Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Beginning 518

Sarah smiled to herself; the song over the loudspeaker was an amazingly cheesy movie theme. She looked over the sales rack, but nothing was standing out. Leaning down to pick up her bags, she made eye contact with a young man looking at men's shoes nearby. He was tall, deeply tan with blonde hair and green eyes. He was also the best looking guy she had ever seen. He smiled at her, then looked toward the speakers.

"Great music, huh?" he said, flashing that gorgeous smile again.

Sarah smiled, blushing. She was about to reply, when suddenly her face went wide with terror. Dropping her bags, she turned and sprinted for the exit.

The young man swore softly, pulling out a cell. "She's on her way out." He picked up her bags and calmly walked out in the same direction.




"So . . . " Martin hit pause on the video player. "What did Graham do wrong?"

The young men and women shuffled uneasily in their seats, trying not to catch Martin's eye.

"Well?"

Someone coughed. Taking a deep breath, Sue raised her hand and said, "He should have engaged her in polite conversation before letting her see the Watchtower magazine?"

"Exactly!" Martin scanned the room. "Luckily," he went on, "Daniel was stationed outside with a copy of Awake!" He reached for the play button.


Opening: Kiersten.....Continuation: anon.

45 comments:

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hmmm. Like the last part - a lot. Got the action really going. I think the first part can be tightened. I also think leaning down and making eye contact with a tall man at the same time is really hard on the neck. And awkward besides.

I'd read on, especially if the first part was tighter.

Kiersten said...

WOW. Can I just say how much I loved this continuation? Brilliant!

And thanks, Sarah. I agree. My problem is setting up an utterly normal scene so that her reaction is shocking.

Whirlochre said...

On the whole I like this and I like where it is going, but there are one or two things I'm itching to nit-pick — all minor stuff and maybe only a matter of taste.

If the cheesy song came over the loudspeaker (or some such) it would place more emphasis on the song and remove a 'was'. Also - 'nothing stood out'.

If a man was buying woman's shoes, you'd probably want to point it up, but as this chap isn't, 'shoes' will do.

went wide with terror sounds cliched and vague.

Other than that — I'm in.

Anonymous said...

Her face went 'wide' with terror? I'm trying to get a visual.

Kiersten said...

Okay, how about,

"Leaning down to pick up her bags, she noticed a young man"

That way you lose the bizarre angle of eye contact. Good catch, Sarah ; )

Evil Editor said...

You don't need "amazingly."

Is this a shoe store? A department store? He seems awfully close to her to be in men's shoes while she's in some area with a sales rack. If it doesn't matter where they are, it might be better if it were a dvd or cd store, where she and he might be expected to be close enough for a conversation.

In a good-sized store, I'd expect the speakers to be far apart, so that he couldn't look toward "them."

I'd just have Sarah blush. Smiling has happened in the previous two sentences.

Anonymous said...

Unless the music is important, I'd find another way for the handsome dude to strike up a conversation. That seems like an unnatural way to start a conversation with a chick.

Kiersten said...

It's YA, EE. Teenagers don't even know what cd stores are anymore. It's all iTunes. I'll try to figure something out though. The point is that they are at the mall.

I always like nitpicking, so thanks! I'll work on this and be back later.

Anonymous said...

Is there really any point in commenting *after* EE? Only to say that one sentence was incomplete:

He was also the best looking guy she had ever seen, except for Bill H.

Anonymous said...

I meant to say that I liked both the New Beginning and the continuation. --Bill H.

mb said...

I felt the shift between Sarah's point of view to a broader third-person narration. It might not be a problem, depending on what follows this, but in this short snippet it jarred me.
Intriguing, though.

Kiersten said...

Okay, I'm looking for suggestions to replace "wide with terror."

Here is what I have edited it to, based on this great advice:

A cheesy movie theme came over the speakers; Sarah smiled. She looked over the sales rack but nothing stood out. Leaning down to pick up her bags, she noticed a young man looking at shoes nearby. He was tall, deeply tan with blonde hair and green eyes. He was also the best looking guy she had ever seen.
"Great music, huh?" he said, flashing a gorgeous smile.
Sarah blushed. She was about to reply, when suddenly her face went wide with terror. Dropping her bags, she turned and sprinted for the exit.
The young man swore softly, pulling out a cell. "She's on her way out." He picked up her bags and calmly walked out in the same direction.


