in line. At busy times—like parade nights—there was a wait.

After missing Mallory and her friends at three different locations over about 90 minutes, I decided to chuck it and let her find me after the party ended. I parked it at Vespers and squeezed myself into a spot at the bar. Like every other bar in Ybor city, the place was packed.

I ordered a beer and some ice water, sliding the bartender a $20 bill on top of the cost of the drink. “I’m going to rent this space for a little while, okay?”

He nodded. I wanted a place at the bar and I didn’t want him getting antsy over my lack of drink orders costing him tips while I waited for my wife.

Meanwhile, I leaned back to watch the crowd.

Eventually it got to be almost 2am. On some other night, I might have been worried, but not after a parade. Folks got out, started having fun, and forgot all about the time. Mallory’s krewe would be getting close to shutting down a few bars about now, and that would get her to thinking. I’d be okay right where I was waiting. The wimpier watering holes closed their doors at 2am. Not Vespers. They had girls in short shorts and bustiers pouring shots out the windows to happy customers lining the street. Ybor was a mad house.

But like all things, it eventually wound down. I got a text from Mallory. Phone dying. Will meet you or get a cab.

That was at 3am. Vespers started thinning out at 3:30, so I figured she wasn’t coming. But the last thing you want to do on a parade night is to leave your wife stranded at 4 in the morning in the heart of party central, so I waited.

That’s when a guy came up to me offering to help me find a good time. He had all the trappings: glasses that were a little too tinted for that time of night, a shiny purple suit coat and some braids. He even had a gold tooth, which may have been real or may have just been for effect—like the rest of what he was wearing. That’s the kind of place this is. Ybor City, we have it all.

Now, in New Orleans, a tipster like my man in purple was a liaison to other things that sound good to you at 4am after a night of drinking and partying. Something to smoke, or snort, perhaps? Maybe a little luck with a lady if you had struck out all night. He was a commission salesman, and he got a piece of whatever action he hooked you up with.

Like I said, he was connected. He might not be the guy, but he knew the guy. He had to. It was his living, and he wanted it to pay well. In ‘Nawlins, these guys know the Marie Laveau types, the voodoo practitioners who aren’t there for the tourists—the ones that are the real deal. I’m not saying it’s real, and I’m not saying it isn’t. All I’m saying is, if you want to meet that type of operator, this is the guy to help make the connection.

My plan was basic. If New Orleans had theirs, we’d have ours. I just needed to go to the right place, wait it out, and hope I was successful. It would be like fishing. I might get a bite, I might not. Vespers might not even be the place anymore. It was a happening spot last time the krewes were out after a parade, but that stuff changes in a heartbeat. The cool club last weekend might be elbowed out of the way by a newer, hotter, trendier place this week. The waiting lines to get in would probably tell me all I needed to know.

I sat through the bumper-to-bumper traffic on 7th Avenue, checking for the hot spots. Quite a few had people waiting to get in. Vespers looked packed. Good. I could just go park and start fishing.

Waiting in line sucks, but waiting in line to get into a bar sucks big tims. My wife would kill me if she knew, but I’m happy to slip a doorman some cash to avoid an hour long wait and sore ankles. I was wearing jeans but I had an expensive suit coat with me. That and a few bucks might be enough to jump in front of the whole line.

I parked and checked my look in a dark window of an empty warehouse. Pressed dress shirt, decent jeans, nice jacket. It was okay. I shouldn’t have shaved—the scruffy look is in right now—but I put enough gel in my hair enough to pass as a guy with some money to spend. There’s a window for this type of thing. At 8pm I could get in anywhere because the night life hadn’t started yet. At 11pm I couldn’t get in anywhere because I wasn’t young and hip enough. I was cutting it close but I figured the cash would make up the difference.

Needing a hit my first time at bat, I palmed a $50 and strolled up to the Vesper’s doorman, clapping him on the shoulder. “What’s the wait tonight, my friend?”

He was a big guy, like all bouncers. He said nothing, just nodded at the hundred or so people waiting in line.

“Well, I’m a friend of Mr. Grant.” I extended my hand. “Maybe you know him?”

He shook my hand and ignored my cash. “Sorry, my man. Mr. Grant isn’t working here tonight. Maybe you know some of his other friends.”

Shit.

“I know his twin brother,” I said.

