Monday, September 24, 2007

New Beginning 368

Some say stasis dreams are as close as the human mind can come to a vision of Heaven. Some say every wish is granted in the mind while the body simply exists, devoid of electrochemical function. Some even claim to faintly remember their dreams, to weep when roused from the little death required by lengthy space runs and to pine away for all that is lost upon awakening.

As far as Charles E. Stone was concerned, some were full of shit. He'd never dreamed a damn thing in stasis, never lost a moment of the time spent in a body that didn't breathe or pump blood or piss down its leg. He spent every jump fully aware and usually bored out of his skull. And planning his next escape, of course.

This time, though, cutting loose would be a miracle. Apparently tired of fucking around with him, the pigs sent Enforcers to escort him.

He stood, stretched and walked around the small space, trying to get the blood flowing back to his muscles. As usual, he'd dreamt nothing; obviously he wasn't the one full of shit. Cold fluorescent lights buzzed overhead. He turned at the sound of feet scuffing at the entrance.

The Enforcers came in, shackled him and led him to the Interrodome. The pigs were there already, lining the periphery of the vast chamber, standing on their hind legs like humans, but squealing and oinking like the feral beasts they were. The Enforcers chained Charles between two pillars. Then lights flashed and thunder boomed as the Grand Inquisitrix rose from beneath the floor, lifted on a pneumatic platform. Mist swirled around her, gradually dissipating until her face was revealed.

Charles recoiled in terror; it was Miss Piggy. Suddenly he noticed his clothes seemed stuck to his skin. No, he assured himself, Charles E. Stone isn't full of shit . . . Not any more.



Opening: Gutterball.....Continuation: Lightsmith/Anon./EE

30 comments:

Bernita said...

I would remove "faintly," but I think this is very good.

jjdebenedictis said...

I think this is well written, although it has little tension and the scene obviously exists just to fill the reader in on backstory. I think it's a less-than-wonderful place to start the story.

I think what is here, however, could be improved by starting at the second paragraph, or even the third. I didn't like hearing a bunch of waffle about stasis dreams only to have it turn out to be irrelevant. Or, to put it another way, I don't like the writer manipulating me in quite so obvious a way.

If the MC thinks the stasis dreams are nonsense, why do I need to hear about them? Just for dramatic effect? I'd rather get into the story faster.

Good luck with this; you obviously can write well. I'm only bothered by the story starting with a bit of fluff followed by a very static moment. I think you could find a more energetic way to start the novel.

Anonymous said...

Writing is so subjective, no? This is the only continuation in the history of EE's continuations that I don't like-and it took 3 of you to write it. Sorry.

But I did really like the opening. I would keep reading. Minor nit--You're probably writing the first three sentences with the same opening words as a stylistic flair, but I thought it was overdone. Still, I want to know where this is going.

Good luck,
Church Lady

Evil Editor said...

Actually, it took four, as there were two anons. When an opening's been there more than a month, and has inspired only three continuations, it's time to post it. The author shouldn't have to wait forever.

In deciding whether a Novel Deviations 3 was worth starting on, I discovered I only have about 70 I like enough to include, out of about 150 available. (I would need at least 90). So I'm pleased to find someone has liked all but one.

By the way, a lot of the current openings have received zero or one continuations so far.

Anonymous said...

...and it took 3 of you to write it.

Did you really mean that to sound the way it sounds, 'cause it doesn't sound very nice. We don't submit continuations for the fame and fortune, you know. And if you can do better...

Dave said...

I am in the minority here. I think that the opening is like walking around a corner into an open door and getting a black eye and bloody nose.
It's a strong opening that jumps up at the reader and almost bites. I would compare it to the movie Goodfellas which is as "in your face" profane as movies can get. And I worry that the rest of the novel can't sustain the attitude.

blogless_troll said...

Anon 3:53 has obviously never had a continuation chosen. My checks from EE always arrive in a timely manner.

BuffySquirrel said...

EE, you haven't removed The Danthian Viper from the GTP list :).

I didn't find the first paragraph here very engaging, but it does get funny with the reversal in the second paragraph. I have no objections to misdirection :).

Lightsmith said...

We don't submit continuations for the fame and fortune, you know.

I suppose that explains why EE never sent me my royalty checks. Dang it.

Church Lady said...

I meant it in a joking way, anon. Like too many cooks in the kitchen.

You and Lightsmith probably had a decent continuation until EE edited it. Or maybe EE and you had a good one until Lightsmith had to have his 2 cents. Or maybe....

It was an offhand comment--sorry to offend.

My opinion about the opening still stands--that in my opinion it's really good.

Robin S. said...

Hi gutterball-

I like to read both styles of writing in the first two paragraphs - I thought having them bang into each other like this was really effective. So I'm with Dave.

And I like knowing the guy's working on his next escape.

I'd read on.


I generally suck at continuations- I think I've only done one that I liked - and that was for a dialog continuation months ago - but I'll give it a shot.

Anonymous said...

I meant it in a joking way ... sorry to offend...

You'd be a Catholic then would you, Church Lady? You think you can say what you like and do what you like because all you have to do is say "sorry" and all will be forgiven. Well noooooo sireeeee, not here you don't. No, until you have written and submitted a continuation -- in your own words, no copying from ril or lightsmith or anybody -- then your penance is incomplete and your mortal soul is condemned to heck.


Any time...




Still waiting...

Church Lady said...

The pages of this blog are rife with my unchosen continuations and tossed-aside GTPs.

If I could write half as well as Highsmith or ril or Phoenix, or Dave or rei or Paca or Lightsmith, or Robin or Bernita or Buffysquirrel or McKoala or jj, or (and I'm really digging deep for this one) EE, I could die happy. Until then, I struggle on...

