Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Beginning 883

“So... you took the test?” Michael asked. He stared at the ground, refusing to look up at Stephanie.

“Of course I did!” Stephanie fiddled with the box the pregnancy kit came in. She looked at Michael, studying his dark hair and square jaw. What if their baby—she stopped the thought before it could finish. She would not be pregnant. Would not.

Looking at his watch, Michael saw the time go from 12:53 to 12:54. Four more minutes. Four minutes and they would know. Four minutes and he could be a father.

Stephanie seemed to read his mind. “We will not be parents, Michael. I can’t afford a baby. I can’t have a baby. I’ve been on birth control. I never miss it. I’m just late. We can’t have a baby. I can’t have a baby with someone I don’t—” She stopped herself.

Michael stared at her now while she looked down at the ground. This time he studied her as she gripped the box tighter in her hands. Her veins pushed at the skin so hard, he swore he could see the blood pump through them. Her hands began to tremble along with her shoulders.

Just as the minute hand hit the twelve, Stephanie's cellphone rang, making them both jump. Michael watched in trepidation as Stephanie, ashen-faced, took the call.

After what seemed like forever, Stephanie flipped shut her Startac.

"Well?" Michael asked, visibly trembling. "Was it...?"

Stephanie nodded. "Yes, that was MTV. The test results are in, and apparently I'm way too educated to be on Teen Mom, so you can keep it in your pants."


Opening: Xiexie.....Continuation: anon.

15 comments:

Dave said...

This dialog doesn't ring true to me:

“We will not be parents, Michael. I can’t afford a baby. I can’t have a baby. I’ve been on birth control. I never miss it. I’m just late. We can’t have a baby. I can’t have a baby with someone I don’t—”

Evil Editor said...

Based on the first sentence in the opening, Michael didn't even know Stephanie had taken the test. Yet in paragraph 3 he knows the exact number of minutes until the results are in.

Paragraph 4 is repetitive. “We will not be parents. I can’t have a baby. We can’t have a baby. I can’t have a baby... You can show her state of mind without so much repetition.

The POV changes with every paragraph. Is that what you want?

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

"Four minutes and he could be a father" --y'know, if she's that far along she probably doesn't need a pregnancy test.

Anonymous said...

"Four minutes and he could be a father" --y'know, if she's that far along she probably doesn't need a pregnancy test.

Hmm. Suppose it depends on your philosophy of when a fetus becomes a child...

Anonymous said...

"Four minutes and he could be a father" --y'know, if she's that far along she probably doesn't need a pregnancy test."

I can't stop laughing. OMG, AK. Perfect.

Yeah the POV is changing ever paragraph and the dialogue is weak and faky.

try -

"So?" he said.

"A few more minutes," she said.

"Want a beer?" he said.

"Okay, but what if I'm pregnant. I can't drink," she said.

"Well you don't know yet, have a beer," he said. "So you wanna fool around?"

vkw

The Spicy Cupcake said...

I feel like this dialog is not interesting or real. I might keep reading long enough just to find out if she's pregnant, but then'd I'd stop, and if I didn't find out fast enough, I'd just stop anyway.

It is just not pulling me in.

Kings Falcon said...

I think this opening is working too hard. Full Omni POV, which is what this seems to be, is really hard to pull off. This isn't doing a good job so your style choice is getting in the way of your story telling. I can't connect with either character since I keep shifting POV back and forth, and it's hard for me to care whether the test is positive or not.

You might want to start the story a bit earlier so I know what the stakes are. Women get pregnant when they don't plan to every day. Why should I care that Stephanie is? Why should I care about Michael? Stephanie's reactions are so over the top and melodramatic and Michael's not reacting at all. Is he happy or upset about the idea he might be a father?

The dialog in Para 4 didn't bother me as much as others since I figured she was ranting. But, if she's going to show me what she's thinking by telling Michael than I don't need to be told it two paragraphs earlier. But, if you keep Para 4 try to cut down a bit on the repetition or go the other way and give me a reason to believe she's talking that way because she's upset.

I'm assuming that a real person anxious about the test results and not thrilled about the potential other parent would peek at the results before coming out of the bathroom. I'd have thought she would have thrown the box the test came in out before leaving the bathroom.

I'm having trouble believing in the story. Take a step back from this. Decide who you want telling this story (Michael or Stephanie) and let me see what's happening through his/her eyes. Sink into his/her eyes. Read the dialog out loud. If it sounds off or stilted, it's probably not working. If you can't see someone actually using those words, try other ones.

Good luck.

Beth said...

In addition to what everyone else said, most pregnancy tests these days give much faster results. No more than a couple of minutes, tops.

Pthalo said...

Additionally, it's obvious that she's pregnant. As a reader, I'm smart enough to know that if the book starts this way, and she isn't pregnant, then there isn't a story. So, there's no possible suspense for me with this opening, no reason to read on to find out whether she's pregnant or not, because she is.

Evil Editor said...

Of course, as the result of the test apparently gets revealed no later than page two, what the author hopes you'll read on for is to find out what Stephanie does about it.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with most of the comments.

When I first read through it, I thought that some sort of link was needed - between Michael asking if she took the test and appearing to know exactly how long it had been since she did so, to explain how he could do his countdown.

I might read on to see if the stork was going to pay them a visit, but it needs something extra to hook me - maybe a rare genetic disorder in one or both families - or one of them being married. Good old soap opera staples.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Or he could be a vampire.

BuffySquirrel said...

If she has no intention of having a baby with this man, I'm boggled at her sharing with him the idea she might be pregnant. Given how much earlier accurate tests can be taken these days (it is set these days?) she could have the test, then have an abortion, and he'd never know.

Has she told him so he can talk or pressure her into having the baby, if there is a baby? Eh.

You don't need "She looked at Michael, studying his dark hair and square jaw." Just, "She studied Michael's hair and square jaw."

batgirl said...

Is there a reason you're not starting this at the point that they see the results of the test? Maybe when Steph has to decide whether to share the news with Michael or not? This part reads like dithering.

Xiexie said...

Thanks for all the comments.

This is for a short story for a class which has to be 9-12 pages (double spaced).

EE, I didn't even notice that with Michael's question and then knowing. Changing that!

Beth, the test only takes 5 minutes. In the opening of this we're going through that five minutes.

Buffy and batgirl, she takes the test. They agonize and their convo reveals some things about their relationship. Test comes up negative. Readers learn this was a false negative. She has an abortion without telling Michael. He finds out. Things go to shit. The end.