Big smile. “Welcome aboard, captain.” He opened the rope line for me. A hundred bucks wasn’t just twice what I wanted to spend to get in, it was about a hundred times that.

Oh, well, I was in. Next, I needed to find a spot at the bar. I wasn’t going to be drinking or dancing, I just needed to be there for a while before the lights came on and they sent everybody home. That was my play. That, and to not be too square, or for them to think I was a cop. For that, I intended to just stay cool, watch the crowd dance, and not much else.

Once I wedged myself into a place at the bar, my fifty bucks was greeted with a nod by the bartender.

“What can I get you?” His nametag said Mario.

“I’m just hanging out for a while, Mario.”

“You wanna run a tab?”

I shook my head. “I’m renting a seat for a few hours. Okay?”

Another nod.

In time, he’d ask for more, or ask what I was looking for. Bartenders were usually connected, so I’d wait for him to approach me. Until then, I just needed to hang out.

Around 1:30, things started to loosen up. Mario had gotten me three or four ice waters, and I gave him ten bucks every time he did, so he was happy. It was a message, not a tip. And the look on his face said he was getting curious.

But a seasoned bartender has seen it all. No doubt, he’d had his fair share of recently divorced guys coming in looking for companionship, but they were usually drunk or well on their way. Guys who want drugs look at the bathrooms or the parking lots. I don’t know what cops do. Hopefully, they don’t sit at the bar drinking ice water.

“Mario,” I called to him. “I’m gonna hit the restroom.”

He pointed. “At the end of the bar and to the right.”

“You’ll keep my seat open for me, right?” I was paying him pretty good. He’d see to it.

All that ice water had been building up, so I was glad to get rid of it. Also, I wanted to stretch my legs. Vesper’s was hot and crowded, and the bathroom was no different.

As I was headed out the men’s room door, a young lady headed in. “Cover your eyes, fellas, I can’t hold it anymore!” She hiked her red skirt up and jumped up on the sink. “The line for the ladies’ room was too long!”

Enough guys were watching that she had to remind them not to. It was a gutsy move for a pretty girl, and she was just drunk enough to pull it off. The guys didn’t care. That was more than most of them would see tonight. But I’m a dad now, so I had to ensure something like a stupid gang rape didn’t happen to her. I made eye contact, making sure she saw me looking at her eyes and nowhere else. She smiled. Then she hopped down and walked to the door, which I was still holding. I opened it for her.

She flipped her platinum locks as she passed, turned to me and said, “Nice to see there are still some gentlemen left in the world.” Then she winked and disappeared into the crowd.

I started back to the bar when a man in a loud suit stopped me. He looked just like I expected. Attention-getting suit, attention-getting attitude.

The stranger lifted his head and peered down his nose at me. “Hey, my man. Mario at the bar says you his boy and you a man in need.”

“Well,” I said. “Mario’s a good guy.”

“Mario’s the best, man.” The tipster cocked his head. “But he didn’t say what you were in need of.”

Now I smiled. “Lack of curiosity has always been his strong suit.” I glanced around the crowded bar. “Where can we talk?”

He nodded at the restroom. “Step into my office.”

“Not that kind of talk. I have everything I need in that area. What I need is some information. A referral.”

The tipster narrowed his eyes. “Somebody in trouble?”

“Yeah, I think maybe I am.” I leaned toward him. “You know a mambo?”

I leaned back to watch his eyes. It sounds racist, but it’s not. He just stared right back at me. The smile was gone.

“Hey, y’all ain’t some fuckaround tourist. What you want with that stuff?”

I tried to maintain an even tone. “Like I said, I think I might be in trouble.”

“I don’t deal that stuff.” He shook his head. “That black magic shit.”

I rolled the dice. “But you know someone who does.”

He stared at me for a long moment. “Meet me out back in five minutes.” he said.

I watched him go, then I turned and went back to the bar. Mario had been keeping my seat clear. He smiled when I approached.

“I met your friend,” I said. “He asked me to meet him out back in five.”

Mario nodded.

“I’m not walking into a knife or anything, am I Mario?”

He pulled out a rag and wiped down the area in front of me, sliding a new bar napkin under my glass. “Jason’s cool. Don’t worry.”

“Okay.” I pulled out a hundred dollar bill and ripped it in two. Mario’s eyes widened. I handed half of the torn bill to him. “You get the other half when I come back in, or you check on me in ten minutes. Deal?”

