More Puck & Ashbury? Yeah about 850 word intro...

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Hi. Sorry, I'm mad dashing through this now. If you're not too tired of my dribble yet, please give me a few minutes for some eyeballs on this bit. It's the ever-expanding new intro for Puck & Ashbury.

Might be fleshing out the "#" between the open and Ashbury on his knees but I'm not sure. It's a rough draft but it think it's working the way it needs to.

This is a humorous fantasy / mystery piece. Big questions are is it getting smiles and is it engaging to you as a reader.

--------------

Mr. Ashbury drove with the windows down and the radio blasting a classic rock station to pass the time. The latest job to come in to the ‘Mostly Mundane Detective Agency’ paid well enough, for a court summons. The fairy who dropped the job in his lap gave Ashbury the creeps. Fairies usually did. Something about shape changers unnerved him. Too many possibilities. But he gave Ashbury a retainer and a thick dossier on the summons. One overplayed tune faded out and an old favorite came up. He was singing along—butchering the lyrics—when he ran over a vampire.

Ashbury slammed on the brakes and winced when the Caddy shook after the back tire cleared the body. He cursed under his breath imagining the catastrophic bodily harm, spilled entrails, and mountains of paperwork that waited on the other side of his door.

He shook off the impulse to simply drive off, he’d been a cop—a detective—too long to flee the scene. It was wrong to hit someone with a car and just drive away. And the insistent knocking on the driver’s side window hinted that he might have been spotted.

The pounding stopped and Ashbury heard a slightly muffled, “Get out of the car.” He swung the heavy door open and pulled himself out.

The man stood there fuming. His shoulders hunched, the veins on his neck bulged, and his hot breath came in waves toward Ashbury.

Ashbury fought back the gagging he felt building in his throat. The man’s breath was rancid. Gaining control of himself Ashbury said, “I’m sorry, I just didn’t see him, is anyone else hurt?”

“Why’d you hit me with your car?”

Ashbury ignored the man and looked under the Caddy, expecting to see something horrific. He was not disappointed. The front driver’s side tire was flat and the fender mangled several inches out of position.

He stood slowly, waiting for his knees to pop, and walked round to the other side of the car. The tickle of something forgotten played in the back of his mind.

Ashbury looked up and down the street. It was deserted. No cars or foot traffic. The street lights were on, at least those that worked. It was a rough neighborhood, less than half the lights illuminated on the street below.

The man followed Ashbury around the car. Jabbing a finger at Ashbury’s chest he said, “You hit me.”

Ashbury continued to ignore him. “Where’s the body? I could have sworn I hit someone.” Looking around he shrugged. “But there’s no blood. Nothing. The car’s ****** up. But no body. What gives?”

The man shook his head and moved to the hood of the Caddy. He looked Ashbury in the eyes as he said, “You hit me,” and punched the car. The metal hood gave way, tore loose from its moorings, and wrapped itself around the man’s fist.

Ashbury’s mouth fell open. He couldn’t think for a moment, then finally he said, “You hit my car.”

“You hit me with your car.”

The tickle in Ashbury’s memory broke free, goosing his cerebral cortex. The dossier. Ashbury had a glossy 8x10 of this guy sitting on a folder in his passenger seat. “But you’re,” he stammered. “You’re the vampire.”

The metal groaned as the vampire freed his fist from the hood. Ashbury slowly backed away, his eyes darted around, hoping to find somewhere to run with a bit more… strategic cover.

“Hey, look buddy. I’m really sorry about that. I’ll pay any medical bills, we can swap insurance cards—”

“I’m a vampire, idiot.”

“Oh, duh, of course. Can I buy you a pint?”

“No thanks, I see a few litres walking.”

Ashbury couldn’t help but gulp. “No, that’s okay, really. How about—” He turned on his heels and ran toward the parking garage.

The vampire smiled. “Good. A chase. It’s been so long.” As he sauntered after Ashbury the vampire happened to glance down into the driver’s window, spotting the glossy photo. He looked back to Ashbury’s receding backside and narrowed his eyes.

#

Ashbury was on his knees, begging for his life. Or rather, he would have begged for his life if he could talk, or breathe. More properly, he was on his knees and would have begged for his life except for the two fists clenched round his throat that prevented both breathing and begging. But Ashbury was content with the latter as he was rather fond of maintaining his image, so begging was right out; unfortunately he was also quite fond of breathing.

“Why have you been following me, chump?”

