Wednesday, February 02, 2011

New Beginning 830

This year went out without a bang. Party at Amanda’s house. She invites everyone. Like, elite has its obligations, so she does her ‘charity’ bit by offering California rolls to the Chess Club geeks. And where there are geeks, there’s a dork. Every party needs a dork.

I’m Jenny Oliver, first class dork and professional wallflower.

That’s me: jeans—faded thighs, rip in the knee—and cable net sweater—in the corner. I like corners. Get in there first so no one can back you into one. Yep, me with the brown hair in the slap dash ponytail. Glasses, rectangular frames, also brown. I’m so totally under the radar.

Of course, the party was lame. Except he was there. Ryan Carpenter. Yeah, that Ryan. We’ll see more of him—plenty more. Yes, all my single ladies, I’m drooling, too.

Not that he noticed me. Nobody pays attention to me. But that’s my M.O.: float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. If the bee carried a Glock 26. And just like The Greatest, I got another sting in my fists. Not so much a right hook, but one of those five-point explode your heart kind of moves.

Oh, and I lied about the bang. There was one, fatal. No need to open the secret envelope in the cellar. It was Miss Scarlett. In the kitchen. And the Glock. Revolvers are too bulky under a dress.

Miss Scarlett. That’s me too. When I’m, not being Jenny Oliver. And the mark—brand new hole between his eyes—across the street from Amanda’s was my latest assignment.

I’m a bad ass, but nobody knows it. Except me and Sr. Verde.

* * *

Awesome concept, babe! I so get this. It's Clue meets Clueless!

Wonder if we can still get Alicia Silverstone...



Opening: Amanda Robbins.....Continuation: Anon.

20 comments:

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuation:


Sr. Verde is my cat. Black, long hair, with big green eyes. Everyone sees his eyes. No one ever notices his voice.

He told me about the party. Told me how Jeff Granger was going to be there, that this was my chance for revenge after what he did with Missy Corrigan.

Jeff was always a sucker for idiots like her, with big eyes and red hair done in curls. All those years in the Geology Club with him, and he finally goes for her.

Sr Verde says that Nick Finoretta is having a party tomorrow night, and Missy all curls and sweetness will be there too.

Looks like Miss Scarlett will be there, too.

--Khazar-khum

Evil Editor said...

P3: The dash after "knee" can go.

That's me in the corner," being in present tense could lead readers to think the party is going on right now. This can work if we picture Jenny showing us her photo album or narrating a film.

But I don't like anything in P4 after Ryan Carpenter. Too much awareness of audience for my taste.


Not sure the butterfly/bee reference works. I never thought of "float like a butterfly" meaning staying under the radar. I think it describes moving unpredictably or erratically so you're hard to punch.

P6: I'd drop "in the cellar." Most people don't identify the place where the secret envelope is kept as the cellar, so it could confuse.


Not sure why Jenny lies about the bang. She's obviously planning to tell the story in which she shoots someone. I wonder how it would be to open in the Miss Scarlett persona and then tell us about wallflower Jenny:

The year went out with a bang. Specifically, a shot from my Glock 26 into the forehead of Amanda's neighbor, in Amanda's kitchen, at Amanda's New Year's Eve party.

toneman said...

For the most part, it is well done and the character is very intriguing, But I think there are several things wrong with that sixth paragraph. First off, you should replace the comma between one and fatal. Use a period or a semicolon; a period would be better. And the whole last line is very confusing. You have basically told us the main character is a hired assasin who attends this party to shoot someone across the street, which she does. Then you imply that this character arrives at the party as Jenny Oliver, then sometime during the night, changes to look like this Miss Scarlett and shoots the victim from the kitchen. Miss Scarelett presumeably wears a dress. The whole line about the revolver implies that the main character usually carries a revolver, but that since she is wearing a dress and a revolver would be too bulky, she has a Glock. Only you don't rveal the info about the revolver at any point. You have her only carrying the Glock the whole time. Also, in the next paragraph, you should put a comma between Amanda's and was. And I think EE's suggestion about leading with the Miss Scarlett persona would be a good idea.

Anonymous said...

I think this is trying a little too hard on voice. I can't imagine reading an entire book written in this--it would be exhausting.

Anonymous said...

Would not read on. Narrator's voice = too annoying. Others might love it, though.

Anonymous said...

