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First Page: Unpublished Fantasy Novel

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 Â Anwicke International wasn’t on a main thoroughfare after all. Nor was it the sleek skyscraper Reid expected. The pre-war building with its weathered cornices and grimy windows barely cleared the topmost branches of the creaking oaks huddled around it. That it still stood might be testament to a small town’s civic-mindedness. That it hadn’t been condemned years before was more likely testament to a small town’s lack of funds to raze the place.

Reid glanced at the envelope in his hand and up at the street numbers carved in granite. The numbers stubbornly continued to match.

“Damn.” He’d never again take another job out-of-state without first staking out the business and getting an eyeful of the amenities. This eyeful was discouraging, but as he made his way up the Mayanesque steps to the entrance, he doggedly reassured himself that this job would be better than the job he’d left in Colorado. Not to mention the ones in Arizona, Nevada, and California.

Well, maybe not California. At least-’not Angela and Cathy. And Denise. Oh, Denise. He still occasionally regretted leaving that job behind. Any hope that Anwicke employed pretty receptionists faded as he stepped into a chilly lobby and took note of the bulky mahogany desk and the person, neither young nor female, seated behind it. Eighty if he was a day, the receptionist raised a snow-white head and squinted out across the scuffed green linoleum like the captain of the Titanic hunting with an uneasy eye for whatever had just bumped into his boat. Down came the bifocals resting on his head and he seemed to remember someone else’s instructions to smile, which he did with ungainly effort. “Welcome-’” He cleared his throat and went on in a voice still as thin and hoarse albeit sincere. “Welcome to Anwicke International, son. What can we do for you today?”

Reid glanced at the name plate on the corner of the cluttered desk. Gairden Smith. “I’m Reid Delaney, Mr. Smith.” He stuck out a hand and Smith’s thin fingers wrapped around his with a fragile grip. “I’m here to see a Mr.-’” He checked the envelope again. “Mr. Adlam or Mr. Leach. Either of those gentlemen in?”

Smith’s smile collapsed and a hesitant confusion took over. “Mr. Adlam? Mr. Adlam’s passed on, I believe. Yes, yes, that’s right. Adlam’s dead.” He held on distractedly to Reid’s hand. “Had the funeral-’oh, what? In the winter. That’s right. Poor old Adlam. I’m afraid you won’t be able to see him.” His watery blue eyes regained focus, his mouth twitching. “Unless you’re hit by a bus.”

A receptionist with a macabre sense of humor. Maybe the job wouldn’t be too bad. Reid relaxed into a grin and slipped unobtrusively free of Smith’s grip. “I think I’ll hold off on that for another fifty or sixty years, if it’s okay with you. Mr. Leach is still around, isn’t he?” Since Leach had signed the letter less than a month ago, Reid certainly hoped so.

The light of amusement went out of Smith’s gaze, shadows of uneasiness taking its place. He glanced down the corridor to his left, then his right. “He’s always around. Always around.” His voice had dropped to a near-whisper. “Second floor. Waiting room’s at the end of the hall.” He fumbled for the old fashioned buzzer fixed to the side of his desk. “Stairs are that way,” he said, gesturing, “if you don’t care for the elevator.”

***

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28 Comments

  1. Leslee
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 04:34:01

    I liked this a lot. I would read on. Very interested in see where this is going. Keep going!!

  2. Willa
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 05:24:55

    I enjoyed that – would definately turn the page to read on . . .

  3. Leah
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 05:40:00

    Definitely intrigued. I really like it!

  4. Lynne Connolly
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 06:17:36

    A professionally written piece. Nice hook (what is the job, what is this place?) and great descriptions and delineation of character. I’d leave it as it is. Great hints at his character without beating us over the head with it.
    One thing – it doesn’t read like a fantasy. More a contemp.

  5. Ames
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 06:17:48

    I like the voice and I would like to read more.

  6. KristieJ
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 06:24:35

    I’m another one who was hooked by the first page and would keep reading.

  7. vanessa jaye
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 07:29:50

    Really like this, would absolutely read on. As Lynne points out the fantasy element is not obvious in this excerpt, but that intrigues me more about what is fantastical about this world; I’d read on on that basis alone. Great job! Hopefully, like a number of first pages posted here, this one is already under contract so I can put it on my to-buy list.

