Thursday, February 14, 2008


An Excerpt from Karma Police, backdated so as not to spam people.

Have Multiple POVs!

In the vault, Nanami watched the vault attendant sort through a handful of keys and decided to speed up the process. She grabbed the keys neatly out of the woman’s hand. “I’ll take that.”

“Hey!” The woman snatched instinctively at the keys. “You can’t take those, Miss-”

“This is a hold up.” Nanami replied calmly, selecting the key she wanted from the collection in her hand. “I can do what I want.”

The vault attendant opened and closed her mouth, without producing any words. “Uh.” She stared at Nanami as the newly-minted bank robber picked the lock of a random safety deposit box in fifteen seconds- Ewan would be proud- and found it was full of papers.

Nanami sniffed at the box, shoved it back in, and started the next one. It proved to contain jewelry in addition to passports and more papers.

“There really isn’t a lot of valuables in here.” The vault attendant tried. “Aren’t a lot of valuables. And by the time you get these all open, the police will have been here for hours.”

Nanami pointed with a knife at the corner next to the secure filing cabinet. “Sit. I’m really not really interested.” It was only a steak knife, but it was still designed to do damage to flesh. The Vault attendant sat, looking whiter than before. Another box with papers, though it did feature a baggie of unset stones- possibly jewels. Nanami stuffed them in her backpack.

Sirens were audible inside the bank, though with the drama of Laura crying and Adam refusing to comfort her, most of the customers didn’t notice. Ewan, however, did. He leaned across the counter and glared at the teller. “If the police get here before you get those drop safes open, you’re coming with me out the back door.”

‘It’s locked, I can’t get it open.” The teller piped up, heartened by the same sirens that were making Ewan’s pulse accelerate. They both looked towards the glass doors at the front of the bank, in time to see a police car rush by, sirens and lights going. It was followed by two fire trucks, also with lights and sirens. The noises faded into the distance.

Ewan showed his teeth again- in less of smile, more of a hello-I-am-here-to-remove-your-throat-by-the-shortest-means fashion. “How bout you try?”

Outside, Ethan watched the police go by. Weird. It isn’t like they usually came out with lights and sirens in this town, it’s not much of a metro centre. Two banks, three convenience stores, one drug store and a hardware/furniture place. Even the high school kids are bussed 45 minutes away. Maybe a narcotic bust? Everyone knows John Nichol is growing pot on his old farm- Turning all the way around in the front seat of Adam’s car, Ethan spotted the pillar of smoke climbing into the sky. Or maybe that was it. Cool!

He watched the smoke for a while, then gave up on that and investigated the buttons and dials in the dashboard. Maybe he should try it out before driving, just to make sure he could get away fast. Ethan poked the “start” button. It lit up red as the engine growled to life and all the dials swung animatedly under his command. No, this was cool!

Nanami checked her watch as she shoved the seventh box back in its slot. Four minutes gone, four to go. Damn, she should be through eight boxes, if only her hands hadn’t been shaking that time. She wasn’t nervous, just edgy! There was just a lot of pressure, it wasn’t nerves at all, and she had to stick to the time table. Well, she should manage at least seven more- long key, not the short one, you blithering idiot.

Nanami scolded herself for her shaking hands and noted with her peripheral vision as the Vault Attendant hit the side of the large tellers safe with her foot. The door swung minutely, and the attendant withdrew her foot.

More papers in this one, gah. Oh wait, there was a thick envelope- which had a nice bundle of hundred dollar bills. Why’d she poked at the door? Ten thousand dollars, excellent. It wasn’t that she was any less nervous, heaven knows the woman looked even more white. Not that she’d thought that was possible before- Nanami fumbled the keys and dropped them. Crap. She bent to pick them up.

The door had swung minutely.

That meant it was open. Nanami crossed the vault at high speed. She ignored the bank employee as she cringed into the corner and yanked on the heavy safe door. It swung open, displaying a set of smaller safes set inside. They were not open. But thanks to Ewan’s ethics manuel, she could handle that . Nanami yanked the booklet out of her pocket and thumbed through it. Coms were in the double lock cabinet there, and thanks to the vault attendant, she even had one of the keys already. Fate really was with her today! She started picking the second lock at double speed. Three minutes left. Hands, stop shaking.

Laura was having difficulties keeping the tears coming when all she really wanted to do was throw her purse at Adam’s head and stomp away. But acting was required for the sake of the diversion, so tears she would force out. “You n-never loved me!”

“Of course not!” Adam clearly didn’t even realize exactly how that sounded, though everyone in line and half the tellers did. They glared at this user and discarder of young women. Adam was oblivious, still fixated on the fact that he was thought to be dating Laura Hough. “Why would I love you, I hardly KNOW you! We’re not even in the same grade! Get a hold of yourself, woman!”

The manful, authoritative effect he seemed to be aiming for was diminished severely by the fact that he was now backed up against the wall and a stand of brochures advertising retirement savings options. Laura hid her mascara-streaked face in her hands and advanced a step, sniffling. Adam gulped. “I really don’t love you, sorry.”

