Page 1 Redux
Last week I discussed, “The Elements Of Style” and how it is helping me as I’m working through the first full edit of The Streets and The Skies.
To show its impact I’m posting the revised first page of that novel below.
It has a more active voice and is 20% shorter than the previous version (posted here on June 5th). I find that older text embarrassing in comparison which shows the impact of a good revision strategy. I’m sure I will feel that way about this page in six months as well :)
I don’t really enjoy re-writes but, boy, do they help …
CHAPTER 1 "The Streets and The Skies" Rev 2.0
QUEENS, NY, USA, SEPTEMBER 15TH, 2047
Where was he? Alice scanned the night sky for movement but nothing tracked. Across the bay Manhattan’s mile high towers glittered in the haze, their snow capped peaks connected by the shimmering upper lanes. She gnawed her lip, annoyed, then ducked under the expressway to lean against a freezing concrete pier. This was not good, Conner knew tonight was serious.
A taxi whined overhead and she followed the red taillights as they faded into the gloom. Cars were aerial these days; only the poor and unemployed at ground level, while the highways belonged to the autonomous trucks. Those vast machines thundered overhead, ten feet apart at two hundred miles an hour. Vibrations hummed through the columns surrounding her and into the ground making it shudder with every crash. To her left a flooded road offered oily reflections of deadbeat cars while the floor was strewn with stinking garbage. Opposite deserted buildings jutted upwards like rotten teeth; only the the bar’s flickering yellow sign hinted at life. The wind changed and a waterfall of icy run-off found every hole in her bullet proof jacket. Hands bunched in slim pockets she started to shiver.
Still no sign.
Her shoulders tightened with anger as she thought about calling it in. Stay calm, she told herself, don’t blow this because you’re pissed at him. More cars flew by; streaks of red and white in the haze. Enough, time to go. She shook filth from her combat boots and ran across the road, Marines training keeping her upright as she skipped stagnant green puddles. The bar had a hand written note taped to its small wooden door, “No Cortex, No Unemployed, No Dogs.” Alice smiled as she pushed it open. As if anyone from Cortex would drink in a dump like this, and the unemployed had bigger things to worry about now the government was bankrupt and the benefits had stopped.