I sniffed the inside. The odor carried Amy’s essence—pungent sweat, a trace of blood … and the scent of her soul.
I exhaled into the frosty night. A breeze beat against the white vapor and sent it skyward. As I inhaled the crisp air, my membranes absorbed its elements. The particles of a thousand Amys filtered through, along with a thousand Alyssas, Aarons, and Andrews, but only one matched the sample. The missing Amy was out there … somewhere.
I turned to the weeping mother. I couldn’t remember her name or the name of the father who held her close on this dark winter night. No matter. I knew Amy’s name.
I whispered, “I can find her.”
The mother stifled a sob and swiped at a tear on our cheek. “You mean …” She swallowed down another sob as hopeful eyes sparkled in the light of neighborhood streetlamps. “She’s alive?”
“She’s alive … for now. But if traffickers got her, she’s living in hell.” I bundled my coat close. “I have to hurry. Tell Sergeant Mahoney I’m on the trail. He’ll know what to do.”
This idea came to me as I lay awake on a sleep-deprived night. I have already altered it a bit, and I will reveal the new version next week, but I wanted to show the progress by providing the initial expression of the idea.
In yesterday’s writing tip, I mentioned that it is best to start in the protagonist’s ordinary world. Although this character’s ability seems strange, and his activities are intriguing, finding lost girls is his ordinary world. The text provides the impression that he is accustomed to his abilities, and he takes them in stride, which indicates the ordinariness of the opening.
Notice the essential items I mentioned in yesterday’s post: A hook beginning, questions that are raised, an immediate goal for the protagonist, character qualities and flaws, sparse details for the physical setting that are perhaps sufficient, the beginning of a bridge to the back story. Though I have not discussed all of these elements in detail in the writing tips (they are coming), I hope you can pick them out.
Let me know what you think. What questions are raised? What are the character’s qualities and flaws? How is the back story beginning to take shape? What other elements did you notice that I haven’t mentioned yet?
Also, for the braver souls, what do you not like? What suggestions do you have for improvement?
Categories: Story Development