Thursday, July 12, 2012

New World Portal

I always find establishing a world in sci/fi or fantasy or paranormal stories difficult because no reader wants to get bogged down in descriptive paragraph after paragraph. Yet they need a quick introduction to the strange new world they are entering. As the author, my goal is to develop the world with an adjective or two here and there, in hints and dialogue quips, while introducing characters and their problematic situation. An easy idea so why do I mess up and re-work so much?

Here is an excerpt from my adult content urban fantasy romance Trixie’s Hot Box that hopefully establishes the unusual aspects of this world. (PG excerpt except for one word I've heard repeatedly on prime time dramas and comedies -- plus a little inuendo) It is my first adult content story, but I don't want to talk about that. Sex just happens. I chose this because it is from the first few pages of the story. Did this excerpt give you an introduction not only to character, but world? Another reason I chose this particular excerpt is because mistakes always happen. Can you find what's wrong here? And it's all my fault.

* * * Excerpt Trixie's Hot Box* * *

I walked around the bar to the front door to get a better view, still polishing a glass. The
walnut front door was dark, heavy, and thick, the glass filled two-thirds of the door’s height. With the soft burr of the interior’s equipment, I couldn’t hear anything outside, yet saw, nearly felt, the man’s gaze on me.

Which is crazy. On a bright sunny day like today, no one can see what’s happening inside because of the dark window glass.

A memory not my own flew through my mind. Eva watched two men replace the windows with tinted glass. With her hands on her hips, the feisty former proprietress declared, “That’s the last bar brawl taking place here. It’s nearly the eighties, for heaven’s sake. Time to clean up this old joint.”

She may or may not have been a relative. I don’t know. Except once her memories became mine, I felt her as part of me. Is this feeling wrong? Was my owning Eva’s memories what Nancy resented? This was my first soul collection, so… Je ne sais pas.

“You sure he’s gonna come in here?” Nancy asked.

The stranger moved, turning slightly, permitting me a long look at his face. My starved libido jumped to instant alert. The man possessed wide shoulders, and he was taller and trimmer than I thought. He wore his black hair in a professional cut at a nice run-your-fingers-through length. Deeply tanned skin stretched over exquisitely molded features shiny with sweat. The image might charge anyone’s pump.

As he waved an arm at Juan, I saw sweat lined his shirt, too. “So take off the jacket, you
tight-ass moron.” His gaze swung toward the door, his face angry. I almost believed he’d heard me. Although he wore sunglasses, he looked at the front door, perhaps considering what he’d find inside. He couldn’t actually see inside, couldn’t be looking at me.

I finally answered Nancy. “Oh, oui. I’m sure.” Plain clothes—a detective, what could he want? Juan approached and knocked on the front entrance and called my name. The stranger stood next to him.

I quickly glamoured my appearance. It’s not control of mind or manner. Well, maybe it is
more truthful to say it’s not supposed to be mind control, or so Eva says. Glamouring is reading the other person’s body language, sensing their scents, what touches them, what they envision, and manipulating your body movements and their senses to what you wished them to see. My symbiont manages the rest.

Unlocking the door, I let the men enter. Juan’s anxiety pheromones and heavy sweat hit my senses first, followed by the sweat undertones of the stranger. He wore an unfamiliar cologne or aftershave. It wasn’t a sweet or overpowering scent, smelling more subtle, heavy in sandalwood, spicy; effectively concealing his scent. I couldn’t determine his mood. He didn’t let Juan speak.

“Miss Gregory? I’m Detective Michael Quentas with the St. Louis County Police

Oui, I guessed. His accent was different from locals, more Eastern Atlantic. Good. He
wouldn’t know more than what the department told him of the area. When he began speaking, I lifted the glass in my hand and inspected its transparency, and polished it some more while waiting for him to finish. He didn’t, and I glanced at him, asking, “Mr. Quentas. What can I do for you?”

He removed his sunglasses. His expression smoldered. The look from his startling
luminescent gray eyes latched onto me, the iris widening seductively in the sudden change to dark interior. Holy Hannah!

Qu’est-ce que c’est? Where did the Holy Hannah exclamation come from? Eva? My body temperature skyrocketed. I also recognized some of Quentas’s smolder as pure temper.

“Homicide-Assault Unit.” He finally finished after I gave him my attention. “We’re responding to the discovery of a body in the alley behind the residence west of your building. Did you see or hear anything, say between, one and five this morning?”

My hands stilled, and my mind tried to process his meaning. Nancy gasped as I stuttered, “A body? Whose?”

* * *
Did you spot the error? My loved one read it through once and said, "You don't charge a pump, you prime it." Ugh! A lost detail.


Rosalie Skinner said...

Great introduction to what promises to be a great story. I think you have captured the multi level personality well. Also the heat of the relationship. Charge, prime.. small detail. Doesn't spoil the moment.

Rosalie Skinner said...

Is it new world potal or portal?

J.Q. Rose said...

You are right to work and re-work when world building. Too much is boring, not enough is frustrating to the reader. I can tell from your excerpt you can do it right!

Rhobin said...

Rosalie -- my big bugaboo -- spelling! Thanks for your comments, though, and thank you J.Q. Rose. Its good to know I got it right in this instance!