The Russian cargo ship rolled in the waves, as the biggest Typhoon in years smashed the Sea of Japan. The Captain chain-smoked an endless supply of cigarettes as the cargo ship pitched violently from one side to the other.
The expressionless man who’d stood on the bridge next to the Captain the entire way from the Strait of Tartary emerged again from the rest room, wiping his mouth. He looked as green as the sea waters, pouring over the ship.
“Where are we?” The GRU man asked him, struggling to maintain footing in the storm, and to maintain his stomach from emptying itself again. He was having dry heaves that this point, long ago running out of anything in his stomach to void.
“I think we are on the surface of the ocean, but I’m not sure.” The Captain said. He began turning the wheel, feeling the ship fight him.
“Where on the map?” The GRU agent asked again.
“Below Hokkaido, in Japan.” The Captain said around a mouthful of cigarette. The inch of ash at the end of the cigarette bounced up and down without breaking. The ship’s bow went under a massive wave, and came back up again. The ship shuddered as the water smashed into the superstructure of the cargo ship.
“We have to turn into the Tsugaru Strait.” The Captain said. He puffed out smoke.
The GRU agent struggled to the chart table only a couple of feet behind the Captain. He ran a finger across the map.
“This will take us miles off course!” The GRU agent protested. He would shout, but the seasickness had made him too weak for that.
“Do you have your life preserver on?” The Captain asked.
“No.” The GRU agent said.
“Go put it on.” The Captain finally dropped the ash from his cigarette.
“Why?” The agent asked.
“I’m not worried about finding Pyonyang.” The Captain puffed on the cigarette. “I’m worried about putting us close to a port where when we sink, you can be rescued.”
“You think we will sink?” Terror stole over the GRU agent.
“I don’t think, I am positive.” The Captain said. “If we sink on our present course, you will die in the waters before you can swim to a port. If I turn, then we will be only a short distance from Tokyo. There are many places on the coast you can safely get to.” He dropped the spent cigarette and patted his pockets for a pack. “You’d better take care of our large friend down below. And get that vest on. Hurry below decks. Get your men on the deck.”
“How long do we have?” The GRU man asked.
The Captain shrugged. “Perhaps five minutes. Perhaps the next roll in the waves.”
“How deep is the ocean here?” He asked. It was important for what he had to do next.
“Two thousand meters.”
The GRU agent grabbed his life jacket, strapping it on in a hurry. Fear drove his feet across the deck, slipping in the water. The shock of the cold ocean water flooding across the deck convinced him of the truth… they were going to sink soon. The GRU agent waded in freezing thigh deep water on the deck, already draining out the portholes. He grabbed the door leading into the cargo hold. The screaming wind and rain threatened to tear him loose and send him over the side, but he forced himself into the hold.
Down the stairs, the shockingly cold water pouring on him from above as he made his way down. He lit his way with his lighter, making his way to the monstrosity crouching in the bowels of the ship. He found the panel. Hands shaking, he put in the combination, popping it open. He realized he was bending over the device, holding a flame near it. But he had no other way.
He put in the information, trying to remember how to do this. It was a long time ago in Kiev when he’d sat in a room, being taught how to do this, and he hoped he was setting it correctly. The display changed, and he saw 2000 display on it. He swallowed in fear as water came pouring down from the yawing opening above him. The water slowed and stopped, and he began to breathe easier. Russia had no ships that could retrieve something at a depth of two thousand meters.
But America did. He pressed the last button and watched the display anxiously. The numbers were not changing, so he hoped he’d done it correctly. He ascended out of the hold, agonizingly cold sea water pouring down onto him. His fingers were numb, and he looked at his blue hands as he got on deck. He’d lost the lighter below. The GRU agent opened the door of the superstructure, and bellowed inside. “Get on the deck! Have your vests on!”
His men poured outside, shivering and complaining as the freezing water rose to knee deep.
An alarm began to sound. The ship rolled, and they all slid on the deck.
The door opened above, and the Captain emerged, making his way on the deck.
The GRU’s second in command grabbed him as they hurried to the rail, the water now thigh deep. He shouted something and the GRU agent couldn’t make it out. He put his mouth against the GRU agent’s ear and shouted.
“The bomb! What about the bomb?”
“I have set it to detonate at two thousand meters!” He shouted back.