EE, does the location work better phrased like this, or do you still think I need to switch?

Kiersten said...

(BTW, EE, I'm watching my nephew today so that my brother-in-law can play Torrey Pines. He's walking in the very footsteps of Tiger, and absolutely euphoric.)

Kiersten said...

She's never seen you though, Bill H.

And MB, there is that slight POV shift, but it goes right back to Sarah. I know it's not ideal.

Evil Editor said...

I don't think it's any big deal, but why not have them in a store or section where they could both be looking at the same thing? Or have him in her area, since he's apparently following her. I could see him being in men's shoes if he's secretly following her and doesn't want to get too close, but here he wants to talk to her, so why is he in men's shoes?

Instead of replacing "wide with terror," you could replace "face" with "eyes."

Bernita said...

It's a great shift to "The young man swore softly, pulling out a cell. 'She's on her way out.'"
Love it. Much love it.
But deep six the "face went wide with terror."
Eyes may, but faces just don't.
Try to avoid the "wases." You might combine some of his description to noticing a tall, tanned young man" sort of thing.

Kiersten said...

EE, you're right. I'll figure something out.

Kiersten said...

Thanks, Bernita, I like that part, too. The other advice is great, too.

I just don't know how I even functioned before I found EE.

Dave F. said...

If you want to replace "Wide with Terror" you have to describe what she hears or sees.
Sarah blushed. She was about to reply, when suddenly her face went wide with terror.
This must become:
Sarah blushed. She was about to reply, when
a) the ghost of her long dead husband appeared.
b) Godzilla reared its ugly head.
c) Her butt cheeks grew four inches wider.
d) His or her water broke - alternately the cute guy was pregnant.
e) the voices in her head warned her of the impending earthquake.

...something like that.

Anonymous said...

"wide with terror" -- I think you're mixing two different cliches/idioms. "Went White with terror" and "Wide-eyed".

Kiersten said...

Okay, EE, she's looking at CDs and notices he's standing next to her.

Works much better, and explains why the music would be so noticable. Thanks.

BuffySquirrel said...

"must become"? Someone needs to work on phrasing their advice :).

Shops in the US don't let you have your bags now? What are you meant to do with them--leave them in a pile outside?

I love the disconnect between the everyday shopping and her running off in a fright.

Kiersten said...

Thanks, Buffy, that's what I was going for.

And yeah, I've never had stores tell me I can't bring in bags. They do always eye my stroller suspiciously though.

fairyhedgehog said...

I like the beginning - I'm desperate to know what's spooked her like that.

And I love the continuation, too.

Robin S. said...

Hey Kiersten-

Late to the party- sorry!

It looks like you've had comments all up and down the map with this.

(Bill H - post a pic, boy! Arlyle, well? You, too??? Then we'll know if you all are better looking than the hot and tan guy in the story.)

That continuation was a freaking riot!

I don't see anything wrong with the guy making a comment about the poppy non-elevator elevator music. He's already an ass, in that he's after her. So he's an ass with an ass-like conversational gambit. Seems right to me.

My only realy quibble is the 'wide with terror' thing - because it's too cliched for you to use, in my opinion.

I wanna know what happens, and that's a good thing!

Kiersten said...

Thanks, Robin!

I will keep working on the wide with terror. The problem is keeping it very short and immediate--she is reacting instantly to nothing. That's hard to convey.

I'll let you know what I come up with.

This is the opening to my new WIP, which is actually coming along incredibly well. I'm really excited about it, and having a lot of fun writing. Thank heavens; my last project was not going well.

Julie Weathers said...

Wow. I loved this.

"Leaning down to pick up her bags, she made eye contact with a young man looking at men's shoes nearby."

Perhaps, "She leaned down to pick up her bags and looked up into the most beautiful green eyes." That isn't right, but something about making contact when she straightens.

Yes, I would read on.

