Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Is this actiony enough?

The two biggest crits levelled against the start of my book are: 'where's the action?'; and 'where's the story?'

Oh, well. Obviously I'm going to have to rethink my entire marketing-to-agents masterplan. For a start, maybe I should be billing this 130k word tome as literary fiction rather than soft science fiction ...

Anyways, the rewriting of the last 4-5 chapters is almost complete, and I can tell you both that not only is there plenty of story in this ending, there's a bit of action too! But is it enough action?

"Somethings wrong!"

The sharpness of Maeduul's statement made Shapeis turn in his crouch to face her.

"What's happening?"

"Loetopas – he's stood up. He's leaning over Loken, putting something in his mouth."

An image triggered in his mind, a thumb on a little girl's chin, easing it down to allow access for another morsel of dough.

"Is he moving? Is Loken resisting?"

The woman was shaking her head.

"They've used that drug on him," he said, answering his own question. He didn't wait for her response, turning back to sign the news to Tabeed.

"He's seen me! No, he's looking elsewhere, waving ..."


"Shapeis, there's someone else on the roof. A man. He's standing up now – how did I not spot him before? He's moving away."

A cold fist gripped at Shapeis's belly. "Where is he? We've got to stop him – he might be signalling ..."

"Too late: he's waving. Now he's turning, looking back to the room. Loetopas is signalling something ... he's turning again, moving towards us. Oh, bugger Sama Lovare's goat! He's got a gun ..."

It took Shapeis a second to clamber up to where Maeduul crouched. The man was in clear sight, looking around as if searching for something.

"Hide, woman!"

His legs moved without thought, dropping him back down beneath the crest of the roof, moving towards the man, the flat of his belly keeping close to the baked shingles – like the wildcat hunting the goat in one of the peasant dances he'd performed oh so many times for middle aged clients high on lutestran: foot here and hand and foot move and pause and knee to the chest ...

And leap!

Too late, the man had seen him. He was still turning, still bringing his hands and his gun into line with Shapeis as he grabbed at him, pulled him down to his knees. The man was smaller than Shapeis, thinner and lighter. He had him now, had him enfolded in his arms like a client before the rut ...

A noise like the Creator's own handclap erupted between them, clubbing his leg backwards, out and away. Shapeis felt himself stutter, fall backwards, tumble over and under and over the man in his arms. The man was struggling, but he would not let go ...


They were rolling faster now, slipping down the slope to the space beyond. Suddenly Shapeis realised what was happening, where they were heading. He unclasped the man, stretched arm and wrist and finger to grasp for a hold: none came. Still they were sliding, pulling, kicking each other, their course now accompanied by loosened tiles ...

And then they were flying free like Kaya-Brishe, prince of birds, as he tucked into a swoop for the rabbit.

That sound I can hear, decided Shapeis, that must be me screaming ...

What do you both think? Is it actiony enough?

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