Coincidental Circumstances (Part 6)

I redrafted the entire opening. I needed to sprinkle in the ingredients of an explosive beginning. Plus, I needed something to ground Miranda and establish the stakes. My fingertips danced off the keyboard.

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I nodded my head confidently. Now I was getting somewhere. I reached to take a last sip of my macchiato again. I had been nursing it like a cheapskate for over an hour. All writers do it. Some will go an entire day sucking the free Wi-Fi without blinking an eye. I actually thrived on the caffeine. It was time for another cup of inspiration to propel me to finish my James Bond-esque opening.

TO BE CONTINUED 

Coincidental Circumstances (Part 5)

I needed to brainstorm this. Bad prologues were often saddled with too much exposition and background. If Miranda was getting a prologue, it was going to be kick ass. In the world of espionage, there is one bar to surpass.

Sometimes a high bar.

Sometimes a low bar.

It has been the standard for 50 years.

I had to beat a James Bond pre-credit sequence.

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I rubbed my hands together. Even on paper, the story had no punch. Any good writer knows there has to be a kick ass hook at the beginning. Miranda needed a motive. I glanced at the barista, an overweight girl with short hair with a frosty top. A back tattoo expanded onto her neck. She had added extra pumps of flavor in my macchiato so she was good in my book.

I swear, the bullseye never fails. I pointed at the barista and clapped in glee.

Miranda obviously needed a partner.

CONTINUED

 

 

 

 

Coincidental Circumstances (Part 4)

For three days I toiled with the greatest case of writers block known to man. Maybe it was the girl in the red truck. Her hair. Her eyes. Her mysterious offer.

The killer robot was wreaking some serious plot issues. Where did it come from? What was its motive? Who was behind it? I first tried to replace it with a clown, but it seemed too similar to a recent hit movie, that was really a remake of another movie that was based on a book based on a common childhood nightmare. Scratch one. Imitation isn’t the best form of flattery; its a case of immovable writers block.

There was only one thing to do.

Desperate times called for desperate measures.

I had to go to another Starbucks. Not just any Starbucks though, I needed to hit this case really hard, right in the bullseye. That’s right. I was at the last stop.

I headed for a Starbucks within a Target. A literal riddle within a riddle.

This isn’t a place for any normal writer. This is only a place for the most bourgeois of writers. And it was a place with unlimited gum supply and selection of average people to watch.

My second idea was a straight cop-out. I’ll admit it. Creative writing doesn’t always spark ideas that make us feel like talented artists. I replaced the killer robot with a drone with hellfire missiles. It gave the story an espionage type feel. There were only like 37 movies in the last 5 years using drones. Where did the drones come from? I had no idea. I was already 5 sticks of gum in, and it made little sense why the drone would destroy the cops. I’m not a Tom Clancy ghost writer dammit. Government conspiracies are not my thing.

I went with it. I made up some tin foil Illuminati deep state conspiracy theory that went back to the founding of America. Yeah, there hasn’t been enough books on that. I didn’t want to quite pigeon hole the narrative into an established genre quite yet. I was free flowing. My keyboard needed to hear my lyrical rhymes.

But something still didn’t make sense.

What was Miranda’s backstory then? Where did the knife come from. Was she part of the Illuminati? Was she a double agent? How did she just so happen to be driving right by the tracks at the right time? Chills ran down my spine. Was her meeting with Zeek by happenstance or was it a covert operation? I needed to reach deeper, dig deeper, and travel to depths I’d never known.

I snapped my fingers and pointed at my macbook.

Maybe, just maybe, she needed a kick ass prologue.

CONTINUED

I Lost 100 Story Outlines

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The biggest setback in my writing happened 3 weeks ago. I took my iPhone 5S into a Batteries Plus to get the battery replaced and the technician messed up my phone. It began going into a perpetual reboot cycle every 3 minutes. After a few days with my phone, including a trip to another location for another technician to fix it, the phone was determined to be broken by the “trained technicians.” At first, the they blamed it on not being updated to the newest version, however, after updating it, it didn’t work. They then said if I did a hard reboot, it would correct itself.

Oh shit.

I lost all my story pre-draft outlines.

Since the phone was constantly rebooting, I couldn’t download all the data. It would only get ten percent in the process or so each time.

You see, as a writer in 2016, I have a ton of ideas, but very few drafts. This is because I go through a pre-draft stage of outlining details of 3 act stories, and then constantly refining it on my phone until it reaches an insatiable stage of needing to write the first chapter, which results in very quick beginnings to stories. I almost never have writers block. Sometimes I change my mind with characters and have to figure stuff out halfway through a book, but more often than not, I follow “writing to an end.”

I had maybe a 100 outlines on my phone. Some of them were garbage, some of them were so-so, and a few were good. Luckily for me, some of the good ideas will always be in my mind. Unfortunately, all of the 2am plot ideas formed before I fell asleep in bed don’t always manifest itself again. Some of the quick lunch time notes I get while people-watching is gone forever.

