Friday, March 02, 2012

New Beginning 930

You are lying in your room on the planet, listening to the sounds outside your open bedroom window. There are the purring snakes trying to attract a mate, the bark of mohawk ducks as they leave the lake to eat the drifting seeds that have fallen from the trees, and the uneasy bells of the herd lizards in their pens. Tomorrow when the sun heats up their blood, they will be shipped to the slaughterhouse.

Most nights the sounds let you drift into a sound sleep, but tonight you look at the moonless sky and think about what is about to happen. It will open up new possibilities that will change your life. It will mean danger. But you will face those dangers because there is something you must do.

You get out of bed, tossing the sheet to an untidy pile. You walk to the bathroom and urinate. It takes an unusually long time, and it burns a little. You flush, turn and give me a look, but I keep writing, recording your every move. "What?" you say, sounding irritated. But deep inside, you know the truth: I wouldn't even be here if you hadn't accepted Google's new privacy policy.

Opening: D Jason Cooper.....Continuation: anon.


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

ie: Get the heck off this rock! I mean who wants to live alongside purring snakes? and the less said about mohawk ducks the better! I beg you, find a name for your planet. 'You are lying in your room in a badlands ranch on Nova Mars' will read much better than 'on the planet' I mean like where on what planet?

--Roxana Cooper

Time is short. Is it worth the risk? Sweat pricks your scalp as you ponder. But there is no choice, it occupies your mind and compels you. You must do it, before it is too late.

Slowly, your hand slips beneath the sheet.

Then your mum walks in to tell you it's time to get ready for class.




AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Great continuation.

Writing in the second person: You tried it once, and then you found out why nobody does it.

Evil Editor said...

If your room on the planet doesn't have a glass ceiling, how are you looking at the sky?

"your room on the planet" is an odd way to announce the setting. A room is defined by the building it's in, not whether it's on an unnamed planet.

The 2nd paragraph is supposed to make us wonder what is about to happen, but piling vague sentences on top of each other only annoys us. Just tell us what it is that's keeping you awake.

150 said...

Hey, I sold a second-person story once! It can be done.

Most of these sentences are useless. I sleep on a planet right now. Something is about to happen to me, too. It's not coincidence that the only interesting sentences here are the specific ones.

Rashad Pharaon said...

Do snakes purr? Or is this some kind of breed found only on that planet. A hybrid snake/cat. A snat. The snat purred is better.

none said...

People often complain that second-person stories read like Choose Your Own Adventure books. Unfortunately, this one really does.

Khazar-khum said...

Hey Roxana! Welcome to the minions.

I couldn't help but wonder if the mohawk ducks had spiky hairdos, or if they were ferocious warriors.

This opening is far too general, like those movie trailers where they say "In a world where..." Which is nice, I guess, because I live in a world, too.

Unknown said...

All the continuations are great.

On the beginning - What EE said.

Trying to be vauge to instill a sense of mystery isn't going to work for most readers. The narrator knows what he's waiting for - so just tell me. Tell me what the planet is. Tell me about ONE of the odd beasties to let me know we're not in Kansas anymore. Then tell me the story.

Second person is a hard sell. It can work for flash or other short stories. I don't think it works as a full novel although "The Night Circus" mixes all three narrative persons.

Still, you might be better off switching to 3rd person and giving me more details.

Whirlochre said...

The 2nd person narrator definitely isn't working here — it's reading like a guided fantasy led by some weirdo Buddhist (or an action adventure RPG).

I'd reorder the noises at the start and have the longest last. It makes the sentence laborious sat at 2nd in the list.

However, it's intriguing, and I'm wondering how many goats I get to bugger by page 62.

Evil Editor said...

This originally came to me as a choose your adventure type opening. But one of the choices involved Evil Editor, which obviously wouldn't be part of a real opening, so I assumed the choices were there just to give me a laugh.

Chelsea Pitcher said...

I thought this opening was pleasant, but the lack of contractions got to me by the end. Also, I wanted "snakes" (plural) to match up with "mates" rather than "a mate." Otherwise, I have no complaints. This has a nice rhythm to it.


none said...

As my comment isn't here, I'm wondering where I did post it.

Anonymous said...

The best novel I ever read was in second person.

I know you guys are trying to help authors by giving good advice, but try not to put them through reformation camp. Let's not make every book a 75-88 thousand word YA in third person with a female seventeen-year-old MC.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

To the best of my knowledge none of the regular commenters write YA, let alone YA with female 17-year-old protags. Not that I condemn those who do.

Basically, anything you do, dear Anonymous, that's outside of the norm is an extra obstacle to publication. (Writing in 2nd person, inventing your own language, using a backward chronology... et "literary" cetera.) It certainly doesn't mean you won't get published. It just means you are placing an obstacle in your own path. That's fine. My concern is that you do it knowingly.

Yes, inarguably, much that is brilliant is abnormal. But it doesn't logically follow that much that is abnormal is necessarily brilliant.

Mister Furkles said...

What do uneasy bells sound like? Does their emotional distress cause them to sound different? Why are the bells uneasy?

Anonymous said...

In my Way Back Machine in 1984 a book titled Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney hit it big time. That spawned a fresh wave of 2nd person tales. Some were very good Nigel.

Mr. Peabody.

Wilkins MacQueen said...

I'm pretty confident the author knows exactly how difficult writing in this pov is.

I admire that.

Rashad Pharaon said...

So this is a book and dice game-type story? In the likes of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone? Loved reading these when I was younger. Think I bought all of them!

If that is the case--then it clarifies things a little.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't want to be the parent trying to convince his/her kid that a choose your own adventure book is a completely fair substitute for a PS3 and a copy of Skyrim...

Anonymous said...

Then don't be.


Anonymous said...

Then don't be.


Author said...

Actually, it is a choose your own adventure, I added in the Evil Editor choice because I thought it would make continuations easier. Choose your own adventures usually have two choices at each juncture, three would provide too many unused options. I was wondering if that still applied in ebooks. Still means way too much writing.

Mohawk ducks have a display of hair-like feathers on their heads. They are vegetarians.

The vague references are because the reader has to project into the writing. You can't mention anything that would jar the impression.