Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Beginning 720

“What do you mean Rio's gone?” Barbed wire in Ella's gut twisted taught.

“Sold. He's loaded and gone.” Aaron's eyes, glinting cruel and deliberate, held satisfaction. Ella had the urge to skewer his face with her fingernails.

“You sold my horse and didn’t even tell me?” hissed out of her. Ella went toe to toe with him, tilting forward. Volcanic spray sparked off her splitting the black hole wide open that until this second stayed basted, stitched loose and impermanent between them.

“You sold Rio?”

“Got fifty thousand for him.”

Grateful she didn’t carry a gun, hands balled into fists, Ella tilted further at him struggling to control the breach of her absolute zero tolerance. Aaron wiped way the sweat over his eyebrows while Ella gained ground.

“Where’s the money?” her voice was low, upper lip tight. Her rage loaded the space between them, deep white hot, pure rage.

"Money?"

Ella turned purple. Her nose was almost touching Aaron's, and he could feel her spittle on his cheeks. "The money from Rio! You sold Rio for fifty K. That's my fifty K, you dipshit."

"No, no, no." Aaron chuckled. Bad idea. Sparks flew. Literally. "Not sold, exactly. More of a trade. Here -- I got fifty thousand of these."

Ella finally detonated as Aaron handed her a small pot of Elmer's White Glue.


Opening: Bibi.....Continuation: Anon.

18 comments:

Evil Editor said...

That should be "taut" in sentence two. In any case, I tend to think of barbed wire as already twisted.

It's amusing to see Ella's rage building, but it might be more effective if her levels of rage were in a different order. Balled up fists, for instance, might come earlier than volcanic spray sparking off of her, so the progression is toward more and more graphic description. Once we've seen volcanic spray, the rest is going to seem mild.

If you're not trying to show increasing rage, and just trying to show the same rage with different descriptive phrases, you might want to drop one or two, as we've pretty much gotten the point.

Matthew said...

I could've have used a better sense of setting to help me get grounded, but if it's coming up in the words just after the opening than I think this is okay. Interesting.

maybe genius said...

I'm feeling a little bogged down in the description, as well. This sentence in particular -

"Volcanic spray sparked off her splitting the black hole wide open that until this second stayed basted, stitched loose and impermanent between them."

- left me confused. There's too much going on, and I had to re-read it about three times to fully grasp what was being said. Maybe try something a little more concise, perhaps along the lines of -

"The black hole between them split wide open, ignited by the volcanic spray sparking off of her."

Hope that helps!

Bernita said...

Oh dear.You've got good bones here, but...
Besides "taught", and the purple over-loaded description of her rage, "tilted" does not convey what you hope it will. Makes her sound as if she's about to fall flat on her face.Just have her lean toward him, if you must.
Sometimes simple verbs work just fine.

Dave F. said...

Sometimes when I am writing a scene, I create the dialog and then add the descriptive language around it. Other times I highlight the spoken words in red just to set them aside form the description. It helps me to analyze the spoken words versus the descriptions around them.

You have this as dialog:
“What do you mean Rio's gone?” Ella said.
“Sold. He's loaded and gone.” Aaron said.
“You sold my horse and didn’t even tell me?” Ella said.
“You sold Rio?” Ella said.
“Got fifty thousand for him.” Aaron said.
“Where’s the money?” Ella said."


Let me ask a few questions. First, why doesn't she just open with "What did you do with MY horse?" or "Where's Rio, Where's my horse?" rather than implying the conversation starts with Aaron saying "Rio's gone." The problem I have with the implication is that the reader has to figure out who and what Rio is. That forces her next line. She has to say "You sold my horse and didn't tell me."

And all the while the reader is trying to figure out who Rio is, the reader has to figure out the metaphorical barbed wire in the gut and face-scratching cat fight lady. And since the last thing I skewered was the stuffing in the turkey, I'd hate to tell you how lurid and bloody fingernails skewering his face works out. That's too Eli Roth.

Why not start out this way:
Ella faced down Aaron in the stockyard. "Where is my horse?"
"Sold. Loaded on old man Grimley's trailer and gone." Aaron's eyes, glinting cruel and deliberate. He rubbed the dust from his hands like Pontius Pilate.