  8. JoB
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 07:36:13

    Looks like a strong main character with an interesting job and a bit of an attitude. I do like the hint of humor.
    I’d be interested to see the fantasy elements. One could hint./ But I’d wait patiently well past page one for them to appear.

    Three or four comments here.

    .
    – We’re not strongly in the ‘now moment’ when we walk through this scene. Three-quarters of the words in the segment talk about what’s elsewhere and elsewhen.

    Here’s an example:

    .
    That it still stood might be testament to a small town's civic-mindedness. That it hadn't been condemned years before was more likely testament to a small town's lack of funds to raze the place.

    Colorful description. But it also takes us away from the very scene it describes. It tells us the motives and actions of the town council, in whom we are not vastly interested at this time.

    Let’s say we want to stay in the scene and give action to our protagonist.

    .
    Reid didn’t have much truck with the outmoded and ugly. They should have torn down this sad granite behemoth in the Kennedy era. Maybe put up a nice penitentiary.

    .
    – related to the tenuous here-and-nowness is a set of descriptors and colorful figurative language that doesn’t seem to fit the ‘theme’ of the story, or each other.

    … pre-war building
    … Mayanesque
    … captain of the Titanic

    Any of these refs is fine if we are now going to talk about WWII, naval disaster and ancient mysteries.
    If we aren’t going in those directions … can you find figurative language that relates to something in the greater story — maybe the fantasy elements?

    .
    – To a certain extent, I feel as if you are missing some opportunities for interesting and useful stage business.
    In Reid’s action line, for instance, he does this:

    glanced at the envelope
    made his way up the steps
    stepped into the lobby
    took note of
    glanced at the name plate
    stuck out a hand
    checked the envelope again
    relaxed into a grin
    slipped unobtrusively free of the grip

    By contrast, a character straightening his tie so he’ll make a good impression, or getting out his driver’s license to identify himself at the reception desk, or stripping off his driving gloves and stuffing them in his pocket or readjusting his shoulder harness may reveal more than the generic ‘he walked’ and ‘he saw’ which you give us a couple of different ways.

    .
    – There’s a certain lack of precision in some of the word choice. I imagine this will get fixed up in the next draft, so it’s not a big problem.
    Examples of this would be:

    .
    without first staking out the business and getting an eyeful of the amenities

    To ‘stake out’ is to give lengthy surveillance to a site. To stay there and watch the ongoing activity.
    If a fellow only wanted to get an ‘eyeful’ he’d probably ‘scope out’ the business.

    ‘Amenities’ gives the sense of comforts and conveniences. It’s often used as a euphemism for a toilet. Amenities might be provided by the local hotel, health club or restaurant. One would hardly expect to find amenities on the site of a business.

    .
    the receptionist raised a snow-white head

    Some job-words carry strong implications of the sex of the worker. ‘Nurse’ carries such a strong presumption of female worker that it’s often written ‘male nurse’ when a man holds the job.

    ‘Receptionist’ is another word where the assumption is female. I’m thinking that a man who seems to judge women primarily by their cup size would be unlikely to call another male a ‘receptionist’. It feels like the wrong word in the character’s mind. Something like ‘guard’ or ‘man at the front desk’ would perhaps fit better.

    .
    – There were a couple of ‘huh?’ moments for me.

    … an old-fashioned buzzer at the side of a reception desk in a lobby.
    I’ve seen high tech buzzers for unlocking security doors. I’ve seen buzzers where the receptionist is right at the boss’ door and she signals as a visitor walks in.

    If I were out in the lobby, I’d want a phones on the desk to talk to the particular office to be visited, out of the twenty.

    … a building with elevators that’s still overshadowed by the oaks around it.

    … shaking hands with a receptionist.

    … a protagonist who thinks of his work primarily in terms of getting laid.

    … ‘main thoroughfares’ in a ‘small town’.

    … street numbers carved in granite.

    … a man who doesn’t memorize an address and name but carries around an envelope to remind himself.

    … and I do worry about that old man working in a cold lobby. I just want to make sure he’s wrapped up warm ….

  9. Barbara Sheridan
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 08:11:03

    JoB’s points are excellent and you should definitely consider them in any revision but as a casual reader, you got me from the start. Your writing is solid overall.