“You fool! We will be over it when it sinks that low!” The second in command screamed.
“Swim quickly!” The agent shouted back.
The ship rolled, the railing disappearing under the water.
“JUMP! SWIM!” The Captain screamed. He shoved the GRU agent into the water, jumping in after him. All of the Russians dove into the water as fast as they could. The Russian ship began to right itself, but it was groaning, groaning. The ship was low in the water, and getting lower. The lights in the cabin went out, and the ship seemed to disappear in the storm.
They swam for their lives, taking off like Olympic athletes. They could hear creaking metal behind them, and a groan. Metal stressed.
There was popping sounds, and more groans. Glass broke.
“It is sinking!” The Captain shouted. “Swim for your lives!”
A large swell of water seemed to lift them up and drive them forward. The Captain lifted up the small device strapped to his vest. The light on it was on. He swam as quickly as he could.
The noise behind them sounded like the scream of a tortured metal beast. The Captain was not emotional, but it sounded like the dying scream of a faithful ship. They swam. Fingers and toes were losing feeling, legs feeling heavy. The Captain could hear the panting and sobbing as men splashed forwards. The Typhoon was sending waves over them, strong winds. A massive wave swept over them.
The Captain broke the surface. He saw the terrified GRU man and some of his sailors. “We’re being driven apart by the storm!” The Captain shouted. “Stay close!”
The storm was getting worse. This was a furious typhoon, the likes of which he had never seen. The Captain resolved to change his career to being a taxi driver in Moscow if he made it home after this. He risked a glance over his shoulder, and couldn’t see the ship. There was a fading glow off in the distance under the water, marking the burial spot of his ship.
He swam. The movement of his arms slowed. He felt heavy. Tired. His mouth was full of salty brine taste, and he spat the sea water out. The ship would go part way down, and doubtless break in two.
The behemoth inside the ship would slide free, and fall clear. It would reach the bottom before the ship did, as it was rounded. It might even roll. The seas were pulling eastward, which meant it would slide possibly into the abyssal trench before detonating.
How long did it take for a ship designed for buoyancy to sink? He didn’t know. There would be trapped pockets of air inside the ship, holding it up.
He could hear a boom under the water, and for a second he almost lost control of his bladder. The Captain realized he’d just heard the bulkheads of the ship collapse. The water was getting choppy. He heard something, and something splashed in the water. He grabbed it, wrapping his arms around it. He kept a death grip on it as something dragged him up. He was laid on something hard, and hands grabbed him, carrying him inside something. He saw words. “NANKAI” was stenciled on the wall. He couldn’t understand it, trying to translate it from Cyrillic into western letters. Heat and light covered him, and excited voices were talking to him.
“Hey, Joe… you okay?” He heard. “You all right?”
“Ya Nepudnyemaya.” He answered in Russian. There was more talking, and soon he heard squawking from a radio. “Kak Dela?” He heard squawk from the radio. He grasped the mouthpiece, and dragged it close.
“Translate this quickly.” The Captain said “We are in danger from a nuclear explosion. There is a hydrogen bomb sinking. It will explode at a depth of two thousand meters. We are only a half mile away from it.”
He handed the microphone back as he heard the voice repeat his message in Japanese. The men on the ship began shouting, and footsteps began to run. After a minute, the engines of the boat roared into high gear.
The Captain looked around him, and saw only one other of his crew, laying on the deck. He closed his eyes as they wrapped him in a blanket.
“Devyatnadsat.” He said. “Vocemnadsat. Semnadsat. Shestnadsat. Pyatnadsat. Chetirnadsat. Trinadsat. Dvenadsat. Odinnadsat.” He brought his arm up, pulling a small chain and medallion out of his tunic, shivering. He kissed the medallion and let it drop. “Decyat. Devyat. Vocem. Sem. Shest.”
Nobody needed to translate to Japanese. The sailors around him were in a state of panic listening. The Captain crossed himself fervently, remembering his youth of attending secret church services, and how the priest had taught him to cross himself. “Pyat. Chetire. Tri. Dva.” His hand dropped and his eyes closed. A tear slowly ran down his cheek. “Odin.”
There was a sound in the distance. The sailors stopped talking. They stared at each other, fear in their faces. The ship creaked slightly. Then it shook.
