Thursday, August 05, 2010

New Beginning 773

Vivienne grabbed a champagne flute off a passing server's tray. The sweet rosé bubbles left a bitter aftertaste. A lick of her lips got rid of that lingering guilt, though it shouldn't have been there in the first place. She hadn't done anything yet.

The people sitting at the table near hers tittered again. Gossiping old women always provided decent blackmail material, but their clucking tongues and polite laughter brought a bitch of a migraine. They discussed scandals scandalous enough to induce foaming at the mouths of rabid bloggers. Their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren were the unfortunate victims. Wives cheating on husbands sleeping with porn stars dating failed actors, et cetera, et cetera.

It all made Vivienne's head spin. She lifted her glass to down the rest of her drink, but a hand plucked it from her fingers.

"Eavesdropping again?" Her quasi-best friend Keenan finished off her champagne with a blue-eyed wink and took the seat beside her.

"No," Vivienne replied, her head spinning faster now, like an anemometer as a hurricane approaches. "Committing . . . suicide." She tumbled off her chair, moaning.

Keenan looked at the now-empty glass in his hand, horrified. "But . . . but there was no suggestion you'd put poison in the glass!" Already he was feeling light-headed.

"Idiot," Vivienne gasped. "You . . . never heard . . . of . . . unreliable narrator?"

Opening: Hayden.....Continuation: Evil Editor


BuffySquirrel said...

If the bloggers are rabid, they'll already be foaming at the mouth.

Evil Editor said...

This isn't bad as is. I would consider cutting out a section of paragraph 2, the section missing here:

The people sitting at the table near hers tittered again. Gossiping old women always provided decent blackmail material; their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren were the unfortunate victims. Wives cheating on husbands sleeping with porn stars dating failed actors, et cetera, et cetera.

This eliminates the migraine, which might be a good thing because you seem to say that it's the gossip that makes her head spin, but with a bitch of a migraine I doubt she'd be paying any attention to the gossip. It also eliminates the phrase about rabid bloggers' foaming mouths. Somehow that phase seemed wrong coming from a narrator who uses terms like "tittered" and "clucking"; there's something high-society about the narration, and with the exception of Arianna Huffington and Evil Editor, bloggers tend to be of the hoi polloi, and unworthy of mention by the hoity-toity.

I'll leave the likelihood that Champagne would have rosé bubbles to an expert. Technically it's a very specific sparkling white wine; Wikipedia says they usually infuse it with some red grapes, but whether it's enough to turn it into rosé I don't know.

Dave F. said...

I"ll borrow from Wikipedia:
Champagne is a sparkling wine produced by inducing the in-bottle secondary fermentation of the wine to effect carbonation. It is produced exclusively within the Champagne region of France, from which it takes its name.

In the USA this is called "sparking" wine and when I grew up, the pink stuff generally came from New York State. Nowadays there are several regions that make spectacular sparkling wines.

In Italy, sparkling wine is called "Proseco." That's the stuff you see at the end of "MOONSTRUCK" that they are putting the sugar cubes into and drinking while it fizzes.

However, Champagne or Method Champagne is "Protected Designation of Origin" by the EU and is subject to international law. If it is sparkling wine, it ain't champagne unless it comes from specific regions and manufacturers from France under strict quality controls.

I suggest that you pick the point you want to make. This is probably not the good sparkling stuff but a cheap domestic and since most of the taste buds in your story aren't cultured (even I rolled my eyes at that) make it the cheap stuff.

That is the hint in using "sweet rose bubbles" that you are trying to make. This is a cheap sparkling wine that doesn't go down smooth with a fine finish but has an aftertaste and reminds the drinker of a soda-pop effervescence (not tingly but belchy) with too much sugar and carbon dioxide forced into it at 7 or 8 atmospheres.

This sounds like wine snobbery to me and I am, dramatic flourish, a wine snob!

Sarah from Hawthorne said...

Actually, I'm on the author's side in the great champagne debate. There is such a thing as sparkling rosé - and it would indeed be properly served in a champagne flute.

What did trip me up was the phrase, "scandals scandalous enough". I like EE's edit of the paragraph, but if you want to keep that sentence, maybe change one of the those words, i.e.: "scandals salacious enough" or "rumors scandalous enough."

Evil Editor said...

There is such a thing as sparkling rosé - and it would indeed be properly served in a champagne flute.

Yes but in the author's last paragraph, the beverage itself is referred to as champagne.

arhooley said...

The great champagne debate. Being aware of the distinction between true champagne and sparkling wines, I thought Vivienne had been drinking some nasty soda-pop wine and then switched to the real thing to get rid of the nasty wine's bitter aftertaste. It didn't make much sense.

By the way, is Keenan gay? If he is, you communicated it successfully.

Sarah from Hawthorne said...

Oh, you're right. I missed that. Damn it, now I have to go look this up.


Okay, Wikipedia says there's such a thing as rosé champagne, made by either allowing the black grapes to macerate or by the addition of a small amount of pinot noir. So technically the author is correct - you can have champagne with rosé bubbles.

Anonymous said...

My favorite red with beef is Chateau Neuf Du Pape. Slowly.

Anonymous said...

I am sure I don't have to tell you Champagne comes from the French Champagne region because you guys are sophisticated and know more than I do.
Asti Spamonti is champagne but can't be called as such because it is Italian. I'm sure you know that. Label rules etc. and what not.
Me? G & T on the lawn is fine, so is a Sangria on a hot day or a BEER with 'mato or clamato juice.
A saucy Chardonnay is really my style but back on the ranch I loved Jack on the rocks after training 5 youngsters in one day.
5 colts = 1 2 oz shot when I was done. Then I cleaned the barn as I tried to not to show how much I hurt from riding colts that loved to buck and sunfish me into the dirt.
Those were the days.
Best, Bibi

Dave F. said...

