Monday, July 31, 2006

New Beginning 23

Amanda Moore, Ph.D., took a seat across a table from a killer. Except for the cameras leering from the room's corners, they were alone. "Good morning, Gordon."

"Good morning, Amanda."

"Dr. Moore," she corrected, as always. Gordon smirked.

This exchange prefaced every session. Amanda insisted that Gordon call her Dr. Moore, to keep some clarity in their relationship. Gordon called her Amanda, but she didn't protest his defiance. It was an attempt at preserving his dignity, just one of the convoluted steps in their ongoing dance.

Amanda put her mini-recorder on the table, clicked it on. Gordon leaned toward the microphone. "You're late."

Amanda glanced at her watch. "I am not late."

"You're late." He repeated his accusation in a tone other people used to say things like You're a child molester or You're a Nazi. "You promised to start this week's session 10 minutes early, Amanda, so you could perform that banal inkblot test yet again."

She looked away. She had forgotten.

"You also promised to bring me a Frosty and the latest issue of the New Yorker." It was a rare comedic moment. They both knew such contraband was forbidden. They also both knew that she didn't make deals. Still, they continued to dance.

“Gordon—” she began.

“Mr. Crump.”

Amanda eyed the serial killer. He shrugged. “You want me to call you Ms. Moore—”

“Doctor Moore.”

“—then you can call me Mr. Crump. Yeah, I like the sound of that. Mr. Crump, schizo killer.”


“Mr. Crump.”

“You are not a schizo.”

“Am so.”

“Are not.”

“Am so.”

In the guard room, Pete turned to Tony. “Can you change the channel or something? At least on Jerry Springer they’d be whacking each other with chairs by now.”

Continuation: Nancy Conner/Anonymous


Anonymous said...

You might want to change your heroine's name. Isn't there a teen celebrity named Mandy Moore?

Bernita said...

" 'Dr. Moore,' she corrected, as always. Gordon smirked." - makes the next paragraph unnecessary.

Daisy Bateman said...

Mandy Moore as Clarice Starling! I love it:

So, killer come to me
Sociopath, show me who you are
Psychotic to me
Like a razor-sharp screwdriver to my heart
Oooh baby, I'm craving for you
I'm missing you like candy

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I hate when people use the name of a famous person for their character like it's clever or something. I knew someone writing a mystery with Prescila Presley as her heroine's name. Can't you just imagine the King's wife solving crimes in her spare time? Now that would have been a real hoot.

Stephen said...

"You're late." He repeated his accusation in a tone other people used to say things like You're a child molester or You're a Nazi.

I was sort of expecting something like:

"You're late. As in the late Dr Moore."

Although I accept that it would not leave the story anywhere really to go.

Anonymous said...

"You're late. As in the late Dr Moore."

I think, Stephen's on to sonething. I could just hear the good doctor's heart skip a bit... just before her neck snaps...

Anonymous said...

I thought the killer somehow sensed Dr. Moore was pregnant, and that's why he insisted she was late when she was in fact on time to the meeting.

But then I realized it's a psycho killer, not a psychic killer.

Joyce Ellen Armond said...

Holy crap -- Mandy Moore. I'm too old and/or do not pay enough attention to pop culture anymore to have realized this on my own!

Thanks everyone!

Anonymous said...

I agree that the paragraph ("This exhange...") isn't necessary. It's backstory and stops the forward movement of the plot, too early, imho.

Nothing much happening in this intro. Doesn't really grab me. (I've probably seen to many bad movies with similar scenes to be drawn in by this.)

Also, I generally like sensory detail. Especially in an opening. There's none here. (Well, other than sight and sound/dialogue.) Tell me from Amanda's POV (or Gordon's) how the chairs feel, whether the people are sweating or freezing, whether there's a fresh smell or the dreadful smell of urine or whatever. Anything to bring up the tension and make it more interesting.

Anonymous said...

I think you need a different opening because this one feel very done to death. "Getting to know ya" openings are no-gos, usually, anyway. But some comments if you keep it:

The first sentence is very weighty and too dramatic. This will be a turn off, I think. Go for simple and clean.

Cameras cannot leer. As a metaphor, it doesn't work. Metaphors have to have an aptness to them. Cameras have unblinking eyes--they stare blankly.

The whole "you call me Doctor while I call you Gordon" thing is kind of silly, when you think about it. I'd take Gordon's side on that one, and your readers may too.

People don't commonly say "You're a child molester" or "You're a Nazi." Choose something they do commonly say--and it doesn't have to start with "you're."

Anonymous said...

Somehow reminds me "Silence of the Lambs" beginning. I must be going nuts.

Anonymous said...

Getting rid of the Mandy Moore name is a good suggestion--and adding some sensory detail.

I agree that this opening feels as if it's been done and done and . . .

But then the serial killer thing has been done and done and . . .

Kanani said...

You might want to read your writing aloud. It doesn't flow very well. Your first sentence is awkward and I'd omit the Ph.D and impart it in a different way later on. IF it's even necessary.

Don't give human attributes to mechanical things. Ex: cameras don't leer, people do. If the killer wants to leer, all the better.

If you're going to use dialogue do so to impart tension, to define the character and should be used to say something that pushes the scene along. Just having them say one another's names is like treading water (as is the proffered tit for tat dialgogue offered later on). I'd cut right to his saying, "Banal inkblots again, Dr. Moore?"

I agree about the name. Amanda Moore/ Mandy Moore. Change it.

Nice job. Thanks for tossing this out here.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Kanani - lose the Ph.D in the opening line. It's easy to infer what she does from the conversation that follows. I'd also be inclined to say "the killer" rather than "a killer" as I think it reads better. That's just my lil ol' fishy preference though.

Anonymous said...

I don't see anything wrong with using leering as a metaphor for the video cameras. It gives a creepiness to the sense of being watched--as though Amanda feels invaded, not reassured, by their presence.