    I almost passed this one by as “Fantasy” in the header made me think LotR fantasy, but this is very cool. Good luck with it.

  10. shenan
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 08:48:11

    Anwicke International wasn’t on a main thoroughfare after all.

    Is this the opening line? I ask because I’m wondering what the “after all” refers to. Seems like something has gone missing.

    Is this a Fantasy? Or an Urban Fantasy? I’ve never heard of a Fantasy that is (apparently) set in modern times.

    Nor was it the sleek skyscraper Reid expected. The pre-war building with its weathered cornices and grimy windows barely cleared the topmost branches of the creaking oaks huddled around it. That it still stood might be testament to a small town’s civic-mindedness.

    How many small towns have skyscrapers? Not to mention, how many small towns have international businesses or conglomerates? Although perhaps your definition of small town and mine are radically different. (Hey, where I live, a “big” town has 75,000 people — and no skyscrapers.) As for what one poster mentioned about small towns having main thoroughfares — every small town I’ve ever been in has one of those. Whether it is a highway running through town or simply the road that is most heavily traveled and populated.

    As for the description of the building — is there a reason for going into such detail about it, much less in the opening paragraph? Not to mention — what about it makes the hero think it should have been razed? Something other than the weathered cornices and grimy windows, I assume.

    As a matter of curiosity — why would a town make the decision to keep a privately owned building going or pay to have it razed? A town can condemn a property. But if it needs to be torn down, the building’s owner would pay the costs involved, not the town.

    Reid glanced at the envelope in his hand and up at the street numbers carved in granite. The numbers stubbornly continued to match.

    I like that last line.

    “Damn.” He’d never again take another job out-of-state without first staking out the business and getting an eyeful of the amenities.

    I’m with whoever said the use of the phrase “staking out” makes it sound like the hero normally sits in a car for hours staking out a potential employer. As to why the hero didn’t check the employer and the town where its located — why didn’t he? He didn’t even know the job was located in a small town and not some Big City?

    Mayanesque steps to the entrance

    Mayanesque steps brings to my mind a vision of a set of steps that go on and on and on. (If that isn’t what this refers to, then never mind!) So unless this not-very-tall building is set on a hill, it doesn’t make sense that it would have an unusually long set of steps leading up to the front door.

    this job would be better than the job he’d left in Colorado. Not to mention the ones in Arizona, Nevada, and California.
    Well, maybe not California. At least-’not Angela and Cathy. And Denise.

    I’m confused. His jobs were women? Or is he simply regretting leaving certain (female) co-workers behind?

    the receptionist raised a snow-white head and squinted out across the scuffed green linoleum like the captain of the Titanic hunting with an uneasy eye for whatever had just bumped into his boat.

    I’m with whoever thought this was misplaced. I don’t get the comparison — although not as it relates to a fantasy novel but as it relates to a receptionist checking out a visitor vs a captain soon to go down with his ship. Still though, I quite like it.

    Down came the bifocals resting on his head

    If the receptionist’s eyesight is so bad, why wouldn’t he have his glasses in position to use them all the time? And if he knows a visitor has arrived, why not get his glasses into position first thing instead of squinting to make the visitor out and then, whent that doesn’t work, get his glasses in place?

    Yeah, I’m being nitpicky. But that kind of thing can throw me right out of a story.

    He cleared his throat and went on in a voice still as thin and hoarse

    Still as thin and hoarse as what? Nothing, after all, has previously been established about his voice.

    He stuck out a hand and Smith’s thin fingers wrapped around his with a fragile grip.

    I’m with whoever thought it out of place that the hero would shake hands with the receptionist. Not that I see anything wrong with it. It just doesn’t seem the way people normally behave. (Unless this is a way of establishing the hero is really a Nice Guy or whatever?)

    “Mr. Adlam? Mr. Adlam’s passed on, I believe. Yes, yes, that’s right. Adlam’s dead.” He held on distractedly to Reid’s hand. “Had the funeral-’oh, what? In the winter.

    What kind of receptionist has to think on whether or not his employer is alive? And what kind of job is this that the hero apparently took so long to show up for work? And with no communications from his employers in the meantime?