He shoved the bill in his pocket. “Don’t worry, I’m telling you. It’s cool.”

Fair enough.

“Which way is the back door?” I asked.

Mario pointed.

I went over, took a deep breath, and stepped through it.


Original Chapter 30, An Angel On Her Shoulder

 

I got into my car and headed south on the interstate. I was really lucking out with this weather. The big rains from the hurricane were going to come soon, and they were going to come in force when they did, but right now it was beautiful out. A little lull before the storm – the kind that helped put all those boats on the ocean floor, because a nice evening like this could fool you into think that all hell wasn’t about to break loose in a few days…

Ybor City is funny in a way other places aren’t. The things you really want to find aren’t advertised. You have to be cool and wait for the right moment, the right person to ask, and then maybe you can find what you’re looking for. I had discovered that by mistake one night after a parade. Michele’s krewe had a designated party bar, and we were all supposed to meet there after a parade; then a string of bar hopping would ensue. But I got there late and went to the wrong place.

The krewe had started at the piano bar as planned, but it quickly proved to be too crowded and not rowdy enough. That lead to them disembarking to the first of many other packed bars, with my wife texting me which one was up next. But krewe members in pirate costume get to walk right in; we civilians have to stand in line. On busy nights – like after a parade – there was a wait.

After missing her at three different locations over about 90 minutes, I decided to chuck it and let her find me after the party ended. I parked it at Vespers and squeezed myself into a spot at the bar. Like every other bar in Ybor city, the place was packed.

I ordered a beer and some ice water. “I’m going to rent this space for a little while, okay?” I said to the bartender, sliding him a $20 bill on top of the cost of the drink. I wanted a place at the bar and I didn’t want him getting antsy over my lack of drink orders costing him tips while I waited for my wife.

Meanwhile, I leaned back to watch the crowd.

Eventually it got to be almost 2am. On some other night, I might have been worried, but not after a parade. Folks got out, started having fun, and forgot all about the time. Michele’s krewe would be getting close to shutting down a few bars about now, and that would get her to thinking. I’d be okay right where I was waiting. The wimpier watering holes closed their doors at 2am. Not Vespers. They had girls in short shorts and bustiers pouring shots out the windows to happy customers lining the street. Ybor was a mad house.

But like all things, it eventually wound down. I got a text from Michele that said “phone dying. Will meet u or get cab.” That was at 3am. Vespers started thinning out at 3:30, so I figured she wasn’t coming. But the last thing you want to do on a parade night is to leave your wife stranded at 4 in the morning in the heart of party central, so I waited.

That’s when a guy came up to me offering to help me find a good time. He had all the trappings: glasses that were a little too tinted for that time of night, a shiny purple suit coat and some braids. He even had a gold tooth, which may have been real or may have just been for effect – like the rest of what he was wearing. That’s the kind of place this is, Ybor City. We have it all.

Now, in New Orleans, a tipster like my man in purple was a liaison to other things that sound good to you at 4am after a night of drinking and partying. Something to smoke, or snort, perhaps? Maybe a little luck with a lady if you had struck out all night. He was a commission salesman, and he got a piece of whatever action he hooked you up with.

So, like I said, he was connected. He might not be the guy, but he knew the guy. He has to; this is his living, and he wants it to pay well. In Nawlins, these guys know the Marie Laveau types, the voodoo practitioners who aren’t there for the tourists – the ones that are the real deal. I’m not saying it’s real, and I’m not saying it isn’t; all I’m saying is, if you want to meet that type of operator, this is the guy to help make the connection.

So my plan was basic. If New Orleans had theirs, we’d have ours. I just needed to go to the right place, wait it out, and hope I was successful. It would be like fishing. I might get a bite, I might not. Vespers might not even be the place anymore. It was a happening spot last time the krewes were out after a parade, but that stuff changes in a heartbeat. The cool club last weekend might be elbowed out of the way by a newer, hotter, trendier place this week. The waiting lines to get in would probably tell me all I needed to know.

I drove down 7th Avenue and checked out the usual hot spots. Quite a few had people waiting to get in. Vespers was packed. Good. I could just go park and start fishing.

