Thursday, April 05, 2007

Nathan, part 2

Yesterday you read the original intro to Nathan - here's the new one. So, which do you like better? Remember, this is raw. Arthritis in my fingers keep me from writing notes in long-hand, so these are essentially my notes.

Nathan stepped out of the alley and onto the walk, tightening the duster around him as the winds from the cooling spring rain whipped around him. Oblivious to the puddles dotting the sidewalk, he walked to the next curb and into the alley opposite the bank of shops. Across the street, the storefronts were dark, closed on a rainy Sunday afternoon. A couple walked by, hands clasped as they strolled, window shopping as they made their way further downtown. Glancing up, he noted that the loft apartment above the store seemed still, no lights on to pierce the afternoons gray skies. No cars were parked in the area reserved for tenants of the converted living areas above the stores. No one home. What would I do if she’d been here? Walk up and knock on her door. Say ‘hey Madison, you don’t know me, but then maybe you do’? Madison Delmont. He didn’t know what she looked like, didn’t remember her face. Travis hadn’t wanted to show him a picture, wanted Nathan to see Maddie in person first, maybe shock him into remembering. But he didn’t need to see her to know that he would remember her. He found his way here by himself, walked the streets of Dallas without hesitation, unerringly drawn to this block, to her business and loft above.
He’d see her soon though. This afternoon he would be heading out to McNeil’s ranch outside of the little town of Serenity. From there the real journey would begin. He’d meet Maddie; see if he recognized her face, her smell, her smile, her life. See if he fit in there anywhere, if she was the answer to the puzzle in his mind.
Leo had wanted to do it another way. Look at pictures, listen to tapes and watch videos … read tarot cards. His lips lifted in a slight smile. Leo hadn’t wanted to expose him to others just yet. Contaminate was more like it. Leo didn’t trust him, shouldn’t if what they thought was true. But Travis wasn’t willing to give in to doubts.
Leaning against the building, he watched the street, eyes hidden behind dark glasses. His lithe body propped against the concrete wall, black duster flapping in the breeze, he continued to stare up at the loft across from him. A drop of moisture hit his cheek and he reached up to wipe it away, only to find the area dry. Odd, I could have sworn … he stopped when it happed again. Relaxing, he began to breathe deeply, letting the gap in the doors of his mind widen. It was dusk the last time he had stood in this spot. A cold steady sprinkle left watermarks on the black coat he had worn. Nathan looked down at his gloved hands, no longer empty, but holding a sleek black gun, a silencer attached to its end. It felt right, smooth and solid in his grip. His hand tightened on the gun as he lowered it closer to his body. Glancing up at the second floor across from him, he saw a woman’s silhouette through the blinds, pacing back and forth in the lamp light, her shadow never wavering from in front of the row of windows. Moving away from the wall, he stepped into the street, eyes still focused ahead. At the blare of a car’s horn, he jumped back onto the curb where the shadows once again swallowed him. Nathan shook his head and brought empty, bare hands up to his face, wet now not from imaginary rain drops, but sweat. He was trembling, his whole body racked with shudders. Where had that come from, his mind stumbled for a few minutes, then blanked as the doors closed firmly.


Brandy said...

We have to choose? You're kidding, right?
Both show a vulnerability in the character, make his emotions and his minds questions seem important. There is a question of timing. This scene seems later somehow. Now, honestly, (and I'm sure I'll be the only one), I liked the hospital scene best. It sets the story better. BUT, that's me. A writer probably has better thoughts.

Bailey Stewart said...

Really? Hmmmm, I'll have to think about that. Thanks - and I want honesty. I didn't want to set Nathan up as being soooooo serious, there's some lighter moments in the second version.

Bailey Stewart said...

Now that I'm awake ...

Yes, it does come later, which is why I changed it. I didn't want him to be introduced straight out of the hospital. So the way it was going it looked like two prologues. So I think it works better as a memory/dream - I have it in Chapter 2.

Susan said...

I'm with Brandy, I love both and the hospital scene is best!

Here is hoping you get a post from someone with a clear cut pick. :)

Siobhan said...

I agree with Brandy and Susan. The hospital scene gets my vote. I found it more gripping and it made me want to read on. Not that the new one doesn't but the hospital one does it better.

catslady said...

Well, I just can't pick. sorry. I liked them both equally! and want to know more from each of them.

Joely Sue Burkhart said...

I really like both. I read this one first, because I missed yesterday, so there were lots of questions unanswered as I read. But then wham, you get that flashback. Whoa. You got me hooked right there. I think it would likely have more impact if we knew he'd been in the hospital, that he didn't know who he was or what he'd been doing first, but this one is good, too.

A few posts below, you asked if we had old stories we still tinkered with. The answer is yes. I have one that I've completely rewritten three times over three years. I have another old story I never finished, with a lot of problems, but I really liked the hero. It just needed more oomph. I'm trying to combine it with some other ideas, now, to come up with something fresh.

Meretta said...

I like them both, but the hospital scene gets my vote, too. To me, it's more compelling.

Nice writing, Bailey. Keep up the good work. :)

Margaret McDonagh said...

The story is really intriguing, Bailey, you HAVE to press on with this book, I really want to read it all!

However, I have to agree with the others. Both versions are very well written and compelling, but the first one, for me, works best in terms of setting the scene and the character in the reader's mind, alerting them to something wrong, to Nathan's aloneness and confusion and wanting to read on.

The second version is a bit too far on. We don't know why he can't remember, that he's been in hospital, we don't know who she is, who Travis is, who Leo is, why Nathan might have had a gun. There are too many questions to be dealt with that puzzle the reader.

In the first version, we can more easily take that journey of discovery with Nathan, and follow his as his story and his past unfold through the flashbacks and returning memories.

I think Nathan's humour and lighter side will unfold - in this first introduction to him and his situation, we believe his seriousness because of what is happening to him. I don't think the reader would expect him to joke yet, not when his whole life has turned upside down and he's "lost himself" for the time being.

You are doing a grand job. Do keep working on this story, I'd definitely buy it!

Good luck,

Melissa said...

Count me in with the others. The hospital scene sets it all up. Though this later scene is good, there are too many unanswered questions for me.

Dru said...

Both scenes are good, but the hospital scene is the best. It pulls me to find out what happense next.

Bernita said...

Hospital scene.
But notes? You call this "notes?"
Sounds pretty rounded for "notes!"

Bailey Stewart said...

Yes Bernita - this is how it comes straight through my head. Notes. Is that unusual?

Michele said...

Ooooh, this sounds good.. this one is more meaty. I liked it!!