Sunday, March 30, 2008

Adam Blue Project Update: Second Draft Progress and Excerpts Day 13

Coming on the heels of sleeping all day, (recovery from a late night in Philly) I've finally gotten around to posting new samples from the recently completed 6th Chapter of Adam Blue. The project reached a milestone recently, 50 pages of completed second draft material. I'm not sure how many pages are left to do, but the recent momentum has been a huge push in the right direction. Right now, I'm kind of hoping that I can knock out at least ten pages of material a week. Even at that rate, which is admittedly slow, I can have this book done in a few months and ready for peer review and manuscript distribution. I finished 30 pages of material in the past two weeks, so I'm on track again I think. I'm really excited about the project, and I have good feelings.

This one was kind of interesting, a lot of the original material slated for this chapter was cut in favor of new text. So here's the chapter tracker summary...

Peter Potter Takes a Leak

Consisting of content from Adam Blue Gets Dirty, Private Adam Blue Shits His Pants and mostly new text, this chapter details the search of the helicopter crash site. Also the ride towards the FOB.

Pretty bland, in planning, this chapter ended up taking up roughly 14 pages of actual text, including a lot of dialog. So, it's sort of a proud addition in the sense that I wanted longer, meatier chapters. The actual writing itself is pretty decent too, I think. One thing I've noticed with Adam Blue is that a lot of my dialog tends to feel forced and meaningless. I don't feel bad about that at all, part of the cause is that all my characters are pretty two-dimensional. Just about every character in the story, with the exception of Adam, the sun, and the moon, are arch typical characters designed to represent a certain demographic. Not all those characters are going to blossom vocally. I can accept that. Also, my dialog is a little rusty, I tend to favor monologues when I write. The back and forth of conversation, is at times, a very unnatural and time consuming way to express a secondary character's thoughts and feelings. I think that is part of the reason that I introduced Colonel Fretter in this chapter with such a long soliloquy/aside with Adam. It gave me a chance to establish him as a villain from the onset, kind of cartoonishly even, since his evils mostly reside in Adam's head.

Anyway. Here is the sample...

Chapter 7

Evening, Day 13: Peter Potter Takes a Leak

Adam was grimy from his chest to the toes of his boots with milk chocolate muck. Sweat ran in rivulets down his body, creeping through the fabric of his uniform and ballistic vest to mix with the waste from the irrigation ditches he had been skulking through. The river rose ominously before him in the fading glow of day, brown slowly fading to black as night’s grip tightened on the recovery site.

“I reckon not.” Cowboy agreed.

“You need to turn the truck this way, Blue.” Specialist Peter Potter yelled from the fringe of the palm grove. Adam ignored him as he plucked a cigarette from the soggy hard pack. He dragged his thumb over the roller of the lighter, sparking a flame. He brought the burning lick of fire to the tip of the cigarette mashed between his lips. He shot out the first mouthful of fumes, ejecting smoke and spent lighter fluid. Adam filled himself with smoke as he rested his side against the steel plate bolted to the door of the truck.

Peter Potter ambled with a practiced nonchalance towards Adam. He held his fore and middle fingers to his lips, using body language to confer his desire to smoke one of Adam’s cigarettes. Peter’s liberal upbringing had taught him to have a sense of entitlement to things which inherently belonged to others. The warmth of Adam’s heart had taught him to give things, which were inherently his, to those in need. In that regard, Adam and Peter got along swimmingly.

Adam tossed the filthy pack of Camels to Peter.

Peter pilfered a single length of tobacco, filter and paper. He brought it to his lips and struck his lighter to life. He took a long drag, closing his eyes behind the fashionable frames of his designer glasses. Peter handed the pack back to Adam as he stepped closer.

“Can we get the lights over there? We need to be able to see where we’re wasting our time.” Peter said. The conspiracy in his voice indicated that his vocalization of dissatisfaction was meant only to fill the short space between his face and Adam’s face.

Peter’s rampant disinterest in the mission was fueled by a life long and passionate apathy towards goal oriented activities. Peter was the product of a changing America. The country had become, over time, a place where those who could, often chose not to do. A place where those who wish they could, but couldn’t, believed they could anyway. The American dream had come to foster an environment where the stupid and talent-less aspired to greatness, and the facile minority aspired to nothing more than a buzzing social commentary rooted in snobbish criticism. Peter was a lazy intellectual, with a haughty bone to pick with the institution that paid his bills. The government of the United States and every brain-dead soul that worked for it were in the cross-hairs of Peter’s jibes. He also had larger and less immediate issues with God. God didn’t seem to care.

“Fuck it.” Adam said, trying to sound casual. He had bigger worries than the bellies of the muddy irrigation ditches. The bellies he was worried about had eyes, fangs and scales wrapped around them. For the sake of everyone, Adam would suffer his comrades to fumble in the dark.

“Yeah, fuck it. I think we’re getting out of here soon, anyway.” Peter replied, shooting a jet of smoke from his nostrils. “This is bullshit, they had crew out here a half-hour after the crash and they didn’t find a damn thing. They wait twelve hours, bring us out and have us spend the whole day combing wreckage. Fucking retards.”

“Fucking retards.” Adam agreed half-heartedly.

“Fuckin’ ungracious little pistol startin’ cocksuckin’ polecat, got no respect for the dead. I got a high mind to track down his pa and set him straight for the wrongness he done raisin’ that boy. I’d set him straight by bustin’ his ribs, for one.” Cowboy spat.

The moon plugged her ears and held her breath. Foul language and violence had a way of taking a toll on her, and she wanted nothing to do with any of it. She watched Cowboy shadowbox the sprawling emptiness of space, cussing and spitting. His spurs spun brightly as he stomped and growled. The moon waxed bright red as her cheeks bulged into the night. When he reached for his flask, she knew it was safe to surrender her guard, so she did.

Cowboy tipped whiskey into his mouth, gulping twice before relaxing the bottle. He wiped his mustache clean with the sleeve of his checked shirt, and turned his ornery eyes on Peter who, for his part, was still being a prick.

“I mean, who the hell cares?” Peter asked. He brushed the smoldering end of the cigarette against the side of the humvee, leaving an ashen streak across the armor. Peter cupped his mouth in his hand and pulled it down across his chin, his fingers dragging the sweaty sheen that had gathered around his lips away from his face.

“I’m gonna go piss.” Peter said as he walked off. He trucked down the river bank towards a stand of reeds outside of the prying eyes of the humvee headlights. His M4 assault rifle bounced against his legs as it waggled in its sling.


Gene said...

great scene. i like how it unfolds, anybody can seem to relate to it.

great read. your writing flows very seamlessy, love it.


how about a chapter on my favorite badass? or the sun. i like the sun.