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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Another Critiqued Passage

I have no pride as I show you these clips – you can see how bad some of the draft passages were! I hope seeing how I made changes is helpful.

Draft Length: 615 words
Final Length: 404 words (pages 39-40 of the book)
Cut by: 34%

*

Draft: 34
She felt time and place suddenly tunnel down as she contemplated her approach, every motion and reaction in crystal clear clarity, movement so slow she could easily track it.

Clear in her mind now. Go.


Final: 26
She felt time and place contract as she contemplated her approach: every motion and reaction in crystal-clear clarity—movement so slow she could easily track it.

*

Draft: 71
She scrambled over a knee high pipe, with a clear route now to the wrench, and her boot made contact with it a fraction of a second earlier than the janitor’s hand and knocked it out of the way to the side. The man pulled her down immediately but she managed to fall on the weapon.

“No,” she growled.

The man was lying across her upper legs, preventing her from turning over.


Final: 64
She leaped over a knee-high pipe, a clear route to the wrench. Her boot made contact with it a fraction of a second earlier than the man’s hand; she kicked it out of his reach.

The man knocked her down over the wrench and threw himself across her upper legs, preventing her from turning over. She whipped sideways, trying to gain access, still trapped.

*

Draft: 105
Sara whipped suddenly sideways, still trapped but as she struggled she felt her mind suddenly calm, and she saw exactly how it would be. An enormous pulse of energy passed through her. In a clear motion she brought the wrench up, the man blocked her forearm but she let go.

Her trajectory had been true.

The wrench sailed the short distance, and one end of it hit the man, hard, along the side of his head. He was clearly weakened even as he put his hand out to feel for the wrench. She reached over and picked it up, hit him again.

He suddenly dropped.


Final: 40
An enormous pulse of energy passed through her. In a single clear motion, she brought the wrench up, and as the man blocked her forearm, she swung it at his head.

The wrench smashed against his temple, and he dropped.

*

Draft: 48
The man’s coat flew open. Although Sara didn’t see it, a cigar like detonator flew off the weapons belt beneath, fell through the metal grid floor, and wedged itself deep beneath the conduit that ran heat away from one of the shaping superconductors. It wouldn’t cause problems until later.

Final: 38
As his coat flew open, she saw something small—-a button?—-clatter through the grill. No, not a button. She tried to follow its path through the shadows, but it fell deep near one of the superconductors, irretrievable.

NOTE: draft went out of Sara's POV to omniscient.
*

Draft: 59
She pulled out from under the man and pushed him over.

“Benjamin,” she said. “He’s unconscious.”

He didn’t answer.

The man was still breathing, but his eyelids were twitching as if he weren’t deep.

“Benjamin!” she called again. Her voice seemed to be swallowed up in the machine, but he responded this time.

“Sara,” he said. “Where are you?”


Final: 43
She slid out from beneath the man and pushed him over.

“Benjamin?”

He didn’t answer.

The man took in a deep breath. His eyelids twitched.

“Benjamin!” she called again. Her voice was swallowed up by the machine.

Benjamin groaned. “Sara, where are you?”

*

Draft: 87
She saw he’d rolled to the side and was tangled within a maze of pipes near one of the storage tanks.

“Here,” he said. Benjamin was sitting rigidly still, his hands over his eyes. She felt a thrill of panic as she moved quickly towards him. He seemed badly hurt.

“Benjamin, can you move?”

“What about that man?” he asked.

“He’s unconscious, but doesn’t seem deep.”

“Call security.”

She gripped the wrench tightly over the man as she made the call on her cell phone. He moaned.


Final: 70
He had rolled to the side and caged himself behind a maze of pipes near one of the storage tanks. “I’m here,” he said. Benjamin was rigid, his hands covering his eyes.

She felt a sense of panic as she stood and took a step toward him. “Can you move?”

“Where’s the man?”

“He’s unconscious.”

“Call security.”

Sara gripped the wrench tightly in one hand as she made the call.

*

Draft: 68
“Who is he?” she hissed. His jacket had fallen back, revealing a weapons belt from which several small packages had been slung. Around the front of the belt was wound a thin silvered square maybe an inch across, with several very thin wires trailing, ready to be connected to one of the main power supplies. Sara recognized its conformation instantly.

The man had been ready to plant explosives.


Final: 35
Who was he? His jacket had fallen back, revealing a weapons belt from which hung several small packages. Sara saw wires trailing, and recognized the conformation instantly—explosives.

What had fallen from the man’s jacket?

*

Draft: 143
“Sara,” Benjamin whispered. “He sprayed some liquid into my eyes. Everything’s black.”

“Let me look.” Gently she brushed his hand away from his eyes that were copiously tearing. He tried to open them, but immediately covered them with his hand again, and then he turned away.

It took Security less than two minutes to arrive, a team of four MPs. They quickly secured the scene.

Sara stood up. “We’ve got to get you to the doctor now,” she said, and she hoped her voice didn’t sound too panicked. She felt very weak and faraway as she slipped her arm around his waist and began pulling him through the room.

“Sara,” he said softly.

“It’s all right.”

“I’m blind.”

“It’s all right. I’ll show you the way.”

And carefully, with his arm like a vise gripping her shoulder, she turned him towards the door.


Final: 88
“Sara,” Benjamin said, so softly she almost didn’t hear him. “He sprayed something into my eyes. Everything’s black.”

“Let me look.” She crawled beneath the pipes to get to him, and then brushed away his hands. His eyes were tearing copiously, and he immediately covered them with his hands again.

“Come with me.” She hoped that her voice didn’t sound too panicked.

“Sara.”

“It’s all right.”

“I’m blind.”

“It’s all right. I’ll guide you.”

It took security less than one minute to arrive: a team of four MPs.

5 comments:

Jessica said...

Hey there,
I just started A Lever Long Enough. It's very good so far! So good it made me wonder if you'd tried to do traditional publishing first or if you jumped into your own publishing company??? I guess I'm just wondering if the book was rejected and that's why you kind of self-published.
Anyways, the pace is great and I got the influencer packet so when I finish I'll leave some reviews. :-) Thanks again!

Amy Deardon said...

Hi Jessica --

Thanks for reading Lever -- and I'd love to hear feedback, good and bad, when you're finished! It's so helpful.

My pub journey is a long story. Basically, I had an agent but it didn't work out. Since all my CBA contacts had been blown, Taegais was the only way Lever could be published. I believed in Lever, so decided to give it a try. We'll see what happens :-)

Brandie said...

I can't believe how helpful these critiqued passages are. They all sound good in the draft version, but so much better and cleaner in the final. This is immensely helpful to me! It has the much needed side bonus of making me want to get to work with my own revisions. :)

gzusfreek said...

Very helpful. Thanks for sharing. Great to see the development. As always, I can learn from this!

Jessica said...

Wow, sorry about the agent.
I'm almost to pg 100, just where they've landed in Jerusalem and I didn't want to put the book down last night.
Good for you for believing in this book! :-)