Thursday, November 06, 2008

New Beginning 572

Wouldn’t it be great if we could pick who to love? They would always be appropriate, kind, well-behaved gentlemen who have good relationships with sane mothers you can shop with.

Instead I always seem to choose crazy men, with unresolved childhood issues who can’t commit.

While some women wish for rock stars, all I want is a friend. Someone I respect, who hopes for children and will know, no matter how cranky I get when he leaves the seat down for the four hundredth time, I really don’t mean it.

But what did I get? Who did I fall in love with? You got it in one. A rockstar. I didn’t have any clue how quickly I would wish it was only the toilet seat I had to worry about.

Soon I had to worry about whether my rock star saw me as a simple groupie. And I had to worry about the competition, because, you know, when you're in love with a rock star there's a lot of it.

Then I had to worry about getting caught, after I started killing off the competition. Now that I have been caught, half the time I can't tell whether my cellmate is a man or a woman. Let me tell you . . . I'm back to worrying about the toilet seat in ways I never dreamed possible.

Opening: Julie Sellers......Continuation: Freddie


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:

You can't catch anything from a toilet seat. Groupies and roadies, though, carry everything known to science and a few things that aren't.

And don't get me started on the food in the bus. Cocoa Puffs? Pop Tarts? For dinner? He calls himself Satan's Son, and he eats fricken' frosted strawberry Pop Tarts.



I tried to stay low in my seat, not make eye contact, wishing I could hide behind that last year's Newsweek. It was my first time in that kind of clinic and to say I was embarassed would be the understatement of the decade.

I noticed how no one wanted to sit next to me; like they thought I was dirty or something. Well, guys and girls, you wouldn't be here if you hadn't done something dumb, right? Sigh.

After an hour, they called my name, and it took two orderlies and a maintenance guy to get me and my encumbrance in there.

You know, they should teach you in college, "If you hook up with a rockstar, it ain't your job to try and get his stash from round the u-bend after the cops leave."


writtenwyrdd said...

The writing scans rather well, keeps me reading and wondering what the point is, waiting for the tension to build...and splat.

I think the first problem is beginning with a rhetorical question. It sort of works here, but it also starts us off in the direction of an insane rollercoaster of a ride. But then in paragraph 3 your character states she(?) only wants a friend. A friend??!! Which really just struck me as confusing and, well, boring and confusing--especially when juxtaposed with a no-doubt crazy-living rock star.

The second problem seems to be that the hook is floundering a bit in a little too much verbal cleverness. I'd suggest streamlining the 'good relationship' funny bits somewhat. I think you've got a bit too much of what I do think is a good thing there.

There's a lot to like here, but it's giving off mixed messages for me at least. I'd have read on a bit, though.

Evil Editor said...

"Choose" is probably the wrong word in p.2. You've just implied that you can't choose your love, then you say you choose crazy men. It should be "fall for" or "get stuck with."

Ans as WW says, whattaya mean all you want is a friend? You can have that in men and women you don't love. What you want is something more romantic. Someone to cuddle with while you're watching American Idol.

Anonymous said...

Interesting set up, nice conversational tone. But some of the wording...too much to stumble over: "They would always be appropriate, kind, well-behaved gentlemen who have good relationships with sane mothers you can shop with." I like the ideas in there, just not the cumbersome wording. Particularly the "WITH sane mothers you can shope WITH."

Instead of friend, maybe you could pick an alternate "type" --the opposite of a rock star. Something that signifies dependable, solid, supportive etc. I don't think you mean a friend, you just mean not a bad boy.

Also the leaving the toilet seat up is...tired. You want something universally annoying that men do, but maybe not the most caricatured thing they do.

benwah said...

With the caveat that I'm a man, here's how I read these sentences:

1. No.
2. That's boring.
3. That says as much about you as it does about the men you choose
4. A friend?! You're familiar with the rock star trope, right? Banging groupies 5 at a time, hoovering blow off those same groupies, wallowing in inflated sense of self-importance, leather pants. That's like me saying all I want is a silicone-injected vamp in stilletos, but, dammit, I can't seem to find her at the library.
5. Toilet seats? We're living in the age of female empowerment (or so I've been told) and you're still going on about toilet seats?
6. By this point, I'm thinking "whatever you got, you deserved, because you went in with unrealistic expectations." Wake me when your MC settles down with the accountant who -- gasp! -- puts the toilet seat down.

This sounds to me like "Oh-woe-is-me, I picked the bad boy and now I've got hepatitis."

