Tuesday, April 29, 2014

New Beginning 1028

It’s generally not a good idea to hide from someone by crouching at the bottom of the pool. Firstly, in case you hadn’t noticed, water is usually transparent and doesn’t provide much cover from prying eyes. Secondly, you can’t really stay there for very long. Not unless you were okay with turning blue. But I guess then you’d camouflage nicely with the colour of the pool and it might actually be a great place to hide.

But today it worked. I slid into the far corner of the pool and huddled on the gritty concrete floor and Mum dashed right past me before I got even close to turning blue. Once I was sure she hadn’t just pretended to not see me, I kicked-off and stuck my head out. She’d dashed out the back gate and was looking around wildly and hollering "Ben - Ben!". Probably to see that I hadn’t done what I had promised and crossed my heart I’d never do. Like hop into the pasture with those unbroken horses Dad brought over last night. Wild things, she said. Stupid idea to get within a mile of ‘em.

At least her panicking like that gave me a chance. I could sneak back into the house, dry off and get some clothes on. If I did it fast enough she’d never see where the huge stallion had took a huge chunk out of my back. It was stinging real bad from the pool water too, but I had to suck that up. Who’d have thought an animal that only ate rabbit food could get so mad so quickly?

Actually, now I think about it, Michael Phelps probably would have. They say he's a dab hand at figuring out conundrums when he's not swimming or spelling out his surname over the phone.

Yeah, he'd say, "I'm 100% behind the concept of rabbit food producing madness. If I was forced to eat rabbit food 24/7 I'd go crazy. If I chose to eat it myself I'd already BE crazy, so the conundrum here would be figuring out how rabbit food could make a crazy person even crazier, and I guess it would depend on whether there's a max-out ceiling for craziness beyond which no amount of rabbit food (or pet boosting stimulant of any kind) could ever have any effect."

But that's just supposition I suppose. My stallion wound is not. And turning blue isn't such great camouflage now that the water's turning red.

Opening: Jo Antareau.....Continuation: Whirlochre


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

I made it to my room without her noticing. Even managed to open the door without it squeaking. It didn't matter.

"There you are!" said the huge stallion.

I closed the door to my room behind me. "What are you doing in here?"

"I had to come, Ben. I had to apologize for losing my temper like that. I never should have bitten you."

"Why? Why'd you do it?"

"When I saw you talking to Blanco, I lost it. I thought everything--us--was over. It made me mad, Ben. It made me jealous. But now, in here, I've calmed down. And I know that won't happen again, will it?"


He tossed his head. "Ben, the two of us need look no more. We've both found what we were looking for."


I scurried to the rat's nest I call my room. I don't care what Willard or Michael Jackson says,I say, "Once bitten...bite'em back." One call to my cousins, and rat incisors will meet horse flesh. That'll teach Mom for adopting me at an ASPCA fund raiser.


Evil Editor said...

P1: Has seven words ending in "ly". Here it is with none:

It’s not a good idea to hide from someone by crouching at the bottom of the pool. In case you hadn’t noticed, water is transparent and doesn’t provide much cover from prying eyes. Also, you can’t stay there very long, not unless you're okay with turning blue. Although then you’d camouflage with the colour of the pool and it might be a great place to hide.

I did change "secondly" to "also," but the other six I just deleted, and nothing was lost.

P2: Change "to see that I hadn't" to "worried that I'd".

P3: If this is a character who would say "had took" rather than "had taken," I'm seeing a lot of other places where the grammar and word choice/vocabulary should be loosened up. I'd just go with "taken" and save a lot of trouble.

Whether someone who's had a huge chunk taken out of his back would go to such lengths to conceal the fact is open to debate.

Dave Fragments said...

"They" always say certain things -- first, don't conditionalize your writing.

Something is "big" and not "kind of" big. It's rough but not "real" tough.

The mother ran out "Probably to see" . No, she didn't do that in a panic. She ran out to the field with the wild horses. The narrator threatened to let the horses kill him in that field. There's no "probability" here that's worth considering. His Mother is running out to a field with wild horses because they could kill her son. Find a non-passive way to say that.

IT's the same with "really, really big" which you don't use. I've heard it in bad dialog on TV shows. The only time anyone got away with it is Douglas Adams in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy when he said “Space,” it says, “is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space."

Think of your last paragraph. I'll leave what I would write in bold.
At least her panic[king like that ]gave me a chance [to][. I could sneak back into the house, [dry off ]and get some clothes [on]. THEN If I did it fast enough she’d never see where the huge stallion BIT [had took a huge chunk out of] my back. It was stinging [real bad] from the pool water [too, but I had to suck that up.] Who’d have thought an animal that only ate rabbit food could get so mad[so quickly?]

This is everything I took out:

"At least her panic gave me a chance [to] sneak back into the house and get some clothes. THEN she’d never see where the huge stallion BIT my back. It was stinging from the pool water. Who’d have thought an animal that only ate rabbit food could get so mad"

And that's what I would do. Now our styles probably don't match. So what I did is only an example of what I perceive isn't working for me as a reader.

Mich said...

EE and Dave's comments covered most of my thoughts. But there's one other thing that tripped me up. If the stallion took a chunk out of Ben's back, much less a huge one, there should be some blood along his path to the pool, as well as clouding in the water. Unless he's vastly overstating his injury, I can't imagine a panicking mother missing it.

Jo Antareau said...

Author here!
Points taken, EE and Dave. I solemly promise to never ever use overly adjectively laden language, and as for those really really annoying superlatives...

Thanks for the continuation, whirlochre.

Mich- my MC is prone to tellingtall tales. Yes, he exaggerated the extent of his injuries.

It's based on a true story. My friend grew up on a small acreage outside of town and wanted to make friends with the wild horses her family agisted. And got within biting range. And hid her injuries only to have a teacher see them when she was changing for sport. "how did you get that?" asked teacher. "dunno" she replied.
Failure to account for an injury is a red flag as far as child welfare is concerned, so the teacher duly notified child protection services.
And guess whose father was the manager of child welfare services in that region??? Yep, her's.
It was all sorted before daddy lost his job, reputation and family... but not without much angst.

So I've adapted this story so that the child gets removed from parental care while the investigation proceeds. A story about being placed in a foster home- albeit a temporary arrangemnt- needs a lighter voice so that it is not too dark, so yes, Ben has his own way of looking at the world.

Anonymous said...

I assume we will find there are sharks in the pool. Grave disappointment and a severely missed opportunity if the pool is sharkless.

Veronica Rundell said...

I adore your first sentence. The rest was far too chatty. I know you'll tighten it up. I also feared about the blood--if HHeThe bite only causes bruising, you might want to describe the pulsing pain of the forming welt, or something...

Jo Antareau said...

I dont want to disappoint, so I wil place not just sharks but pirhanas into the pool. And Ben's injury will have him transform into a werehorse not just every full moon, but crescent moon too. And his foster family consist of two zombies, three satanists and a country music aficionado.

Anonymous said...

Sharks will do. The rest is a bit silly.