Monday, September 6, 2010

The beginning that never will be...

I've been editing and revising The Prodigal's Foole this weekend based on feedback from Amy Boggs, agent at the Donald Maass Literary Agency and C. A. Marshall a freelance editor.

I can't tell you how important it is to get feedback on your own work in progress.

Anyway, based on suggestions, I wanted to ramp up the action and the initial hook for TPF and I made one of the biggest mistakes you can to start a it was explained to me by my crit partner and muse, the annoyingly correct and talented Leah Petersen.

So while I rewrite (once again) the opening sequence to my book, I thought I'd share with the the beginning...that will never be.

Can you guess what the very large mistake is?


The man sitting in 23B was put on a watch list by the flight attendants as soon as he’d boarded the aircraft in Dublin. Thirty-ish with wavy brown hair in need of a cut and two days of stubble on his face, he had the kind of dark, darting eyes that made the flight crew a little nervous. The biker jacket didn’t help ease the impression He sat next to an old mousy-looking woman on the window seat and man with a beard who’d just made the flight sitting in an isle seat. The grandmother of three tittered nervously, speaking about visiting her grand children in Boston, and her good-for-nothing American son-in-law who had taken her darling daughter away from Ireland. The bearded man was pleasant enough, winking and flirting with the flight attendants and receiving extra tiny bottles of vodka for his trouble.

The man in 23B said nothing and just stared stony-faced at the back of the seat in front of him.
Two hours into the flight, as brunch was about to be served, the trouble started.
The flight attendant was preparing her trolley with microwaved versions of an Irish fry brunch when she heard shouting coming from the center of the aircraft.

“Get the fuck off this plane! Now!”

The flight attendant exited the tiny kitchen to see the man in 23B looming over the little old lady, eyes blazing.

“Sir, the captain has not turned off the fasten seat belt sign. Please sit down and calm yourself.”
The man looked at the flight attendant, his eyes were lit with what looked like an internal fire.
The flight attendant stopped in her tracks. Flame leapt from man’s eyes.
He turned his attention back to the old woman.

“You heard me,” he shouted. “Out. Now.”

The old woman was trembling. Tears streamed from her eyes.

The flight attendant reached over and grabbed an in-cabin radio mic.

“Captain, we have a problem with one of the passengers. I need some help in the main cabin.”

“Hey buddy,” The bearded man in the aisle seat slurred. “Why don’t you leave the old lady alone? C’mon. I’ll buy you a drink.”

The man in 23B moved his hand slightly. The bearded drunk flew out of his seat and slammed into the ceiling of the cabin and stayed pinned to the top as if an invisible force held him in place.

People began to scream. Passengers around the man with the flaming eyes scrambled to get away from him.

“I know who you are. Last chance to get off this plane or I’ll throw you out.”

“Sir! Sit down!” The flight attendant shouted. She could see her colleague approaching the man in 23B, taser in hand. She could feel the plane banking sharply. The pilot was turning the aircraft around.

The old lady looked up at the man and smiled.

“Go ahead Symon Bryson,” she hissed in an unearthly voice. “Use your power. Do it.”

Flame shot from the man’s hand and engulfed the old woman. The side of the plane blew out.
The wailing of a siren accompanied the immediate decompression and deployment of the oxygen masks. The plane lurched and groaned as a second piece of the fuselage tore away.
Passengers and flight crew not strapped in were sucked out of the aircraft, tossed out like rag dolls while the man in 23B just stood in the center of the wreckage seemingly not affected by the havoc he’d caused.

Aer Lingus flight 332 rolled over and began its twenty thousand foot death spiral…
* * *
I awoke with a start as my flight touched down on the runway. I was drenched in a cold sweat and my hands hurt from grasping the armrests of my center seat.

The overhead speakers crackled. “Aer Lingus would like to welcome you to Boston’s Logan Airport. We enjoyed flying with you and hope you enjoy your stay.”

I couldn’t believe I was actually back in Boston. The nightmare faded as they always did. I haven’t slept well in ten years. You’d think I’d be used to it by now.



C.A. Marshall said...

Wow, what an opening! And what plot similarities to Final Destination!

Thanks for mentioning me!

RBW said...

Thanks Cassandra! And great hint at the mistake... ;-)

Leah Petersen said...

I know, I know! ;)

RBW said...

And I SO loved that scene! *Sigh*

I hate it when you're right Leah!!

Liz Czukas said...

I believe the dream sequence is largely considered a no-no?

Haven't seen Final Destination, but that's my guess anyway.

- Liz

RBW said...


CORRECT! I'm such an idiot sometimes....:-)


M Pax said...

Great start. More interesting to learn how it oculd be better.

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