Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Beginning 843

She sat, legs crossed under the table, an arm draped across the shiny surface while the other hand supported her thin face, looking posed. Her bordering on too long fingernails, sporting chipped nail polish, tapped a rhythm across one of her high cheekbones; probably bored out of her mind and already disinterested. At first glance, her flaming crimson hair seemed more like a wig, but roots don't lie. It flared around her head like its own version of the sun.

Drei stood next to me, tall and powerful. It had been his idea for me to meet with her. Caroline, he insisted, would help me to learn what it was I was supposed to do. She already had a following—however small it might have been—and a plan. I had neither. Not to mention I didn’t have a clue where to start.

“Are you sure that's her?” I whispered, feeling anxious. There was something in her demeanor that made me feel endangered. But Drei wouldn't purposely put me in harm's way. He had spent the five years we had known each other keeping me safe. He was my rock, my love; I trusted him.

I sat down across from Caroline while Drei seated himself to my right. There was nothing to indicate she had even noticed us; she just continued tapping her nails. After a minute I couldn’t stand it anymore.

“Caroline?”

She gave the tiniest nod of her head and her eyes finally set on me.

“I…I’m told you can teach me what I’m supposed to do. That you have a small following, and…and a plan?”

“I do have a following. Yes, I can teach you what to do. But I doubt you have what it takes.”

Her casual rejection of my potential was painful, but only motivated me to prove her wrong.
“Could you show me please?”

“All right. First lean your elbow on the table. Yes, like that. Now tap that cheekbone missy! Let me hear some Usher! Prove you have what it takes to make it in the cheekbone-tapping music business!”


Opening: Teagen Marie.....Continuation: Anon.

9 comments:

Evil Editor said...

P1: You need hyphens in bordering-on-too-long.

You don't need both "bored out of her mind" and "disinterested." In fact, you don't need either, as the tapping fingernails show boredom.


P2: Get rid of "it might have been."

Get rid of "Not to mention I didn’t have a clue where to start."

Change her name from Caroline to Madame LaRosa.


P3: Cut to:

“Are you sure that's her?” I whispered. Something in her demeanor frightened me. But Drei wouldn't put me in harm's way; he had spent the past five years keeping me safe.

alaskaravenclaw said...

All right. I have just tried to tap a rhythm on my cheekbone.

Observations:

It makes my head hurt.

No one could possibly hear it but me.

If I had long fingernails, it would leave little c-shaped indentations in my skin.

Way too much description in that first 'graph.

vkw said...

I didn't like:

"At first glance, her flaming crimson hair seemed more like a wig, but roots don't lie. It flared around her head like its own version of the sun."

If the author is trying to describe a red-headed woman then just say that. If the author is trying to describe a woman who has dyed red-hair then, "Her flaming crimson red-hair looked more like a wig but then I saw the roots."

There is too much description here and not enough meat.

I'm already bored. I want to know what happens and what is going on.

Aika said...

I think the red hair is real? The roots truthfully say that it's red and not a wig?

Brave author, I would also add that the POV shifts in the first paragraph were jarring to me.

Both the first and the second sentence start out with a long physical description from the pov of some observer, then switch to evaluating what's going on inside Caroline's head. Because we haven't had an "I" yet and don't know that this is first person pov, it's confusing whether this woman is the viewpoint character and we're seeing her from both outside and inside, or not.

One way to fix:

I thought she looked bored out her mind.

She sat, legs crossed, an arm draped across the table's shiny surface while the other hand supported her thin face. Too-long fingernails, sporting chipped nail polish, tapped a rhythm across one of her high cheekbones.

At first I thought her flaming crimson hair was a wig, but roots don't lie. It flared around her head like the sun.

batgirl said...

The writing is pleasant enough, but this could be cut to advantage. Is the repetition meant to convey the narrator's hesitancy? A little of that goes a long way.

Also I know it's a losing battle, but ... uninterested. Disinterested means unbiased. Uninterested means not interested, bored.

Dave Fragments said...

Your words are fine if they would flow through a scene and not beat the scene over the head. It's a matter of too many words at the wrong places. It was too cluttered for the reader to process.

I sort of agree with the other comments but I see your opening like this. Now I only added the words in ALL CAPS and those are number two. I did delete a bunch. Some of the detail is too much (that's been said).

“Are you sure that's her?” I whispered, feeling anxious. Caroline sat, legs crossed under the table, an arm supported her thin face, looking posed. Her long fingernails, sporting chipped nail polish, tapped a rhythm across her cheekbones AND her flaming crimson hair flared around her head like its own version of the sun.

Drei stood next to me, tall and powerful. It had been his idea for me to meet with her. Caroline, he insisted, would help me to learn what it was I was supposed to do. She already had a following—however small it might have been—and a plan. I had neither. Not to mention I didn’t have a clue where to start. STILL, there was something in her demeanor that made me feel endangered.


Save this for later: But Drei wouldn't purposely put me in harm's way. He had spent the five years we had known each other keeping me safe. He was my rock, my love; I trusted him.

AA said...

First of all, "bordering on too long fingernails" is an excruciatingly minute detail.

Second, though it's a losing battle, as Batgirl said: "Disinterested" has a meaning more like unbiased. "Uninterested" just means "not interested."

The POV shift threw me as well. I couldn't figure out who the narrator was at first. Ease us into the narrator's head, please.

All the "tall and powerful/wouldn't purposely put me in harm's way/spent five years keeping me safe/my rock, my love/etc." is way overboard. We get it- she trusts him. All this repetition weakens your writing. Also, "purposely" is not commonly used. It sounds off to me. Most people say "deliberately."

'"Are you sure that's her?" I whispered, feeling anxious."
If you've done a good job of showing me she feels anxious, I don't want you to tell me, because it insults my intelligence. If you haven't shown it well, telling just makes you look like a hack writer. So, either way, don't tell me.

I suggest you go through your ms, cut out half the adjectives, and then look for all the "he said knowingly" or "she whispered, terrified" or "she screeched, clearly enraged," constructs and remove them as well. Find a way to show the characters are feeling that way instead of telling. Also, look for repetition of ideas such as the fact that "she trusts him," and try to tell us about it only once or twice, not 4 or 5 times.

Sorry if this critique sounds harsh, but I'd rather think of it as "thorough."

Whirlochre said...

Unable to place all of the limbs in the first para — particularly the draped arm I presume we are led to believe is 'posed'.

Not sure what to make of this — past 'posed', I'm fishing for meaning, then suddenly the 'flared' line flares up almost perfectly but for the 'version'.

- not sure why size matters in this aside -

Only a panda could shift from feeling anxious to endangered so swiftly.

So — teasing but not easing.

Mother (Re)produces. said...

In addition to most of what they all said, I have to agree especially with Dave. The overuse of commas and chopped up phrases make it feel cluttered and jerky. I also had trouble with the description of her pose on the table.

And the "na na na I'm not going to tell you what's going" on starts to feel manipulative pretty fast.

I kind of liked the bit about the hair/wig. But, yeah, check your perspective, maybe? The narrator feels to distant sometimes.
For ex. try: At first I thought her flaming crimson hair was a wig, but roots don't lie.