Okay, in-depth editing of Closer Than Family isn’t quite underway yet, but it will be soon. I realized that I left a couple of my concerns with a new character unaddressed before I finished, so I’ll deal with those prior to tackling the rest of the manuscript. The best thing about writing might be that’s not a race, and you don’t have to get it perfect the first time. Consistency gets your initial word count in, and persistence gets the editing done. Don’t worry, fam, I ain’t gonna George R.R. Martin this bad boy, the manuscript is complete, but it does need to be touched up before I let you see more than a fragment here and there.
Since I write compulsively, naturally I have other things I’m working on. Some of those projects are ‘practice work’ with my writing partners, others might just be random larks. Like, I have this thing I’m calling “Silver Angels: Path Not Taken” as a working title. I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with it (short story? bonus content?) but it’s built around the simple question of ‘what if Aaron met Becky first’. (That’s right, I’m getting ahead of the curve and ‘shipping’ two of my own characters before anybody else has a chance to.) It’s a substantially different narrative than the canon story, needless to say. There are two things I’m hoping to explore with “Path Not Taken”. We’ve seen how fiercely Becky defends the people she cares about when they’re friends. What about somebody she actually loved? What about her child? Moreover, how does someone as closed-off as Becky let herself fall in love in the first place?
It may go nowhere, but I’m about 12,000 words into it, so hopefully I’ll be able to figure out some kind of use for it. In the meantime, you may have heard me talk up the big action sequence of Closer Than Family, which involves Graycliff’s Finest bringing Drake into custody. Here’s a taste of how that scene begins.
The cruiser sped through the nearly-empty early morning streets of Graycliff with lights flashing, but no siren. James Evans needed to get where he was going fast, but he might need the element of surprise when he got there. Hopefully going quiet would do the trick. He knew where he was headed: Tracy’s house.
Just a few minutes ago, an early morning call had awakened him out of a deep sleep, and after just sixty seconds of listening, he’d determined something was wrong. He’d stuck around just long enough to figure out the basics: somebody had gotten into Tracy’s house and was holding her at gunpoint. James wasn’t clear on what the end-game was, but if some intruder was pointing his partner’s own sidearm at her, he wanted to stop whoever it was on general principle.
James switched the lights off as he took the turn down the alley behind Tracy’s house. He drove up to a couple houses away, then parked the cruiser and switched on the blue-and-reds. That was when he realized in his rush he’d forgotten one vital step. No one knew he was here. He called in a possible ‘officer in distress’ over the radio and considered his options. Shotgun? No, it sounded like there was only one. Pistol’s dangerous enough. He kept low as he approached Tracy’s back yard. If he was lucky, the assailant would focus on the lights and not so much on looking for somebody on foot. Even if he did, that wouldn’t last: James had to move quick.
He ducked through Tracy’s fence and made his way up to the house, revolver at the ready. Outside the back door, he stopped to listen. If there was anything to hear, he couldn’t make it out. He tried the door and found it still locked. Away from the back door and around to the front, hopping over the fence. If the front door was still locked too, there had to be an open window somewhere and he needed to find it. Unless he locked the door behind him when he went inside…
That wasn’t a line of thought James wanted to pursue. He crept up to the front door and found it open. He cracked the door and listened. There were voices. Neither of them sounded terribly friendly—but one of them was definitely Tracy’s. The other one… A kid? Another woman? James couldn’t quite make out the words, but he was at a loss to guess who the voice belonged to. No time anyway: he ducked through the door, quiet as he could manage and closed it behind him. They were saying something about going outside, though it was anyone’s guess why.
Ambush where? He’ll probably have her ahead of him when he comes out, but can I count on that? Guess I have to. There was a bookshelf near the hallway and James put it between himself and where the hall emptied into the house’s great room, trying to keep his heartbeat steady, to take slow, even breaths.
Tracy came first, in a sweatshirt and jeans. Her hair was a mess, but James couldn’t see anything else. Her arms were held up next to her, hands where they could be seen. Next came the arm with the gun—it was her service revolver, James could recognize it even in the dark. And it was shaking. James couldn’t think about why that might be, just that hopefully it was an advantage. The body came next, a surprisingly small one. James was still wondering if this was a woman or a kid—didn’t matter, though. He watched the two go past him and then slipped in behind the intruder. He crept along behind and just as they reached the front door, prodded the barrel of his revolver against the intruder’s neck. “Freeze.”