Saturday, January 22, 2005

Rewriting from Word One

Well, I reread Chapter 1 last night and it looks like the opening will have to go:
David Graham pulled into one of the diagonal parking spaces in front of Emory’s Mercantile a little after three in the afternoon. He arrived one day ahead of the Preacher, three days ahead of the storm. In less than four days time he would wind up inside a body bag. Of course, he didn’t know that now. If he had, he probably would have stayed anyway, just for spite.
It worked for the rough draft, giving me a handy timetable, but a) it's from an omniscient viewpoint and 2) it leads to a static description of the Merc, which grinds the narrative to a halt.

Plan B has Graham driving all over town trying to find a copy of the local weekly newspaper. All the corner newsracks are empty (why? I'm sure there's a story in there) so he winds up at the Merc looking for one there. Now he has a purpose in the chapter and isn't just "being" there.

Another thing I want to do in the beginning is reference Ray Bradbury's "The Third Expedition" short story (or possibly the Mars is Heaven radio play, which seems to have a similar plotline) wherein Earth astronauts arrive on Mars to find a picturesque 1920's hamlet only to have things go terribly wrong when night falls. I think it'll give an ominous sense to the Rockwellian town of Graphite without having a 1-to-1 correlation.

The other not insignificant change I made last night was to change the name of the "generic" blue jeans on sale in the Merc from BAUGHMAN'S (which I made up as a space filler) to Hobson's (it was going to be "Hobson's Choice", but why be obvious?).