Process

It’s Getting Better All the Time

I’ve been writing all afternoon, so I’m just going to share a couple of passages to demonstrate my revision process. This is the third go-round, and I think it continues to get better. Or at least it continues to better express my intent, which is the best you can hope for as a writer. Cheers! (Read: Time for a beer.)

 

Revision 3

The man shoved Mr. Bexlan down, and the other men in black turned towards them, their leader emerging as they slowly approached. China trembled as he stepped forward, so much smaller than on-screen yet considerably more commanding; his jacket open, the plastic explosives.

“What did you buy?”  He stood over her. His voice was gentle. “In the bag there?”

He knelt and their eyes met. “I,” China tried to answer, but her vision blurred and the man’s face disappeared. A warmth surrounded her, and the blurry image glowed, getting brighter until it became like sunlight, a blazing power that ran through her hands and up her spine and through her heart and deep into her belly, and she suddenly imagined water, a cool stream where she dipped her cupped hand to taste the liquid before it ran through her fingers; she imagined diving under, swimming into the coldness that would disappear like a sound returning unexpectedly to silence, the distinction between her body and the water vanishing as they became one and the same. ‘Hector Endlew,’ the water said, and China nodded because she understood that he wanted to show her the truth that lay at the very center, beneath the silt of the stream and the crust of the earth, through the silicate shell of the mantle, to the outer core where rocks melt. The warmth returned and a flaming pool sputtered and popped around them. ‘Stay with me,’ the voice said, ruining everything. The shape of the man returned and China jerked back as rocks crumbled and fell, freeing the oceans and rivers, which poured over the flames to sculpt a cooling mound, a solid dead rock swallowed by the gaping mouth of space, a fine black point in the distance absorbing all color and light and pulling them towards it as China screamed, the silence of it against a dark backdrop that consumed her vision.

Mr. Bexlan shook his daughter. “Did you hear me, China? We need to leave!” Her eyes opened, and she looked around. Endlew was gone, the other men were gone, and her father pulled her up off the ground. “Hurry,” he said.

They ran to the exit, and they drove away before the bombs exploded.

 

Revision 2

The man nodded, but another came forward and China stared at the wires emerging from his chest.

“You’re him,” she said, pointing to his face. “Hector Endlew.” Their eyes met, and her vision went blurry. His face disappeared and what remained glowed brighter and brighter until there was nothing else. What she couldn’t see anymore, she could feel and it felt like water, like when you dip a cupped hand into a stream and taste as it runs through your fingers. It felt like testing the water with your toe and before you know it you’re swimming and the water is warming up, or rather you’re warming to it; instead of a pocket that contained you apart, separately, you know that as long as you’re beneath the surface you won’t know any distinction between your body and the water; it will all feel as one. She felt his serenity. To bask in it was to feel the water moving past and to watch it rushing along downstream. Where it went and where it came from didn’t matter. But then its movement started to push against her; the force of the water grew harder. Colder. She was being taken under and she felt like she was drowning in the deep water, down where things were falling apart and dying. Down there the world terminated into a fine black point that sucked out all color and life. She heard herself scream and saw the sound reverberate against a dark nothing that consumed her vision, and suddenly Endlew’s face returned.

“Did you hear me, China. We need to leave!”

She ran ahead of her father and slammed into the exit door. It flew open, she was outside, and she didn’t stop until she was standing under a parking lot lamppost, tired but illuminated against the night.

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