Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New Beginning 1025

Robyn White turned her head to the front door. Someone was ringing the door bell. Robyn opened the door. Two men in suits stood there, looking at Robyn, a pretty young woman in her early thirties. She had brown hair, striking blue eyes and a crooked smile.

“Good morning, Miss White.”

He said in perfect Castillo Spanish. He was tall, unusual looking and extended a police badge into her face.

“I am Officer Black and this is Officer Hegel. May we come in, Miss?”

Robyn looked at the other man. He was well built, handsome and had a playful twinkle in his eyes.

“What for?”

Hegel and Black exchanged looks.

“We’d rather discuss this inside, in private.”


Robyn’s morning gown looked inappropriate at this time of day. The garden could be seen from the living room. A black horse was grazing in the garden.

“Is that a horse?”


“What’s it doing there?”

Robyn shrugged.

Black and Hegel exchanged looks, and sat down opposite her, looking stern, although Hegel had trouble keeping his serious front.

“Miss White, we have reason to believe that your, erh- boyfriend-“

He looked at her uncomfortably, flinching at the uncertainty of her liaison with Brent Kent. Black continued, studying something behind her.

“Erh, that Mr. Kent is involved in a case of international concern.”

"Blah blah blah," Kyle muttered. He fast-forwarded to the part where Robyn unzips one officer's pants while the other feels her up under her morning gown. Kyle never could understand why porn movies took so long to get to the good stuff.

Opening: Kat.....Continuation: Anonymous


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

Lovely, Robyn thought, knowing her pimp was going to leave her holding the bag, yet again.

Hegel's gaze ran over her buxom body twice more before he continued.

"It seems, miss, that there's been a video circulated. One of a brown-haired woman, erm, and a stallion."

Robyn angled her neck slightly, letting the sleeve of her gown drift off her shoulder. "Most women would prefer a spirited lover," she murmured.

Black's eyes narrowed, while Hegel's widened and fixed on the newly bared flesh.

Black's voice cut through the lusty haze. "Be that as it may, bestiality is frowned upon here."

"Good thing I don't indulge, then," Robyn said, taking a moment to run her fingers over her thigh in a manner that edged the hem of her gown ever higher.

"Madam!" Hegel cried, "Did you engage yon horse in a carnal act, or not?"

Robyn chuckled. "Go have a look at Dimples, officers. I may be affectionate with my animals, but I prefer my bed mates to be male."

--Veronica Rundell

"Brent?" Robyn furrowed her eyebrows.

"Yes. Well, I mean--"

"What my colleague Hegel is trying to say," said Mr Black spanishly, "is that he isn't what he seems."

"Brent?" Robyn smiled this time.

"Yes. Well, er, no. What I mean is--"

"What my friend Mr Hegel is trying to say," said Mr Black castiliolly, "is that Mr Kent has a secret identity."

"Brent." The black horse whinnied.

"That's right, you see, well--"

"What we mean is, Mr Kent's first name isn't Brent. It's Clark. And he's really a mild mannered reporter for a major American newspaper, not an international spy."

"Oh!" Just like men, thought Robyn to herself angrily, you think they're Superman when they're really just shmucks.


“What are you looking at Mr. Black?” Robyn turned to glance out at the garden. There, her father was attempting to join the Mile High Club with the black horse. “Pardon me,” she said. To the French doors she stomped and threw them open wide. “Dad! Get off him; you’ll scare him to death.”

She returned to the two policemen, standing in front of them to block their view. “You were asking about my erh-boyfriend, Brent Kent from Erhland?”

The two men leaned in opposite directions.

Mr. Black pointed outside. “He’s not done yet.”

--Krag Churchill

Robyn turned her head to the horse.

"Would you mind turning your head back to us?" Officer Black said.

Robyn turned her head a full three hundred sixty degrees. The officers stood.

"Sit down," Robyn said with a raspy voice.

Black and Hegel sat, and exchanged surprised glances. The portrait of Robyn's grandmother above the fireplace cackled.

Robyn's morning gown became black leather and lace dominatrix lingerie complete with chains and eight inch platform stilettos.

"On your knees!" Robyn said to the officers.

The horse appeared at the door and said, "you two ready for me?"


Evil Editor said...

Using basically just the delete key, I can boil this down to:

Robyn White opened her front door. Two men in suits stood there, the taller one extending a police badge into her face. “I'm Officer Black," he said, "and this is Officer Hegel. We'd like to ask you a few questions about Brent Kent. May we come in?”

Robyn let them in. The garden could be seen from the living room; a black horse was grazing there.

“Is that a horse?” Hegel asked.

“No, it's a sheep,” Robyn replied.

“What’s it doing there?”

"Did you come here to discuss livestock, officer?"

Black and Hegel exchanged looks, and sat down opposite her, looking stern, although Hegel seemed to be having trouble keeping his serious front.

“Miss White," Black said, "we have reason to believe your boyfriend--
Mr. Kent--is involved in a case of international concern.”

That's eleven fewer paragraphs, and it would be even fewer if the cop knew a horse when he saw one.

I'm not much interested in what these characters look like. That can be worked in later. Get to the interesting stuff so we'll want to read on.

Mister Furkles said...


P1 (a very minor point and I hope EE corrects me if I’m wrong): I think that “…a pretty young woman…” means that the woman is rather young with ‘pretty’ modifying ‘young’. Then “…pretty, young woman…” would be a young woman who is pretty. I’m not the punctuation expert and I got your meaning. But with publishing professionals, you want to be as near perfect as possible.

P3 (a very minor point): If you put a comma between ‘looking and’, then the reader immediately knows you are moving from one list item to the next. Otherwise, the reader may expect him to be “unusual looking and tall” or something like that.