Either your MC went into the rockstar thing eyes open (in which case the stuff about friendship & shopping with his mom is all eyewash) or your MC was terribly naive to think she could change Mr. Leather pants. (Not gonna happen till he hits rehab.)

BuffySquirrel said...

This lost me almost immediately, I'm afraid. I feel no desire to shop, whether with my mother-in-law or not, and I'm getting a bit tired of the stereotype that says I must.

pacatrue said...

Buffy, would you go shopping at Acorns n things?

For me, this was a fine beginning, though I too was confused about the toilet seat thing. Simple error or was I making poor assumptions?

Still, it was enjoyable to read, but I'm not sure it's going to stand out from the other 100 queries that arrived on the agent's desk today. Is there an even better point to start? What kicks the main plot into action? What's one hilarious thing rock star does that makes the protag think all these things? Put us there instead.

Anonymous said...

For me this has a very chick-lit feel, where shoes and shopping and snarking about men is expected. I'm not a girly girl, I wear combat boots to work and I don't like shopping all that much unless it's a thrift store or similar. But I still like that kind of voice.

I'm not convinced this is a bad beginning, but I still think it's got too much going on before we get the reason for the wailing about falling in love iwth the rock star.

Like paca says, what's the dude done?

talpianna said...

I think Buffy shops at Chock Full o'Nuts.

Phoenix said...

The logic for me is off a bit here. If we could pick who to love they would always be gentlemen -- at least in the first paragraph. But in the third paragraph, some women go for the rock stars. So who is the "we" in the first paragraph? Is the assumption the reader isn't one of the women in the third paragraph? Be careful breaking that fourth wall -- it's hard to be consistent.

Author, I know you're really going for voice here, but it falls kind of flat for me. It might just work if you can crank it up a notch. Pump in a little attitude. Add some real sass and snark. Right now, it's sort of a ho-hum voice. A hip-wannabe read.

Now voice is voice is voice, but it can be developed. And for what this story feels like it should be, with that chick-lit snark WW points out, it seems from this opening to need a little edge, IMO. Here's an example of what I mean using your last 'graph. Just using what you've got, not trying to change the toilet seat issue or other things the minions are pointing out. Just changing the voice.

But what did I get? Who did I fall in love with? You got it in one. A rockstar. I didn’t have any clue how quickly I would wish it was only the toilet seat I had to worry about.

But who did my hormones have to kick in for? Yep, you got it in one: Mr. Rockstar himself. And me without a clue how soon I'd be wishing that falling butt first into the toilet would be all I'd have to worry about.

Anonymous said...

I presume it's a typo that the narrator would get cranky at a guy who leaves the seat down?

Unless she pees standing up?

Anonymous said...

The conflict here is between the MC's expectations (a dull nerdy predictable guy) and her reality (rock star, presumably one like benwah described). To make it interesting to an agent I would think the most important thing to do in a query letter is hype this contrast.

It's possible, probably even likely, that her initial encounter with the rock star was accidental. I'd throw that in there too.

...dave conifer

Anonymous said...

Oops. I was careless. This wasn't a query letter. I better go back to hibernation.

But I would read on if I read that opening.

...dave conifer

batgirl said...

Seconding the typo mention, since guys leave the seat _up_ not down. (Actually, it's vastly more hygenic if everyone leaves the _lid_ down, nevermind the seat.)
This is potentially intriguing, with a little trimming. I'd like to find out how this conventional and slightly staid-sounding woman fell for a rock star, and what he sees in her to keep her around.
The mention of shopping is a useful tag to indicate which audience the story targets. I'd hope it's more about the relationship than about shopping, just on my own account, since brand names make my eyes glaze over.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I like the writing in general. Not sure this is my type of story. It flows nicely. Could use a bit more oomph. And yeah, what's wrong with leaving the seat down?

I think a better definition of what she's looking for besides someone who could be a friend as well as a...

But this might not be the best place for that long of a discussion. Lots of reliance on cliches here and maybe that's part of the issue.

chelsea said...

I wonder if your heroine's issue is not that she can't "pick who to love" but, rather, that her initial impression of a man often turns out to be inaccurate.

In other words, is the story about a woman who THINKS she wants a steady, kind, kid-wanting man, when in reality she wants a wild, thrill-ride taking rocker who makes her feel alive . . .?

OR is the story about a woman who truly wants a gentleman, but has a tendency to meet men who SEEM like gentlemen at first, but who turn out to be totally different after she gets to know them?

If you could find a way to clarify this in the opening, I think it would clear up a lot of people's issues with the contradiction of "Wouldn't it be great if we could PICK who to love" and "I always seem to CHOOSE crazy men."