    Since Leach had signed the letter less than a month ago,

    The mention of the one guy dying “in the winter” makes it sound like his death took place some time ago. Usually people don’t mention the current season like that but one that’s past. So has the guy been dead for awhile and somehow his name is still involved with the hiring? Or what?

    I’m not into fantasy or urban fantasy, but if more of this excerpt was available, I’d keep reading.

  11. Ann Aguirre
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 08:49:01

    I liked this very much. It has a charming quirkiness, and it reminded of the opening from HELLBOY (the movie). Now I’m really interested to meet this Mr. Leach.

  12. Kathleen MacIver
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 08:55:14

    I think this is definitely one of the best first pages we’ve had here. Wow!

    I don’t know that I necessarily agree with JoB on everything, though. The comment about the town’s civic-mindedness, etc…to me, this came across as his thoughts, as he’s evaluating the building he’s looking at. I felt that this was a very effective way of describing the scene through the MC’s eyes. The words that triggered, to me, that these were his thoughts, were the “might be” and “more likely.” Author description intruding, or omni would be definite on this. A character seeing it for the first time would just be guessing.

    To be quite honest, I do NOT like flat-out descriptions of scenes! It’s much better this way…seeing the scene through the character’s eyes. However…if it doesn’t come across that way to all readers, then perhaps it can be adjusted just slightly so that it’s a little more clear that these are his thoughts about the place.

    JoB’s suggestions for the section are also clearly thoughts…but they seem, to me, to be thoughts from a totally different character than the one you’ve portrayed. You’ve portrayed a man who only gets involved in relationships and the world around him to a certain degree…who regrets bits of fun he’s had in the past…maybe something that could have been a little more…but who isn’t about to let it get him down. When he has to, he moves on and doesn’t let regrets bother him too much. And when he reaches a new place, he gives it a quick, calm, and cool once-over, acknowledging its deficiencies, but also willing to appreciate any advantages it may have, for whatever time he’s there. The fact that he moves on so much makes me think that he’s a guy who is able to fade into the background, and generally does. He’s in control of himself, and maybe he controls circumstances around him…but if he does, it’s probably more through pulling strings in the background, than because he dominates his surroundings with his presence.

    The character JoB’s suggestion describes, however, is a man who does dominate his surroundings…tells people what to do…decides when towns should pull down buildings, with no concept of the fact that “should” is often not possible or practical. Frankly, I really like this character the way you’ve portrayed him!

    Granted…not all of this is actually stated in your first page…but that’s how the character came across to me. If that’s who Reid is, then good job! If it’s not…maybe I just read too much where I shouldn’t have. Had perhaps JoB’s suggestions would work better. I’m not saying they’re bad, because they’re not. They’re excellent. I simply think that whether they’ll work or not depends on who this guy really is.

    But no matter what, your subtle way of describing both the scene and your character’s frame of mind are excellent!

    The only thing that really felt out of place to me was the “like the Titanic captain” phrase. I really couldn’t fathom why the receptionist guy would remind Reid of a the Titanic’s captain. I think it would work much better to dream up something that happened in Reid’s past, and say, “like that guard at old hotel who used to go after anyone who dared to fingerprint the doors.” (Bad example…but either cut the simile or make it something that applies specifically to Reid’s life.)

    Let us know when your published!

  13. Kathleen MacIver
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 09:06:14

    I forgot to say that the “after all” in that first sentence MADE it for me. The sentence would have been absolutely dull without it. But those two little words tell us that there is something unexpected about its location, and that makes us want to keep reading. It’s a GOOD first line. It’s not so overdone that everything else falls flat…it’s just enough to intrigue us, and the next sentences continue that.

    I also love the way you portray the receptionist guy. He’s either slightly batty, which doesn’t seem too out of place in the old building you describe, or else there’s something supernatural…or something…about Leach, and about the place, and the receptionist is always struggling to find natural answers to things that really can’t be answered simply. All I’m saying is, it FITS. If he wasn’t old, or if the building was new, it would seem out of place. But it doesn’t, here. It fits the atmosphere. At least I thought so.

    Oh…and I also love the way Reid’s thoughts moved from the building, to where he’d been, and back to where he was and what he was seeing without a hitch. When I got to his thoughts that the guy was neither young nor female, and I realized how well you’d slipped just barely enough backstory in…that’s when I knew that here was a writer who knew what he/she was doing.