The first para sounds like high school, and she sounds like a certain kind of high schooler with the "like, elite has its obligations" but then she's undercover and has a gun and all that, so is she older and posing as a high schooler?

Because if so, her attraction to Ryan Carpenter is, like, ick.

John said...

This isn't half bad. I'd drop the last two sentences of paragraph 5 (after: ...Glock 26). They seem to refer to some sort of martial arts move, but it's not clear and not necessary.

I agree with Anon 9:46 that this voice would be a bit much for a whole book, but I think it would be possible to reduce the viscosity after the intro and keep things snappy.

Aika said...

The rhythm seems very repetitive. Thump. Thump. Thud. That may be contributing to finding the voice on the edge of annoying - but take heart author, because it's great that you have voice.

EE's opening suggestion is way stronger. I had to read your first sentence twice to scan it right; tripped up by the repeated "out"s.

I liked using Jenny instead of Jen; gives her a real old-fashioned feel. I liked the nun. I like the double meaning to her love of corners.

BuffySquirrel said...

That's me in the corner could also lead us to think we're in a song by REM.

Why should I drool over this Carpenter dude? All I have is a name. I'm not that easily excited. Readers don't need a full description, but it's nice if they have something to spark their imaginations.

Khazar-khum said...

Spelling & grammatical errors hurt this one. It's cable KNIT, not net, for one.

PicardyRose said...

I think you mean cable knit sweater. It seemed to me that someone who made so little attempt to dress up for a party would be more conspicuous, not less.

Chicory said...

I really like the voice in this one, but I have to agree that the switch to Miss Scarlet could be smoother.

Sylvia said...

I'm impressed with how spot on Khazar-khum got the voice in the continuation.

Dave Fragments said...

I've read teen books that begin with a voice as strong as this.

However, I agree that the current opening is too much. Keep the voice of the character but relate the story around it. Do not overwhelm the reader with a voice you can't sustain for the novel.

Sarah from Hawthorne said...

You've got some really nice touches here. I love "offering California Rolls to the Chess Club geeks."

That said, you talked me out of liking this from the third paragraph on what with the overly self-conscious tone and the constant. Start and stop. Sentences. Commas are not the enemy!

Also, I am totally baffled as to what is going on. Is Jenny in a fantasy world or is she literally saying that she's some kind of super assassin? Because if she is, I find myself wondering what are the odds that her target is at a party that she herself has been invited too.

That said, I think a simple trim will solve a lot of problems. May I suggest:

This year went out with a bang. Party at Amanda’s house. She invites everyone. Elite has its obligations, so she does her ‘charity’ bit by offering California rolls to the Chess Club geeks. And where there are geeks, there’s a dork. Every party needs a dork.

I’m Jenny Oliver, first class dork and professional wallflower. That's me with the cable knit sweater and glasses, rectangular frames. I’m so totally under the radar.

But that’s my M.O.: float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. If the bee carried a Glock 26 and did those five-point explode-your-heart kind of moves.

And that brings us back to the bang. It was Miss Scarlett, in the kitchen, with the Glock.

Miss Scarlett. That’s me too, when I’m not being Jenny Oliver. And the mark—brand new hole between his eyes—across the street from Amanda’s was my latest assignment.

I’m a bad ass, but nobody knows it. Nobody except me and Sr. Verde.

Jo-Ann said...

Like Sarah, I was wondering if Miss Scarlett wasn't Jenny's alter-ego but a fantasy figure, perhaps an avatar. Dorks + gaming = match made in heaven! Since I dont like thrillers or hired guns, I'd prefer a story about a dork with deteriorating mental health, questioning what's fantasy/ reality.

To be honest, as much as I liked the voice,I found it hard to believe that an adolescent could be a hit-person. If the story is carried out well, it might be credible, but I'd need to read more before I bought that.

Finally, I did not understand the reference to "five-point explode your heart kind of move", I gather it's about a fire-arm? I'm not from the States, so that might have somethng to do with it.

Anonymous said...

Too many cliches for me. I would've loved it more without them. Kind of Nancy Drew/Stacy Keach in drag-ish.

Khazar-khum said...

Thank you. Sylvia! (blush)

Anonymous said...

Sarah from Hawthorne - nice rewrite.

Anonymous said...

The five-point exploding heart move is from _Kill Bill_, so it's a (made-up) kung fu thing.