Sunday, November 4, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day #4

So far, so good. I hit 7090 words this morning so I'm still on schedule - though it feels like my story already has too many subplots.  If I can find time before bed tonight, I'll try to start winnowing them down. Given this is my first attempt to write a novel, it's probably a good idea to keep the storyline as uncluttered as possible.

Here's a snippet if you're interested. It's a scene I wrote on day one.  Please remember not to expect too much. It's only a first draft, after all.  That said, all constructive criticism and suggestions welcome.  :-)

(An excerpt from "Murder in Camera" by Janice Brown. All rights reserved.)

Inspector Tom MacIntyre steps out of his car, turns up the collar of his leather jacket against the cold, damp morning air, and strides toward the trail head, blocked by bright yellow police tape.  Constable Dana Carvery stands waiting to brief him, an implacable expression on her smooth brown face, though he knows she must be unsettled by the situation. She is, after all, a rookie and her first murder case is bound to shake her up a little.
“Morning, Constable. What have we got?”
“Morning, Inspector.  The victim is male, mid to late forties. Cause of death to be determined of course, but I’m guessing the massive head trauma might have had something to do with it”, she said, grimacing.  
“Body’s just off the far end of the trail out on the point. He was found by a Ms…” She pauses to check her notes. 
“By a Ms. Jane Anderson, who was out for her morning run. We’ve got her waiting at the visitor’s centre, by the way. ”
“Anything else?”
“Well, yes, actually, I should probably warn you It seems like something found him before Ms. Anderson did. Hard to say what, but whatever it was had a good chunk of his face for dinner.” 
“Yeah, it’s not pretty.”
“The truth is, Constable, murder is almost never pretty - if that’s what it was. Murder.” 
“Unless he bashed the back of his own head in, Inspector, I’m pretty sure it was murder.”
“Fair enough. Guess I’d better go take a look then.  Anything to watch out for on my way?”
“No. The forensic team has already done a preliminary survey of the scene.  Didn’t find anything to speak of on the path so they said you’re clear to walk out. Just stay on the path.” 
The trail he saw cut a path through old forest, hugging the edge of the lake.  In the cool fall morning, the air smelled crisp and clear. The sun cut brightly through leafless branches over his head.  Across the lake, he heard children laughing. “Nice place to die,” he thought, smiling grimly to himself. 
Reaching the scene a few minutes later, he’s pleased to see Sargeant John Myers directly a team of three men and one woman whose job it is to systematically examine the scene, collecting and photographing in situ anything that might turn out to be evidence in the case.
“John, good to see.”
“Good to see you too, Mac.” Mac. The name people at work. His mother and father still insisted on calling him Thomas. His wife called him Tom - when she wasn’t calling him a son of a bitch. “What have we got?”
“Dana will have give you the basics. Male. Middle-aged.  Maybe 40 to 45. Caucasian.  Death likely caused by blunt trauma to the head inflicted by someone other than the victim.  The weather’s been cool so it’s hard to say for sure but my guess is he hasn’t been here long. Just long enough for something to munch on him for dinner.”
“Yeah, Dana mentioned that. Any I.D.?”
“No wallet but he had a phone on him. We’re checking it now.  I should have a name soon.”
“Anything else?”
“Yeah. There is one thing. Come and see for yourself.”
Turning, he lead MacIntyre to the knoll where the body would lay undisturbed until John and his team had completed their work.  He walked just close enough to see what he had to.  Dana was right. It wasn’t pretty. He’d seen a lot of ugliness in his 22 years as a cop but nothing prepares you for the sight of a man with half his face eaten away. 
“Try to ignore his face, Mac. Notice anything else that’s strange? Look at what he’s wearing.”
He was right, MacIntyre thought. The man was lying on his back, head twisted to one side. Arms and legs outstretched.  From the waist down, he looked as if he was dressed for running - shorts, socks, running shoes.  From the waist up, he was dressed for something else. Dinner out maybe? He upper body was clad in a soft pink, long-sleeved dress shirt, unbuttoned at the neck, the collar turned up to frame his face. 
“That’s a helluva get up.”
“No kidding. I’ve got my team checking now. I’m betting he didn’t go running in that shirt. And judging by the amount of blood on it, I don’t think he was wearing it when he was killed either.”
A phone rings and both men reach for their pockets. 
“It’s mine,” John says.
“John Myers”, he says answering it. “What have you got for me? Uh huh. Okay. Right. Text the info to me and copy it to Mac, will you? Thanks.”
“That was the office”, he says to MacIntyre. “We’ve got a name. The phone belongs to a Patrick Moore who, as it happens, was reported missing by his daughter two days ago. They’ll send us her name and address in a minute.”
“Shit. Guess that means I get to do the honours. I’ll take Dana with me if that’s okay with you.”
John nods solemnly.
“Yeah, I can get one of my guys to keep on eye on things until reinforcements arrive. It helps to have a woman along when you’re breaking bad news to the family.”

1 comment:

  1. You're rolling, Janice!! And great scene here - lots of story questions raised to make the reader keep turning those pages (I am very intrigued by the attire on the dead guy...and the mutilated face, but then I do tend to have a dark imagination).

    Keep it up though the week and I'm looking forward to our 'write-in' next weekend :)