The ship felt as if a hand had lifted it up and shoved it. There was shouting as the sailors ran for the deck. Some made it out onto the deck in the midst of the storm. A massive wave lifted, lifted, bubbling, rising. White sea water raced underneath them, and suddenly the sea lifted. Waves rolled along, crashing down on the men on the deck.
The ship continued, as the men picked themselves up from the deck.
One of the Japanese sailors touched his face. He felt like heat was crawling across his face, prickly heat. He stood, and walked towards the hatchway. He dropped onto the deck, tired. The heat in his skin was burning.
He closed his eyes. Breath escaped his mouth, impossibly long.
He never rose again.
Category: Sample Scene
The Russian cargo ship rolled in the waves, as the biggest Typhoon in years smashed the Sea of Japan. The Captain chain-smoked an endless supply of cigarettes as the cargo ship pitched violently from one side to the other.
There’s a phrase among screenwriters – I think Jeannie Bowerman came up with it. Novelists have adopted it as well.
The “Vomit” draft.
What in the world?
The concept is that in my first draft – whether novel or screenwriting – I’m not going to worry about rules, structure, correct format, etc.
The entire idea of your first draft is to vomit words on the white space on your screen in Scrivener or in Final Draft.
Then later, during the edit process, you can worry about Dave Trottier standing behind you with a large wooden ruler, saying “The correct formatting for a scene without sound is MOS.”
Is this scene a sequel to the previous scene?
I don’t care.
Does this scene promise something I’ve got to deliver on later?
I don’t care.
I’ll care about all that in the first re-write. For now… I’m getting this scene down before I lose it.
Carpenter watched through the binoculars. The quads had stopped, and the men dismounted. The man working the radio equipment was so close, it looked like they could just reach out and touch him. He looked annoyed, fiddling with earphones. Carpenter slowly moved his binoculars, and saw one of the troopers looking intently down. The trooper motioned to another trooper, who walked casually over to him. The first one said something, and the body of the second one stiffened a little.
“Are they looking?” McKinney whispered. Carpenter paused.
“They’re looking.” He said finally. There was no mistaking the actions Of the UN troops. They were actively looking. Two or three were speaking on radios while scanning with binoculars. McKinney was nervous as he watched through his own as one seemed to stare right at him.
“What do we do?” McKinney asked.
Carpenter was silent. “That depends on if they go away or not.” he answered grimly. “If not, then we fight. We take out as many as we can, and then the rest of you start the retreat to the boats. Load the boats, and head towards Greenland. I’ll cover the retreat while you get everyone to safety. If they go away, that was our close call. We pack up and move today. It was time to move, anyway.”
“You’re gonna need help if it turns to shooting.” McKinney said. Carpenter shook his head.
“We’ve already discussed this. Your job is important. You have to get everyone to safety.” McKinney nodded, and pushed the radio earpiece back in his ear. Carpenter caught his arm.
“If I don’t make it… Be sure to tell Alison I love her.” He said. There was deadly seriousness in his eyes. McKinney nodded.
They watched. One of the soldiers was wandering down the trail. His eyes were down, as if he was following the trail. He stopped, staring at something. Then he turned and motioned to one of the watching Sergeants. The Commanding Officer strode over to him, as the soldier pointed at something. His hand swept back and forth. The Commanding Officer nodded.
“Show time.” Carpenter said grimly. He placed his eye to the scope of his rifle as the soldiers began walking down the trail. McKinney took the safety off his rifle, and moved slowly through the bush in slow, random movements as they’d practiced. He headed towards the shooting spot they’d practiced from.
See? I worried about who (first word!) what (second word) where (established in previous action snippet), and if there’s any other W words, I tossed them over my shoulder as I and Carpenter crawled through the undergrowth to approach the men on the quad!
This is writing. Get your vomit draft down. On the re-write you can get this all formatted nicely. You can make sure this snippet is the sequel to the previous snippet, if this scene promises something (oh, boy it does!) and if it delivers on previous promises (oh, yes… it does).
Get the raw words on paper. I tend to call my first draft a “Raw draft”, not a “first draft”. Edit later! You’ve got 1667 words to write today!
Check last Thursday for the first half of this… This was a scene I couldn’t fit into my story. What I didn’t tell you last week, this is raw. It’s not even first draft, but actually what left my fingers without any polish or tightening.
