Chapter two (or one)

mantypingOr maybe it will be Chapter One. I sent the first chapter of An American Terrorist to a fellow writer for some feedback. One of my faults (or virtues, depending on the perspective) is that I re-write ad nauseam, knowing that it can always be better. While that might be the case, I have to stop at some point to find out if it’s good enough. For that I need critiques.

So, I asked Gary V. Powell, author of Lucky Bastard (published by Main Street Rag), to give me his honest, unvarnished, no-holds-barred opinion. This brings me to another one of my faults/virtues. I tend to start slowly. Rather than jumping into the action like the opening scene of a movie, I build characters and setting, letting the action evolve “naturally.” Gary suggested I get straight to it and start the book with Janelle.

I might. Or not. First, I have to write my second-that-might-be-the-first chapter that features Janelle. (I explain further in the book why she goes by “Jan.”) I’ve begun the – although I’m sure I’ll rewrite it. See what you think:

Jan Martin felt the familiar electricity. It always started as a buzzing in her head. By the time she reached her destination, her entire body would be tingling. As a child, she had exploded from the family minivan as soon as her father had turned off the engine in the pine needle-covered parking lot at the Illiniwek Forest Preserve. So eager was she to hike, fish, pet the horses, watch a ballgame and fish that she ran in circles, uncertain of which to do first.

She couldn’t run in circles when she reached Clinton; she couldn’t afford a misstep.

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