Thursday, December 03, 2009

New Beginning 709

Every year, at least once a year, I made the trip back to Florida. Mother and Dad understood but told no one; Dad did have one more brief talk with Lady Hippolyta. Everyone assumed it was to visit Disney World, maybe with a brief stop to visit my grandparents. To my social friends I played up an enormous interest in Disney World, professing it to be my “dirty little secret, so don’t tell a soul!” I was emerging as a world-class cellist (thanks to my status as von Braun’s pupil) and as a sophisticate, I was supposed to be above such childish affairs. I didn’t need to wear mouse ears or ride magic elephants! Walt Disney World was for little kids, for the easily and foolishly pleased, thank you kindly, and so I encouraged the deliberate misperception to flourish. Disney’s sojourn was for all to see; the swamp was mine alone for a while longer.

The other, deeper thing I just kept buried, less for family’s sake than for my own sanity’s. James did know there’d been a tragedy in my past; he did not know the truth nor did he want to. Letters still came from Star of the Sea at irregular times, letters James never saw. Not that there was anything secret about them, an announcement of this, a connection for that. Aside from the fact they bore his signature I regarded them as so much foolscrap. Her name never came up, but Sophia was in them. Yet she might as well have been some ancient maiden aunt, or a Victorian portrait, or a plot of land up in northern Minnesota for all it mattered, for all they barely touched on her existence in terms I alone understood. No real details regarding where or with who, no intimate news of her, nothing. At the time I read them and forgot them.

And yet, I had to make myself stop scrutinizing every dark-haired little girl I saw.


“So, what do you think?”

“Well, it’s not bad.” Sylvia looked at John wearily. “But do you really think you’ll be respected as a writer if you keep using that random story generator?”


Opening: Panda Rosa.....Continuation: Nicolette

10 comments:

Bernita said...

Intriguing - but shorter paragraphs please.

Anonymous said...

Mildy confusing, rather interesting.

A minor nit: When you say: "Everyone assumed it was to visit Disney World, maybe with a brief stop to visit my grandparents. To my social friends I played up an enormous interest in Disney World..."

THe second Disney World sounds off because of the close repetition.
I would change the seond one to "the theme park" or something like that.

Also, what are "social friends"? If you mean social acquaintances, say so, or just say friends.

Lose the exclamation point.

The second para seems more vague than needed--it goes beyond stirring interest and approaches confusion. A tease is great. A wtf feeling, not so much.

I do like the voice.

Evil Editor said...

I don't find it clear why you're telling people you're going to Disney World. Apparently so they won't know the real reason you're going to Florida. But if Disney is for little kids, it seems you'd make up a more mature reason you're going, or tell them the true reason.

In any case, there's too much about Disney World here, considering you don't go there anyway. You can cut: I didn’t need to wear mouse ears or ride magic elephants! Walt Disney World was for little kids, for the easily and foolishly pleased, thank you kindly,


If this is the actual opening of the story, there's too much stuff thrown in with the expectation that we have familiarity with the story. Lady Hippolyta, Star of the Sea, his signature (whose?). I feel I should know about these things, and thus that this is the opening of a chapter that comes after we've been introduced to them.

150 said...

This isn't really leading me through a logical thought process. Luckily, it's all telling, so you can scrap it anyway. :) Just start with a scene where you're going to/planning to go to/arriving at "Disney World" THIS year.

I also strongly challenge the assumption that a world-class cellist shouldn't enjoy something as awesome as Disney World, but maybe your protagonist learns not to be such a snob, so carry on.

sylvia said...

I struggled with this too - it could be intriguing but there are all these questions and no answers: why the trip to Florida, who is Hippolyta, why so important to lie, what other deeper thing (we don't even know the first!), who is James, what was the tragedy, what is the Star of the Sea, who's signature, who is Sophia...

At this point my interest in the questions begins to dwindle because there are too many to hold in my head and I am beginning to suspect the narrator isn't going to tell me anyway.

Regarding the continuation: Nicolette has great taste in character names. :)

Dave F. said...

There is too much other stuff for the reader to assimilate that isn't doimg the job of hooking the reader.

This is what should be the hook:
The other, deeper thing I just kept buried, less for family’s sake than for my own sanity’s. James did know there’d been a tragedy in my past; he did not know the truth nor did he want to.

If the action in the story takes place in Disney Orlando, then keep about half of it, Maybe. YOU reduce it even farther. You want to get to the admission about the secret somewhat faster.

Also, these things are unclear in my mind:
I think the narrator is a woman.
I think she is graduating from college with an advanced degree in music and is embarking on a solo career.
I think that she is married or engaged.
I think she has lived with James for many years and is involved in his business with him.
I think she lost a little girl in some dread tragedy.

Some of those suppositions are contradictory. You need to work on them a little bit.

Marissa Doyle said...

Umm...it's "foolscap", not "foolscrap", unless you're in a Freudian mood. :)

This is a little in medias res for my taste--too little to latch onto despite all the information. Or maybe because of all the information.

Dave F. said...

I have a typo:

There is too much other stuff for the reader to assimilate What isn't doing the job of hooking the reader.

batgirl said...

The style is pleasant, and I wanted to like this, but there were too many details to keep track of and too little to hold on to. I can figure out roughly who von Braun is, but there's no context to tie Lady Hippolyta or Star of the Sea to ('von Braun's student' means he's a teacher, but a 'conversation with Lady Hippolyta' doesn't rule out _anything_)
Consider picking one mystery - the dark-haired little girl, for instance - and wrapping the opening around that.

John said...

Adding to Marissa's comment: Foolscap refers to a particular size of paper or book. In the case of paper, it's quite large, 13.5" x 17". It would be very unusual paper to write a letter on, but if the writer is magical, mystical, just plain weird, or writing in crayon, it might make sense.