Thursday, May 31, 2007

New Beginning 284

Every Monday and Wednesday for the past two years, Julia has taken the ten-fifteen train from the Forest Park station to the UMSL campus to fuck Professor Dunn (that’s what his students were expected to call him) during the brief break between his eleven o’clock class and his one-thirty lecture. In Julia’s mind, fuck was the only word that could possibly describe what she and Carver did behind his locked office door. It had never been love, had never declared or desired to be, although, for a brief time in the beginning, Julia had deluded herself, jeopardizing Carver’s marriage as well as her own. Carver had implored her to rein herself in, convincing her they had a good thing, and that emotional entanglement would only ruin it. She wasn’t sure how good it was. Their affair had become heady, like betting on horses at Fairmount Park, but it was only about the thrill of gambling; no one ever expected to win.

No one, that is, except for Dunn himself, who was engaged in a long-term game of "Schedule Bingo."

"It's over," he said to Jones, who had the scowl on his face of someone who was losing. "I've got Becky at the Monday 8AM slot, Julia's covering 11 to 1:30 for both days, Sarah's happy with a half hour at 3, which leaves me time to lunch in peace, and Georgina is now a regular for Wednesday 4PM. That leaves Monday at 5:30 after labs for Louise; I've filled every slot."

"Not so fast," said Jones. "Julia's left school; she doesn't count anymore, not unless she re-enrolls."

Dunn shook his head like an old race horse. "You never specified students; you didn't even specify female if you want to get down to it. It's taken me two years but I've done it! You owe me a ten-spot."

Jones sighed and pulled out his wallet. "Okay, you win . . . Double or nothing on keeping it going another semester?"

Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: Sylvia


pacatrue said...

"I've filled every slot."

I thought this was going to be a ril one when I read that line.

writtenwyrdd said...

I wrote one about 'rampant vegetables' which I would have thought would make it this time. Darn it!

amy said...

Great first sentence! I'd cut the parenthetical, though, and the word "brief". Two and half hours isn't really that brief, and the parenthetical is slowing you down. Other than that, I'm interested to see where this goes.

Nice continuation, too.

Evil Editor said...

I don't mind publishing those that I don't choose. It's not like I'm always right. You'll find the place, show and also ran below, in no particular order.

writtenwyrdd said...

Of course, no one expected to get a social disease, either, and that was why the racetrack analogy just didn't quite do it anymore for Julia.

When the doctor gave her the news, she purchased the prescription along with a few necessary items of revenge and arrived early at the Professor's office.

She perched seductively on the desk next to the duct tape, baby oil and a choice selection of rampant vegetables, and waited.

The professor stepped inside with the usual jangle of keys, a bemused smile lighting his face as eyed the vegetables. He waggled his eyebrows and began to loosen his tie.

"Hiya, Arty," she purred, moving between him and the door to yank his shirt down about his elbows so it pinned his arms. She gave him a shove that lay him sprawling across the desk and reached for the duct tape. "I thought we might play a new game today. I call it, 'Tag, You're It'."

Seeing as she'd been so well and truly fucked, Arty deserved the same.

blogless_troll said...

Except that one time, when Professor Krantz and his student Kimmy joined them. Which, admittedly, was a little weird. It wasn’t Carver slapping her ass and yanking her hair like reins that bothered her; she kind of enjoyed that. But when he and Krantz came to blows over who was going to the winner’s circle, and then tumbled through his office door and into the hallway, naked, right in front of the school paper’s photographer, well… it gave new meaning to the phrase photo finish. Tenure won by a nose.

ME said...

And wild horses couldn’t drag her away from her elevenses, no sir. Until the day they installed an OTB just off campus. Julia became increasingly torn between the pleasure of a quickie bet (always to Show) and just a plain quickie. She made several attempts to combine the two.

“C’mon, Carve. It’s jolly fun. I’ve won three times already.”

“I believe we’ve covered this topic, quite thoroughly, in the recent past.”

“We have. But there’s a special horse running today in the 3rd race. Carver III is his name, his number is 3 and he’s third at the post. Won’t you please?”

“Don’t be tedious, Julia. I’ve said no and I mean it.”

Julia finished applying her lipstick and pouted at the professor. “Alrightly then, your loss.”

When Carver III came in third in the third race, Julia jumped for joy and rushed to claim her prize.

The paymaster thought her excitement was refreshing; most patrons failed to win and those that did seldom seemed happy about their success. “So you’re the lucky lady today, how about that!”

“Yes. Thank You.” Julia was suddenly aware of the young man’s attractiveness, and though she hadn’t done so in quite a long time, she blushed.

“I’ve noticed you here before. Allow me to introduce myself: My name’s Dun Carver. What’s yours?”

Beth said...

A promising start, but then all the backstory and explanations kill any sense of tension and mystery. By the time I got to the end, my eyes were glazing and I'd lost interest. It was a much more interesting situation when we didn't know all the tiresome background. There will likely come a time when we do need to know it, but for sure it isn't right now.

So keep the first sentence (though lose the parenthetical, which is kind of a "well, duh" statement) and keep the action going. Show us what this relationship is like, don't tell us.

writtenwyrdd said...

I liked this beginning. It gives a good sense of both the Prof and Julias' characters, and looks to be going someplace interesting.

I also think that the word "brief" doesn't fit a 2.5 hour break.

Not sure what the parenthetical bit is for, as it seems to contradict Julia's relationship with him. (I presumed she was also a student.)

good job.

And thanks for posting the also rans, EE. I didn't mean to whine. Much. :) How do you choose? These are all good, IMO.

AmyB said...