And go on from there because now the reader knows where they are, and how the characters are involved with each other and why Ella is about to freak out like a volcano or barbed wire or a black hole. She could slap his face or knee his testicles, or pound her fists on his broad chest.

vkw said...

I have to agree that this sentence left me speechless

"Volcanic spray sparked off her splitting the black hole wide open that until this second stayed basted, stitched loose and impermanent between them."

And not in a good way.

Otherwise I like Dave's comments and his idea about dialogue development.

Bernita said...

~admiringly~
That's great advice, Dave.

Anonymous said...

It's a bit too descriptive for me. Aside from that, I feel like some of the sentences take us out of Ella's mind.

Like: “What do you mean Rio's gone?” Barbed wire in Ella's gut twisted taught.

I might feel more connected to Ella if it read something like this: "What do you mean Rio's gone?" Ella demanded. She could feel barbed wire in her gut twist taut.

This seems out of her head as well:

Grateful she didn’t carry a gun, hands balled into fists, Ella tilted further at him struggling to control the breach of her absolute zero tolerance. Aaron wiped way the sweat over his eyebrows while Ella gained ground.

Maybe something like: Ella was grateful she didn't carry a gun. She balled her hands into fists and leaned closer to him, struggling to control the breach of her absolute zero tolerance...

And here:

“Where’s the money?” her voice was low, upper lip tight. Her rage loaded the space between them, deep white hot, pure rage.

Maybe change it a bit to:

"Where's the money?" she asked, her voice low, upper lip tight.

***

Whirlochre said...

There's too much going on in parts of this.

Barbed wire in Ella's gut twisted taut.

Ok — but even if I had barbed wire in my guts that did absolutely nothing, I wouldn't feel too good.

Your best lines are about the horse. In fact, the dialogue speaks. The problem seems to be that you're overloading everything else.

Try leaving the dialogue as it is and pare everything else back — eg pick one of the four from here

Grateful she didn’t carry a gun, hands balled into fists, Ella tilted further at him struggling to control the breach of her absolute zero tolerance

_*Rachel*_ said...

Amazing continuation!

This feels overwritten. You've got what you need in there; it's just buried in everything else. Here:


“What do you mean[,] Rio's gone?” Ella's gut twisted taught.

“Sold. He's loaded and gone.” Aaron's eyes glinted, and Ella had the urge to skewer his face with her fingernails.

“You sold my horse and didn’t even tell me?” she spat in his face.

“Got fifty thousand for him.”

Grateful she didn’t carry a gun, Ella balled her hands into fists. “Where’s the money?” she asked, her voice low and upper lip tight.


The visualizations of rage aren't working at all (especially the stitched volcano sentence); the dialogue itself does. I think this'll work much better if you stick to simple body language. Then again, that's how I like to do dialogue, so I'm prejudiced.

Anonymous said...

Here's the NEW opening. So grateful for your comments. You guys are dead right -the writer. Thanks a million!

Ella faced down Aaron in the stockyard. “Where’s MY horse?” “Sold. He's gone.” Aaron. Ella had the urge to swing at him. “You sold Rio behind my back?” “I got fifty thousand for him.” Aaron’s eyes glinting cruel and deliberate, watched her as he rubbed the dust from his hands like Pontius Pilate. “Where’s the money?” she asked, her voice low, upper lip tight. “Right here.” He pulled the check from his pocket. “The check has your name on it. That’s low. ” Ella put the check in her pocket, climbed into her truck, started it, shoved it in gear and released the hand brake. “Where are you going?” he yelled. “To get my horse!” With a knot in her stomach Ella drove off. Telling a man he didn’t own the fifty thousand dollar horse he paid for was not something to look forward to. Her grip tightened on the steering wheel.

Matthew said...

Ah, so it was about a horse. Once I got passed the lack of paragraphs, it evoked much, much better visualization for me.

Anonymous said...

With formating:

Ella faced down Aaron in the stockyard.

“Where’s my horse?”

“Sold. He's gone.” Aaron said. Ella had the urge to swing at him.

“You sold Rio behind my back?”

