Rewriting a Scene

I’ve been too freaking busy.  There’s another high school game tonight, lunch with friends tomorrow and I’ve yet to find the time to really get the last rewrites done on my book.  I’m enjoying my paying job, but do long to work at the one I was recently informed is only a hobby since I don’t get paid for it yet. 😉

 

Extended family stuff has sucked up a lot of my brain time as well, so I sat down this morning and wrote out all the projects I need to do.  I do better with lists.  It helps to just focus on one thing at a time and there’s a nice sense of accomplishment when you get to cross one off and move to the next. 

So, it’s been eons since I gave you guys a real writing post.  How about I remedy that situation?  Want to see the current rewrites of a scene?    

 

Here’s the rough version:  

            Shrugging, I winked at Nikolos and jumped.

Chaos erupted on the ground as I landed.  Seven young adults came at me, five male, two female.  I had landed next to two of the boys and without hesitation, I spun into a kick that took the first one by surprise.  He hit the pavement and just lay there, stunned.

            “So.  What’s up?” I asked,

            The remaining six looked at me, each other, then rushed me.  Damn, I was hoping the kick would have scared them into talking.  At least I’d taken down the biggest one first.

            This wasn’t anything like the fights you see in movies where the opponents hold back and approach each other one or two at a time.  No, they just all came at once in a flurry of kicks and fists.  I didn’t catch the glint of silver yet, so no one had pulled knives.  I hoped.

            I heard Nikolos’ heavy, large frame hit the ground.  He recovered fast, though, wading right into the crowd of brats around me.  Unfortunately, the first one to attack him was a girl and it was so freaking obvious that wasn’t something he expected.  His startled, slack expression cost him as she landed a solid kick to his chest.  I heard his breath hitch right before he grabbed her foot and twisted.  He was going to have to teach me that move.  Her entire body flew up and back and even the boy trying to get a punch at me stopped to look when her skull cracked into the blacktop.

            One boy yelled and jumped on Nikolos’ back, grabbing his ponytail and screaming into his ear.

            I got whacked in the nose.  My eyes watered as pain exploded into my brain.  “Ow.  Shit!”  Blinking rapidly, I jumped away, my back hitting one of the other kids who immediately wrapped his arms around my waist.  I rolled my eyes.  The top of his head didn’t even come to my shoulders.

            We were beating up children.

            I opened my mouth to yell and put a stop to it, when the other girl dropped, kicked out her leg and swept mine.  I hit the pavement as hard as the first girl only I reached up in time to protect my head.  I had a second to see the boy on Nikolos’ back go flying, strands of black hair clutched in his fist.  A soft grunt sounded as he hit the brick wall of the shop. 

————————————

 Okay, this is supposed to be a fight scene and even I’m yawning here!!  It needs to be tighter.  It needs more umph!  More descriptive words.  Let’s try this again.

————————————-

            I winked at Nikolos and jumped.

Pain spiked my heels as my boots slammed onto the hard asphalt.  Ignoring it, I bared my teeth at this ridiculous group of misfits.  “So, what’s up?”

I had time to register seven shocked expressions before they rushed me—five male, two female.  This was nothing like the movies where the opponents held back and approached one or two at a time.  No, it was complete and utter chaos.  I blinked into the blur of unpracticed punches, shrugged, then spun into a kick that crashed into the shoulder of the young man closest to me. 

His kohl-lined eyes flew open wide as he hit the pavement, stunned.

There was a moment of stillness and I heard Nikolos’ heavy frame hit the ground behind me.  Without hesitation, he waded into the crowd of brats.  This spurred them back into action, but unfortunately, the first one to attack him was a girl. 

His startled, slack expression cost him as she landed a solid kick to his chest.  I heard his breath hitch right before he grabbed her foot and twisted.  Her body flew up and back, her head making a sickening, cracking noise when it hit the blacktop.

I winced.  Stared.  Her chest rose and fell so she was still breathing.

Nikolos was so going to teach me that move.

A tall, rangy boy cried out and jumped on Nikolos’ back, grabbing his hair and screaming into his ear.

