04/12/2017
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Under the Microscope extra: Wake Me As You Leave

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Read our suggested rewrite of a reader's novella intro

Wake Me As You Leave - original version

On any other day this would have been a beautiful view. I understand now why people, more often than not, choose the west-facing side of the bridge to jump. To jump from the east would mean looking back at the city, which would be the last thing you’d want to see, figuratively speaking, if like me it was the very thing you were trying to escape.

That is, of course, unless you were one of those ironic jumpers, out to make a point. In which case, knock yourself out. But me, I would much rather see the endless open ocean, the crystal clear sky, and wonder at the sense of freedom it all brings, as I plunge through the air to my doom.

I’ve read it takes a shade under four seconds from the time you jump to the time you hit the water, which isn’t long in real terms. But under some conditions I imagine four seconds could feel much longer. What if after jumping - say one second after - you have a change of heart? Then, those last three seconds might feel like an eternity. Although not long enough to learn how to fly, I would guess.

Some people pass out on the way down, some die on impact, or so I’ve been led to believe. Either of those would be okay, I suppose, the former being painless and the latter quick, and both infinitely preferable to drowning. And if those methods of dispatch don’t get you, or the whirlpools don’t suck you down and smash you against the concrete supports, there’s always the clean-up crew, like dogs under the table at Christmas. But I’m trying not to think about the sharks.

Great, so now I’m thinking about the sharks.

 

Wake Me As You Leave - McCredited version

I understand now why people generally choose the west side of the bridge to jump. Jumping from the east would mean looking back at the city, which would be the last thing you’d want to see if you’re trying to escape it.

I’d much rather see the open ocean and the clear blue sky as I plunge.

I’ve read it’s less than four seconds before you hit the water.

Some people pass out on the way down; some die on impact – or so I’ve been told. Both are preferable to drowning. Or being sucked down and smashed against the concrete supports. Then it’s the clean-up crew. Or the sharks.

I’m trying not to think about the sharks.

 

Read the full critique in the January 2018 issue of Writing Magazine

Back to "How to write fiction" Category

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