“I got fifty thousand for him.” Aaron’s eyes glinted, cruel and deliberate. He watched her as he rubbed the dust from his hands like Pontius Pilate.

“Where’s the money?” she asked, her voice low, upper lip tight.

“Right here.” He pulled the check from his pocket.

“The check has your name on it. That’s low. ” Ella put the check in her pocket, climbed into her truck, started it, shoved it in gear and released the hand brake.

“Where are you going?” he yelled.

“To get my horse!” With a knot in her stomach Ella drove off. Telling a man he didn’t own the fifty thousand dollar horse he paid for was not something to look forward to. Her grip tightened on the steering wheel.


The bolded sentence is the money line.

Phoenix said...

Hmmm. A couple of things that I see:

I don't get the Pontius Pilate reference in this exchange. He's not innocent of the deed. More like Judas selling out, I think, if you must go that route - but really, it's all kind of out of place here, IMO.

Aaron LETS Ella take the check just like that and pocket it? He pulls it out, shows it to her and she just slips it out of his hand and into her pocket?

Might want to have Ella note the name or address on the check; otherwise, how does she know where to go to get the horse.

Now, I'm not sure what the relationship is between Ella and Aaron. If they're married, this could be legal. But a $50K horse will be registered and there will be a bill of sale and registration transfer papers that will have to be gotten to and drawn up and signed, much like the title on a car. Without papers, the new owner won't be able to get his full return on investment if he plans on showing, racing or breeding Rio.

Anonymous said...

Ella gets the info she needs to find the horse from the check, (I wrote about her reading the check for info on the guy who bought it then took it out, thought it was too obvious - she scanned the check for...etc.) Yes, Judas priest was something I put in took out,put in,took out. Ella has her papers for the horse, the guy who thinks he bought him is hoping to use the horse in cutting competitions. Ella isn't married to Aaron, he sold the horse out from under her. He's always been jealous of the horse and thought be selling himhe'd live free an easy without working for quite a while. Ella could always train another horse, pick up clients etc. Yes, she took the check from Aaron. She's going to try and return the check and get her horse back. It becomes a police matter as the cowboy doesn't cooperate...he needs that horse - would make a big difference to his life if he could get a shot at the big money. Ella is the top ranked cutting pro in the province, on Rio.
Thanks again for all the comments... extremely helpful, and man am I learning...

I read my opening a hundred times and never caught "taut/taught"... Bless the commenters and their eyes! Thanks again.... - the writer.

_*Rachel*_ said...

Much better.

I'd get rid of the Pilate reference, too.

Anonymous said...

Couple of other things - did format, but lost the formatting somehow (cyber gremlins?) when recovering from a corrupt file... Sorry - I didn't know would lose the paragraphing when I sent it. Rio is a gelding, 50K is cheap for a finished top earner like Rio. Can earn that investment back over time as long as the horse doesn't die and is uninsured and stays sound.
Aaron was going to forward papers on after registration of the new owner. (Venders change the owndership on the registration of horses and it takes months to complete.)
Ella just wants Rio back, she shows up at the duped buyer's ranch and immediately ignition goes to burn and Tom throws Ella off his land. He didn't recognize her at first in his kitchen sipping coffee. He only knew her on the back of that horse that is standing in his corral.
Tom's wornout and used up and it's only 10 in the morning. He needed that horse. He threw the top ranked pro off his spread. He doesn't own the horse. Now he has to go back to high risk events and take his chances getting hurt. He can't get hurt. Laura would have to go to foster care if he got laid up. She's a child recovering from a terrible ordeal. He's all she's got left.
The only good thing so far in this mess is that Ella won't be cashing his check. His money will stay in the bank and Rio will stay in corral while the RCMP sort it out.
Couldn't he get a break once in his life? Lady Luck, elusive and willful had been teasing him. It might be funny if he heard over a drink in a bar as long as it wasn't happening to him.

- Appreciate your feedback, I think I gained insight in 3days than I have in a very long time. Ramping up,ramping up. - the writer

Anonymous said...

Need to clarify - SOME breeds require the owner to do the transfer to the new owner. - Thanks, the writer.