    So again, congratulations!

  14. Sonya
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 09:37:54

    Well, you hooked me, anyway. :-) Love the voice, great setup. I won’t go into any little language quibbles – that’s already covered in the other comments, and mostly what stood out to me were a few repetitious words that you’d probably catch in edits. You’re obviously a skilled writer. :-)

    And this:

    Down came the bifocals resting on his head and he seemed to remember someone else's instructions to smile, which he did with ungainly effort.

    is totally awesome. I would keep reading. Great job!

    Oh, yeah … and I also really liked the bit comparing the receptionist to the captain of the Titanic. So, conflicting opinions with other commenters there, but I think it’s great.

  15. Anon76
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 10:01:46

    I really liked this. One of the best first pages so far, IMHO.

    And unlike others, I didn’t stutter over the descriptions and internals. They flowed very well together and gave me a good glimpse at what the main character is all about.

    One little nit. The segue from California to receptionist names felt a bit off. I don’t feel it should be removed, because it adds depth to his character, but it does need a polish.

  16. Anon76
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 10:06:29

    Oh, but will agree that I stumbled on the Titanic reference. That felt forced, rather than as smooth as the rest of the writing.

  17. LindaR (likari)
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 10:09:47

    As ever, JoB gets about everything right.

    I liked this, but I wish it was just a teeny bit tighter. I wonder if you would consider switching places with the first two paragraphs, something like this:

    Reid glanced at the envelope in his hand and up at the street numbers carved in granite. The numbers stubbornly continued to match.

    Anwicke International wasn't on a main thoroughfare after all. Nor was it the sleek skyscraper Reid expected, though the pre-war building with its weathered cornices and grimy windows barely did clear the topmost branches of the creaking oaks huddled around it. That it still stood might be testament to a small town's civic-mindedness. That it hadn't been condemned years before was more likely testament to a small town's lack of funds to raze the place.

    I think taking out the “barely” takes care of the inconsistency with the elevators.

    It’s probably just me, but unless Reid is a jerk, I would rework this sentence:

    Any hope that Anwicke employed pretty receptionists faded as he stepped into a chilly lobby and took note of the bulky mahogany desk and the person, neither young nor female, seated behind it.

    Of course a sympathetic male can hope for pretty females! But these things must be done delicately. As I said, it might just be me, but it seems like the H is objectifying women with “pretty receptionist” and “young” — words that put a woman (and in the H’s mind, no less) in an unequal power relationship.

    Other than that, it’s a clunky sentence with competing purposes — is the reader supposed to think about the surroundings or the receptionist?

    Another minor point, you’ve got some cliche action going on that needs to be cleaned up:

    - if he was a day

    – ooh. That reminds me. Let’s talk about this sentence:

    Eighty if he was a day, the receptionist raised a snow-white head and squinted out across the scuffed green linoleum like the captain of the Titanic hunting with an uneasy eye for whatever had just bumped into his boat.

    I think this is a bad sentence with a fabulous image in it. And by “bad sentence” I mean I didn’t see the fab until I’d read it a couple of times. Are you trying to say that Reid is like the iceberg that hit the Titanic? Because, if so, that’s awesome. But that concept was obscured – to me – by all the other stuff in the sentence. especially the cliche that starts it.

    Then there is the problem of mixing up your allusions — prewar/Mayan/Titanic — I felt jerked around in time, and not in a good way.

    But these are nitpicky things. I do want to know what Reid’s going to find when he gets upstairs.

  18. Jane O
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 10:27:30

    This is a terrific first page.

    I generally steer clear of fantasy -’ urban or otherwise -’ but I’m hooked here. Things that bothered some other people didn’t bother me at all, with the possible exception of the Titanic bit. It seemed a bit forced.

    And I loved the first sentence.

  19. Gemma
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 14:25:23

    I really enjoyed this too.

    I would agree that the sentence hoping for a hot secretary made the protagonist sound a bit of a jerk. Which may of course be intentional. Also, I appear to be the only reader who expected “Anwicke International” to be an airport!