Laura turned her face away and dropped her hands uselessly to her sides, evidently in pain. The audience redoubled their glares at Adam, even whispering their opinion of “rich boys who treat younger girls like that, for shame!” Laura balled her hands into fists defiantly. “I really- we’ve got something, Adam. Something special! You can’t just throw that away- you can’t!” She dropped her voice to a heartbroken whisper. “You can’t.” Best lines from daytime soap operas- in play.

“There’s nothing to throw away, Laura.” Adam answered in almost the same heartbroken tone. “There is NOTHING. Seriously, I think you’ve been misinterpreting things. I am not in love with you! At all! Honestly, not even a little bit!”

The boy was resilient, she’d give him that. By the end of this declaration of indifference he’d regained most of his normal arrogant certainty, despite the fact that his flawless reputation was still in smoking shards at his feet. Or perhaps he didn’t quite understand just how much trouble he was in. Laura bit her lip. Should she say she was pregnant, or- Adam made a small movement in the direction of the door and she made a snap decision to go with the second option.

Ewan judged from the strangled noises behind him that Laura had advanced to full-contact fighting. He shoved the deposit bag at the teller to get her attention back. “Money. Now.”

“Right. Ew.” She shuddered and vanished below the counter.

Ewan risked a glance over his shoulder in time to see Laura kiss Adam in a fashion not suitable for young audiences. Damn it, and he'd been supposed to be the diversion. Ethan and Adam really had a lot to answer for.

Outside, Ethan waved cheerfully at a concerned senior citizen from the driver’s seat of Adam’s car. “Good day, Ma’am!” She shook her head and limped away. Ethan found the button to turn off the windshield wipers, then set about trying to re-find the controls for the lights.

Nanami shoved the last brick of hundreds into her backpack. Time was up and there were two more safes still to open, but as least she had opened three. And she’d got the high value and foreign currencies open, that was highly satisfying. She sat on the backpack to let her zip it up. Got to go now!

Ewan felt the air current as Nanami ran past him, he didn’t actually see her. The girl was unexpectedly fast. That meant it was time to Leave Now. He slammed his fist into the counter to get the teller’s attention. “Money! Hurry the fuck up, bitch!”

The teller shoved the bag stuffed full of money at him, ashy. He grabbed it and ran after Nanami.

Laura fell off of Adam, hitting the ground just hard enough to look painful. Not that it actually was- five years of being a cheerleader had taught her how to fall- but it should make a good closing impression on her audience. “Fine! I never liked you anyways!” She burst into tears again as she scrambled to her feet and fled.

Adam wiped his mouth on his sleeve. Twice. And again. What the, the, the heck had gotten into the girl? What had she been thinking? And here of all places? He took in the hatred-filled glances being thrown in his direction and fled too.


Spartezda said...

Huh, nice. I think that could definitely be smoothed out yummily. Five different POVs would be if they each had separate sections where their perceptions/narration weren't interrupted by any other character's. You seem to naturally gravitate to omni POV, which is awesome--I adore well-done omni, but none of my ideas have presented themselves in it yet, alas.

*pets the excerpt*

Snazel said...

*beams* Thank you for your, uh, petting. *cough* AHEM. Yes, I need to finish writing the keening thing, and then learn how to edit- but once that little thing is done I think it shall be VERY yummy! :D I'm glad you like.

Spartezda said...

Are you planning to put it up for crit anywhere, once you get to the editing stage? Because when I take a liking to something, I get the itch to slash it apart, rearrange the strips, and present the bleeding mass back to the author while beaming deliriously (Merc can attest to this). Gratuitous use of footnotes may be involved. O:)

*smiles at the excerpt in a totally non-bloodthirsty fashion*

Snazel said...

Oh, yes! I just have to, uh, finish it first. *cough* I really do not do this often. The standard procedure is to crit an entire story, yes?

(And I'd LOVE to have you crit it. I might hate you for a week afterwards and week copiously into my pillow, but in the end I'd be fine. I'm sure. *tentative smile*)

Spartezda said...

Heee. For me the general progression is "How DARE you think my baby isn't perfect!" to "Okay, you might have a point...maybe...I guess" to "Oh God I suck and everything I touch sucks and I will DIE SWALLOWED BY A SELF-INDUCED BLACK HOLE" to "I have to write again, even if it's goes..." to "You know, this isn't as bad as I thought. It might even be okay! And look, there's that thing I did wrong last time, and I can spot it myself now. Yay! I LOVE THE WORLD! I AM AWESOME!" to "This draft is done, time for some feedback."

Repeat ad nauseum. ;)

As far as critting procedure, it really varies by person, and what each author finds most helpful. Some (*cough*me*cough*) like to have a whole draft done and revised once before soliciting crits (that sounds faintly illegal). Some like to have people read the whole thing super-rough and get big general feedback; others do chapter-by-chapter, and find the feedback useful as motivation to finish the project. So it all depends on what you're looking for and why.

Snazel said...

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Uh. Well. I am weak and desire crits. Would you WANT a half-written story, to be updated as I can churn out the updates? *unsure Snazel is unsure*

Spartezda said...

Sure, though I'd probably only do in-depth line edits on the first couple chapters' worth, and then revert to larger scale comments and questions (after a certain point, line-editing is most useful in the polishing phase, when one is done ripping out or putting in characters/scenes/plotlines).

Bring on the story! :D

Snazel said...

Whee! Oh terror.

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