Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Beginning 807

"No air-conditioner? Why didn't I marry a rich girl so I could blow her fortune while she blew my mind in air-conditioned, five-star comfort? Why am I trying to make a living supplying stuntmen to a sci-fi movie about lizards? Why am I staking out exotic locations with dysenteric food, mosquitoes the size of bats and stinking locals who never bath?"

"Ah Sahib is perfectly welcome to marry my camel. Under her enchantments, Sahib will never worry about bad smells again," Raul, the pint-sized guide and aide-de-camp on this trip answered. Gary flipped the bird at him.

"You can bite my ass too," Gary added to the gesture. "And quit calling me Sahib. We're not even in India," came out as an afterthought.

"You know Sahib. You're cute when you're angry Sahib. You give Raul a big hard one, much pleasure, Sahib." Raul's words earned him a boot in the ass outside. The hot wind blasted past them as the sky roared. Pointing up at a bright spot, Raul ran screaming. The bright spot grew larger and followed him.

Back inside, Gary continued, "Why did I have to hire a guide who gets freaked out every time the kleig lights come on for a shot? One who, in addition to being pint-sized, is also bald, incontinent and drops his pistachio shells all over the floor of this motor home rented from Film Location Services-R-Us that I have to share with the director's PA who also happens to be his underage transsexual sex toy? Why am I asking all these questions? Answer me that. Yeah, you, holding the book. Yes, this book. Who do you think I've been talking to all this time?"

Opening: Dave F......Continuation: Paul Penna


Evil Editor said...

P1: "bathe," not bath.

P2: Presumably Raul is saying "Go screw my camel, asshole," while phrasing it such that he can't be accused of being impertinent. However, it may be too early for us to realize that, as we have no insight into the relationship. Thus it sounds like he's answering someone else besides Gary. Perhaps Raul should respond to one of the first two questions in P1 with a mildly snide comment, to which Gary flips him the bird. Then the response to the never bathe comment will sound less like it came from left field.

I prefer that dialogue tags come early, namely before, during or after the first sentence being spoken. I don't want to wait an extra sentence to find out it's Raul talking.

Also, while I can see the play between these characters as amusing, like a buddy film, it's hard to imagine they've reached buddy status so soon. It sounds like Raul was hired too recently to be bantering with his employer like this.

Anonymous said...

This is colorful and interesting. I like how you're drawing the characters, and the interaction between the two of them, quite a lot.

I hate the dialogue tags in para 3. They are totally distractiing. It would read so much better without them-the attention would be on what Gary is saying instead of what the author wants us to know about what Gary is saying.

I also don't like the "stinking locals who never bathe." It's an offensive stereotype that I'm assuming you include to tell us something about Gary, but in the first para there is a danger of its (being interpreted as saying) something about the author.

Wilkins MacQueen said...

This was fun and fresh. (always a) But the cliches took it out of its fun fresh time for me and dated it. Maybe that's what you were going for, not sure.
"and stinky people" could be anyone stinking of anything. Perfume, gin, WD-40.

Dave F. said...

This is one of the "I fell in love with my own words openings." That's danger time for me. So I'm going to be interested in the comments.

The entire opening "scene" of this story is on my blog (click on my name and then scroll down to get there). The complete story opening is in the comment trail of "Reptile (WT #39)"
Raul dies, sort of. The light in the sky lands on him and it's alien possession time.

vkw said...

I think P.1 goes on too long. I know people bemoan their lives like this but when they its seldom this long, it's more like this . .

"I don't know why my life sucks all the time." I looked over at Raul, the pint-sized guide and aide-de-campt on this trip. He sneered, clearly not respecting my hardships. "I should have married some rich daddy's girl who could blow my mind while I blew her fortune in a five star hotel."

"Ah, come on, you know damn well," Raul said, "that finding stuntmen for a B rated sci-fi movie about lizards is where's it at, baby." Gary flipped him the bird.

I don't like a paragraph of rambling bemoaning. Shorter paragraphs help with the snappy comebacks.

funnier - one liners.

start a new paragraph before this:

The hot wind blasted past them as the sky roared. Pointing up at a bright spot, Raul ran screaming. The bright spot grew larger and followed him.

Someone recommended this to me and I rolled my eyes. But the logic was suspense, action and horror stands out better when it begins a new paragraph much better than when its buried in the middle or an end of paragraph.

Then I realized the person was right. Shouldn't the most important part of your opening get its own paragraph?

Dave F. said...

Those are good comments. I know that when I get that particular feeling that something is so great and wonderful, it usually is flawed. The other good thing comments like these do is to kick start me into a revision mode.

Thanks for any comments. I'm too tired to do the work tonight but I will get to it this weekend.

The tree guys just left. They were here from 8am. What a siege that was all day. Noise, five guys named "Uh, Klem" and more noise, cold and rain and more noise. The magic number was 7 trees had to go after last winter, Noise. Now I'm now poor, too.

Zachary Gole said...

Yeah, sometimes it's necessary to cut what you love. The novel I'm working on right now... I thought I had a great first line for it. One that was really attention-grabbing and set the stage for what was to come. I loved that first line.

Which made it a bit disconcerting to realize that the novel would be better with the entire first chapter deleted, and starting with what had been the second chapter. There was really no way that first line could be worked in anywhere else, so it had to go with the rest of the chapter. (Well, that first line probably wasn't as good as I thought it was anyway.)

Yeah, I'd heard the "murder your darlings" advice before, but I think that was the first time I found it applying so obviously to my work.

Of course, that doesn't mean every writer should always cut off the beginning of all his stories, and I'm not saying the beginning to this should necessarily be excised, but it may be something to consider. As it is... well, I admit I'm not at all fond of that first paragraph. As the continuation points out, it is a bit odd for the protagonist to be ranting out loud to no one in particular. Especially since it comes across (to me, at least) as mostly an excuse for an infodump. Is it really necessary to have all this background up top? Is there a more natural way to work it in?

Aside from that, this may sound like a nitpick, but one thing that I found distracting here was the punctuation. There were several places that seemed to me to be missing commas. "Ah, Sahib..." "You know, Sahib." And so on. Maybe that shouldn't have bothered me, but it did.

One thing this excerpt does do a good job of, though, I think, is delineating the relationship between Gary and Raul. If Raul's about to get possessed by aliens, though, is their relationship really that important? (That's not a rhetorical question... you know where the story's going, so you know the answer to the question better than I do.)

Anonymous said...

I have to say the opening struck me as potentially humorous but coming across too familiar and snide for me to get into it. I don't know why Raul is so upset and I don't feel I was given a compelling reason to care. We must be given reason to care before you go on with your awesome cleverness But I do think over-the-top humor might work for you. If you're bringing in aliens, consider making them nuts! Give us an insane adventure! VKW's comments are right on. I got to get a query in to get her to respond to it.

Dave F. said...

I want Raul to be obnoxious and the alien possessing him to be all sweetness and helpful and polite. I got to work that out a little better.

It's like at the end the alien says that he's deceptive and a liar but let's take the script and shoot is on my planet with humans as the invaders.

The story is nothing complicated and its only intended to be 2500 to 3000 words in five parts.

It's my Mom's 88th birthday this weekend, so fixing this is next week's task.