That continuation is brilliant.

Julie Weathers said...

"Sarah blushed. She was about to reply, when suddenly her face went wide with terror."

If you're going to do "wide with terror" I would use "eyes" not "face."

Julie Weathers said...

Duh, ignore me. I am still catching up on suggestions.

Julie Weathers said...

Kiersten, I still hang out at the cd shops as does my son. Of course, he's 21 so he's older than your target audience, but he's a kid at heart like his mother. Also, there are some shops that have music, books and games! Music is always blaring. I'm looking at Hastings, there.

I've had more than one person strike up a conversation with me at Hastings about the music.

Xiexie said...

Wow, seems like this has been covered well already. Good on you, Kiersten. I wanna know what's so terrifying that she saw.

Anywho, why not just her "eyes went/grew wide with terror" it conveys the same image in my mind cos I automatically 'saw' her eyes grow wide. I think one's face would grow wide with unease or something negative cos the face does that when someone frowns or is having an "ick"-reaction.

McKoala said...

This is a nice, fresh start. Couple of nits. Is the POV with Sarah or the young man? Looks like it changes in para 3. Also, I think you've shown that he's cute, so no need to state it.

LOL Bill H. Also, I'm alive.

Jeb said...

Continuation is sweet!

I think my niggles have been addressed by others.

Except the POV thing. I realize it's hard to make us care about her before the 'run' without being to some extent in her head, but this came across as jarring. I'm really not sure what to advise to fix it, though, so I'll happily look again at whatever you come up with later on.

Kiersten said...

Thanks for the great input, everyone. I think I've got this opening tightened up now. I'm still looking for another way to say "her eyes went wide with terror," but I'll get it eventually, I'm sure.

What a great community you have here, EE.

Hopefully you'll be seeing a face-lift for this query before too many months.

Evil Editor said...

I'm still looking for another way to say "her eyes went wide with terror,"

Why? It's what happened, it's effective, it's unexpected. If a monstrous creature just enetered, I might call it cliche, but as nothing we know of just happened, I think it works.

Besides, cliches often become cliches because they're the best way anyone's come up with to describe something, so others copy it. You don't want your book riddled with them, but to write a novel without using a few would be close to impossible.

Julie Weathers said...

Kiersten, I agree with EE. Sometimes things just are what they are. If you don't put some reaction to terror in there, the readers are going to wonder if the Ex-lax kicked in or she just realized she; picked up the wrong bags etc. Some reaction to terror is needed.

Good luck with this one. It looks like a fun start. I especially like them using the suave, good-looking guy as bait. Danged men!

Kiersten said...

Thanks, EE and Julie. I think you're right. I went over it a lot in my mind yesterday (in between writing twenty pages and editing three chapters--I'm insane) and wide with terror packs the most punch with the least explanation.

"If a monstrous creature just entered"

--Wait, so should I take out Godzilla?

Anyway, thanks again. I'm happy with the opening. EE, you're invaluable, and the Minions are wonderful.

And Arlyle, sorry, no spoilers. But I'll have the query up here as soon as I'm done.

Julie Weathers said...

Lawsy, at least someone's writing. I am going to have to disable my blogging rights.

Kiersten said...

I'm not usually this productive, Julie.

danceluvr said...

Anon.

This continuation had me laughing out loud. Even my husband enjoyed it.

Thanks for the laugh!

Julie Weathers said...

Well, I feel better tonight. I used to have lots of wall space to stick up chapter notes and plot out my time line. Alas, there is no available wall space here so I finally just worked out a note system on the computer. Pew, pew, pew, stink.

At least I can see the places to bring in my sleuthing earlier now.

Khazar-khum said...

EE, am I the reason you're no longer showing the unused continuations?

whimper...sniff...

Evil Editor said...

There were no unchosen continuations. This was the first one I got, and I immediately pulled the opening from the queue.

talpianna said...

I went to guess a plot, and found this post:

Sunday, August 17, 2008
Guess the Plot

Do we have to wait till we catch up with our time-traveling EE to post?

BuffySquirrel said...

*pat pats khazar-khum*

That's what you get for killing kittens!