Monday, September 04, 2017

New Beginning 1073

They have all gone into the Jungle, and have not come back. Their bodies are here, walking, sitting, breathing, staring at nothing because they cannot truly see. But they are gone, and I am alone and afraid.

Hands reach for me, nearly covered in hexagonal patches of black material. I turn, staring up into my mother’s empty black eyes. I duck and scurry out from beneath her hands, running down the stairs to the glass doors that look out on the Jungle.

They all gather here, staring at the Jungle with their empty eyes. Mom, dad, and the three other adults who came with us to Farethraun Jungle. A dark figure emerges from the greenery. They all stand still, tracking the figure with their eyes. As it walks through the door, I see that it is completely covered in the dark, hexagonal scales.

I am no longer afraid. No light reflects off of the figure. The scales on the others begin to spread, creeping out across their faces. Those are little details; I am paying them no attention. Only two things matter: the figure and the Jungle.

I am walking towards the Jungle, with the figure behind me. The others simply stand and watch. I am in the Jungle now, following the dark figure down an old path. The dark figure blends into the shadows under the trees. Dead leaves litter the ground underfoot. Wet brush slaps at my hands as I reach out to the sides of the path, but the leaves beneath my bare feet are surprisingly dry. Behind me, now running, it reaches out as if to touch my shoulder.

But no matter how fast I run, how quickly I dodge, the hands grab me. I am carried, screaming, back, back, back to the Jungle. My parents stand, stone-faced, eyes black as I am forced into a padded chair and a sheet is thrown over me. Angry, frustrated, defeated, I have no choice but to submit.

"Hold still," says my mother. "It won't hurt." 

The figure collects her cutting implement and moves towards me. Snip-snip--and I watch as bits of my glorious hair fall to the floor. 

Opening: Fiona Green.....Continuation: khazarkhum


Evil Editor said...

Of course "Jungle" is capitalized in "Farethraun Jungle." But why is it capitalized everywhere else? It's like if I wrote "I walked across Main Street, and then walked back across the Street."

In paragraph 5, the figure is behind you but two sentences later you are following it and four sentences later it's behind you. Maybe if you include the parts where you pass each other it'll be less confusing.

I find it hard to believe that you're afraid, but when a figure walks in the door covered in dark hexagonal scales, you're no longer afraid.

Presumably this is the opening of a different chapter in the same book as the previous post? In which case the reader knows who you are and who the others are and what's going on? If not, there's once again too much mystery.

Mister Furkles said...

I like KK's continuation.

This one also seems confusing but not as much. Again raising mysteries without any context is annoying. StOn had a good point on the previous continuation. You need to tell a story not throw out a jumble of disconnected 'facts'.

There is an old saw about fiction: Show don't Tell. But the Tell means do not tell the reader what to think or what to conclude. Rather tell the reader what happens and that includes descriptive narrative. What is going on? You need to tell the reader.

Readers need some context for these two openings otherwise they are just jumbles of incomprehensible events.

Redo and try again.

Anonymous said...

You also have your character running outside away from their mother in P2, but the mother is already outside in P3....

You refer to the hexagonal patches as 'material' in P2, which I took to mean cloth possibly, but then call them scales on the figure that shows up and I wasn't sure if you meant actual scales or the type of flaky deposits which are sometimes referred to as scales and was wondering about a nanobot infestation--that's probably just me.

It might help if we knew what the character knew about the zombified people. How does the character know they can't see as opposed to simply being non-responsive? Does the mc know what happened to them in theory? In actuality? Are they completely clueless?

When you say dark figure, you could mean anything from oozing blob, to levetating trapezoid, to mannequin-like humanoid, to dragon - the reader really doesn't know. Not a good thing for something the mc is supposed to be interacting with....


St0n3henge said...

Basically, it is vague and makes no sense.
Have they gone into the jungle, or are they here? Are they wearing hexagons, or is their skin hexagonal? Why is the child not hexagonal?
Are they upstairs staring at the jungle, or downstairs, gathered and staring at the jungle? How can she escape her mom upstairs only to run into her mom downstairs?

Why is the child no longer afraid when she sees the figure? Is it meaningful that no light reflects off it? Is this true for all the other hexagonal people? How do the scales spread? Are they digital, or a disease, or what?
Is there any significance to the fact that the leaves on the sides are wet, but the leaves on the ground are not?
You mention the figure is behind her twice.

The problem here is obvious. You're trying to sound mysterious and intriguing, but you haven't gotten down the basics of scene setting yet.
If you were a seasoned writer with a lot of published books under your belt you could probably pull off a mysterious opening because you'd understand the structure so well, and what needs to be put in and left out. But you're getting ahead of yourself.

Even Stephen King doesn't try to sound mysterious in his openings. Here's the opening of the Shining:

"Jack Torrance thought: Officious little prick.

Ullman stood five-five, and when he moved, it was with the prissy speed that seems to be the exclusive domain of all small plump men. The part in his hair was exact, and his dark suit was sober but comforting. I am a man you can bring your problems to, that suit said to the paying customer. To the hired help it spoke more curtly: This had better be good, you. There was a red carnation in the lapel, perhaps so that no one on the street would mistake Stuart Ullman for the local undertaker."

The book goes on to get very supernatural, but it starts where the story starts: Jack's job interview.
Start at the beginning of your story and let it get strange when it gets there.