Monday, April 13, 2009

New Beginning 627

A hand pressed against the back of her leg. Corrie turned, frowning at the familiarity, but the man sitting nearest her was intent on the nearby stage. She replaced his near empty wine glass with a full one. For all the notice he took, with the dancing girls taking his full attention -- if you could call wiggling around in too tight dresses dancing. Still, Philip Lovell enjoyed it and it was his birthday.

None of the girls looked familiar. From Elizabeth City most likely, or Offers. No local girl would degrade herself like that, even for the Lovells.

Corrie turned to the next table. There were more empty glasses than guests crowded into the room, and surely it had been just ten minutes since she'd last collected them

A hand grabbed her arm. "Wait."

Corrie scowled, until she recognized the speaker -- Caleb the youngest of the Lovell brothers. She managed something resembling a polite smile.

"I have work to do." Let me go, little boy. "Drinks to--"

"We all have drinks." He rubbed a finger along her arm. "I'm bored with the entertainment though."

"I'll look in the cupboard for more."

"That's an excellent idea!" Caleb reached again for Corrie's arm. "Let's g'nuhh!"

The music stopped and all eyes were on Corrie, and the miserable wretch curled up on the floor.

"Well!" A gray-haired lady stepped forward. "Did anyone notice what Corinne did wrong there?"

A hand went up. "She, uh, kneed the host's son in the balls?"

"No . . . I mean, yes, she did knee Caleb in the balls, but I was referring to the fact she spilt wine on her tray. That's a no no. Okay, Corinne, back to your seat. Lisa, this time you be the waitress; Caleb, anytime you're ready."

Opening: Xenith.....Continuation: anon.


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:

Corrie headed for the kitchen, guessing that Caleb was thinking more of the hometown serving girl in the modest clothing than spice cake. She did have something interesting in the cupboard, though—if you could call Grandma’s Extra-Strong Concentrate Laxative interesting.


Yeah! Find me a rubber eyeball to go with my rubber hand!" Caleb's face lit up.
Creepy little brat, Corrie thought, and reached down to ruffle his hair. "What would you do with a rubber eyeball from the playroom cupboard anyways?"

Caleb grinned. "Put it in Philip's drink."

Corrie looked at the kid with new respect. "Okay, just once. Then it's bedtime, understand?"


Balancing her tray on one hand, Corrie reached for the coat closet door and pulled it open. She looked back. Caleb just smiled. damn. She pushed aside some of the fur goats and stepped in, hoping he'd get the hint. The closet was bigger than she thought. She pushed on through the rack of coats, and where she expected to find the closet wall, there was nothing. Nothing but a draught. She kept walking and the coats became hard and twig like. And it was getting lighter!

Corrie stepped out into a clearing. Crisp snow stung at her sandaled feet. In front of her, two beavers, a lion and an wicked looking woman in a long cloak played cards. She gasped. They all looked at each other wide-eyed. Finally the lion stood and said, "Well about fucking time. Don't tell me you forgot the peanuts?"


Caleb's arm dropped to his side. Corrie smiled as she saw the flash of fear cross his eyes. "Let's go take a look, shall we?"

Caleb went pale. "Uh, you know, I really, uh... I just wanted a glass of wine, actually..."

Yes, like any good cocktail waitress, she had done her research. She knew the history of the Lovell family, she'd heard the stories, and she and Caleb both knew what was in that closet. Caleb scuttled away. Any man who had introduced himself intimately to a Dyson DC16 Motorhead would not be in any hurry to relive that cyclonic horror.


"The cupboard?" Caleb stared at her, then grinned salaciously. "Yeah, it's roomy enough for two."
Not just for two, Corrie thought, as he trailed her into the kitchen. Roomy enough for her six ninja brothers and their weapons. The Lovells had underbid the Sakamura clan for the last time.


It really was too bad that she was going to lose this job.

" the cupboard?" the little weasel was saying. "Why don't I come with you, you can show me what you keep in your 'cupboard.'" His friends, those sober enough to pay attention, laughed. Caleb rose to his feet, swaying only slightly, and his grip on her arm tightened.

Corrie was trying to decide how best to brush him off when she realized old man Lovell was watching. She turned casually,before he could recognize her. From the back all the waitresses looked pretty much the same.

She flashed what she hoped was a come-hither smile at Caleb and shrugged. "Suit yourself," she said, trying to keep the edge out of her voice.

His friends laughed louder, and a couple made obscene suggestions. Corrie ignored them and allowed Caleb to escort her out of the crowded room toward the laundry room that adjoined the kitchen. As they walked Caleb leaned against her, his drunken stagger more pronounced, and Corrie tried to keep the anticipation from showing on her face.

Still a runnel of drool slipped between her red lips, where the fangs were already starting to show. She was so hungry...

--Lucy in the Sky

"That's an excellent idea!" Caleb said, grabbing her arm again. "Let's look together!" Corrie tried to pull back as Caleb shuffled her toward the closet.

* * *


Corrie turned around to face Mrs Lovell.

"I'll have one of those," the elderly matriarch said, squinting at the glass on Corrie's tray. "What is it? A Gimlet? My, those are big cocktail onions..."

Corrie handed the glass over with a smile. "Actually, they're not onions," she said, slipping her waiter's knife into her pocket.


Evil Editor said...

It's okay if an occasional sentence isn't a sentence, but in the case of

For all the notice he took, with the dancing girls taking his full attention -- if you could call wiggling around in too tight dresses dancing.

