A Snippet of The Unicornologist, Chapter 8

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A Snippet of The Unicornologist, Chapter 8

It’s time for Weekend Writing Warriors! Every Sunday, a bunch of writers post 8-10-sentence snippets from their WIPs on their blogs. There’s a lot of reading, commenting and great writing. Click on the link to see the full list.

In this chapter, we meet another antagonist.

            After a month abroad, Willis Schwartzkopf’s heart filled with joy at his first glimpse of his home across the well-manicured lawn. He’d enjoyed his African adventure, but there was no place like home.

As the taxi driver lugged the last two of the many suitcases up the front steps of the grand house, Willis unlocked the door and retrieved his billfold from his pocket. He paid his fare and tipped the old driver generously. The driver then insisted on bringing the bags into the foyer and setting them at the foot of the stairs. Willis locked the door behind the driver when he left.

Bennett came from the kitchen, a quizzical look on his face. “Sir, we weren’t expecting you until Wednesday.”

“I know, but I accomplished what I wanted to do. Staying longer would just have been anticlimactic.”

I know it’s short (the limit is ten sentences), but what do you think of this small excerpt from Chapter 8? Any suggestions on how I can make it better? Please leave your comments below.

14 responses »

  1. I need something to ground me here. Like a blurb. Without knowing at least a little of the story I can’t really judge this.

    I get the impression (the driver then INSISTED on bringing the bags) that he’s impatient with the driver carrying in his bags. Does he think he can bring them in faster himself? Since he has a butler, isn’t he accustomed to people doing things for him?

    That was my reaction.

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    • Okay, I must really have fallen short here. I didn’t set up the scene with what’s happened in the story so far, since this antagonist doesn’t intersect with the protagonist until much later.
      The driver insisting on bringing the bags in was a response to the big tip. Otherwise, he was totally justified in just taking them as far as the front door. In the snippet I’m planning to post next week, it will become more obvious that Willis is very kind to people who work for him.
      But thanks for your comments. I’m looking at that little bit to see what I can do with it to reveal more of Willis’ character.

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    • This is the first time we meet Willis.
      Wow, you’re right. I can substitute “cabbie,” or maybe restructure a sentence or too so I can say “he” without being unclear which “he” I mean. Anybody have ideas for another synonym? Man. I thought this little piece was done.

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      • Here’s the new, improved version of the paragraph:

        As the taxi driver lugged the last two of the many suitcases up the front steps of the grand house, Willis unlocked the door and retrieved his billfold from his pocket. He paid his fare and extravagently tipped the old man, who responded by bringing all the bags into the foyer and setting them at the foot of the stairs. Willis locked the door behind the cabbie when he left.

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  2. Okay, I get the sense that he is wealthy, and that his home reflects that. In this para: “After a month abroad, Willis Schwartzkopf’s heart filled with joy at his first glimpse of his home across the well-manicured lawn. He’d enjoyed his African adventure, but there was no place like home.”

    The use of the word “home” twice, tripped me up. Probably only because I was reading it with a fine tooth comb–since you asked. 🙂

    Ideas to cure it…

    After a month abroad, Willis Schwartzkopf’s heart filled with joy at first glimpse of his estate across the well-manicured lawn. He’d enjoyed his African adventure, but there was no place like home.

    Or…

    After a month abroad, Willis Schwartzkopf’s heart filled with joy at his first glimpse of home across the well-manicured lawn. He’d enjoyed his African adventure, but there was no place like the comfort and familiarity of one’s own hearth.” <– Note* also in this version, I removed a "his" between 'of' and 'home' because it felt wordy, and it I don't think it was really necessary.

    I think you've done wonderful character building in a limited number of sentences. I look forward to next week's post–to get a better grasp of the man that he is. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • New, improved first paragraph:

        After a month abroad, Willis Schwartzkopf’s heart filled with joy at his first glimpse of home across the well-manicured lawn. He’d enjoyed his African adventure, but he was ready to return to civilization.

        Did I just trade one cliché for another?

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  3. I thought the same as Ed about the cabbie bringing the bags in. Not knowing anything about these characters, I’d like an additional sentence or two about that African adventure, something to really whet my appetite for more of the story.

    Off the top of my head: He’d enjoyed the month in Uganda and Senegal, getting people at the highest levels of power to jump when he snapped his fingers. And the women! James Bond couldn’t have done better. Now it was time to luxuriate back on his own comfortable estate.

    Something like that gives a tease of what he did on his adventure, urging us to keep reading to find out more. A guy who compares any part of his life to Bond’s must be interesting! IMHO!

    You’ll whip the story into shape, you have a good start already. Thanks for sharing!

    Marcia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Marcia. The ten-sentence constraint is a tough limit. I chose the first 10 sentences of the chapter for today’s post; the clue to what he’s been up to comes in about 8 more sentences. It’ll be in next Sunday’s snippet, if you can hold out that long.

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  4. I’m wondering why he locked the door behind the cabbie when he left, since there are obviously staff inside…is he in danger? It sounds like an estate. Is there security? Should there be? Why so much attention to the locked door in such a short snippet. Is is significant?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The staff wasn’t expecting him home for another couple of days, and he’s just trying to slip in without fanfare. No other significance except to show he’s a nice guy.

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