I'm feeling much more confident now, that I have a solid first draft, than I was the first time I had a first draft. My characters are more vibrant. I've sorted out quite a few technical issues, time lines, and added some metaphorical images.
A doorway seems to have opened, with the completion of this draft, to new images and ideas. It was as if I was behind a wall, groping for a crack to get my nails into, in order to imagine how I could present certain developments. I had all but given up, surrendering to the notion that it was as good as it gets, and I sat down on the step with my chin in my hands. I heard a creak behind me, and turned to find the way not only clear, but wide open to a whole field of idea flowers.
So I will hand this thing over, as I continue to give ink to these blossoms, and look forward to the creation of a third first draft. Or perhaps I will grow very bold, and call it my first rewrite!
Here's a sample:
“Let’s walk up the hill on Waverley,” Simon said, pointing. “Then we can cut over and catch the bus further north.”
Katie let go of his hand to search through a bin of discount clothing outside a shop on the corner. Simon looked up. “We’ve got us some Nimbostratus company. Let’s go.”
Katie followed his gaze and reached for his hand. They began to walk briskly up the residential street when a shreeing sound was followed by a loud thud and the crisp tinkling of splintered glass shattering on the pavement.
They turned to see a rusted Ford Tempo bent into a row of newspaper boxes, their colourful tin sides hugging the right front corner of the car. Simon heard a child’s shrill cry coming from inside the car.
As they peered into the car, Simon could see a baby strapped into a seat in the back of the car, and in the front sat a longhaired man in his mid-twenties. There was a cut on his forehead over eyes that were glazed open. As Katie flung open the front door to speak to the man, Simon opened the back door and examined the baby boy. By the smell it was obvious that the child needed changing. After unbuckling the screaming baby, Simon lifted him out. The child was soaked through to the skin, dressed only in a sleeper.
As he undid his jacket to tuck the baby inside, Simon turned to find Katie bent into the front seat. “I’m going to get an ambulance for you, but is there someone we can call?” She paused. “Do you know where you are?” Another pause. “We’ll just say you had your seatbelt on. Are you hurting anywhere besides your head?”
Backing on to the sidewalk, Katie dug in her jacket pocket and pulled out a phone. She said to Simon, “I’m calling 911.”
He was bouncing the baby as he peered into the car in search of diapers. “What’s with the guy?”
With the phone pressed to her cheek, Katie answered, “I think he’s in shock. He’s just staring... yes, ambulance, please.”
While Katie described the situation, Simon reached across the baby seat to a pile of clothing, but found no diapers. A crowd was beginning to gather. “Has anyone got a diaper for this baby?” he called into the crowd.
People shuffled aside as a woman pushing a stroller came forward. “It’s a size five,” she said, handing him the diaper.
“Doesn’t matter,” he murmured, walking to the crumpled side of the car to lay the baby on the back seat. The baby had stopped crying and when Simon took him out from under his jacket, he saw that he was falling asleep. “Sorry, little guy. We’ve got to get you cleaned up here.” Picking out a clean-looking baby blanket from the pile, Simon undressed the boy and wiped away the dried feces as best he could, before putting on the bulky diaper and wrapping him in a sweater from the pile. The sound of sirens getting louder made him put the baby back in the envelop between his body and his jacket.
“Is he drunk?” someone was asking.
“No,” said Katie. “I can’t smell anything.”