Tariq inched the van forward. It was 8:07, and traffic was even more gridlocked than usual in Los Angeles. He briefly wondered if he’d made a mistake. If he got out of the van now and started running, he might make it. Might.
Or the police might find the device, and spread the warning. That would risk the entire event. Tariq knew now that to pull this off, his life was probably forfeit, He decided that this was the way it was going to be.
Tariq pulled onto South San Pedro Street, thumbs thumping the steering wheel in frustration. He was stuck behind a bus, and there was a family in the passing lane in a beat up car…just poking along. He was frustrated. He wanted to get closer to the city center before time ran out!
And then he saw the police car.
Officer Lightspeed watched the van weave. The driver kept looking back in the rearview mirror. That was normal, but Lightspeed’s every instinct, honed from years of street patrol in Los Angeles told him something was wrong. Very wrong. He reached up and flipped the switch, his lights beginning to rotate.
Tariq glanced back at the device. I’ve failed. He thought. He was still a mile out from the very heart of Los Angeles. Well, it will have to do. He thought.
The police officer tapped at the window, and Tariq rolled it down. “license and registration.” He said. Tariq pulled his wallet out. “Yes, of course.” he smiled. He saw the countdown on the device. 8:28…. There was no getting away now. Tariq was prepared to meet his destiny. He opened the glove box, papers spilling everywhere. Tariq smiled at the Police officer. He pulled the papers off the seat, and leafed through them. He handed the registration to the police officer.
“Where were you going?” The policeman wanted to know. Tariq glanced at the mirror. 8:29.
“Paradise, my friend.”
“I’m sorry?” The policeman looked very suspicious. 8:29:30
“To paradise, my friend. Allah awaits me.”
“What are you talking about?
The police officer stepped back, drawing his weapon. Something is wrong…. He thought. Just then, Tariq raised his hands, a wide smile on his face…
…and the van exploded. The flash reached the officer, and he had a brief moment to think, “Jesus….” The officer felt the blast hammer him…..
The blast happened too fast. Anyone nearby had no time to react. The closest automobiles were turned into dust, and all buildings for two hundred yards were turned to ash. For the next three hundred yards, massive chunks were demolished from most buildings, the debris scattering. The pressure wave had begun.
Gilliard looked down at his cell phone to press the “2” key, the speed dial for his wife. He was looking up as the flash hit his eyes. “Oh, my Lord!” He was dazzled, but he had missed the flash by a critical second. He swerved the SUV, hitting another car and turning off his ignition. He popped the door open. “Get out of your cars! GET DOWN!!!!” He shouted. People panicked, but many obeyed him. They crawled up against a building, and hugged the pavement. “open your mouths, so the explosion doesn’t blow out your ears!” He shouted.
The sound hit them, powerful and loud. Gilliard was too busy praying. “Oh, Lord God, save my wife…” the pressure wave was intense. It felt like he was being crushed for a second. Then pain hit him as heat flowed over him, and they heard the crunching sound as debris began impacting the cars on the street. Shattering glass was the loudest noise, as the windows in the building above them shattered. Glass pieces began raining down around them….
From my first book…
Rolf Offenstath sat down wearily in the wreckage of what used to be a house, he guessed. He’d never lived in Berlin, but had attended one or two May Day celebrations in his time with the Hitler Youth. Rolf shivered, his breath visible as he exhaled with a shaky sound.. It was cold and wet for May. He saw Scharführer Esserholtz, the equivalent rank of a Sergeant moving towards him. “Esserholtz.” He called. The older man sat with him, shivering in the cold. “What’s the news?” Rolf asked. Eseerholtz glanced over at Rolf, his eyes taking in the SS insignia on his collar, the single pip on his epaulet, designating him as a First Lieutenant. The gleaming black pistol holster that held the Luger. The older man reflected he’d been in the army almost as many years as this boy had been alive. And here this boy was in charge of a Company in the ReichsKrieg, the German army.
“Herr Obersturmführer, the word is that The Fuhrer is dead.” The Sergeant told him. “Admiral Doenitz is in charge of the Reich. Boorman has succeeded the Führer as head of the party.” He knew that would be important to Rolf. He was so dedicated to the idealogy, Esserholts knew. “Goebbels has killed himself and his family.” He cradled his rifle, shrugging. “Alles ist kaput.” All is lost.