I hate waiting, at all, but I really hate waiting in line to get into a bar. My wife would kill me if she knew, but I’m happy to slip a doorman some cash to avoid an hour long wait and sore ankles. I was wearing jeans but I had an expensive suit coat with me. That and a few bucks might be enough to jump in front of the whole line.

I parked and checked my look in a dark window of an empty warehouse. Pressed dress shirt, decent jeans, nice jacket. It was okay. I shouldn’t have shaved; the scruffy look is in right now, but I moussed my hair enough to pass as a guy with some money to spend. There’s a window for this type of thing. At 8pm I could get in anywhere because the night life hadn’t started yet. At 11pm I couldn’t get in anywhere because I wasn’t young and hip enough. I was cutting it close but I figured the cash would make up the difference.

And I needed a hit my first time at bat. I palmed a $50, casually walked up to the Vesper’s doorman, and clapped him on the shoulder. “What’s the wait tonight, my friend?”

He was a big guy, like all doormen. He nodded at the hundred or so people waiting in line. I smiled. “Well, I’m a friend of Mr Grant,” I said, extending hand. “Maybe you know him?”

He shook my hand and ignored my cash.

“Sorry, my man. Mr Grant isn’t working here tonight. Maybe you know some of his other friends.”

Shit.

“I know his twin brother,” I said.

Big smile. “Welcome aboard, captain.” He opened the rope line for me. A hundred bucks wasn’t just twice what I wanted to spend to get in, it was about a hundred times that.

Oh, well, I was in. Next, I needed to find a spot at the bar. I’m not going to be drinking or dancing, I just need to be here for a while before the lights come on and they send everybody home. That’s my play. That, and to not be too square, or for them to think I’m a cop. For that, I intended to just stay cool, watch the crowd dance, and not much else.

Once I had wedged myself into a place at the bar, my fifty bucks was greeted with a nod by the bartender.

“What can I get you?” he asked. His nametag said Mario.

“I’m just hanging out for a while, okay Mario?”

“You wanna run a tab?”

I shook my head. “I’m renting a seat for a few hours. Okay?” Another nod.

In time, he’d ask for more, or ask what I was looking for. Bartenders were usually connected, so I’d wait til he approached me. Til then, I just needed to hang out.

Around 1:30, things started to loosen up. Mario had gotten me three or four ice waters, and I gave him ten bucks every time he did, so he was happy. It was a message, not a tip. And he was getting curious.

But a seasoned bartender has seen it all. No doubt, he had his fair share of recently divorced guys come in looking for companionship, but they were usually drunk or well on their way. Guys who want drugs look at the bathrooms or the parking lots. I don’t know what cops do. Hopefully, they don’t sit at the bar drinking ice water.

“Mario,” I called to him. “I’m gonna hit the restroom.”

He pointed. “At the end of the bar and to the right.”

“Keep my seat open for me, okay?” I was paying him pretty good. He’d see to it.

All that ice water had been building up, so I was glad to get rid of it. Also, I wanted to stretch my legs. Vesper’s was hot and crowded, and the bathroom was no different.

As I was headed out the men’s room door, a young lady was headed in.

“Cover your eyes, fellas!” she shouted. “I can’t hold it anymore!” She hiked her red skirt up and jumped up on the sink. “The line for the ladies room was too long!”

Enough guys were watching that she had to remind them not to. It was a gutsy move for a pretty girl, and she was just drunk enough to pull it off. The guys didn’t care; that was more than most of them would see tonight otherwise. But I’m a dad now, so I had to ensure something like a stupid gang rape didn’t happen to her. I made eye contact, making sure she saw me looking at her eyes and nowhere else. She smiled. Then she hopped down and walked to the door, which I was still holding. I opened it for her. She flipped her platinum locks as she passed, turned to me and said, “Nice to see there are still some gentlemen left in the world.” Then she winked and disappeared into the crowd.

I started back to the bar when the tipster stopped me. He looked just like I expected.

He smiled. “Hey, my man. Mario at the bar says you’re his boy and you’re a man in need.”

“Well, Mario’s a good guy,” I said.

“Mario’s the best, man,” the tipster agreed. “But he didn’t say what you were in need of.”

Now I smiled. “Lack of curiosity has always been his strong suit.” I looked around the crowded bar. “Where can we talk?”

He nodded at the restroom. “Step into my office.”