I took the reference to the bitter aftertaste of "Sweet rose bubbles" to mean the liquid was plentiful, cheap and not the best quality. That matched with the next paragraph in describing the tittering and clucking of old lady gossips. Gossip like that always leaves a bitter and lingering aftertaste and possibly a killer hangover. Cheap wine contributes mightily to a wicked hangover.

I'm one of those people that can drink vodka, bourbon, whiskey and brandy nearly without limit and never seem drunk. However, give me one glass of champagne and I get silly and wobbly and misbehave in a most rude manner.

That's why the glass of the second-rate and cheapo pink bubbly makes Vivienne's head spin and matches the guilty feelings of gossip and eavesdropping. Ah, the heady intoxication of sordid gossip being used for blackmail. I think the would-be champagne is a nice metaphor or simile or motifs or whatever extended image comparisons like that are called.

Anonymous said...

Hey Guys,
Sarah is right, any sparkling wine is better served in a fluted glass. The shape preserves the bubbles. I bet you knew that. The whole thing - red with beef white with all else doesn't work these days. Drink whatever you want with what you want.
Autralia has been coming on gangbusters with wine as has S. Africa and Chile. Niagara wines are well etablished as are Californian wines.
But Champagne gives me a headache so if that is the drink - I sub a ginger ale.
Rose is not champagne. I Like rose. Asian wine is a young industry and I've never met one I've liked. But Asians like to load wine with ice and Coke or Sprite and there it goes. Go figure.
PS Shiraz and Zifandel are fine too.

Evil Editor said...

Comments about the query will be more valuable to the author than opinions about wine, minions.

Anonymous said...

Yes, because all gay men act the same.


arhooley said...

WTF? This the fuck: He knows her MO, and the two of them are intimate enough for him to pluck a glass right out of her hand without provoking her ire. There's also something good about his looks, unless our author has incongruously called attention to a "blue-eyed wink" in the face of a troll. With all these charms, he's still some sort of friend. If he's not gay or an ex-boyfriend I'll be surprised.

Anonymous said...

Comments about the query will be more valuable to the author than opinions about wine, minions.

I concur! Who lets these comments in anyway?

Evil Editor said...

That would be Mrs. V. You wanna complain to her, be my guest. I know better.

Gwen Ever said...

My what scandalous scandals! That’s when I stopped reading this piece. Think about how this sounds. What kind of scandal is not scandalous? I agree with EE and Sarah from Hawthorne about this paragraph. As for all the whining about the wine, I had the displeasure of watching somebody down a bottle of Andre’s Pink Champaign almost every night for a while.... I could never imagine why people would keep drinking that crap.

vkw said...

I'll comment on the query.

I love the name!

"a lick of her lips got rid of the lingering guilt," I reread this several times and I wasn't thrilled.

I'm not sure where this is going and would appreciate more clearly. Is she planning blackmail? Is she a journalist? Why does she have a bitch of a migraine?

Anyway, it's not bad and I know this response isn't helpful but my major concern here is what is going on? And, being a lazy reader, if I have to think too hard and re-read the first few paragraphs to get the gist, I become annoyed and shut the book.

So, I would cut down the pg. 2 so we get to the point quicker.

BuffySquirrel said...

It's not a query, EE. It's a New Beginning :D. There, that's guaranteed me rejections for the next n thousand years....

Getting to the point quicker would be a good plan if there is a point. So far we seem to have someone plotting blackmail except she isn't up to it because she has a migraine. I think perhaps Vivienne needs to grab the reader's interest and/or sympathy in some way if they're to read on. Also, trim some of the adjectives. Too many get wearing after a while.

Kings Falcon said...

I like Vivienne even though she's painted as somewhat of a bad guy. I think the reason why I liked her even though she's looking for blackmail material is that she feels bad about it.

I can't explain why but I had this mentally sent in the past from the first paragraph so the reference to "bloggers" threw me. It's probably just me. But it might help to give us some idea of where Vivienne is in that first paragraph.

I hope the champagne is really some cheapo sparkling wine rather than the real deal because the resonance between bad wine and bad gossip is good.

Hayden said...

Hello! Author here :) Thank you for the comments, everyone!

BuffySquirrel -- I didn't think about that...maybe I should leave out rabid, then :) Also, later in the chapter, the reader finds out that Vivienne is a con. A successful one, too.

Evil Editor - I like the edit! It is less wordy.
The narrator is of high society, but she hates the upper class. She mentions the bloggers because they're amusing to her, and they benefit from gossip as she does.

The champagne I referred to is Cristal Rose Champagne -- it runs at about $500 a bottle. It's orange-pink and sweet, but the 'bitter aftertaste' is really the guilt Vivienne is feeling. Maybe I should make that clearer, or not mention it at all. Also, like Dave F., Vivienne is a heavy liquor girl. She can drink champagne, but it's basically soda to her.
I didn't think the champagne would get that much attention :)

As for the 'scandals scandalous enough' line, Vivienne is just mocking the women and the bloggers. 'Salacious' is a fun word, actually -- I could use that if I keep the line.

arhooley -- ;) He's her ex-boyfriend, best friend and partner-in-crime. Yeah, it's complicated.

Kings Falcon -- I'm glad you like her! She is the bad guy in the story, but also the good guy.
Now I have the urge to make it cheap wine, after all the comments about bad wine and bad gossip :)

Now I'm off to trim the chapter! Thanks again, guys!

_*rachel*_ said...

You could call it a guilty aftertaste.