Okay, so my old manuscript isn’t exactly a dinosaur but it is the second manuscript I ever wrote. I had an agent for it for a while but it was the wrong agent. I made a mistake and that’s a story for another time.

Right now, I’m going back to work through this manuscript with my new revision plan in my pocket.  I have always had a very powerful feeling about this story, it’s good, and with a few revisions I can make it great.  And this time I’ll make a better choice about who represents me and what I do with it.

What about your old manuscripts? Are they collecting dust? Would a hearty revision make them marketable?

Go blow off the dust of one of your manuscripts, or even an old story idea, and get to work.  It may be your next masterpiece!

Oh, and here’s a little pre-revision snippet of my dinosaur for your enjoyment!

Burnt metal and bodies twisted in a macabre sculpture.  “Christ almighty,” she groaned.  It never got easier for her.  The initial shock of a crash site never failed to shrivel her soul a touch.

“About time you got here.”

Uneasy, Sara Jane tromped toward the closest familiar face.  “Cowboy right?”

“Girl, you’ve been with us three months and you still don’t know my name?”

She looked the lanky man over.  He didn’t appear too brilliant but the NTSB did not hire morons.  She glanced at the crowd beyond him.  The busy swarm surrounding the site resembled a horde of ants devouring a picnic.  Now and again a blue cap would dart into view, a teammate wearing the required uniform. “Am I the last one here?”

He chuckled.  His long, weathered face contorted in ironic amusement.  “You mean besides the FAA, ATC, every precinct of the Chicago Police and Fire Department, the pilots union, the flight attendants union, reps from TransCon Airlines, Red Cross, and the mayor?”

Sara Jane nodded.

“No, Tom’s still MIA, probably got lost or stuck in traffic.  I hate this town.  My idea of a traffic jam is trailing behind a tractor on a winding road. You’re from around here aren’t you?”

“Yes.”  Sara Jane jerked her head in a quick nod and steered the conversation back to work.  She did not want to talk about Chicago or why she left. “Looks like the media beat us all.”  She cocked her head to the crowd of cameramen and reporters corralled like rabid dogs at the edge of the field.

“Cook County police got here soon enough and so did the guy from the Chicago field office.  He’s been in the thick of that crowd since I got here.”  Cowboy shrugged his bony shoulders up to his ears.  “Guess he likes the media.  Seeing as how you worked in that office up ‘til a few months ago you probably know him.”

Her stomach muscles clenched.  She held her breath.  “Who is it?”

“Mick Connelly.”

“Shit,” she exhaled.

“Your ex?”

A mischievous toothy grin spread across his animated face.  Jerk, he knew Mick was her ex.  Their breakup had not been quiet.  Sara Jane was not about to let him get a rise out of her.  Tucking a strand of chin length blonde hair behind her ear, she changed the subject. “Plane crashed at what 3:15-3:20?”

“‘Bout that.  Headed for D.C. from Vegas.  Stopped over in Minneapolis for a refuel.  Guess we can be grateful that the pilot chose to ditch here in this field rather than Lake Michigan.  Wonder what crop he plowed?”

“You’re the hick.”

“Don’t know either huh?”

“Soybeans.”  She swung her hiking boot and kicked a plant in front of her.

“Like tofu?”

She nodded.  “Have you been here long enough to guess what happened?”

“It crashed.”

“Nice work.  We can go home then?”

“Cute.  No, I haven’t a guess.  That’s not my job.  Operations is working on gathering the history of the flight.  We’re looking into the crew but by all accounts this guy was an excellent pilot.  Tom will begin the structure analysis when he arrives, can’t really get too close right now anyway, the plane’s still smoking’.  Fred is talking to the Air Traffic Control guys right now.  Powerplant is on hold until the thing cools as well.”

“Post-crash fire?”

“Too soon to tell, but that’d be my guess.  Go ahead and make your calls and observations we’ll need them for the record, but I don’t think the weather played into it factor.”

The air was beginning to cool off as the sun launched its descent toward the horizon.  Not a breeze stirred in the clear August sky.  “You’re probably right,” she agreed.  “Just to be sure I’ll put a call into the National Weather Service, have them send me the afternoon readouts and talk to the weather observer on duty at O’Hare.  Maybe there were some unusual wind patterns or something.  It’ll take some time.  Might as well put me to work.”

He nodded and grinned.  “Good girl,” he said slapping a firm hand on her shoulder.  You got your ‘go to’ bag

His patronizing tone and gesture bristled her already weary nerves.  Sara Jane sidestepped out from under his hand.  “Don’t condescend to me Cowboy.  I’ve been with the board for five years so, yes I have my bag and,” she paused for emphasis before continuing.  “I’m not a good girl.”

“Don’t get your panties in a bunch,” he teased.  “I didn’t mean nothing by it.  I know your record.  I’m the one that convinced them to hire you.”

Her eyes bugged.  “I didn’t know that they needed any convincing.”

“They didn’t.  I’m just messing with you.  Nonetheless you have my respect and the respect of your team so don’t worry about it.  We’re all friends here.”

Grateful, she nodded.  His eyes, steely, intelligent eyes if you paused to look, scrutinized her over the top of his Ray Bans.

“How’s come you don’t have a nickname?”

More at ease now, it was her turn to grin.  “I probably do, it’s just used behind my back.”

“No.  What’s your last name?”


“Shit.”  Tugging off his cap, he rubbed a large bony hand through his shaggy hair.

“How about we just call you Sara J?”