All is lost. Rolf looked down at his feet. He’d risen quickly in the 6th SS Panzer division, his Hitler Youth background helping him to Officer Rank. He could recall trading in his brown uniform Youth for the all black Waffen SS uniform, and the feeling of pride. His rank was as a 1st Lieutenant, in the division that would take part in the Battle of the Bulge. It had not been too long ago that Rolf had gotten the news from his Hitler Youth leader that he was being shipped to battle. “You will have the chance you’ve dreamed about, to take up arms against the invading English and Americans.” He’d been told. “You will report to 6th SS Panzer as a First Lieutenant.” The man, Herr Axmann, had looked at him with pity. “Remember, the men you will command have been fighting for years. Be firm, polite, respectful… but remember that you are an officer in the Waffen SS.”
For those of you who read this kind of stuff, you now know i’m ready to play in Forsyth’s playground. I’m all set to link the Third Reich to Odessa to the Vatican… and tie that into the Organization.
Rolf will be the Engineer of the first book, cold calculating, ruthless. He’ll tap into his experience from Bastogne to make him the most effective Engineer the Organization has ever seen.
This book will set the stage that my apocalyptic series will stage in.
Okay, what I’ve done up until now was to open Dramatica first. I may write a few scenes first, and then do Dramatica, but I like to know – where am I going? It all goes back to a kung fu movie with James Caan in it. A character announced in that movie that Caan’s character used the 5P principle – Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
I’ve only seen that movie once, by the way. I can vividly remember that scene. sitting there watching TV with my dad in the house on Bull Street in Newport. Must have been around 1974.
I also learned (from books on leadership) the fail to plan motto. “If you fail to plan, you have planned to fail.”
So, I like to know – where am I going? I’ve got hero, sidekick, impact character, villain, villain enabler. They all live somewhere, and villain, due to nature of being a villain, is in conflict with hero.
Open Dramatica. Start the interview process and really hate life for the next four or five days. Dramatica insists on all those time wasters. Who is your hero? What are they like? Tell us about them. Tell us about relationship between hero and impact character.
Boring. Necessary. Dramatica really forces you to SLOW DOWN and write about the characters. Sure, I can’t wait to get to gunfire, bone-chilling punches with a meaty dubbed sound and slow motion explosions as hero jumps sideways across the room shooting two guns at the same time as the independent grocer ducks and covers his head.
But see, unless I’m trying to write a Chuck Norris movie, you actually have to make your characters REAL. My first novel was going nowhere until my characters became real to me. Part of that happens when you write.
So, I spend the week going through sheer drudgery, and I copy and paste the results into 30 scenes on my corkboard in Scrivener.
Start writing. I open a scene in Scrivener. TYPE SOMETHING!
Start with a Character name and an action. “Fred Flintstone” what? “Sat.” “Jumped.” “Drove.”
“Controller sat in his private office in Babylon”.
I’ve started. Who what when where why how? I don’t care. I just finish the thought.
“Controller sat in his private office in Babylon, looking at his laptop.”
“Controller sat in his private office in Babylon, looking at his laptop. Controller held a very unique job, that of coordinating all the myriads of persons working for the shadow governments, the entity that conspiracy theorists called the Illuminati and some called the Bildebergers.”
BOOM. I know who, because I’ve written about Mr. Silver Spoon high society Controller before. Controller keeps all of the Organization’s plans running. minor department heads, called “Movers” all report their plans to him. He keeps them running. When something shows up he doesn’t like… he calls Lynch.
“Controller had to keep track of the activity of hundreds of people, many carefully hidden agendas and plots. He’d had to badger the software people to write a special piece of software for his needs. Whenever Controller had reflected on the old system of cork boards, 3X5 cards and colored push pins, he would wince. How did the past Controllers ever keep track of things that way?
He glanced at the display, his eyes running across it. He preferred to have a giant screen monitor for this, so they’d come up with a docking interface for him that projected his screen onto a giant plasma screen monitor. Or whatever it was. Controller didn’t worry about little things like that.”
Okay. You now have a subtle glance into who Controller is. He is dedicated. He is organized. And he doesn’t worry about minor little details about what kind of screen it is. What’s important is juggling a thousand conflicting plans and priorities.