“No,” I said. “Not that kind of talk. I’m not a buyer; I have everything I need in that arena. What I need is some information. A referral.”

He nodded. “Somebody in trouble?”

“Yeah,” I said. “I think maybe I am.” I leaned in. “You know a mambo?” Then I leaned back to watch his eyes. It sounds racist, but it’s not. He just stared right back at me. The smile was gone.

“Hey, you’re not some fuckaround tourist. What you want with that stuff?”

“Like I said, I think I might be in trouble.”

“I don’t deal that stuff,” he said, “that black magic shit.”

I rolled the dice. “But you know someone who does…”

He stared at me for a long moment. “Meet me out back in five minutes,” he said. Then he walked off.

I watched him go, then I turned and went back to the bar. Mario had been keeping my seat clear. He smiled when I approached.

“I met your friend,” I said. “He asked me to meet him out back in five.”

Mario nodded.

“I’m not walking into a knife or anything, am I Mario?”

He smiled. “Jason’s cool. Don’t worry.”

“Okay,” I said. Then I pulled out a hundred dollar bill and ripped it in half. Mario’s eyes widened. I held out the half of the torn bill to him.

“You get the other half when I come back in, or you can check on me in ten minutes. Deal?”

He waved his hands. “Jason’s cool. Don’t worry.”

Fair enough.

“Which way is the back door?” I asked. Mario pointed.

I went over, took a breath, and walked through it.


ANALYSIS

What did we change? Some of the verbs weren’t past tense (gotta be consistent), a few dialogue tags got replaced with action beats, and the opening needed to be rearranged a tad. That’s about it. I like this chapter. It has a detective story/Mickey Spillane feel to it.

Oh, and for the final-final, I may have to get rid of any 2nd person POV stuff. That’s when I say “you.” It’s  bad habit.

When you see a rabbit, you know…

You can never say what you’ll do when…

That sort of stuff.

But that’s why  I have an editor.

ADDING ELEMENTS

Now, we will talk here and there about how I added a hurricane to this story after it was pretty much written. This opening is one place where I reminded you about how they work:

This was the kind of weather that helped put all those ships on the ocean floor.

By dropping that in, we keep the worsening weather in the reader’s mind, and how this particular type of weather messes with people.

Weather isn’t super interesting, so you can’t use it too much, but the looming hurricane is a big deal to Doug so it’s different. There’s a history there.

Other elements, so to speak, are backstories and subplots. That’s a different kind of element.

Evolution

After you have your wow moment: Hey, a family is plagued by these bizarre occurrences and begin to realize it’s all linked, they worry about whether they are crazy or possessed – until confronted by clues that can only leads to one horrific conclusion. – after you say, hey, that would make a cool story, you have to do a few things.

  • write down the idea.
  • of course, as soon as you have the idea, you will think of other things to have happen to these characters. Write those down (ALL f them, understanding you’ll toss a few out)
  • try to consider additional stuff, too. As you write, you’ll have ideas about why people do/did stuff.

Like what?

Well… subplots and things, but first…

This story is about a family. We need to show some scenes where they can endear themselves to us so we care about them. We will want need some subplots to make the story interesting on multiple layers. How do you create those things?

Killing Doug in chapter 1 wouldn’t have been a big deal because we as readers didn’t know him yet.

Having Mallory worry about him (and Sophie), and adding that he’s gonna take his daughter out for a picnic so the wife can taste wine – what woman wouldn’t want that? He loves his daughter and he’s generous to his wife, a win-win. Then we think he got killed. Troubling.

But

Going back to his youth, we quickly discover we like this guy/kid – and in the back of our head we don’t want him hurt, not by the guy at the park and not in the winery wreck.

I combined the subplots and the endearing stuff in this one.

As we move on in the story we have multiple methods of continuing to make Doug endearing and identifiable. We see heartfelt flashbacks with the Jimmy scenes and at Doug’s great-grandfather’s funeral, or when he cried as an adult at his mother’s funeral or kept a copy of a letter he wrote to a friend. All that happens inside a story about a family figuring out what’s terrorizing them, and set against a background story of a looming hurricane. That’s why they’re there.

Adding those layers can make your story confusing, so they have to be relevant – even if they aren’t obviously relevant right when the reader reads them.

But like a great dessert, when they work we enjoy the story on multiple levels. Seeing Doug struggle helps us understand the difficulty he will have with his upcoming challenge.