            I moved to help but got whacked in the nose with the side of a fist.  My eyes watered as pain exploded into my brain.  “Ow.  Shit!”  Blinking rapidly, I jumped back, hitting one of the other kids with my elbow.  I turned, knocked him off balance and he immediately wrapped his arms around my waist.  I rolled my eyes.  The top of his head didn’t even come to my shoulders.

            We were beating up children.

            With one hand over my throbbing nose, I shoved him off with the other and took a deep breath to yell.  It was time to put a stop to this. 

            The second girl chose that moment to drop, kick out her leg and sweep mine.  This time, I hit the pavement.  Luckily the back of my hand slammed the ground before my head, but I gritted my teeth as a layer of skin scraped away from my knuckles.  I looked up in time to see the boy on Nikolos’ back go flying, strands of black hair clutched in his fist.  A soft grunt sounded as he fell on top of me. 

———————————-

What do ya think?  Better?

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About Rinda Elliott

Writer.I love unusual stories and credit growing up in a family of curious life-lovers who moved all over the country. Books and movies full of fantasy, science fiction and romance kept us amused, especially in some of the stranger places. For years, I tried to separate my darker side with my humorous and romantic one. I published short fiction, but things really started happening when I gave in and mixed it up. When not lost in fiction, I love making wine, collecting music, gaming and spending time with my husband and two children. I’m represented by Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Agency.
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8 Responses to Rewriting a Scene

  1. Jen says:

    I do think the revised version reads better than the first you posted. I think, too, though that there are still a couple areas where it could be tightened a bit more. I’d take out “Blinking rapidly” as one example, but that’s just me. *S*

  2. Scott from Oregon says:

    You want this to scream? Start breaking bones. When the girl’s foot is twisted, it should be twisted in one direction and then reversed. The snap of bone will be loud. The scream of the girl, impressive. People who know how to fight and are attacked by a group will try to break a bone straight away.

    The scream is what backs off the others…

  3. Ken says:

    I like the scene. You did improve it. Is there any way you can make the pace faster…feel the adrenaline in the fight scene?

    You have a line “His kohl-lined eyes flew open wide as he hit the pavement, stunned.” Why don’t you have “as he hit the pavement feeling the gravel under his hands…” You can feel the pain that way. Or “His Kohl-lined eyes flew wide open as he hit the pavement and I jumped on him to finish him off.” I don’t think you want to say “bash his skull til he reached unconsciousness.” Can you feel the difference?

  4. relliott4 says:

    No twisting or breaking bones–and certainly no finishing anyone off. Not in this scene. heh heh These are a bunch of kids. They’re not bad kids, just under a spell. (One does get a broken arm–but he pulls a knife–later.)

    I have bigger, more wicked fight scenes with real danger in the book with things like melting skin and cracking bones. But this scene has a different purpose.

    And you wouldn’t want to put “feeling the gravel under his hands when the story is first person and in someone else’s POV. Even if the story was in third person, I can only describe what the speaking/thinking person is feeling. Beri wouldn’t feel the gravel under the boys hands when he fell. She does however feel it in that last paragraph when it happens to her. 🙂

  5. relliott4 says:

    This is actually a kind of humorous fight scene–right before she winks in the beginning, she said, “Let’s have some fun.”

    If this were a scene where she’s fighting for her life, it would have shorter, choppy sentences to add more tension. As it is, this will get another layer of tightening before I’m done.

  6. Where in the heck have I been? I thought I commented to this post. I know I read it.

    “We were beating up children.”

    Perfect.

    I like your word choices. Can’t wait to read this baby! 🙂

  7. Karen says:

    Hi Rinda, better late than never with this response! 😉 Just to say, WOW! The second is a huge improvement. Even while reading the first I was mentally checking off the places I would’ve tightened, deleted words, changed other words… (I’m a frustrated editor, at heart! *g*). Seriously, the second scene rocks. The wink at the very start signals this as not-a-life-or-death fight, but the tension is still nicely present. I learned from this – I’m crap at fight scenes – so, thank you!

  8. relliott4 says:

    I get the frustrated editor feeling. I hardly ever feel a piece has been edited enough. heh heh

    Thanks! One of these days, I’ll have to post a bit of my life or death scenes. 🙂

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