Ashbury strained but couldn’t manage a sound more articulate than a wheezing sort of grunt as his eyes flashed around the parking garage, desperate to see someone, anyone. This floor of the structure was half-full with cars. Makes and models distributed at random, the loved and unloved were easy to spot. Newer or older didn’t matter, only that the owner cared. No people though. No late night shoppers hauling overfull bags or swing shifters dragging their overworked selves home to interrupt.
 

TitaniumTi

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Yes, your intro made me smile and yes, it engaged me as a reader.

Speaking as that reader, I don't think you need extra narration at #. To the contrary, I think that additional story at that point would slow down the action. I can join the dots between the sections; the image of the vampire narrowing his eyes after Ashbury creates a nice mental image of the (undescribed) follow-through.

The jump from the vampire seeing his photo on the passenger's seat to him asking "why are you following me?" seems a little like a non-sequitur but, as a reader, I would accept it and read on.
 
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Brian G Turner

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The exchange between the vampire and detective seemed to drag a little for me. Something that especially confused me is that you implicitly state that he hit a vampire. But then he imagines the mess he would have made of a normal human. He then acts surprise that this vampire is not a normal human.

Because you've already introduced shape shifting fairies in your opening paragraph, my reader expectation is that when we're told he hit a vampire, then it's part of this magical non-mundane reality he exists in.

The result is that his continuing surprise and shock not only seems to drag, it seems inconsistent with what you've already stated.

It might work better if you cut down the opening paragraph to be more punchy. You describe him driving - then backstory on the shape shifting fairy summons - then back to driving - and hit the vampire. That opening paragraph might be more punchy if you cut it back to him driving, then hitting the vampire.

If this is someone the detective thinks is only dressed up like a vampire, then IMO that needs to be more explicit - and additionally you need to be careful not to break your internal rules by presenting a world of non-mundane characters, only to then act surprised when they're met.

2c.
 

Bowler1

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when he ran over a vampire.



Set up this time as per I-Brian. You showed your hand far too early. The right idea, and if I hadn't been told of the vampire it would have been a nice lead in. You don't want to give the game away before Puck kneecaps our blood sucker, surprise the reader, make them sit up and take notice.


Think carefully about how you present the car crash, as it clearly isn't an accident. You don't want to cheat the reader too much either. Over all, I think the idea is a nice addition to a strong opening, but maintain the suspense and tension more.
 

tinkerdan

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I'll try to concentrate mostly on continuity and logic of the flow of the scene.

--------------

Mr. Ashbury drove with the windows down and the radio blasting a classic rock station to pass the time. The latest job to come in to the ‘Mostly Mundane Detective Agency’ paid well enough, for a court summons. The fairy who dropped the job in his lap gave Ashbury the creeps. Fairies usually did. Something about shape changers unnerved him. Too many possibilities. But he gave Ashbury a retainer and a thick dossier on the summons. One overplayed tune faded out and an old favorite came up. He was singing along—butchering the lyrics—when he ran over a vampire.-- --
--This is a sort of easy opening but it's nice and the vampire part at the bottom is what gives it the punch. Even though it doesn't track right with his not knowing it's a vampire I think the average reader will figure out quickly that he doesn't. That he doesn't begs questions later.--

Ashbury slammed on the brakes and winced when the Caddy shook after the back tire cleared the body. He cursed under his breath imagining the catastrophic bodily harm, spilled entrails, and mountains of paperwork that waited on the other side of his door.
-- funny about the mountains of paperwork though a bit cliché these days --


He shook off the impulse to simply drive off, he’d been a cop—a detective—too long to flee the scene. It was wrong to hit someone with a car and just drive away. And the insistent knocking on the driver’s side window hinted that he might have been spotted.

--He just ran over someone and is ready to flee the scene, what kind of world is this or what kind of criminal is he. Yes it has some humor in it but is it smart or stupid humor. --


The pounding stopped and Ashbury heard a slightly muffled, “Get out of the car.” He swung the heavy door open and pulled himself out.


--Former cop-I hope he checked a bit before just popping out of the car after running someone over and not knowing who might be out there. --

The man stood there fuming. His shoulders hunched, the veins on his neck bulged, and his hot breath came in waves toward Ashbury.


--do vampires have hot breath? just curious because IDK --

Ashbury fought back the gagging he felt building in his throat. The man’s breath was rancid. Gaining control of himself Ashbury said, “I’m sorry, I just didn’t see him, is anyone else hurt?”

--Again weird humor maybe but I just ran over someone was going to run someone rousted me out of the car and I blasé-ly ask if anyone else was hurt. Maybe he's in shock. --


“Why’d you hit me with your car?”

