Friday, November 11, 2011

New Beginning 900!

The fence that surrounds The Institute for Criminal Rehabilitation is not electric. It is not covered in barbed wire, and there is no behemoth wall to protect the massive factory-turned-prison, where rehabilitees serve life sentences. There is no need for such protection when the facility guards are the best in the Republic of Canada. Prospective guards could apply at age sixteen. After rigorous background checks, to make sure all applicants were First Class, with no criminal history for three generations, and had at least one family member who had fought for the Caps in the war. Those whose applications past the test and caught the attention of the hiring committee were trained at any army camp for a year. A select few are then brought to The Institute to begin an apprenticeship that lasts for five years. After the five years are over, his or her mentor and a team of guards evaluate the apprentice to decide weather the person is worthy of being kept. Only then would they be offered a job as a guard. I knew all this, for I had successfully completed the interview process and the training camp. The Institute was all too eager to hire their dead Deputy Guard’s younger brother.

"Fascinating." Callie swirled the wine in her glass. Her cousin had said this date was going to be different, that she wouldn't be stuck with some drummer from a failing rock band or a 40-year-old poet who hadn't left college. She wasn't kidding. This was a skull-breaker. Just what she needed. Maybe she'd finally found the one guy who could eliminate her ex once and for all.

Opening: Hannah McCarthy.....Continuation: Khazar-khum


Evil Editor said...

Sentence 2: "Behemoth" is an adjective? What's the point of rehabilitating criminals who are in for life?

Sentence 4: Start a new paragraph here.

Sentence 5: Is not a sentence. Also, the list of possible applicants has been narrowed down to six people.

Sentence 6: "Passed," not past.

Sentence 7: You can become a brain surgeon in less time. I hope they pay well.

Sentence 8: "Whether," not "weather."

Sentence 10: Start a new paragraph here.

Last sentence: I hope the dead brother wasn't killed by a prisoner, as it would kinda negate the claim that security measures aren't needed here because nothing can possibly go wrong.

You switch between present and past tense in providing the info about becoming a guard. Choose one or the other and stick with it. Unless the info is no longer true, I'd stay with the present tense.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Everything EE said, and also...

1. You're leading in with what the prison is not. I think most readers would expect to go from there to being introduced to some poor sap who's imprisoned there, the protagonist.

Instead you pull a switcheroo, and not in a good way, by telling us about the training program for guards. Backstory city. Doesn't belong in the opening, or, probably, anywhere.

2. There are no walls or barbed wire because the guards are the best? I sense an Idiot Plot. Meaning a plot that only works if the characters are idiots-- in this case, whoever set up the prison is an idiot, relying on humans to be infallible.

Our hospital has the best doctors and nurses, so we don't use monitoring machines.

Our city has the best fire department, so we don't need smoke detectors.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like author's homework.

Start with your guy engrossed in a scene that activates the plot. Ideally the dude's action should epitomize his character. This gives us the impression your main character has a voice like a rulebook and will spend most of the pages telling us about obscure complicated background stuff only the author needs to know.

Evil Editor said...

I should have pointed out that this is another NaNoWriMo opening.

Whirlochre said...

This reads like background notes for a scene — worldbuildingy stuff on which the prose will finally sit.

That said, it could feature somewhere in a novel if dropped in carefully. What it isn't, I think, is a 'beginning'.

Matthew MacNish said...

This looks like a giant, laborious chunk of text, that would strain the eye, but it might just be the nature of blog formatting.

I wonder how long this paragraph is in Word.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Oh, ouch ouch ouch!

Now I take back my snark.

Sorry, author. Carry on. Obviously you'll change this opening drastically on the rewrite.

(Darts evil look at Evil Editor.)

PLaF said...

Keep the first three sentances, then skip to the last two. I don't want to read backhistory. However, the training sounds interesting enough to be part of the story.

I'm curious enough to keep reading. Why does the Institute want to hire the dead Deputy Guard's younger brother? How did the brother die?

vkw said...

This doesn't sound like a bad story.

But this is not where the story begins.

I love the teacup analogy a minion posted for me.

Imagine a teacup sitting on a tablecloth and now begin pulling the tablecloth. When the teacup is on the brink of falling and shattering . . . that is where the story begins.

So where does your story begin?

When "I" am recruited into the ranks of the best of the best or when I enter the prison grounds thus confirming what I was I was told by my dead brother or when someone hits me over the head, proving the best of the best even with the best training can die rather quickly?

I bet you knew way before completing the training what the process was by the way. I mean after all you you are the Dead Deputy's brother and all.

I love the continuation.

Adele said...

Sometime soon, maybe you could explain why *anybody* wants to be a prison guard so badly that they're willing to put up with the selection process.

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuation:

But I didn't have that kind of time. The quickest way for me to enter the facility was to become a rehabilitee. And the best way to fast track my trip in was to declare war on the Republc of Canada. Never forgive, never forget. Take no prisoners. That's what I learned from my brother. I'm a convicted revolutionary with a grudge. And I have super powers unleashed by maple syrup. Pancakes are served Tuesdays. Today is Tuesday.

--Wilkins MacQueen

Xiexie said...

EE and the minions have said what I think on this.

I put this on word and P1 is a nice sized paragraph, but not too much if the writing throughout it equally as largely paragraphed. (It's 13 lines, 206 words).