Now, we talked about writing endearing characters, but here’s  tip: when you watch a movie and two guys are both after the same girl’s affections, she becomes attractive. Because they want her, we start to see her as desirable. Usually, in a movie, she’s physically beautiful, but in a book we may not get to do that, or need to. If she acts sweet or doesn’t see herself as worthy of their attention, that humbleness makes her more attractive to us. Nobody like vanity on display, really. But

if your reader likes your MC, you reader will automatically like whoever the MC likes.

The second character starts out with the benefit of the doubt, and if they do anything nice, they win the reader over.

So how did we make Doug, our Main Character, somebody readers like?

  • The other characters like him
  • the reader starts to identify with him in the Jimmy scenes
  • my narrative style is engaging
  • we see good guy stuff in him

Is there any doubt Doug loves his daughter? Or that as a child he was a sensitive kid? Or that he loved his mother?

Doug’s kind of an average guy. Nobody is surprised when Superman takes on a big bad guy; that’s what Superman does. Doug’s hands quiver in a dark parking lot. An unexceptional guy rising above himself to do something exceptional, that’s much more interesting – especially if he has has to overcome his innate flaws to do it.

He’s human. Vulnerable – but trying to stand up and do the right thing once he figures out what it is.

So we needed to show him as human and vulnerable so his challenge is all the greater. How did we do that? We gave you the Jimmy stuff and the funeral stuff and the letter. Oh, and since this is paranormal, we gave you Mrs. Billen and mysterious blue lightning on the face of the man at the park.

Don’t overlook that narrative thing.

That’s most of the reason you’ve read this far in this post. I’m a good narrator. You may or not be, so play to your strengths. Are you good at writing witty dialogue? Or creating new ways of looking at the world?

Embrace Compliments.

I have two author friends who are much better at certain things than I am, and they like some things I do a lot, too. Input from those relationships can help round out your story, but they also tend to help you determine what you are best at.

Embrace Criticism – if it is intended to improve your writing. Otherwise, DON’T.

They can also tell you what you need to work on. This story has a fair amount of tension. Looking at the original, you can see it had interesting things happening but it reads a bit flat.

An author friend told me the third book in my Savvy Stories series lacked tension, and that parts of the original Angel did, too. She wasn’t being mean – The Long Cutie contains funny anecdotes about being a dad but also contains really sad stories about families’ struggle with Long QT Syndrome. I inserted their stories, in their own words, into Cutie, but their segments weren’t written for drama, so they didn’t read as well as the main story did.

But since I wanted to master tension, I wrote The Navigators – and it is a tension-filled page turner. People can’t put it down. What can I say? I learn fast.

Avail yourself to criticism – and learn from it, if it comes from a trusted source.

That’s hard! But you can do it. I’ve been giving you examples all throughout this story of how I changed stuff, including how to add tension, because tension drives stories. When people HAVE to know what happens next, they won’t put your book down.

If you don’t believe tension drives stories, how hard is it to wait to find out what happens to Doug when he goes through that door?

Now:

head shot
your humble host

Let me have your comments. The next chapters will post tomorrow but they will ALL come down shortly after February 15, so don’t dawdle!

You are readers, too. Your input will shape the final product. Be honest.

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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the amazingly great sci fi action thriller “The Navigators.” Click HERE to get your copy of The Navigators – $2.99 or FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

Available in paperback and audio book, too!

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “Every Once In A While, You Get It Right The First Time

  1. I find that the more you write and the better a writer you become, the tighter the writing is in first draft form. There are always tweaks, but they’re more in the form of a word here and there rather than blocks of text.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I am waiting to see what happens. What I love about your characters is that I can picture them as real people. The way you set this up, I felt I was visiting someplace where I could be very afraid, if I didn’t know how to blend. A true seat squirm…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yep, you’re right again, Dan. I am waiting, not patiently, to see who he is introduced to through the back door and if it will help his situation or make it worse. Doug is someone I started off liking and now I’m banging the drum in his corner for him. He is a great guy. I loved the scene where he holds open the door for the girl just to make sure. I’ve had to barge into the men’s many times because I couldn’t hold it log enough. You have created tension, enduring characters, mystery characters, emotions. Dan this should be a best seller.

    Liked by 1 person

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