Posted 07 October 2010 - 02:34 AM
I think you’ve got the story down, but I’m missing the voice. It’s my impression you’re concentrating more on getting the plot and on the space limit than enticing me to read the story. I’m sure you realize there are many points that would need explanation to keep the reader’s head from spinning, but explaining would take up a lot of your word allowance.
I can pick at it, show you what I mean. First, what has a repo man to do with a stolen car? That’s grand theft, police business. As far as I know, a repo man repossesses property on which money is owed, usually on behalf of the seller of the property, for which he is paid by the rightful owner. If he happens upon a stolen car, or a car he needs to repossess, which the delinquent buyer reported stolen, he has to notify the police. He can’t just take it.
So, how about something like (no, I’m not trying to rewrite your query):
>After Repo man Joe Kelly unhooks the shiny black Beemer behind Posh-Plush Motors, he does the standard property check inside the car and finds something a bit more interesting than the owner’s manual.
I think you can smooth the notebook-journal sentence, cut “containing”.
And of course you know scientists are not like most people. The writer of the journal would have written, (couldn’t help it) in her lingo, probably using formulae, math symbols, etc. beyond the comprehension of the ordinary repo man. So how does our man understand its meaning? Maybe by the microbiology degree he’d almost earned before being kicked out of Stanford for pissing on the dean’s desk while hopelessly stoned?
And I would most emphatically suggest you cut this hyperbole: most heinous act ever perpetrated against mankind. Because it’s a serious distraction. It sets up comparisons. Worse than the Holocaust? Stalin’s slaughter of Russian peasants? Atomic bombs on Japan? Maybe so, and you could argue, but you don’t want to set up distractions. Just say what it is, if the idea gives us a feeling of dread, that’s better.
Now, the notebook. If he holds on to it, that’s theft. If he doesn’t turn it over to someone better equipped to do something about it, maybe he’s thinking he can use his stolen book somehow. Depending on the slant of character.
Anyhow, just some things to consider.