Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Beginning 554

Erin was beginning to decide it didn't matter. She was too in love to care if Sara spent most afternoons leaning over the narrow space of Roger's desk, crushing him to a pulp with a viciousness born of brilliance and an arrogance she had once found entirely off-putting. The unease that had kept her lingering in the corridor the first time she had heard Sara's voice slip from its smooth, cultured casing and smack, unchecked, against the frosted glass panes of Roger's over-sized office — the reflexive nick of protectiveness she had felt for poor Roger with his asthma inhaler and his failed marriage and his hot-cold streaks, mostly cold lately, though not yet indicative of low overall worth — had quietly, mysteriously disappeared. In its place, a sadistic (or was it now masochistic?) bent, also disturbing, but every day less so: she had begun to think only of Sara, pissed off and jagged, and how much she wanted to fuck that particular version of her. Things had gotten so bad that, at the first sign of fallout, she would pass Roger's office nearly five times in as many minutes, a routine voyeur aching for glimpses of pressed pantsuit and sleek up-do. Sometimes Sara caught up with her after, smirking knowingly, and Erin, who had once thought of saying something vaguely condemning, could only focus on lips and teeth and the cool brush of Sara's fingertips at the base of her neck.

The agent put the manuscript down. "It's a little different from your other stuff, Thomas. So. They're lesbians, then?"

"Well, that's not really the--"

"Interesting. Interesting. Do they explore the sensual mystery of each other's--"

"That's not-- I mean, it's more metaphorical. It's about--"

"Any pictures?"

"Pictures? This isn't--" Pynchon shook his head. Penguin's merger with Penthouse wasn't going well.

"This could make a truckload of money."

On the other hand, maybe he could get some pictures.

Opening: hepkath.....Continuation: Anon.


Evil Editor said...

That's one long opening paragraph. Here are some parts I think it can do without:

Erin was beginning to decide it didn't matter.

though not yet indicative of low overall worth —

pissed off and jagged,

You might also begin a new paragraph at "In its place..."

Does Sara actually spend entire afternoons leaning over Roger's desk?

Change "she" to "Erin" after "arrogance."

Put "only" after "focus" in the last sentence.

Are Sara's fingertips on Erin's neck? If not, maybe something more like "dream of" instead of "focus on."

Evil Editor said...

Assuming she has other duties, I see no reason to suggest it's more than it is. Crushing him to a pulp is a bit strong as well. Maybe:

Erin was too in love to care how much time Sara spent leaning over the narrow space of Roger's desk, berating him with a viciousness born of brilliance and an arrogance Erin had once found entirely off-putting.

pacatrue said...

I found this confusing for some reason. Erin likes Sara, I got that. But I don't get what Sara's doing with Roger. Is Sara just beating up a co-worker or boss and that excites Erin? Is Sara in a lust/love relationship with Roger? I kinda got lost.

Khazar-khum said...

Paragraphs should be no more than 10-13 lines. After that fatigue sets in & readers skip it.

Dave F. said...

I'm looking for online journals today for a couple short stories that I've written AND what I've found is voices and styles (like this NB) that are not what I typically read, let alone write.

That's my problem with this. It's so far afield from what I write that it is hard for me to make any comment on it.

Erin is in a love/hate relationship with Sara. Sara is taking out her cruel streak on Roger and Erin both wants to be there and doesn't like it but is so infatuated with Sara that the cruelty is attractive.

It's a huge paragraph and off-putting. Find a way to split it. Find a way to crystallize each little bit of information into one or two sentences. It's filled with good images.

You say too much about Roger between "The unease" and "had quietly, mysteriously disappeared." It's hard for the reader to keep that much information floating while reading through the richness of the examples in-between.

And then we have the portion about how that Erin's budding sadism or admiration of Sara replaced the initial "unease." It ends with Erin's admiration of Sara neck which is a nice image but you bury it beneath so many other nice images. Again, it's a lot of example to carry with the thoughts.

I can't see how to adjust the text because of its style. There's nothing wrong with the style. It's just not my style. And maybe I'm all wrong on this.

Anonymous said...

First of all, great images. Fascinating chunk of story so far. But the writing is too much. What is with all of the hads? Had kept. Had begun. Had gotten. Had once...and so on. Cut the hads. Try for more precise, tight language.

Second, some of the images are over the top or don't make sense even if they sound pretty. "Viciousness born of brilliance"--what is that? Brilliance breeds viciousness? Maybe they correlate sometimes, but stupidity probably breeds it more. And something about her voice coming out of its "smooth, cultured casing" makes me ill. I can't even explain why, it's just reads "gross" to me.

Again, strong images, interesting set up, would like to know what happens, but preferably with some toned down, tight writing.

BuffySquirrel said...

10-13 lines? Says who?

Dave F. said...

And I ain't touching that "had" issue... I got beat up once for that.

Xenith said...

I suppose this style appeals to some readers, but I think the story gets lost in the words. Too flowery and convoluted for me.

McKoala said...

Wow, anonymous 4:11 said exactly what I was going to, although he/she probably expressed it more clearly than I would have. Who are you anonymous? We have a scary Vulcan Mind Meld situation.

Anonymous said...

yup, mck, yup anon 4:11 and bsqrl, I too took umbrage at KK's proclaimation, but then he's a glass-tapper, I think. Author, (hepkath)mind the minions for they have gleaned wisdom from beyond the observable universe.

benwah said...

There's some conflict there, but I lost it in the over-writing.

"...Sara spent most afternoons leaning over the narrow space of Roger's desk, crushing him to a pulp..." I know that's not how you meant it, but it's how I first read it. That's partly because I had a tough time identifying exactly what "viciousness born of brilliance" meant. The basis there is "being crushed with viciousness" which doesn't make sense to me. And the "she" in that sentence could refer to either Erin or Sara, but given the length and complexity of the sentence, I had to stop and think about it.

Like Anon 4.11, I found the voice "slipping from its smooth, cultured casing" rather gross. And said voice smacking unchecked against glass doors of an office? A strange mix of metaphor and reality.

Why "was beginning to decide" instead of "Erin decided that?" It's stronger. At the very least, "was beginning" is weak wheras you dive in with some complicated sentence structure immediately after that.

Anonymous said...

Loved the continuation.

writtenwyrdd said...

This is too dense but without direction for me. I tried to read it several times and keep finding myself skimming it.

Breaking it up into smaller paragraphs would help. Pretty much what everyone else said on top of that. You do show ability to write nice imagery, but remember that it needs to contribute to expressing the story.