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  1. #1
    jayce
    Guest

    Opening scene for TEXAS TANGO

    This is polished. Word choice, sentence structure, fragments, punctuation, etc., are all intentional. Comments appreciated.
    - - - - - - -

    When the bus stopped for him outside the Briscoe Prison wall, it was already running late, and by the time it reached Houston, darkness had fallen, Joe Fane stepping off into a humid summer night, the Fanin Street terminal noisy with blue-collar workers making the shift change. He had to pee.

    He relieved himself in the men’s room, guys walking in and out, the door banging open and shut, but Joe focused on his business. Done, he zipped his fly. As he backed away, something punched him in the side, a sharp pain making him wince.

    Joe pivoted. A compact man of about thirty with a shaved head and wearing a muscle shirt and cargo pants grinned up at him.

    “Dude! They let you out!”

    “Jesus, Duncan, what’s the big idea?”

    “The boss wants to see ya.”

    “He tell you to rupture my kidney?”

    "If I wanted to hurt ya, I would’a hurt ya. Come on, he’s waiting.”

    Behind Duncan stood a pair of swarthy Middle Easterners. Humorless, beetle-browed men with shades and Saddam Hussein mustaches. Built like Russian tanks. They clamped onto Joe’s biceps, leaving him no wriggle room.

    Duncan still grinning: “Say hello to Frick and Frack. They’re from Baghdad.”

    They hustled Joe from the men’s room, through the lobby, and out to a white stretch limousine sitting at the curb in the NO PARKING zone. Duncan opened the passenger door; the Iraqis dumped Joe inside.

    - - - - - - - -



  2. #2
    Dale Day
    Guest

    Re: Opening scene for TEXAS TANGO

    When the bus stopped for him outside the Briscoe Prison wall, it was already running late, and by the time it reached Houston, darkness had fallen, Joe Fane stepping off into a humid summer night, the Fanin Street terminal noisy with blue-collar workers making the shift change. He had to pee.

    So, whio's Fane? What does he look like? If he's just getting out, what's his emotional state? Did he dislike the night? Did being late upset him? The workers were making a shift-change from what? Why should I care? Why should Joe? Can't you make it a bit more descriptive than "He had to pee."?

  3. #3
    junel ;-)
    Guest

    Re: Opening scene for TEXAS TANGO

    Your opening paragraph:

    "When the bus stopped for him outside the Briscoe Prison wall, it was already running late, and by the time it reached Houston, darkness had fallen, Joe Fane stepping off into a humid summer night, the Fanin Street terminal noisy with blue-collar workers making the shift change. He had to pee."

    Kudos to you for daring to try and be creative and break the rules. But all that ends up happening is 'He had to pee.' jumps out at the reader. Is that where you really want the first sentence to work towards? Is it really that integral to the story? Think about it.

    That's all i got.

  4. #4
    Battle Angel
    Guest

    Re: Opening scene for TEXAS TANGO

    I like it all except the first sentence. I know you did it on purpose but it totally messes with my head.

  5. #5
    Jeanne Gassman
    Guest

    Re: Opening scene for TEXAS TANGO

    "When the bus stopped for him outside the Briscoe Prison wall, it was already running late, and by the time it reached Houston, darkness had fallen, Joe Fane stepping off into a humid summer night, the Fanin Street terminal noisy with blue-collar workers making the shift change."

    Have to agree with Battle. That first sentence lacks focus. You've got some ambiguous pronouns that force me to go back and identify "it." I assume you mean the bus? Also, I don't like the second half of this sentence that begins with "Joe." The tenses jump from past perfect (had fallen) to present progressive (stepping).

    It appears that you're trying for a certain rhythm, a single, long sentence that moves the action very quickly from boarding the bus at the prison to being dropped off hours later at the bus terminal. See if you can rework this, so that the tenses work together. And get rid of the ambiguous pronouns.

    By the way, I did like the next sentence: " He had to pee." It stops the reader immediately and creates a nice, dramatic turn. I gather that was your intent?

    Just my thoughts...

    Jeanne

  6. #6
    Dave S
    Guest

    Re: Opening scene for TEXAS TANGO

    Sounds very much like Elmore Leonard. I wouldn't worry about any polish issues for now – it may need some fine tuning, but I think you’re off to a good start.

  7. #7
    Smiling Curmudgeon
    Guest

    Re: Opening scene for TEXAS TANGO

    Jayce,

    This has promise. I read in your genre.

    The opening sentence threw me. Is something missing. Is a rogue comma on the loose. Read it out loud. Something's off kilter. Not a lot. A little.

    My thought is you don't need to describe Fane.

    Maybe add a couple words about the shift change. Changing from what factory across the street/near the bus station or some such.

    "He had to pee" is so good, I'd consider making a separate paragraph. Mebbe even add (oh, the horror) an "ly" word. He seriously need to pee. His bladder was in full revolt. I dunno . Just a little spice.

    Consider deleting the second "hurt ya'.

    I like it. Has a kind of noir feel.

    Mebbe add a bit to the para where Fane is on the bus. This is an opportunity to reveal things about him as he observes other passengers. Don't add a lot.

    OTOH, maybe something happens on the bus to establish a bit about Joe's character, etc.

    Hope this helps.

    Feel free to ignore.

    Cur

  8. #8
    mar quesa
    Guest

    Re: Opening scene for TEXAS TANGO

    Jayce,

    I think there's a promising story here. Your characters are interesting and the scene is intriguing. However, the style thing is bogging down your story. It comes across as poor grammar. Style should never come at the expense of the story.

    I've read wonderful books written in "weird" styles (Annie Proulx's The Shipping News, American Purgatorio). What I've noticed about those novels is that the style complements the surrealist/weird aspects of the characters and story. The characters and story you've got here don't have that kind of caricature/surreal or sophisticated quality to warrant the creation of a "weird" or "lyrical" style.

    You can either try writing this without this style thing, or you can try to come up with more "unique" characters and ways of presenting the situations and then work on the style a bit more.

  9. #9
    Janice W-D
    Guest

    Re: Opening scene for TEXAS TANGO

    Jayce

    All of the sentences work for me, except the first one. You're trying too hard there and ended up with gibberish. Many readers will slam on the brakes and never get to experience your style or story.

    I agree with Jeanne. A long sentence followed by a short, lean and punchy one makes a tasty cup of tea for me.

    Best,
    Janice

  10. #10
    Janice W-D
    Guest

    Re: Opening scene for TEXAS TANGO

    Umm, I meant:
    you [b]tried[/i] too hard there and ended up with ... not trying too hard

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