Wednesday, November 09, 2011

New Beginning 898

His body is such a hanger. Not even a nice hanger, but one of those wired ones that get bent and twisted. Plug your nose and say each syllable of Massachusetts real slow, that’s Russell. He is one of those little birthday horns that you include in the goody bags for your toddler’s birthday party. That plastic twang that makes the air stale. Now all the other parents hate you. This is how I hate Russell sometimes. He turns around and looks at me from the passenger seat.

“We pulled your name first for this round so you have to fill up the tank.”

“Yeah, we pulled my name first but you already volunteered before we took names down so you have to first.” I look nowhere but outside my window. I hate that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks cliché but I always think of this when Russell is in one of his moods. Convincing him to do something is like trying to fix that coat hanger; you can try but it will never work out perfect. Now you want a new coat hanger, or maybe even a new dog.

Or I guess you could use the hanger to fix the dog. But Russell's first name is Jack, so he is the dog. And the hanger. And Massachusetts and a birthday horn. The trouble with a guy like Russell? He uses up all your metaphors on the first page.

Opening: Fred Whittle.....Continuation: Anon.


Evil Editor said...

This is the opening of the author's NaNoWriMo WIP, so go easy on it, minions.

The metaphors in paragraph 1 aren't providing a clearer picture of Russell. Even if the narrator is going to be spouting nonsensical analogies throughout the novel, you don't want to open with something this unclear. The following would be a way to maintain the quirky analogy opening with more clarity. Possibly better would be to use it without the first paragraph.

You know those little birthday horns that you include in the goody bags at your toddler’s birthday party? How the kids open the bags in the car on the way home and start honking the horns constantly and now all the other parents hate you? That's how I hate Russell.

Russell turns around and looks at me from the passenger seat. “We pulled your name first, so you have to fill up the tank.”

“Yeah," I say, "but you volunteered before we drew names, so you have to go first.”

Of course he ignores me; convincing him to do something is like straightening a bent wire coat hanger; you can try but it will never be perfect. You're better off getting a new hanger.

If you keep the phrase you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, Put quotation marks around it or put hyphens between all the words. It's acting as a single adjective.

BuffySquirrel said...

I think there's definite potential in this opening. It feels like something out of the ordinary. Always good.

Dave said...

I got lost as to what was happening. The language is clear and OK but the oddness of it was overwhelming. I don't know what you mean by "hanger" and there's no way to understand that before you call him a dog. Too much too fast.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

I can't really say anything, if this is from the writer's NaNoWriMo project. It's a bit like being asked to comment on the groom's wedding ensemble when he's still in his skivvies.

batgirl said...

It's all a bit much at present. The extended metaphors are over-extended, I'd say.

Anonymous said...

Despite all the comparisons, I still have no clue what Russell is like.

Anonymous said...

But I like what you're trying to do...

Jo-Ann said...

After the confusion of the jumbled images, I ended up feeling sorry for poor Russell, the narrator seemed so contemptuous of him.

Describing a person as a hanger brought up these connotations for me - thin with a poor posture and an unwanted hanger-on. But I only got that after reading it a few times. Was that your intent, author?

I'd read on to find out what Russell had done to earn such animosity. And because it seems to describe an ex-boss of mine called... Russell. I am totally serious.

stacy said...

I'd lose some of the metaphors since they're not helping us picture Russell.

BuffySquirrel said...

Maybe they're meant more to give us an idea of the narrator's picture of Russell though.

Xiexie said...

I know that I'm not supposed to have the best view of Russell. That's about it. The rest is confusing.

I did take him to be tall and gangly and thin like a hanger. I hope I was supposed to.

Also, these birthday horns? Are they blow ticklers? Because that's just a more fun term to use.