And this is ok.

I’ll come up with another 100 fresh ideas soon. I can probably do it in a week. I could probably write 1000 outlines in a few months.

Outlines don’t matter. Spending the time to write full drafts do.

I’ll keep pressing forward, as should you.

We can’t dwell on the fast, only focus on the future and imagine the possibilities.

I now have a new iPhone with a bigger screen.

And my notes page on my iPhone is empty, but not for long.

Exploits of a Midnight Traveler (Part 10)

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He shoved the barrel of the gun into my lower back, directing me towards the waiting Mercedes just up the street. Blaring sirens and flashing lights overwhelmed my already shaky senses as I shuffled forward like a man walking the long mile. For all I knew that was exactly what I was, a dead man just waiting for the bullet in the back with my name on it.

Mr. Mercedes casually opened the drivers side door and motioned me to sit.

“Would you believe me if I said I can’t drive?” I asked wryly, momentarily surprised at the calmness of my own voice. Shock. Had to be.

“I’m afraid not,” he replied. “Get in.”

I did as I was told sitting down behind the wheel, wondering for a moment if I could speed off before he entered. I hesitated too long and felt the car shift as he sat across from me, his gun leveled at me as he held it casually just in front of his stomach. He seemed to be scanning the scene of chaos up the road, possibly looking for something in particular or just surveying the scene. I couldn’t tell which.

“Drive,” he said, tilting his head towards me. “Carefully. Do nothing to attract attention.” Gone was the mirth in his voice from moments before when he laughed at the mention of the sexy assassin’s death. I felt an involuntary chill, not just from the prospect of being in such close proximity to an armed man in a strange country, but the uncertainty of what lay ahead of me.

I put the car in drive and slowly edged it past the emergency vehicles and onlookers who were pointing and speaking amongst themselves. The hotel visitors shuffled about in the cool night air with looks of confusion and panic on their faces as emergency responders rushed to inspect them. How I would have loved to have been standing with them at that moment instead of sitting behind that wheel.

Once beyond the scene he told me to speed up and we started to put distance between ourselves and the hotel. It occurred to me that sitting in the car with a gun pointed at me was the most peaceful moment I had experienced since it all began.

“I don’t suppose you would like to tell me what this is all about?” I said, my knuckles white as I tried to keep the vehicle moving in a straight line. The streets were thankfully quiet leaving few obstacles for me to avoid and the orange glow of the street lamps gave the city a haunted look as we drove through the night.

“Not particularly,” he replied, still scanning the night. “Unless, of course, you want to tell me where it is?” I knew he must have meant whatever it was that Lila had possessed.

“I don’t know, honestly,” I replied, keeping my voice calm and hoping I sounded convincing. I shuddered to think what the man would do if he suspected I knew something, which of course I didn’t.

“She didn’t have it,” he said casually. “My guess is it’s either on you… or in you.”

“What?”

“Take the next left.”

I did as he asked and brought the car around into a poorly lit street. Is this it? I thought to myself. Is this where I die? Sure seemed like a likely place to get murdered.

“Pull over…” he started to say. There was a bright flash of light through his window from an adjacent alleyway. The world erupted into a chaos of broken glass and numbing pain. I felt myself become momentarily weightless, then blackness.

As I came to all I could sense was a sharp throbbing pain in my neck and pressure on my chest. It wasn’t long before that pain was joined by others all over my body. Disoriented, I dared to open my eyes. The car was on its side, passenger side down, leaving me half slumped half hanging from the seat belt that held me fast in place in the drivers seat. I groaned as my body shifted waking a whole new batch of painful sensations.

I glanced over and saw Mr. Mercedes, his head bloodied and eyes closed. His chest was rising and falling causing small fragments of glass to tumble clinking to the ground. The gun was nowhere to be seen, but the scrap of paper with the address lay partially crumpled on the cement showing through the shattered window. I felt an urge to reach for it.

Headlights faced me through what remained of the windshield forcing me to squint. Through barely open eyelids I saw a figure approach, backlit by the white glare. It was a tall lean figure moving with grace and confidence but I could not make out any fine details in the silhouette as it approached.

As the figure came closer I began to make out more. It was a woman, that much was sure, in a long coat and high heeled boots. Whoever she was she closed the distance quickly and finally stood before me, her face just hidden by the rim of the window shield. She leaned forward and looked at me with a face ringed by red locks of auburn hair.

“Lila?…” My heart skipped a beat. It was her. The face of the woman I loved. In every detail the same. Her full, red lips. Her skin like silk.  All of it the same. Except for the hair… And the eyes. The eyes were cold, like those of a predator.

“Not exactly,” she replied, a slender blade appearing in her black gloved hand.

PART 11