Feedback wanted – Crime Fiction

[The Canadian writer, blogger and journalist Cory Doctorow (not to be confused with E.L.Doctorow) suggests that his “favorite, foolproof way to start a story is with a person in a place with a problem, preferably in the first sentence” and apart from the bad spelling of ‘favourite’ I found this useful advice. I’m busy rewriting the beginning of “Vague Traces” and culling words, and I thought I’d try out a stab here and see if I get some useful feedback, honesty of course is valued more highly than politeness and the big question is “Does this grab you ?”. The two characters you meet are both minor but are pivotal to the plot, as is “the big man”. My gut instinct is that it does not flow simply enough for an opening and needs to be bashed around and simplified a bit more]

 

The overweight man sitting next to the window of the coffee shop ordered a second coffee and seemed to concentrating on his Sudoku. He was in fact  thinking through his next move and silently cursing his lack of planning. He had parked his car at the nearby University which was having an open day, but now he needed to get into the city centre undetected and he had forgotten to plan for this. It was fairly simple these days to track cars via their own legitimate satellite tracking systems, this only required  hacking into the tracking company’s computer. He assumed he was at a level of surveillance that this was being done to his car but he doubted he was being physically tailed. So it wasn’t a huge or insurmountable problem, he just needed to get into town in a way that would not be memorable  should anybody come asking questions later.

“Toween… toweeen” came the cries of the urchins who acted as conductors for the minibus taxis and who were trying to drum up customers for the trip into town, and the man briefly  considered whether a white guy catching a mini-bus taxi would be remarkable and therefore remembered.

Just then a Metro-Cabs metered taxi pulled up and deposited two ladies, possibly escorts on their way home. He checked to see if the cab was going to wait for them, and when he saw one of the ladies paying the driver he rushed out and jumped into the cab.

Bernard Latje was good waiter, very good in fact, and he knew when customers wanted to talk and when they wanted to be left alone. This guy had so obviously wanted to be left alone that Bernard was not surprised he left without a word, but  what did surprise him was that the customer had hardly touched his second coffee and that he then climbed into a Metro-cab when his own car keys had being lying on the table. It was probably nothing, but worth remembering to tell the Big Man if he came past later. It was always better to have something to tell the Big Man, even if it turned out to be nothing important.

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Feedback wanted – Crime Fiction”

  1. How about ending the first paragraph after “silently cursing his lack of planning”? Also the details about how his car could be tracked is a little ungainly, whether in the opening or used later. I do like the second paragraph and, as Col writes, it would make a more intriguing opening.

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    1. Thank you, and yep, I reckon you’ve nailed it; the second paragraph had been in my head a while, and its pretty good, sets the location etc so its certainly worth opening the novel with.

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  2. You Czardas are the worst kind of bully, you are a coward. You hide behind anonymity and try to gain acceptance by pillorying other people. You’re a pathetic little twerp of a human being – how easy do you think it is for us to find you? Look around the next time you walk to your local Internet Café! We’re watching you!
    We, the ‘Coalition Against Cyber Bullying’ are going to stamp you out.
    You’re going to be executed, taken out to the Cane Fields, tied over an ant hill and your eyelids cut off and your top layer of skin peeled off you and left to die.
    It’s going to be very painful. While you lie there in agony, you’re going to wonder if picking on woman and children and cyber bullying and cyber stalking was worth it.
    And you ..Noble@mweb.co.za . I’d button it or you’ll be next!

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