I liked this opening; it's well-written and has a nice hook. I agree with other commenters that it would read better if the parenthetical comment and the word "brief" were removed. I hope this is not the sort of book that uses the f-word on every single page, but in this opening paragraph, it works. My only concern is I already dislike the protagonist. I'd keep reading, but I'd hope to find something likeable or at least sympathetic about her before long.

takoda said...

Somebody please take away EE's clipart program. For the love of all that's right in this world....

sylvia said...

Eeep, pacatrue, that pun was unintentional! *blush*

Author, I found myself feeling like I was being talked at by an obnoxious woman who does nothing but moan about how terrible everything is. She needs to make a positive decision and quickly - this is backstory and not particularly compelling backstory. She's having an affair and not even enjoying it anymore: it's hard to feel sympathy for her. Carver sounds selfish and Julia's husband is one-dimensional.

(and yes, I get the irony of my complaining on someone else's beginning that their characters aren't likeable enough. :D)

I think we need a lot more rampant vegetables!

writtenwyrdd said...

I just realized that I'd been confused about the professor's name all this time (which was why I made one up for my continuation.) He's Carver Dunn. Duh.

Dave said...

This opening should be more active and less passive.
It'sa great place to start but the language should be zippier or snappier or mre profane, or something like that.

Start out with the phrase "It had never been love,"
and say something like "Not love, neither declared it love, but rather lust freely given and {...}
He didn't care if it jeapordized his marraige, his tenure or Julia's marraige. They efffed like minks, a dirty mix of monkey sex, animal lust, cheesy adjectives like heady, thrilling. They became two race horses lock in mortal combat driving to see who finished the first and fastest in their absolute lust."

Get overheated and steamy.

Knock out the word "had" BTW. (I ain't giving up my "Too Many Words" for a war on "Had"...)

Evil Editor said...

How do you choose?

Sometimes it's easy. sometimes I wish I'd immediately used the first good one to come in so I wouldn't have to decide between two good ones.

I wasn't bothered by Arty, but "Tag, you're it" makes more sense when you know Tag is the book's title. Most people don't visit the openings page and wouldn't know that.

ME's was twice as long as the opening, and it would have to be excellent to get away with that.

I could easily have gone with troll's, but I liked Sylvia's more subtle humor. Especially her unintended joke. And she still managed to work in the gambling.

It's all subjective, but I think I get the most entertaining one at least nine times out of ten.

Anonymous said...

Dude. Excellent dreads, EE. How'd you grow 'em so fast?

Evil Editor said...

Dude. Extensions.

BuffySquirrel said...

Everything from "In Julia's mind" to "only ruin it" is telling us what you already showed us with the one word "fuck". Hence my eyes began to glaze over as I waited for the story to continue. It didn't.

McKoala said...

'true, my keyboard!

I liked Sylvia's continuation best, if we're choosing. But EE, you failed to include my timesaving option of using this opening as the continuation for the one below. Actually, technically that wasn't a continuation for this one, but for the next one. Actually, that's not technically at all. I'll shut up now.

This start was well-written. I wasn't so happy when it veered into back story and telling. Also, of course, his sudents would call him Professor Dunn - what else? Professor Dumb?

ME said...

I read all 19 comments in a row and I smell a rat. I am always suspicious when EE shows up here, especially when he seems to be very helpful. And that opening was a tasty bit of prompt with the naughty words, overuse of brief and the racing metaphors tossed in. Or am I gone to the Dark Dark Side?

Anonymous said...

Extensions, you say? *admires*

Very realistic, dude. Who does them for you? Photoshop? MS Paint?

Evil Editor said...

I smell a rat.

If you're suggesting EE wrote the opening, wrong. Not that I would never post my own opening if we were running low, but not this one.

ME said...

Well then, Thanks for printing up my attempt. I would like to read more of the real story. For all its failings, I was drawn to it. But it would have to have a pretty good follow up to that lead-in, as Dave mentioned, some on-scene reporting, action, Julia dying quickly (because, amyb & bsqrl,I don't like her either)to move the story along.

I would also add Kudos to Sylvia on the continuation and the most excellent pun.

McKoala said...

I was going to post 'ooh, evil editor has openings' but then I realised some minions might misconstrue that.

ME said...

Parentheses (always in pairs) surround nonessential elements and are more formal than dash. They serve to de-emphasize the enclosed material as opposed to the dash's emphasis, so it seems to be used correctly, if not ironically.

Final comment on the opening of novel or ss: Why did Julia get so much more time than all the others?

ME said...

Also -- as annoying as Julia seemed--I was sure I would dislike Carver more. Maybe he's the one who should be killed off.
The End.

sylvia said...

But EE, you failed to include my timesaving option of using this opening as the continuation for the one below.

Haha McKoala, I thought exactly the same! ;)

sylvia said...


"You owe me a ten-spot."

I wrote five-spot and then thought, "hmm, didn't someone say that meant a jail term?"

So I changed it to fiver and then decided that was definitely British, so I made it "a bill" and then wasn't sure if it should be bill or note, then I fought off rising hysteria and wrote "tenner" and submitted it in a rush.

So I laughed a lot to see it fixed to "ten-spot" :)

takoda said...

I wish I had written this. It's pure genius:

She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was
room-temperature Canadian beef.

Some high school student somewhere here in the States wrote it.

Can you work a metaphor like that somewhere into your opening?


Robin S. said...

I liked this opening and I'd rad more. The continuation was really, really good.

No problems for me with the word fuck. The first sentence got my attention.

Liked the way this idea was placed at the end of the opening lines -- "it was only about the thrill of gambling; no one ever expected to win."