Church Lady said...

Forgot Blogless in that list.
The apologies here will never cease.

Robin S. said...

Hey anon, 6:26 - there are only two choices, as far as I can see, to explain your little one-person diatribunal.

You're either going for funny, or you haven't been takin' your meds.

Evil Editor said...

The pages of this blog are rife with my unchosen continuations and tossed-aside GTPs.

No need to be so modest. I count you with six chosen continuations, one as Church Lady and five in your former identity, including http://evileditor.blogspot.com/2007/05/new-beginning-277.html.

Phoenix said...

Gutterball! Where've you been? Oh, erm, are you even still here after a month waiting for this to post? :o)

I liked the first two paragraphs, but... Yes, there it is, that "but." The last sentence of the first paragraph seems to kind of negate what the first two sentences imply. The first two sentences imply people remember their stasis dreams fairly clearly, while that third sentence says no, only a minority faintly remember them. So I was confused as to which it is. I think it would be less confusing (and a tad shorter) as Some weep when roused from the little death of lengthy space runs and pine for [something evocative and concrete here, like "nirvana/paradise/ultimate bliss") lost upon waking.

I bet there's an explosion in the next 150.

Sorry Continuationers -- I had the same reaction to the continuation as CL did. It was a valiant effort by all, I'm sure. I commend the fact that you submitted. Really, I do. Even great athletes can still mis-step once and go on to win the gold. And I'm first to lead the cheer: Go, Continuationers, go! for the next one.

Robin S. said...

We love ya, Church Lady. Never forget that, girlfriend. You write just fine.

And I agree with phoenix, gutterball. Nice to see you back!

GutterBall said...

You guys crack me up. Thanks for the suggestions and the kudos, both! I know this isn't perfect, so I was hoping for the feedback. Been kinda biting my nails!

Just for the 411 here, this is actually the first 150 of the very short prologue -- probably only 400 words total. At the very start of the first chapter, the Enforcer ship is T-boned by another one, and all hell breaks loose. *sheepish* You didn't think I'd have a space story without at least one ship blowing up, didja?

Phoenix! You noticed I've been quiet, bless your heart! I've actually just been working like the possessed and only checking in briefly to see if this was up.

The last sentence of the first paragraph seems to kind of negate what the first two sentences imply.

Darn it, I never noticed that! I was hoping that the first two suggested something along the lines of Near Death Experiences, which often aren't remembered later, while the last showed how these stories get out. I'm thinking I flubbed it!

Suggestions?

blogless_troll said...

Church Lady,
It's best if you just ignore the anonymi. You have to keep in mind this person couldn't even write a freakin screen name for chrissake.

As a rule, I never listen to writing advice given by anonymouses because this is what I imagine their writing is like:

"Anonymous 3:16 is dead," said Anon 11:02, staring blankly.

"Impossible!" said Anon 7:45, standing in a white room. "Wait. I thought he was Anonymous 4:12?"

GutterBall said...

*facepalm*

Ask for suggestions, see suggestions when I re-read the previous post. Thanks, Phoenix! I think I like the:

Some weep when roused from the little death of lengthy space runs and pine for the nirvana lost upon awakening.

And hi, Robin!

Robin S. said...

Good one, blogless- the picture you painted with the anons somehow reminds me of those public service TV commericals in the 70s (God, how I wish I couldn't say that) with human heads on pedestals in a white room- talking- just talking- to one another - because their bodies had long since atrophied and died off from lack of use. (Yeah, yeah, all right, OK, it was a freakin lack-of-physical-activity-our-country-is-in-the crapper commercial. But hey, that was the same era that brought us classics such as Schoolhouse Rock. So gimme a break.)

McKoala said...

Oooh, the fun and the fire of a comments discussion!

Back to the beginning... Thie read well to me. I wasn't bothered by the first para being there to be demolished, I thought the contrast was kinda funny. The only thing I didn't like was the 'E' in the middle of his name. Why? Why? Why? I'm not planning on mixing him up with any other Charles Stone's; unless your novel is full of them...

writtenwyrdd said...

I liked this beginning a lot. That last sentence bothered me, because in a fantasy/sf to have the term "pigs" used struck me as confusing. I automatically assumed that language would have developed new terms than pigs unless this was modern day.

a nit pick, which is based on my own thinking about what happens if you are trapped in your own skull during stasis: The general person might become delusional or crazy in some other fashion. In fact, I believe it likely. Which made me a bit skeptical.

But as I do not know your world and the time frame involved yet, I would have let my skepticism slide, as I hadn't read far enough yet to judge your worldbuilding for myself.

writtenwyrdd said...

Jeez anonymous, give it an effing rest, will you? Especially given you're sniping anonymously.

Bernita said...

To Anon 6:26: I'm going to be polite.
Stuff it!

BuffySquirrel said...

Funny how often anonymice turn up in blog comments and try to set the rules. They must have serious control issues!

Robin S. said...

Hi EE- you mentioned- "In deciding whether a Novel Deviations 3 was worth starting on, I discovered I only have about 70 I like enough to include, out of about 150 available. (I would need at least 90)."

Does that mean you have only 70 opening-continuations you'd put in the book right now? In that case - is the continuation the determinant on what is chosen?

I'm asking because I want to know what to do - send openings, or try more continuations.

Evil Editor said...

The continuation is the sole determinant. Odds are about 50/50 that an opening will make the book. With a continuation, you have to beat out other continuers of that opening, plus be one of the 90 to 100 I deem worthy, plus the opening author has to be okay with being included (maybe 5% decline).

AmyB said...

I like this opening a lot. I'd definitely read on.