I was rereading Two Captains the other day (last week, actually), and came upon the scene where Tyrus is first introduced. Here it the original text.
Reading it was painful. (I can say that without fear of insulting anyone's writing talent but my own, seeing as I wrote that scene.) The run-on sentences and the ridiculous descriptions... And the fact that Ryenne is stupid enough to attempt to use a piece of ordinary rope as a whip? Bah. I cringed.
And then I decided that I was going to rewrite the scene. Not re-publish it or anything, just rewrite it for my own benefit. So I started that yesterday. It's not done yet, and it's very, very rough, but I wanted to post it anyway. Here it is:
"Well, well, well...if it isn't the Great Captain Caelar."
Ryenne jumped, startled, as Tyrus shut the cabin door behind him with a sharp snap. She had been so lost in her own miserable musings that she had not even heard the door to what had once been her cabin – now only her prison - open. She wished, for pride's sake, that he had not caught her by surprise. She could not wipe the tear tracks from her cheeks quickly enough. He chuckled at the sight of them.
"Things are finally starting to sink into that thick skull of yours, eh, Caelar?"
"Why are you here, Tyrus?" She forced her voice to remain steady, despite the fear and fatigue she had been slowly succumbing to in the past three days of captivity. "The lot of you have tormented me enough. Just kill me and be done with it."
The sound of his heavy boot steps behind her made her want to cringe. His pace was measured, slow. Taunting her. "No, Captain. I don't think we've done enough. Not after what you've done to us."
“And what, exactly, is that?” She resisted the urge to turn around and face him. She did not trust him at her back, but she did not want to admit that fact to him. Instead, she straightened in her chair, forcing her hands to remain still on the desk before her. "What have I done to you that merits this?"
He paused in his pacing and the warmth of his breath whispered across the nape of her neck. She could not hold back a shudder. She had not realized he had gotten so close. "You treat us as though we are heathens and you are a god, too high and mighty to notice the petty concerns of ants like us."
"Mutinous heathens," she corrected him tartly. "And I am your Captain, not your god. I never asked for your worship. Only your respect."
"A woman is not fit to be captain." He was too close. She could practically smell the danger in the air, the tang of it mingling with the heavy smell of liquor on his breath.
"Better the captain be a woman than a man like you."
She should have known better than to bait him. She had seen him tangle with men twice her size and come out the better. She would never stand a chance against the brute. But the words were out now, and there was no calling them back. They would cost her dearly.
Before she could so much as flinch, he seized a hank of her hair and hauled her upright, twisting her to face him as he did so. The pain of it brought fresh tears to her eyes. She howled in fury, clawing at him, but he did not let go. Instead, he brought his face closer and whispered, almost tenderly, "Perhaps you ought to be taught some manners."
She wanted to bite him. She tried, snapping her teeth in vain. “Let me go, you stinking bilge-rat!”
He laughed. "What a spitting little cat you are!" His free hand clamped around her jaw. She seized his wrist, scrabbling at it with her poor, chewed-off fingernails. He did not even seem to notice. This close, his eyes had a glazed look to them she had not noticed before. The smell of rum that radiated from him seemed suddenly stronger. She could not breathe.
“A woman is not fit to be captain,” he repeated, squeezing her jaw with near-crushing force. “Women are only good for one thing.”
“You're not getting that from me, Tyrus!” It was difficult to get the words out with his fingers digging into her cheeks like they were, but she managed it. She would have spit on him if she could have managed that, too. She could not, however.
It was as though he could read her thoughts. Chuckling at her helpless frustration, he continued to squeeze until her lips were forced into a puckered pout. Like a whore begging for a kiss. “Who says I was asking permission?”
She did not realize he had been forcing her backward until her shoulders slammed into the rough wood of the bulkhead. It awakened in her a renewed sense of panic. With a sudden burst of frenzied energy, she managed to twist her head just far enough to loosen Tyrus's bruising grip on her jaw. By chance, the motion had caused his left thumb to somehow slip into her mouth. Following some kind of animal instinct, she did the only thing that made sense at that moment: she bit down. Hard.
So...yup. That's what I've got so far. And I think that's what I'll be working on later on today. For now, I have to clean the bedroom closet. And shower. And stuff.