And the truth shall make you fees. Or something. Yesterday, I went back and rewrote the first scene of Drivers. (BTW, I really like that Blogger now recognizes Command-I as a shortcut for italics on Macs.)
I wanted to add a little action. There wasn't any in the original, and I wanted the hero to do a little something heroic for his girl right off the bat. You know, to kind of foreshadow bigger things later and make people like him.
Here's the deal: They both arrive in a foreign country on a private jet. They're among strangers, under armed guard, and doomed to die in a few days. The security guy at the airport lets Ash and two other men pass without so much as a metal detector scan, then announces that he has to search Zephyr because she has a violent criminal record. She's embarrassed and protests, since she was searched before getting on the plane and has been under guard ever since.
The problem now is that there's nothing Ash can plausibly do to rescue her. I tried to play up the conflict between Zephyr and her guards, then have Ash defuse the situation by insisting they search him too, and making fun of the security guy.
It was pretty meh.
I thought maybe I'd build it up more, so when Ash steps in it really feels heroic despite him not really changing anything. I thought about having him actually save her from the search. And it all started to feel like the original opening scene of In Memory that no one liked. Nothing felt right. It felt contrived.
Because it was!
So I settled on something completely different. I still have Zephyr in the same situation, but I don't play it up and make it more than it is. It's only a pat-down that no one else got, not a strip search or anything really bad. It's just an insult on top of everything else wrong in Zephyr's life—and everything else is much, much worse than airport security.
The truth is, to the helpless and hopeless, small victories don't matter. But it helps to know you're not alone.
Ash quietly walks back to join her. He doesn't do anything heroic—just nice. It fits his character, and it's not contrived. It's true.
It's not exciting. It's not action. I don't really know that it's a good beginning. But I like it right now.