Fiction that explores the monsters and strangers among us.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rough Draft Noir

Comments: What follows is the rough first draft of a story not written. I've been reading Ellroy and Penszler's collection of noir short stories, The Best American Noir of the Century. The noir writers of the first half of the twentieth century focused on setting the dark mood at the outset of their stories, rather than the action. Today's suspense writers begin with the action and let the mood settle in as best it can. The following snippet captures that early noir style. Notice the "hook" doesn't appear until the end of the passage. I'll revise this opening later and present it in twenty-first century noir.

This is a rough draft so try to look past the obvious need for editing. My plan is to show you a bit of my editing process over a few posts. For fun, pay attention to the contrast of dark and light. How does this contrast affect mood? What, if anything, does the light symbolize in this otherwise dark tale.

Rough Draft Noir
The darkness gathers over all as the night sky blackens and sinks to the level of skyscrapers. Clouds boil and roll over the sky like flood waters from a deluge.

At ground level, Phil Tankerton pauses before hopping aboard the lighted street car. A November wind ruffles his overcoat and nearly knocks his backpack from his shoulders.

Phil parks in an empty seat toward the rear. He’s glad no one shares this seat with him. He rests the backpack on the empty aisle seat, resting his hand over it like a protecting mother eagle. He glances out the black window spattered with rain drops. Neon lights paint a cityscape abstracted by the rain.

Phil shifts his body to relieve his side of the pressure caused by the 45 strapped under his shoulder.

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