While cleaning out my Google Docs, I found my original chapter one of Unhitched. It was in a file called trucker
If you want to see how someone’s writing ability and style can vastly change over a couple months (and then years), read on. I warn you, though. It’s rough – so rough. I left every error for posterity, but I think it makes me even prouder of what Unhitched is turning into.
“Excuse me, ma’am! Hey!” he snapped, gritting his teeth. The waitress tensed her shoulders, slowly turning to stare down at the middle-aged mustached man in the booth. “Um, these eggs,” he said, pointing at his plate, “are they supposed to be ice cold?”
Her face reflected each regretful minute of the twelve hours she’d been at the diner. “Yes, sir. Ice cold,” she barked. “Says so on the menu.”
He hesitated, his voice growing soft as he stared back at her blank expression, “Okay then. Uh, thank you.” He averted his eyes from the woman as he scanned his area of the diner for any potential eavesdroppers. Satisfied that his exchange went unnoticed he began cutting up his cold fried eggs. The waitress had meandered away and now stood behind the bar, rolling her eyes at the crazy man in her section. Will, of course, noticed this, but returned his attention to his slimy eggs.
“Ice cold,” he mumbled to himself. “Supposed to be ice cold. Menu says so,” he mocked. “Why bother to cook them at all then?” His agitated voice was elevating as he spoke. “Should have just given me a couple eggs right out of the damn refrigerator!” he emphasized with a scream. Several other diners looked up from their breakfasts and gawked at the man clearly losing his mind.
“What are you looking at?!” he angrily questioned, his eyes darting around the restaurant. Women were whispering and glancing away and a few men were simply ignoring his outburst – save one. Will glared at the bearded man at the far end of the bar. The man’s piercing eyes bore holes through his skull. Will’s gaze aggressively locked on him until his mind finally buckled under the pressure, his eyes returning to his rubbery breakfast.
“Ice cold,” he whispered, keeping his voice low. “Tastes like shit,” he sneered throwing his fork down. He violently pushed away his plate and cradled his face in his hands, sighing deeply as his anxiety began percolating behind his eyes.
He was suddenly no longer alone. He dropped his hands and stared at the face across from him at the table. The bearded man had invaded his booth and was now intensely eyeing him. The man leaned on his fist and continued to stare at Will.
Will incredulously stared back, unappreciative of this blatant disregard for his privacy. The man across from him pulled a toothpick out of nowhere and slowly worked it between his teeth as his gaze remained fixed on Will.
“Can I help you?” Will finally snapped.
The man pointed at him with the toothpick, “You’re a rude little man,” he mumbled matter-of-factly. His voice was low and gruff and accented in a way that one couldn’t quite place his origin or discern his level of education.
Will scoffed, his face contorting with disgust at the insult. “Is it not also rude to be served shitty eggs?” His voice was tense and emphatic. “I’m paying money for warm eggs, just like everyone else.”
The gruff man smiled and sat back in the booth. “You’re twitchy,” he snickered.
“And you’re dirty,” he retorted, unsure as to why he was resorting to name calling. This was all ridiculous. “And who-who’s rude now? Calling me twitchy …” He scoffed again and leaned back, crossing his arms.
“Where’re you headed?” asked the mysterious man.
Will’s voice remained agitated. “Yeah, I’m not discussing anything with you,” he hissed. His eyes darted around the room, searching for his waitress to refill his now ice cold coffee.
“Why not?” the man wondered. He was quiet and placid, not even particularly threatening.
“Do I seem interested in talking to you?”
Will shook his head in disgust, “They why are you continuing to bother me?”
“Curious.” The man continued to chew his toothpick, occasionally clicking his tongue.
Will furrowed his brows. “Curious about what? About me?” He glared at him. “Buddy, I’m not into whatever you’re looking for, so move on.”
The man chuckled at Will’s assumption. “I think you’re exactly what I’m looking for.”
“Oh … wonderful,” he mocked. “And what the hell would that be?”
The man slowly leaned on the table, a menacing smile creeping across his face, “A man with nothing to lose.”
Notice how it’s in third person and past tense? I think that was the first thing to go on draft two. If you want to compare, here’s chapter one of the final version. It’s 2742
Oh, the magic and majesty of a little patience and a lot of practice.
6 thoughts on “rest stop [personal]”
Rough-hewn with the promise of beauty. I am glad you preserved this sketch.
Thank you! I think the first chapter has been edited more than any other chapter, so it was fun to find the original version. 🙂
I’m surprised you saved this, but I’m so glad you did. Variants of “he said”, adverbs, third person… wow! You’re so much sharper now!
Oh, you’re surprised I didn’t burn it immediately upon finding it so as not to ever let it see the light of day?
Yeah, I am too.
This is a treasure! I love seeing how you’ve evolved and grown as a writer. While I’m sure I would have liked this one in third person POV and past tense, I’m really happy you changed it. It makes me feel so much more for Hopper.
Aaaaand I just called him Hopper even though you used Will in this *covers face in shame*
OMG, I didn’t even remember the names! I forgot that I removed them on the second draft!!
The evolution is crazy to me as well, and I’m the fool that wrote it! I honestly can’t believe the tone of chapter one (on AO3) is ANYTHING like the latest chapter posted, simply because my style so rapidly changed over a just few months. I’ve been writing Unhitched for a year and a half and it still reads relatively cohesive. It’s a friggin’ miracle. lol