Teaser Park: The Dream Thief (Part 2)

Yes, you have reached “Beginnings: Part 2”.

And, yes, you can reach “Beginnings: Part 1” by clicking here.

This is a tale of revision and woe, minus the revision the woe.

From my beta-readers, I realized that it takes a while for the novel to reach the action.   Okay, this is not exactly true, at least for me, both as a writer and a reader.  For me, the action begins as soon at the narrative voice is introduced, and what holds the interest of the (ideal) reader is this voice.

However, I realize that the main plot of the novel, i.e. the dream thief, isn’t revealed until, say, at least four or five chapters in.  There are hints of the troubles at the Governor’s School, but overall the story is a slow reveal.

So what I did in revision was work in some of that tension in a prologue.  The prologue also provides more background for a minor character that appears later in the book, but mostly what it does is provide (in the perfect world) an underlying tension to Cory’s experience in those opening chapters.

Now, for your consideration and comparison with the earlier first beginning of my novel, the revised revision now ready for your review!

Cassandra’s heart is a bird inside her chest.  Its wings beat in time with her running feet on the concrete path.  She knows what’s going on – just as surely as you don’t, not yet – and she’s trying to run away from that knowledge.

But she can’t run away from it.  She turns around the corner of a dorm and takes a breath but she can still feel it behind her, a presence like a thickening in the air.  Cassandra is in the shadows cast by gatherings of trees, but she doesn’t want to be in the darkness.  There is no hiding in the dark, not from this thing, this whatever it is, this appearance of a man.

She walks quickly to stand beneath a lamppost.  The light ruins her night vision so that she can barely see beyond where the light stops and the way she came is an inhabited darkness.  Still, she feels better, and her breathing deepens, her thoughts calm.

This is not how Cassandra acts, she tells herself.  This is not how a girl raised in New York behaves, and this is not how a city girl is going to die.  In fact, she assures herself, she is not going to die at all.  She’s taken years of aikido and has thrown down men many times her own weight.  Once, walking home from a friend’s house on her own, strictly against her mother’s orders, she had been assaulted by a man.  He’d stepped from the shadows of an alley just as she passed by and grabbed her arm, and boy was he surprised when she flipped him onto his back in the street, his foul breath exploding from his lungs.  No, Cassandra thinks, I am not going to die.

And she’s correct, but for all the wrong reasons.

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