But he was accustomed to giving orders and having them carried out with delay. He remembered the day he’d moved into this exalted position. His predecessor had told him, “You’ll want to give as few direct commands as possible. Choose the right subordinates, make sure they know how you want it done. Frequent meetings, direct and to the point, are the key.”
Controller had remembered that. A simple phone call was often the only thing he needed to do.
But now one of his subordinates had uncovered a direct threat within the Organization, from within. He stared at the small box, marked “Chad”. It was marked over with an X. But the name attached to it was something that worried Controller.
There were a large number of tags. Names, places. And none of them connected to anything.
Names and places did not end up on that board unconnected. And that worried Controller even more.”
Okay, now you’re aware of a major subplot to the book. Someone else is out there, controlling, moving pieces.
Controller picked up his phone, and hesitated. He was always careful to call those above him. But Lynch… ahhhh, Lynch. His Engineer. Only in the Organization for two years or so… and had the direct ear of Caesar. Lynch had undertaken tasks and assignments nobody had known about. He would disappear for weeks, reappear, and hand Controller the reigns to some other piece of the puzzle.
Lynch had raised both of them to new heights. The office of Controller was always one subordinate to the Inner Circle. But in the last two years, following the hiring of Lynch from a pathetic posting in the US State Department, they had risen in stature to that equivalent of the Inner Circle.
He hit the speed dial number, and heard the phone answer. “This is Six.” He heard.
“Sorry to bother you. This is Controller.” Controller reflected on a simple fact – how powerful a person had to be to lose the necessity for a name.
Now I’ve drawn Lynch into it. Lynch is my version in this series of an Easy button. When I get stuck on something, shove Lynch in, and things get fixed in a hurry. Develop an Easy Button character. Lynch does nasty things like.. set people on fire. Shoot them. Stab them. Throw them from airplanes. Good subplot? Let’s try killing that subplot, and see what happens?
I’ve also given you a glimpse now into the inner circle. If such an Organization really existed and I truly did this, I’d be meeting the real Lynch this evening. Think of the Mailman from “Three Days of the Condor”. Think of Charles Bronson from “The Mechanic.”
Lynch pulled out his phone as he waited, dialing it.
“Remind me to smoke a cigar with you.” Lynch said.
“Who is this? How did you get this number?”
“I’ve got your number.” Lynch said. “Tell me, have you ever been to Dortmund?”
There was silence. “Is this by any chance Lynch?”
“You should then understand the reference to a cigar.” Lynch said.
“You might find your cigar a little.. Bitter.” Six said. “I have some friends ready to make your acquaintance.”
“Really.” Lynch said. “Too many bad movies, Fritz. Tell me, did you hire him because of the fencing scar on his eye, or did you hire him because he used to be a hired killer? Really. And that was the best you could do. And you had to hire a friend of mine. You’ve been reading too many bad spy thrillers.”
“I have other friends. All promised great rewards. I’m afraid the only reading I’ll be doing shortly is your obituary.” Six said.
“So, what was your plan? You were really going to go with the other candidate?” Lynch couldn’t keep the skepticism out of his voice. He could see someone out on the street, moving towards the door. Lynch steadied his rifle, cradling the phone. He pulled the bolt back, then slid it home.
“There are some doubts.” Six agreed.
“Silly. What you mean is, you’re not happy with the loss of control, so you’re going with the other Candidate. You think he’ll be more pliable.”
“That is no concern of yours, my friend.” The closest hint of a German accent broke out at last. Lynch knew he’d broken the man. “And it is about to be of no more importance to you my friend.”
“Hold, please… Halten, Bitte.” Lynch pulled the trigger as the door opened. The figure in the raincoat stumbled, and dropped to the floor.
“Thank you for holding.” Lynch said pleasantly. “That was Clubfoot. His poor mother in the nursing home. I’ll send her flowers in his memory.”
Six felt the sweat break out on his forehead. He’d never realized how truly dangerous this Engineer was. How did he ever get so lethal? “I think we need to talk.” Six said.
“Losing your nerve, so soon?” Lynch was incredulous. “Offering a deal already? Are you sure you’re in the right business? We’ll talk tonight, I promise. I have a special cigar saved up for you. This isn’t sanctioned, but I don’t think I’ll be censured by the Inner Circle for acting. Let me tend to your scar-faced thug, and the others first. I’ll be in Dortmund in just about an hour and a half. Enjoy your coffee.”