I'm still searching for the subject/predicate when the period appears, forcing me to read it again. I'd change it to:

Not that he even noticed, what with the dancing girls taking his full attention -- if you could call wiggling around in too tight dresses dancing.

When a paragraph begins: Corrie turned to the next table. I expect to be told what she sees at the next table, not what she sees throughout the room. Adding The glasses there were empty already. In fact . . . between the first two sentences provides some transition.

Why is Caleb claiming they all have drinks when Corrie just noted how quickly the glasses had become empty?

Anonymous said...

Nearest and nearby contain the root word, near. You need more variation.

Our MC is familiar with the man touching her, but you don't tell us how. In fact, by describing him as the man sitting nearest, you take their relationship from familiar, to strangers. I also don't understand how his hand is on the back of her leg. Is she sitting on it?

A hand pressed against Corrine's thigh. (We should know who a pronoun is referring to.) She turned, frowning at Philip. (We really don't need to know about the wine glass. You've used it to lead into information that he's distracted. Not noticing her frown does that too.) He didn't notice, his attention on the dancing -- if you could call wiggling around in too tight dresses dancing. (you don't need to tell us he's enjoying this. It's apparent because that's where is attention is.)But it was his birthday.

I don't know why we leave the story to discuss the origins of the dancing girls? It's okay for strippers or "exotic dancers" to be anonymous.

Corrie turned to the next table. There were more empty glasses than guests crowded into the room, and surely it had been just ten minutes since she'd last collected them. (Again, I feel like we've been pulled from the story. Plus you can do this better with some dialogue: See below.)

"We're out of wine," Caleb, Phillips younger brother whispered in to her ear. His lips brushed the hairs on the back of her neck.

"Really," Corrine jerked away and pretended to smile.

But her eyes were darting around the room, noticing every empty glass.

"I'll help you," said Caleb.

(Now you have more options. You can have a scene with her retrieving the wine - Caleb follows, or she can dismiss him, or Philip can insist he helps her. Most importantly, don't let the setting move your characters, instead, use your characters to move through the setting. This has an interesting premise. I'm curious what the book is about)

150 said...

I'm not sure why I'm fixating on this line, but the phrasing "wiggling around in too tight dresses" seems a little...naive? I can't picture how those motions as described could be alluring. It gives me the impression of someone trying to walk in a zipped-up sleeping bag.

You also want a hyphen between "too" and "tight."

I had trouble picturing how the "hand pressed against the back of her leg" physically worked. A hand could go around her leg, or a fist could press against it, or fingers could brush it, but the way you describe it just seems to require contortions.

Obviously it's Useless Comments Day at Chez 150, so I hope someone else is more helpful. Good luck. :P

_*rachel*_ said...

Whose hand are we talking about here, Philip's or Caleb's? It sounds like she's got a disembodied hand attached to her.

How old is Caleb? Old enough to like the girls or young enough to be bored? (the latter meaning under 10 or so)

Chelsea Pitcher said...

The first paragraph was hard for me to take in. Someone - I assume Philip - takes the time to notice Corrie and touch her leg, but when she looks at him he doesn't notice her at all. It almost gave the impression that someone else had touched her leg, the way someone might tap your shoulder and then disappear to make you wonder who did it.

Since when is dancing equated with degradation? This seems a harsh judgement to make, especially from a girl who gives the impression that she thinks her job is degrading.

none said...

Why should the narrator find the dancing alluring? Why shouldn't she think it's degrading?

Evil Editor said...

If your brothers import dancers from Elizabeth City or Offers for your birthday party, you don't expect them to just wiggle in tight dresses. You expect them to wiggle out of their tight dresses.

talpianna said...

I assume she's wearing some sort of Playboy Bunny-type outfit that leaves her thighs bare, and someone behind her puts his hand on her leg.

I want to hear more about the fur goats!

Chelsea Pitcher said...

EE, exactly!

batgirl said...

I couldn't tell whether the hand belonged to Caleb, or whether there was more than one disembodied hand in this scene. There's a bit too much of a gap between the first disembodied hand and the second.
On the other hand ... I did want to read further, so it's a promising setup.

Xenith said...

I come home after three days away and think, "Hmm, I've been away for three days so I bet EE has put my opening up." And there it is.

This is the a SF/romance/mystery +highwayman thing that I wrote & rewrote a couple of years ago, which means that structurally it should be done, I just have to work at the sentence level.

But it doesn't grab me :) I think this opening is particularly blah so I was hoping I might get some clues as to what I don't like/what I can do about it.

The continuations are all more intersting that the real thing too :(

Xenith said...

Having read comments, I won't reply individually.

They confirm my suspicions about it not working. Relationships not introduced properly (too many assuming Phil is father not brother, is this because of the age?) Disembodied hands. Distracting, in the wrong way, dancers. (Not sure I understand the problem with the hand against the leg though?) Back to the drawing board, it seems.

Thanks everyone :) Really!

Min Yin said...

So whose hand was it?

Xenith said...

So whose hand was it?Um. Caleb, I think. Although it could be the not-yet-seen-brother Theo who believes all the women in the town are provided for his pleasure. I never actually clarified it.

Which is the problem with this scene. It doesn't make sense in terms of the setting (too many guests, where did a stage of that size come from, and does it fit this room) so it doesn't feel real to me, so I can't find the words to make it real for someone else