Monday, August 14, 2006

New Beginning 72

The Lost Season

He entered the vast sports complex through the players’ entrance.

A security guard glanced up from his magazine. "Working late, Mr. Pollard?"

The man didn't answer. He raised his hand briefly and entered the elevator that led to the executive offices above the corporate boxes. He watched the numbered lights and counted the levels upward as they blinked with agonizing slowness.

Once inside his office, he leaned against the door and realized he hadn't taken a proper breath since he had entered the building. He inhaled deeply and moved toward the filing cabinet against the wall. The drawer handle slipped from his sweating fingers and he tried again. This time the drawer opened. He searched with his fingers behind the hanging file folders and pulled out a handgun. After he slipped it into his trouser pocket, he left his office and made his way to the nearest doorway that provided access to the stands.

He had seen all those disgruntled fans waving signs begging his office to fire the coach. Oh, he had seen them all right, all through the longest losing streak in league history. Only I'll go them one better, he thought, as he reached into his pocket for a swig from his hip flask to steady his nerves.

Fire the coach? No. Fire at the coach, he would. And he would not miss.

Opening: Chumplet


Anonymous said...

Ewww. I mean that in a good way. Ewww! What is that guy going to do? Is he going to shoot fans? He he going to shoot innocent children who just want to eat Dippin' Dots? Somebody stop him!

Actually, this book is not my cup of tea, but for readers of this kind of suspense (horror) it should be good, judging by my reaction.

This is why I stick to romance. These books are more vivid than the 6:00 news.

P.S.: I did get a little confused on POV in the beginning. Omniscient?

Anonymous said...

I like the opening. I'm not crazy about the use of "he" repeatedly. But you've captured the slow freakiness of the elevator. As a reader, then, I got an adrenaline rush of having a gun in his hands. scary.

For some reason, I got the impression of suicide, but I hope that's not where this goes.

What else? I didn't much like the title. (This from someone who can never come up with good titles, but recognizes ones that don't quite work.)

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I disagree with xiqay about the title, it works for me. In the third paragraph, I'd cut "The man didn't answer", maybe just say "He raised his hand in answer and entered the elevator."

McKoala said...

I've seen this before and I like this version a lot better. Much tighter; lots of emotion conveyed through his movements and actions. POV does seem to change suddenly in the third/fourth paragraph. 'He didn't answer' might sort it out, rather than the man - or more personally - he didn't trust his lips to answer etc.

Anonymous said...

You hooked me; I'd definitely read on to discover what's up with the gun.

The only thing that bugs me is the use of "the man" right after he's been addressed as "Mr. Pollard." He has a name now, so it's odd to refer to him generically as "the man." On the other hand, if you want to keep his identity from the reader, call him "the man" but have the secutiry guard simply say, "Working late, sir?"

It's a nitpick, and it didn't stop me from reading on, but it did sort of jump out at me, FWIW.


Anonymous said...

Did you have to stop? Sure, I'd keep reading. Love it.

"The man" didn't bother me, but I think there are lots of ways around it if you want to change it and keep the tone.

"A nod was his only answer." Anything like that because we know he's the only one there who could give an answer.

I'm assuming there's no game going on because otherwise it wouldn't seem odd that Pollard's working late since plenty of executives would stick around to catch the game.

I don't think you necessarily have to make that point clear in the opening 150, but you might have to make it more clear as he heads out to the stands so the reader knows the stands won't be filled with people.

Great start, keep it going!

Dan Lewis said...

What sport is it? Why obscure the detail? Also, is a vast sports complex different than a stadium?

I agree with jrmosher; why use "he" in the first paragraph only to have someone call him "Mr. Pollard" in the second paragraph, then use "the man" in the third paragraph? And why no more "Pollard" or "the man" after that? Also, I haven't read the rest of the piece, but I hope the lack of a first name and the exclusive use of pronouns are buying you something down the line.

"Pollard" is the last name of the hero of William Gibson's latest novel. If your story is not sf, I suppose you have nothing to worry about.

I find the discontinuities in the causal chain a bit jarring. For example, the man is in the elevator at the end of paragraph 3, then in the blink of an eye he is inside his office at the beginning of paragraph 4. He moves toward the filing cabinet, blink, the drawer handle slips out of his hand.

All that said, I do want to know what happens next.

Anonymous said...

Maybe its Not Mr Pollard... but his evil twin, Mr Collard.

Okay, okay; shutting up.

Quick PS: 'the man' doesn't bother me, yet from what I heard, it bothers the agents/editors. May, or may not be true, just ran into that info on their blogs.

So, if it IS Mr Pollard, and not his evil twin, you may drop 'the man'.

Again, it doesn't bother me as a reader, but I am a nut.

Anonymous said...

"The drawer handle slipped from his sweating fingers and he tried again."

That's the kind of detail that can make a good story much better. I say keep up the good work. -JTC

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for the Lost season to start. I especially want to see whether Jack and Kate finally get it on this year.

Anonymous said...

Here's some news for you. It is a romance. Many critiquers were bothered by the fact that something bad happens to Mr. Pollard at the beginning of the book, just after they got to know him - so I depersonalized him. I'll back off a bit and give him back his name.

If things are moving too quickly, it's because I tightened it up. A lot. Gaps can be filled if needed.

Oh, yes, and the title had been changed. You may remember Bad Ice.

I can't please everyone, but I'm certainly taking all comments seriously and with gratitude.

braun said...

re: the name change

The Lost Season is an intriguing title, JJ Abrams fans aside.

Anonymous said...

Down, Ice. Bad, bad dog!

Sorry chuplet, I couldn't resist. Great name change!

Off to chew on some ice cubes. Shaped as dogs.