  20. Karen Kennedy
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 15:23:47

    Really enjoyed this! Would read on and on and on! My only question, and it is one that someone else mentioned, is about the man who is dead. It read as though he had been dead awhile, but the letter Reid had was only a month old. So how did Reid even know to ask for the dead man? If that’s something we find out later in the story, then no problem. Excellent job!

  21. theo
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 17:10:56

    I am in no way a Fantasy reader when it comes to the unpronounceable names, the three or four moons and suns, the talking animals and trees and all the other things that probably should be classified as SciFi (which I also don’t read) but are labeled Fantasy.

    That said, one of the things I really liked about this is it feels ‘real’ in the sense that there are many familiar elements, i.e. Smith, California, the other states, the first names, the ancient building with the older lobby. This made me want to read more.

    I do think there are a few things, as others have pointed out, that need to be tightened or could be rearranged a bit.

    Karen mentioned the man who is dead. I took that to be the main character was reading the letterhead (probably a distinctive logo type) that contained the names of both partners. Rather like Marley and Scrooge. Scrooge never took Marley’s name off. When the charity collectors came, they of course asked if they had the pleasure of addressing Marley or Scrooge. So I’m going to trust that you are going to bring the dead partner into the story somewhere else.

    One of the few times I will say I would read on, and it’s not even a genre I enjoy.

    Good luck!

  22. Julia Sullivan
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 17:35:56

    After the third paragraph, you had me. As others have said, maybe prune the very beginning a bit?

    I especially loved the exchange between Reid and Smith–it’s both perfectly mundane and yet a little unsettling, like all good urban fantasy. Can’t wait to read the whole thing!

  23. Courtney Milan
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 18:29:53

    In a foreign country, crappy internet access–and wish I could read more. :)

    Nothin’ more to say that hasn’t been said.

  24. Lori
    Mar 21, 2009 @ 20:31:14

    Just want to add my agreement that this was an excellent first page and I wanted to keep reading. No nits really, just tell us when it’s published. This, I believe, is a must read.

  25. Ciar Cullen
    Mar 22, 2009 @ 15:04:59

    Loved it, and btw, loved the Titanic reference too. Didn’t like Mayanesque steps (which is odd, cause I know just what you meant, but it caught me offguard–had to think about it for a second).

    Would read this page and buy the book if in a bookstore…

  26. KMont
    Mar 23, 2009 @ 08:42:44

    As a reader, this read very nicely and I was actually disappointed not to read more although I knew it was going to be brief. Great job. Best of luck to you.

  27. Maili
    Mar 23, 2009 @ 11:02:00

    In spite of some ant-sized problems, I quite enjoyed this. I certainly would read the rest if it was available for me to buy. Congrats and good luck.

  28. M (author)
    Mar 28, 2009 @ 01:52:32

    I didn’t know whether or not I should post, but I wanted to say thank you to all of you for reading my page and giving me your opinions of it. The book is not under contract and I’m still working on it. I’m taking quite a bit from your insights, especially JoB’s, shenan’s, Kathleen’s, LindaR’s, and theo’s. You guys pointed out some things I shouldn’t have missed and I’m so glad you did. I do agree with you on “staking out” and Reid shaking the receptionist’s hand (that seems silly now, but it didn’t even occur to me at the time) and the bit about the bifocals (I need them, myself, and I think I would have them on all the time). And I’m thinking skyscraper is not the right word, either. I was just thinking “sleek modern office building”–I don’t remember now why I used the word skyscraper. :D

    I do agree the Titanic line is convoluted, as much as it added an atmosphere I liked. I’ve had a lot of trouble with that line, never quite reworking it to my satisfaction. And yes, Reid is pretty much the iceberg. :D Thank you especially to Kathleen for her character analysis. It helped me actually solidify Reid in my mind. In just about every respect, you had him down. The womanizing thing I was afraid I’d have a problem with. I wanted him to come across as a skirt-chaser a la Tony on NCIS, but maybe it’s too much, right at the beginning, when you know little else about him.

    With the building and the company, I wanted to give the impression of a business that is antiquated and odd. There’s more detail on that, later on.

    This was an immensely useful exercise. I got quite a lot out of it. And the positive responses were very uplifting! Thank you all again. And thank you to Dear Author for providing such a helpful forum.

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