Less minor: “unusual looking” encompasses both Sean Connery at 30 and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. What image do you want in the reader’s mind? I’m going with the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

P4: Two Spanish detectives named Hegel [German] and Black [English]. Can’t the Spanish police have Spanish names?

P6: Because they are police detectives, “What for?” would seem more natural as “What’s this about?” or something like that.

P9: I don’t get the connection between her garment and the garden view. It’s as if you were tossing random sentences into the same paragraph.

P10: “Is that a horse?” Come on, what detective is going to look at a horse and ask that? Change the horse into a coati. Then the detective might ask, “Is that an anteater?” Besides, there’re lots of novels about horses and horse thieving. But how many novels are about coati thieves? You could have the first one.

P12: “What’s it doing there?” Hey, everybody knows horses eat grass--even Spanish detectives know that. BUT: It’s great line if there’s a coati in the garden. The coati could be digging for tarantulas, pulling bark from tree, or eating tropical fruit. (Playing canasta is probably out, though.)

Think about every word on your first page. Does it make sense? Is there a better way to say it?

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

I seem to recall from the query that the querier had a number of other interests. Based on this opening, I would really strongly advise pursuing one of the other ones.

Since that's unlikely to happen, I'll just mention that the dialect is called "Castilian Spanish" and leave the sentence structure issues to others.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

I seem to recall from the query that the querier had a number of other interests. Based on this opening, I would really strongly advise pursuing one of the other ones.

Since that's unlikely to happen, I'll just mention that the dialect is called "Castilian Spanish" and leave the sentence structure issues to others.

Evil Editor said...

I don't see anything about other interests in the query. There's mention of being a translator and filmmaker, but those could be occupation rather than outside interests.

Dave Fragments said...

I agree with EE. cut, cut, cut.
I recently found an interesting piece of software called "Hemingway" that espouses the idea that writing should be in quick, short bold, declarative sentences. That might be worth looking up.

You are saying things twice. For instance:

"Robyn White turned her head to the front door. Someone was ringing the door bell. Robyn opened the door."
can be said:
Robyn answered the doorbell.

So condense and work on letting the reader know their emotions and not their looks.

Veronica Rundell said...

Hi author,
Few bits to chew on: if someone is speaking in Castillian Spanish, why are the words you wrote in English?

Furthermore, that dialect is essentially the same as all Spanish--exception being the familiar plural conjugation, however, pronunciation differs, which is going to be hard to write, particularly as you are simply telling us about a dialect without employing it.

This opening, for a suspense thriller, which is how the query portrays the book, has absolutely no tension. There are know hooks here. The sentence structure and content is problematic as it doesn't build interest; rather, it builds frustration.

There is no internal reflection grounding the reader in the point of view, just a collection of sentences that are, at times, not even linked cohesively.

What is up with Hegel? Is he a police detective or a twelve year old boy? What sort of detective investigating an international horse thievery operation and possible homicide blushes like a virgin at the sight of a woman in a housecoat? Really, I'd like to know. Half the criminals we collect off the streets are in some form barely dressed...none of the officers seem to be fazed, so Hegel's reactions seem inordinately odd.

This needs work. But all writing needs work. If you want to publish you are going to need to ruthlessly revise. IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Forget sentence structure for now--this passage has serious problems with perspective, and all the fiddling with grammar in the world won't make it flow.

You start with Robyn turning her head to the front door when she hears the bell. This says: third person limited, we're going to see the story through her eyes. Then boom, one sentence later, she's "a pretty young woman in her early thirties." So we're not Robyn, we're someone who can see Robyn.

Then we head-hop for the rest of the passage, knowing that Hegel is having trouble looking serious, that Black is feeling uncomfortable, etc. So who are we? Everyone? No one? An invisible observer? The horse, maybe?

I didn't read the query post, but EE says you make films. That makes sense. This whole opening is written like someone looking through a camera. Open with a shot of Robyn turning her head at the sound of the doorbell. See over her shoulder while opening the door to the men in suits. Cut to Robyn smiling at them in her morning gown, etc.

So, Kat, I would suggest one of two things: either spend some time studying the difference between fiction-writing and film-making and restart from scratch, or convert this into a screenplay instead. You seem to think in visual media better than you do in text.

Jo Antareau said...

Hi, author. The sense I've got is that Robyn is a femme fatale and the two detectives are from Interpol, which is why their names sound un-Spanish and you made a point of one of them speaking in perfect whatever spanish, which would not be an issue if they were from the local constabulary.
Not sure why the horse makes an appearance in the scene, unless it's a horse-suit with the missing bf hiding inside.
Start over. Ask yourself if there's anywhere more interesting in your narrative to begin than somebody turning their head to the door.

PLaF said...

What Anonymous said.

January said...

You need to pick a main character and stick with his/her perspective. You’re coming at this opening from too many angles.
My preference is the lead investigator, as he seems to be doing most of the relevant observing, even if only as well as Inspector Clouseau.

CavalierdeNuit said...

Using basically just the delete key...: priceless advice.

khazar-khum said...

Castilian is slow and has a very soft, almost lisping, pronunciation, which sounds odd to someone conditioned to Mexican pronunciation. For example, my Spanish cousins pronounce the family name MArr-t'NETH, not Mar TEE niss like you usually hear in the Americas.

I gathered that the men had non-Spanish names, but were fluent in the language.

I wondered about the horse because most Spanish city homes don't have a place for one to graze; you have to go out to the haciendas and farmlands. But Robyn's house seemed sophisticated, not rustic.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Castilian seems to mean different things in different countries. When I've translated the transcripts of students transferring here from various South American countries, it's been the name of their language arts classes.