Tuesday, March 09, 2010

New Beginning 734

The “f” word sprayed the bedroom in machine gun bursts, short and controlled as Elana caught sight of the newspaper. She glimpsed what lay, one more time, on page one. Fat, fat, fat! She hated the “f” word. Her obsessive/compulsive mind game forced the words to run across the ruts and creases of her brain. More fat, most fattest, maybe the most fat photo. The fattest photo. Her best fat photo. On and on the phrases ran, screaming in silence.

Her grand humiliation, recycled for fun by mean editors, could lurk on any page on any day. Today it was on page one. Must be a slow news day. HRH Elana preferred gouging her eyes out with a hot stick to looking at her picture over breakfast with the rest of the kingdom. The urge to smash some thing expensive lurked. Elana lifted the porcelain tea cup up and scalded her mouth instead. She rewrote the book on royal appearances. She should have torched it. Then everyone could enjoy breakfast.

Wanting to bloodhound bay at the day unrolling in the misty, gauze lensed fairyland stupid adults and charming little girls believed royalty lived, a groan heaved out with her effort to go vertical.

She had to pull herself up by the velvet curtains that adorned the canopy, decorated with embroidery of strips of pommes de terre. She cursed irately--the other "f" word this time--when she remembered the matchmaker who got her into this wretched arrangement. How could she have ever thought that felicity was to be achieved by marrying the Burger King?

Opening: Bibi.....Continuation: Nicolette


Evil Editor said...

p.2: She rewrote the book on royal appearances. It reads like this is something she does after she scalds her mouth, because it feels like part of the list. Less confusing would be: She was the one who rewrote the book on royal appearances; she should have torched it. Or She had rewritten the book... Possibly as a separate paragraph.

P.3: gauze-lensed

Needs "in which" after "fairyland."

Also, it implies that the misty, gauze-lensed fairyland doesn't exist, so how can she bloodhound bay at the day unrolling in it?

Eric said...

Brilliant continuation.

Ironically, the opening itself would benefit from reducing the fat:

- "the ruts and creases of her brain" = "her mind."
- "to go vertical" = "to lie down."
- "The urge to smash some thing expensive lurked." = "She wanted to smash something expensive."

And so on. Aside from the bloated prose, though, it does make me feel for the character and want to find out more about her situation, so good job there.

_*rachel*_ said...

You know, I hate that word, too.

Wait, what? The OTHER one?

I'd better get my mind out of the gutter, then.

The first paragraph is really repetitive. The second paragraph confused me. As for the third, remember Susan Calvin and HRB-34?

I think you've got a good idea here--a princess, someone we usually think of as thin and pretty, isn't--but it's getting buried in your words. Pare down the first and second paragraphs, and rewrite the third, then send it back in; I'd like to see it.

Dave F. said...

When I read the opening sentence, I envisioned bullet holes in the walls of the room that spelled "F@@K"...

That may not be the best image to begin with, especially since the problem is her perception of her body as fat.

If it were me, I'd start out with this in mostly your words and then go into the machine gun image:
Fat, more fat, most fattest, the most fat photo, no, her fat photo, her best most fattest fat photo. She glimpsed what lay, one more time, on page one -- the fat photo.

I understand this obsession that women have with their photos showing them as "fat." Make this O/C behavior really sound like O/C behavior.

Anonymous said...


Fatness rattling around her mind, echoing off walls like bullets fired from an automatic weapon?

Show me OCD. Don't tell me OCD. Make it all gobbling goodies and repetitive movements.

If the action draws dangerous amounts of emotional blood don't merely suggest the fact by throwing in a machine gun.

Show it!

Action - reaction - repeat.

chelsea said...

I actually liked this a lot. My only issue is with the last paragraph. The sentence took me so many places, I was a bit dizzy by the end. But I loved the first two paragraphs. I would definitely read on.

Anonymous said...

I read the opening the same way Dave did, and had to keep rereading to get what you meant.

I don't want to admit how many times I had to read your third para.

Your writing is getting in the way--don't forget that the purpose of writing is to communicate.

Jeb said...

She may be obsessed with her fat but this reader is not. This reader was pining for some action, however tiny, long before the third paragraph. Go on a word-fast in the first two paras and show us something this character DOES, not merely what she thinks.

150 said...

Is it just me, or are we all getting funnier? :D

batgirl said...

I was confused. The machine-gun metaphor put me in one mental place, and the fairytale kingdom ending left me uncertain whether that was another metaphor or the reality. ('reality'?)
Maybe you need to establish the fairytale kingdom setting first, before breaking it with the contrast of machine-gun imagery?

oh cool, my WV is fable.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments - appreciated as always. My computer has been out of commission, but it is working now. Able to sit up and take nourishment after the virus infections were killed off by reinstalling etc.
Question folks: I write an opening sentence then it takes on a different a different context. Tarts - meaning girls, not little bakery delights, "f" word machine gunning around a room - "f" for fat. Is that a good thing to do or is it just annoying? Evil? Any thoughts - and would appreciate any thoughts any/all of you want to pass on. I can see reviewing my stuff I tend to do this regularly. Thanks, Bibi

Evil Editor said...

One could argue that if you do this regularly in the actual book it doesn't hurt in the query because it's a sample of what your writing is like. However, the query is a business letter, and while a bit of voice is okay, you don't want any ambiguity. Why waste your best material on something that's gonna be read by only one person.

_*rachel*_ said...

"Tarts" is used about 50-50 meaning-wise. This is only the second time I've seen this type of reference when it didn't mean... you know.

The other time:
"What's a college student's favorite word?"
college students: "Hahaha!"
"That's right--FREE!"