--Maybe he didn't hear this because he really is in shock. --


Ashbury ignored the man and looked under the Caddy, expecting to see something horrific. He was not disappointed. The front driver’s side tire was flat and the fender mangled several inches out of position.


--I think it's more likely he'd not be sure what he expcted to see because he felt the car clear the body at its rear wheels. --

He stood slowly, waiting for his knees to pop, and walked round to the other side of the car. The tickle of something forgotten played in the back of his mind.

--This begins a hint of time to beg questions. Something forgotten is the face in the photo (I assume. So that means that he really did drive over the vampire by accident.) That would mean it is serendipity that he ran over 'his' vampire. And remember he was just going to drive on a minute ago. --


Ashbury looked up and down the street. It was deserted. No cars or foot traffic. The street lights were on, at least those that worked. It was a rough neighborhood, less than half the lights illuminated on the street below.

The man followed Ashbury around the car. Jabbing a finger at Ashbury’s chest he said, “You hit me.”

--I'm assuming we go to the back of the car where there should be body. --


Ashbury continued to ignore him. “Where’s the body? I could have sworn I hit someone.” Looking around he shrugged. “But there’s no blood. Nothing. The car’s ****** up. But no body. What gives?”


--All things considered he could be play acting at the vampire and having some great plan up his sleeve, except for the indication of the high probability that he doesn't know this is his vampire. --

The man shook his head and moved to the hood of the Caddy. He looked Ashbury in the eyes as he said, “You hit me,” and punched the car. The metal hood gave way, tore loose from its moorings, and wrapped itself around the man’s fist.

Ashbury’s mouth fell open. He couldn’t think for a moment, then finally he said, “You hit my car.”

“You hit me with your car.”

The tickle in Ashbury’s memory broke free, goosing his cerebral cortex. The dossier. Ashbury had a glossy 8x10 of this guy sitting on a folder in his passenger seat. “But you’re,” he stammered. “You’re the vampire.”

-- So now it dawns. --


The metal groaned as the vampire freed his fist from the hood. Ashbury slowly backed away, his eyes darted around, hoping to find somewhere to run with a bit more… strategic cover.


--This is based on what happens later and is not here:: This seems a bit incongruous in relationship to what he does later and the fact that he is out here hunting for this vampire.Slow backing and eyes darting sound like fright I'm not sure he should be frightened as much as just surprise maybe a bit put off in timing.--

“Hey, look buddy. I’m really sorry about that. I’ll pay any medical bills, we can swap insurance cards—”

-- This makes it hard to tell whether he is now starting to play him or he's serious about offering medical assistance to a vampire. Not clear enough at this point to tell.--


“I’m a vampire, idiot.”

“Oh, duh, of course. Can I buy you a pint?”

“No thanks, I see a few litres walking.”

Ashbury couldn’t help but gulp. “No, that’s okay, really. How about—” He turned on his heels and ran toward the parking garage.

The vampire smiled. “Good. A chase. It’s been so long.” As he sauntered after Ashbury the vampire happened to glance down into the driver’s window, spotting the glossy photo. He looked back to Ashbury’s receding backside and narrowed his eyes.

-- It is actually easy to see the vampire make this connection just out of a sense of paranoia and much more easily believable than the length of time it took Ash to wake up to the vampire before him.--


#

Ashbury was on his knees, begging for his life. Or rather, he would have begged for his life if he could talk, or breathe. More properly, he was on his knees and would have begged for his life except for the two fists clenched round his throat that prevented both breathing and begging. But Ashbury was content with the latter as he was rather fond of maintaining his image, so begging was right out; unfortunately he was also quite fond of breathing.

--Now we're back to where we've been and I can only guess from the persistance that there is some humor factor to repeating the word beg so many times(I can't see the humor.) and possibly the same with the close use of the word fond(there are other words for fond and beg so it must be something to do with humor that's lost on me.).--


“Why have you been following me, chump?”

Ashbury strained but couldn’t manage a sound more articulate than a wheezing sort of grunt as his eyes flashed around the parking garage, desperate to see someone, anyone. This floor of the structure was half-full with cars. Makes and models distributed at random, the loved and unloved were easy to spot. Newer or older didn’t matter, only that the owner cared. No people though. No late night shoppers hauling overfull bags or swing shifters dragging their overworked selves home to interrupt.

--This is good-it was last time. Not spectacular or great but good. It could use some clarity in what is or is not going on with Ash's awareness of the situation with the vampire, but I understand the thin line of trying to keep the reader a tiny bit guessing while staying credible.--
 
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