Cat and Mouse. I decided to move into a cat and mouse scenario. We’ve established a rival organization within the organization, and I went back to one of the first short stories I’d ever read, “The Most Dangerous Game.”
Now, something that’s always bothered me. When you have those scenarios, in every one else’s stories, they’re always in silence. Lynch isn’t one for silence. He’s got that phone. He has your phone number. and he knows where you’re hiding. He’s “They” after all.
So, lynch would not shoot, run, duck, gasp,look around, dive to the next cover spot, turn, shoot someone. Nope.
He’d call them on the phone, and harass them.
So, we don’t so much see Lynch most of the time. You see the body drop.
Josef paused as a stair creaked. He held his breath. There was silence. Josef smiled grimly, and moved up the stairs as stealthily as he could. He made it to the top.
He could make out in the darkness the shell casing lying on the floor. So, this is where the target had stood and waited for Willi to enter. “I will avenge you.” He whispered. He wished for a moment he had some religious beliefs, that perhaps Willi could hear him somewhere. But alas, Josef had no religious beliefs whatsoever.
He gripped the Walther pistol, moving slowly. The Target had either gone downstairs, or was in the office. He headed towards the office door. He paused, listening. There was no sound. No boards creaking, no breathing, no sound of weight shifting. Had the target gone downstairs? Josef was tempted to turn around. He stepped into the office, his gun swinging wildly to cover the empty room.
He paused. Where would I be, if I was The Target? He turned and stepped out of the office, just as the realization spread in him.
If I was the Target, I’d be behind me.
His foot carried him out of the office, as something cold ripped at his neck…
What you don’t show, is sometimes more important than what you show.
I’m careful to notate in my meta tags what characters are in the scene, where, the POV, and the date. Why the date? My series is a time-delineated series. In other words, the clock is ticking, and the end is inevitably coming. I have to know WHEN the scene is. I also use a freeware program called Timeline to notate critical points. I don’t use it much. I think I open it once a month.
And everything you read is raw. It’s still not first draft yet, because you’re going to poke at it to make it rough draft.
There’s five steps – raw, first draft, second draft, third draft, final draft. Apparently, I’m starting to polish my skills to the point where my raw is almost second draft status, and much of it can move directly to final draft.
You’ve read of Controller, how he relies on lynch. Lynch is a force of nature, and his taunting, confident lethal-ness. His contempt for Six when Six turns traitor. And Controller can rely on Lynch to take care of Second, Four and Six while he does what he needs to.
Now I’ve got scenes where Lynch can really shine.
Did I concentrate on my plot? Nope. I wrote of interactions. Controller musing about his ever-present work, noticing something off. Lynch is two steps ahead of him, and taking care of it already. Controller now can act.
I got all this by writing a name, an action, and a second action. The important thing?
Know your characters.
This is a scene I wrote, but I was completely unable to use this! I knew I needed (withheld… you gotta wait and see!) in the beginning of the second book. I was caught in a debate between terrorists trying to make a last, final strike to punctuate the end of their cause – and just having the Antagonist in my books simply push the button. This is raw text, as it came from my fingers, without any revision. It’s not even rough draft status, because you tighten up a little and work on the flow before you cal it rough draft.
I ended up opting for the second. If you get the books once they’re published, you’ll be able to see where this would have fit in. The other half of it will be next Thursday.
Gilliard drove through Los Angeles, thinking very carefully. He remembered what Carpenter had said about disappearing, but he was just not seeing the need to disappear as rapidly as Carpenter and the others did. He figured he still had a year, so why disappear now?
Last night’s dream was still bothering him. He had a disturbing dream he’d missed his chance. He dreamed that Carpenter had told him, “Today was your last chance… If you don’t get out of town as soon as you wake up, you’re going to die.”
Gilliard had woken up in a panic, and tried to calm himself. He had a home, a good job, a family… He believed, but what it really boiled down to was he had it good, and he was reluctant to give that up. They would leave right after Christmas, he decided. He picked up his cell phone, and dialed his wife.
