Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Beginning 804

“You will think about it. Right?”

He glanced over her shoulder at the valley beyond. The cottonwoods along the creek were just budding out. Almost spring. Strange, how life just keeps moving ahead, despite everything.

She grabbed his hand and squeezed. “Dad, please. I’m worried about you up here in this big old house all alone. I know Amanda’s coming for a visit, but after that… promise me that you’ll at least seriously consider it. Okay?”

She wasn’t going to make this goodbye easy. He looked at her and swallowed the lump in his throat. She was so perfect---this child of theirs. Her eyes, the same tawny brown as Ellie’s, were brimming with tears as she clutched his hand in hers. “It would mean so much to me, and the kids to have you with us.”

Her lower lip quivered and the image of a gangly seven-year-old with a banged up knee flashed into his mind. In his heart, she’d always be that seven-year-old. But, as much as he wanted to give her what she wanted, he knew he couldn’t. Her life was in Scottsdale, with Jack and the kids. And his life was here at the ranch, as it had always been. He took a deep breath and gave her what he knew was a sorry attempt at a smile. “Ah…Kate. Come on now. You know this old cowboy wouldn’t fit up there in Scottsdale.”

Her tears spilled, as they used to when he would deny her ice cream for breakfast, but she had to know he was right, that he wouldn't fit in Scottsdale. He hugged her tightly, so tightly he feared he'd crush her with his embrace. Then he waved as she drove away.

"Silly Kate," he sighed. "Not only would I not fit in Scottsdale, I'd crush the place."

He never understood how he, the tallest giant of them all, had fathered a munchkin daughter.


Opening: Valerie Davis.....Continuation: ChocolateMonster

11 comments:

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuation:


"This ranch has been good to me and your mother," he went on, gazing at the golden Nevada sunset. "Why, Beaver Gulch is one of the finest bordellos in the state. With Ma at cashier and me as handyman, we make a decent living, and anyway we don't need much."
"But Dad, your health..."
"Well movin' down to Arizona wouldn't cure me. It'd just take away the things I wake up for every day. The clean air, the sky that goes on forever, the employee discount..."
"Oh Dad," she said, giving him a hug. "Just promise me, no more lassoes, okay?"

--John

Evil Editor said...

If you change the first paragraph to "You will think about it, won't you Dad?" we wouldn't have to wait until p3 to figure out which character was speaking in p1.

I'd drop the last sentence of p2. You've made the point with the spring image. Trust us to get it without an explanation.

P3: Get rid of "at least seriously."

P4: Replace the three hyphens with a comma. Delete the comma after "me."

P5: Dad might say I wouldn't fit up there rather than I wouldn't fit in up there, but then the continuation wouldn't have made sense. He means fit in, so maybe he should say fit in.

Anonymous said...

I think you can be more confident in your writing - you don't need to tell things that you've just shown. See how you think this reads, with the telling taken out.

“You will think about it. Right?”

He glanced over her shoulder at the valley beyond. The cottonwoods along the creek were just budding out. Almost spring.

She grabbed his hand and squeezed. “Dad, please. I’m worried about you up here in this big old house all alone. I know Amanda’s coming for a visit, but after that… promise me that you’ll at least seriously consider it. Okay?”

She wasn’t going to make this easy. He looked at her and swallowed the lump in his throat. Her eyes, the same tawny brown as Ellie’s, were brimming with tears as she clutched his hand. “It would mean so much to me, and the kids to have you with us.”

Her lower lip quivered and the image of a gangly seven-year-old with a banged up knee flashed into his mind. He wanted to give her what she wanted. But... He took a deep breath and gave her what he knew was a sorry attempt at a smile. “Ah…Kate. Come on now. You know this old cowboy wouldn’t fit up there in Scottsdale.”

Dave F. said...

I always think that the thought of "earth abides" is an ending thought and not a beginning thought. Just my preference. In your words:
Strange, how life just keeps moving ahead, despite everything.

Other than that, I don't have anything to add beyond EE's comments.

arhooley said...

My eyes involuntarily narrow to skeptical little slits when characters who are supposedly extremely close put each other at arm's length with their language. "You know this old cowboy wouldn’t fit up there in Scottsdale" sounds like a movie father, not a real-life father.

alaskaravenclaw said...

Arhooley is right; it's an as-you-know-Bob. (ie using characters' conversation as exposition. "As you know, Bob, I live in Scottsdale." "As you know, Bob, I'm an old cowboy.")

For me the opening was too sentimental. Some people might like that, though. It also contained too much description.

_*rachel*_ said...

It's not horrifying me, but it's not grabbing me. You could likely cut this down without any adverse effects.

Anonymous said...

This has a lot of cliche--glancing over the her shoulder, swallowed the lump in his throat, brimming with tears, clutched his hand, lower lip quivered--the problem with cliche is it doesn't draw the reader in because we sort of skim over it; it's too generic. You need to draw a more original picture for us.

Also if your character "laughs" or "cries" the reader probably won't. (It's telling us that something is funny or sad instead of showing us that it is.)

The first line needs what EE said--I had to go back to fgure out who was talking. "He glanced" at first reads like a beat and I assumed he was the one talking and that you had just screwed up the formatting.

Anonymous said...

I don't know who these people are yet, so it's hard to care about what is happening. I need to be acquainted with them before this sense will mean anything to me.

Wilkins MacQueen said...

I don't know any senior adult with adult children who can see the 7 year old in the kid(s)when the kid(s) want the senior to do something they don't want to do. A little unrealistic for me. Most cowboys I know would have a different reaction.
Ya yellow bellied varmint, and don't come back! kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

I want some conflict. Do you think I'm going to babysit your chlorine sanitized swimming pool brats? Or go boo-tiking at the mall and watch those sushi eating designer labelled snot nosed. Aw forget it. Go home. I belong here.

A little honesty and less mush would add integrity to the characters.