03/04/2017
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Under the Microscope: Hide

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Read James McCreet's suggested rewrite of a reader's novel opening

Hide, by Mark Granger

Prologue

Andrew loved the beach.
Even the shingle beach that sat like a rocky fingernail on the edge of Tatley. The fact that there was very little sand didn’t bother him, what he loved was the sea life, even those tiny little bugs that swum at the bottom of rock pools.
His parents worried about him. At seventeen, he kept himself to himself and had no interest in the things other kids his age seemed to be obsessed over although
Andrew didn't understand why they were so bothered. If he was going out every night getting drunk on sugary alcohol would they relax? He didn't think so.
On the edge of his vision something flickered.
Looking towards the source he saw what looked like a fossil. Yet it seemed to be intermittently glowing.
Andrew swung his pack off his shoulder and rested it on the rocks. He rooted around for his magnifying glass, he needed a proper look at this.
What he first mistook for a glow was merely a blue sheen but it was covered in markings and a few minutes of study revealed that it was a map. A map of the beach.
It looked ancient but that couldn’t be right. If Andrews estimation of the fossils age was anywhere near correct the landscape would have changed dramatically. Despite this, or perhaps because of this curiosity got the better of him and he began following the map. After a while and clambering over some of the bigger rocks he came across a cove. By rights it should have been completely dark but a blue light throbbed in the distance.
Andrew wasn’t stupid, he should turn back. His mum and dad would kill him if they knew he was wandering in to a cave alone. But he had a torch and sensible shoes.
A quick look wouldn't hurt.

 

McCredited rewrite

Andrew loved the beach.
Even the rock-and-shingle beach that sat like a fingernail on the end of Tatley headland. He loved the sea life – those tiny little bugs that swam at the bottom of rock pools.
His parents worried about him. But he was happy being alone and he had no interest in the things other seventeen-year-olds seemed obsessed with. What was the big deal with going out every night getting drunk on sugary alcohol? Did that help them relax? Unlikely.
Something gleamed at the edge of his vision.
He approached it and saw what looked like a fossil about the size of a fist. Yet it seemed to be intermittently glowing.
He swung his pack off his shoulder and rested it on the rocks. He took his magnifying glass from the side pocket. He needed a proper look at this.
What he’d first mistaken for a gleam was actually a blue sheen. The smooth surface was covered in markings and a few seconds of scrutiny revealed that it was an etched map. A map of the shoreline he was on! He looked up and around. Was someone playing a joke?
It looked ancient enough, but it couldn’t be right. If it was indeed a fossil, his initial estimation of its age meant the landscape had changed impossibly. Something wasn’t right here. He’d never read about anything like this. He looked around again. He was totally alone.
Something seemed to be marked on the map. Maybe it would help explain the presence of this object. He followed its directions, clambering over the bigger rocks until he came across a cave he’d never noticed before. It should have been dark inside but a blue light throbbed.
He wasn’t stupid. He should probably turn back. Mum and dad would kill him if they knew he was wandering in to a cave alone. But he had his torch and sensible shoes, didn’t he?
A quick look wouldn't hurt.

Read the full critique in the May issue of Writing Magazine

Back to "How to write non-fiction" Category

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