The man loaded his van. He had an apartment as close to the center of Los Angeles as he could get.And the plan they’d all arrived on before this was to simply set the device up in the center of the city, set the timer, and leave. But this bothered him. He decided to deviate from the plan. He was almost two miles from the center of town, and they were going to punish the West for their Peace Treaty. But how could you punish if the news would undoubtably record that the Los Angeles device was too far from the heart of the town to do the kind of devastation they’d planned on? He called to his compatriot and told him what he was thinking. There was argument, but who was going to argue? The man’s name was Tariq Almasi. He had a reputation of seeing through difficult assignments. He’d killed, easily, without remorse. There was no arguing with him. He had his mind made up.
“The plan calls for us to set off the device by timer, and escape.” His compatriot argued. “Do not change the plan!”
Tariq was not listening. “And how will it strike terror in the heart of the West if we destroy the wrong part of Los Angeles?” He asked with some heat. “If you are afraid to be a martyr, then help me get it in the van, and leave. Call my phone when you are out of the city, and I will set off the device on schedule in the heart of the city. I will choose a parking garage and make my getaway by taxi if I have to.”
The other man finally stopped arguing. “What’s going to happen, my friend, is that you are going to sacrifice your life.”
“I am willing.” he answered shortly. “help me, and I will wait until you are out of the city.”
Gilliard was inching along in the traffic, as his wife answered the phone. “I”ve been thinking.” he said. “I think Carpenter’s right. We should have left weeks ago like they did.” His wife smiled, She’d been telling her husband exactly that for at least a month. She’d had the uneasy feeling which had grown stronger and stronger. “Where are you?” he asked.
“I”m entering the city now. When we get home, we’ll contact the others in the warehouse district and see if we can stay with them for a couple of weeks, while we decide where to go.”Amanda Gilliard answered.
Tariq slammed the doors of the van. The device looked like a water heater, which went well with the plumber’s logo on the side of the van. Tariq climbed into the driver’s seat of the van, and checked his watch. 7:30… They were getting close. The device was set to go off at 8:30, right when most people would be surging into the heart of the city to go to work. “Take care, my friend.” his friend wished him. “Do not take any chances. Palestine needs you.”
Tariq started the van. “It will take me twenty minutes to drive into the city, and get into a parking garage. I will still have forty minutes to make my escape before the device goes off. Trust me, I could walk out of the city in that time.”
His friend got into his car, and started it, watching Tariq drive off. This was not going according to plan, and he didn’t like it.
Lynch got into his plane, preparing to head to Rome. He had a funny feeling that he was forgetting something. He turned around and looked, and almost went back. But he saw the Controller walk into the concourse. “All ready?” Controller asked him. Lynch shrugged, and turned. They walked out and into a car, which took them to the private plane. Lynch kept turning around, and looking behind him.
“Anything wrong?” Controller asked him. Lynch shook his head. But something was bothering him. He didn’t know what, he just knew something was bothering him. His mind was beginning to race.
They boarded the Gulfstream, and took their place. “You can take off anytime.” Controller told the pilot. They taxied into place. Lynch looked uncomfortable.
“What’s wrong?” Controller asked. Lynch was staring out the window.
“I’ve missed something.” Lynch answered. “I don’t know what, but something’s been nagging at me.”
“Where? Who does it concern?” Controller asked. Lynch drummed his fingers as the plane began moving forward. Lynch picked up his phone and dialed a number. “It’s Lynch. Something’s bothering me.” he said into the phone.
Controller could hear some talk, and Lynch was getting more agitated. He hung up, looking more restless. “We’ve missed something. I’m seeing all the indicators that something has happened outside our control.” He told Controller.
“CIA reports telephone interceptions of intel is slowing down. Why would telephone reports slow down?”
“Interceptions of whom?” Controller steepled his fingers.
“Do we have an operation going, an event I’m not privy to?” Lynch asked.
Controller stared. “No. If I’m privy to anything, so are you.”
Lynch thought rapidly. “Russia is bankrupt. The aborted attack into Israel demolished them. Saudi Arabia lost billions on that… And they stand to not recoup that money thanks to the peace treaty. Is that it?”
Controller looked at a report. The plane was caught in that maddening pace of move, stop, wait, move, stop wait…
“No. We’ve got that handled.”
“Who did we forget about?” Lynch asked. It was the wrong thing to ask, because the peace treaty was part of Controller’s job. He’d been as thorough as possible.
“We didn’t forget anyone.” Controller answered. He took no offense. He’d learned when Lynch got a suspicion, to listen to it.
“Did you take care of Iran?”