Monday, July 31, 2006

New Beginning 24

I hate working with people.

Let me qualify that: I hate working with people when I have to read minds. And it's not some stupid party trick, because I have to go into a trance before I can do that. If there's an easier way, my father sure as hell never told me.

Never will.

“Mickey,” he told me when I was twelve, “reading other people's thoughts is called an 'Ability.' It's not magic, like some simpletons might think.”

Like me?

Good ol' Mickey Swoboda, Simpleton. Sighing, I trudged down Northampton Street, brushing a few crumbs of snow off the front of my coat. I shoved those thoughts into some deep, unused pocket of my brain. My boss was my concern tonight. I didn't want her to find out on this or any other night how I acquired stories for her paper, The Daily Slab.

So, when I ran into her coming out of the Liquor Barn, I kept my face expressionless despite the heat radiating from her thoughts.

"Hey Mickey, you freakin' simpleton!" she yelled.

"Hi, Hera."

"How is a swack job like you comin' up with these stories? Huh? You'd have to be a freakin' mind reader to know this stuff!"

She leered at me and I read her mind. No story there, but a lurid, repugnant picture.

I puked.

Uh-oh, I thought. The "Ability" is out of the bag now.

Opening: Nancy.....Continuation: Kate Thornton


Anonymous said...

I like this opening. Mickey Swoboda has a distinctive voice and a dilemma. This, along with his ability and his situation pulls the reader in.

I have no idea what the genre is, but so far this is definitely working for me!

Anonymous said...

I need a little less talk and a lot more action, I think. I was having trouble falling what he was saying, because it was like he was talking to himself. I needed a bit more of a reason to care other than, wow, he's got a special Ability.

Also beware of Capitalization. It has a tendency to fall flat.

Anonymous said...

It's quirky. It's interesting. I would have kept reading from this beginning.

Anonymous said...

I liked this. Strong, clear voice came through. I'd read more.

Dan Lewis said...

In paragraph 2, "I have to go into a trance before I can do that" suggests to me that mind reading takes effort from the mind reader and requires some set-up time. But in paragraph 7, a chance encounter has the mind reader immediately feeling thoughts involuntarily. How do these two things fit together?

"I have to go into a trance before I can do that" (paragraph 2) is ambiguous because it probably should refer to how Mickey prepares to read minds by entering a trance. Instead the closest potential antecedent is "some stupid party trick". It reads like "I have to go into a trance before I can do stupid party tricks [that], and I don't go into a trance to read minds, thus reading minds is not a stupid party trick."

Paragraph 6 suggests that Mickey is deliberately spending his night doing something about his boss, "my concern", his main concern for the evening. But paragraph 7 suggests that they met that night by chance ("ran into her"); it doesn't suggest that he staked out her liquor store. Is Mickey there to meet her deliberately or by chance?

Why is it hard for Mickey to keep his boss from learning that he reads minds? (paragraph 6) How would she find out? How can he make his concern for the night that she not find out something he's managed to conceal for a while already (having acquired stories, plural)?

Maybe because the piece is about a thought reader, the metaphor "shoved those thoughts into some deep, unused pocket of my brain" should be avoided, as at this early stage of the story a reader might pause to wonder just how literally to take it.

The flashback (paragraphs 4-5, and leading into 6) doesn't buy you enough characterization at this early stage in the story, and it slows down the action.

none said...

How do these two things fit together?

When all else fails, read the instructions.

Anonymous said...

I like the first sentence, it grabbed me but everything else after that was telling me, not showing and I was instantly bored. I would go from the first sentence into the boss thing that you had at the end and maybe into the work he does a little. then go into how he acquired the story by reading someone's mind and how that went. Other than that, I like the idea of the story.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why, but I thought Mickey was a girl. Interesting concept here, I'd read more.

Anonymous said...

I'll fess up...'tis my opening lines. ::grin::

As for capitalization - I know where you're coming from, garden minion. That's about the only thing that gets capitalized (other than the names of buildings). As to less talk, more action...hmmm...something for me to keep in mind when I go into revision mode.

Dan Lewis - I've actually printed out your comments and will look at them more closely (brother, openings are so freakin' tough!).

2nd Anonymous - hmm...interesting. I've printed out your comments, too.

buffysquirrel - Mwahaha...

To the others who basically liked the opening...thank you.

In fact, thank you to all who commented. I originally had it in 3rd POV, decided to rewrite it in 1st.


Anonymous said...

Mwhahaha! I just read the continuation! That was good.