Yes, I took a day off. Bit of a rough one, it was. Not in the day, but more the night. Things always seem blackest at night. But back I am, and with an interesting thought foraged from the notes written about The Mailman during dinner. I was considering the introduction of a character in the screenplay. Every little thing tells the audience something about the character and thus I don’t want to waste time with things that have no meaning, such as waking up. My original idea was for Jack and Mr. Penant to wake up and get going with their day. But what does yawning and climbing out of bed tell the audience? Nothing! It gives me no new information about the character, about who this guy is. I’m meeting him for the first time: what I see needs to give information, not just be filler. True, getting out of bed can give character information, but only if you do it right. If the character (I would never do this) woke up in a messy room and bed with a girl he didn’t know, then looked at the clock and dashed off to work because he was late, you would know exactly the kind of guy he is: womanizer, handsome and dashing (he’s able to get the girl in the first place), and he has doesn’t respect authority. Thus he’s the cool rebel kind of guy who’s too cool for school. Example: Achilles in Wolfgang Peterson’s Troy.
Make sense? Every little thing needs to give information, especially in film, due to the limited time. I can’t waste time showing stuff that doesn’t tell me anything new because every minute costs money. Things don’t cost quite as much with prose, but the principal is still the same. With this in mind, I’m going to continue the story of the Sailor.
So, the word: hitch. (? – “Any obstruction that impedes or is burdensome.”)
The keel of the boat slid gravelly onto the shore and lurched to a gentle stop. He watched as the figure, still obscured by the fog, came to a stop three fathoms away and waited, cloaked and silent.
The waves lapped at the shore. The gulls seemed to have faded into the mist. Clouds obscured the sun, and he felt rain on the edge of the air. He waited, his hands gripping the sides of the boat, the bundle resting on the seat before him. He could feel it burning, yearning to go into the mist, but he waited and revealed it not.
Then with slow, soft steps the figure moved forward and emerged from the fog like a ghost. Hooded, with the cloak drawn in close, it was not until the figure stood three feet off the bow that he could make out a face. Light hair floated softly in the breeze, the strands wafting across a soft, female face. She stood tall and erect, with piercing, cold eyes and tight mouth. There was rock in this woman, sharp and damaged to a point; harshly tempting, yet terrifyingly powerful. He wondered how many men had quailed before her gaze, for as she stood silent in the fog and bore down on his with those gray, luminous eyes, he too felt his heart bend within him.
By compulsion he reached to the bench in front of him and gathered up the bundle in his hands. It felt weighty and thick, the rope coarse beneath his fingers, and he felt ashamed of how he had wrapped it. The leather seemed to reek now of tanning and animal, but it was too late; before him stood the one to whom he must deliver it, and no hitch could forestall the delivery.
Two steely hands came forth from her cloak. The fog swirled about her thin fingers, and with nary a sound she took the bundle from him and turned back to the east. For the narrowest of moments their flesh was in contact, and he felt ice flow down his arm and seize his heart. It was thus with unmoving body that he watched her float away toward the dim forest and as in a dream he watched her ascend the mossy staircase and disappear midst a swirl of mist into the obscurity of the woods.
Meh. Kind of fun. It was a big struggle to decide whether the figure would be a man or woman. It would be more fun to describe and have it be a woman, but I already did that with imprison, so I felt the urge to do something different. But, with the Sailor being so drawn to the shore and compelled to come, tempted is really the word, then it had to be a woman. I did not, however, expect her to be steely and cold. But when you write a line like piercing, cold eyes you can’t exactly make her a warm, delightful angle. But ah, so is the way of writing!