Friday, April 06, 2007

New Beginning 252

When Keebler finished composing his essay, he did not intend to send it to Newsweek. And after he did send it to Newsweek, he did not expect that it would be published. And he certainly never saw his essay as a step toward becoming the leader of the free world. It wasn’t even Keebler’s idea to write the essay; his mother had suggested it, after Keebler had finished one of his rants.

"The world is falling apart," Keebler had said, concluding his rant. "And all because people refuse to use their common sense."

"I’m not the one to talk to," Mrs. Keebler had replied, not looking up from her knitting. (She was knitting a grocery bag so that she wouldn’t have to take paper or plastic.) "Write a letter to the Journal Messenger. They might print it on the editorial page."

"Where it’ll be read by fifty people tops, Mother," Keebler told her. But he wrote it anyway, because he liked putting his thoughts on paper. And fifty people is, after all, fifty people. His brief letter to the editor read:

Dearest Consumers: It has come to my attention that, in ever increasing numbers, people are beginning to stray from our brand. Indeed, as our profits shrink, sales of Nabisco's vastly inferior cookies grow ever greater. We're left with no choice but to initiate a hostile takeover.

Then Keebler dashed off another quick letter:

To my dear cousin Elrond and my beloved aunt Galadriel: You may begin the assault at will."

Opening: Evil Editor.....Continuation: Rei


stick and move said...

The opening didn't do much for me, mainly because it lapses into backstory in the second paragraph. I've got no problem with backstory, it has its place in most stories of any length, I just don't think it belongs in the first few paragraphs. The first paragraph had my interest, but then the second one kind of let the air out of the balloon.

The continuation was fantastic. Nice job REI!

Anonymous said...

The need to keep tossing "had" in all the time, as in "had said" and "had replied" is your first clue that you are writing backstory, not story. These "hads" tell us that you're writing about not the past, but the prior past. Which is just the wrong place to start. Better to straighten out the timeline and simply begin at the beginning, with your first scene, and carry on from there. Beginning with retrospective paragraph #1, gives us the end first. Then you're compelled to put "had" in everywhere because even in scene #1, everything is backstory.

Perhaps you generally write in backward time, starting at a suprise conclusion, then finding out how your characters got there. That's fine, but this is rarely the best structure for the completed story. It kills suspense.

You might want to try writing the story that way and then cut and paste various paragraphs and scenes so the timeline is more linear and the narrative doesn't keep slipping in and out of backstory. Or, if the story is about the unexpected concequences of publication, not getting to publication, you might want to start with the first scene in which an unexpected concequence happens and ditch the backstory scene we see here or boil it down to a remark in dialogue.

Robin S. said...

I really enjoyed reading the comments from stick and move, and anonymous 10:15. I feel like I just came to class and had a good lesson - and I do mean that as a compliment.

I have to say I enjoyed reading this beginning. It felt comfortable being in this scene, like soft house shoes feel at night after coming in from work. But maybe that’s not enough.

The continuation was wonderful!

stick and move said...

Robin, just because I say it with confidence, don't mistake it for wisdom of any sort. I'm just a wannabe like most of us here. But thanks :-)

Anonymous said...

*waves pom-poms and cheers on Elrond and Galadriel*

AmyB said...

I liked this a lot. It's funny and has an engaging voice. My only complaints are that I don't care for parenthetical comments, and the name Keebler made me immediately think of the Keebler elves.

And on that note, great continuation!

Xenith said...

I wanted to read more of this one. That doesn't happen very often :|

Comfortable, that's a good way to describe it.

minion 828 said...

I'm guessing the plot consists of the series of events that results in the guy becoming leader of the free world. This doesn't sound like backstory for the plot, it sounds like backstory for how he comes to send the letter that sets the plot in motion. Assuming we're about to see the letter, that doesn't bother me at all. I'd read on.