Thursday, October 05, 2006

New Beginning 136

Nathaniel had been hoping that it would happen in a much cooler way, like getting stung by a radioactive scorpion or zapped by a machine at the laboratory where his parents both worked. Or during an eclipse or a meteor shower. Or after a nuclear accident. At the very least, it could have happened at a better time. There was nothing exciting or impressive about getting super powers because of a food fight in the school cafeteria.

Well, except for the "getting super powers" part.

The cool September morning had held little promise. Nathaniel and his best friend Mark rode their bikes to school, along the flat desert road, squinting into the weak yellow rays of the morning sun. English class was normal. Math class was normal. There was a quiz in Biology, which was not normal, and Mr. Macmillan, who taught science to the entire seventh grade, was abnormally displeased with their results. So displeased, in fact, he felt constrained to lecture for twenty minutes on the importance of biology to everyday living.

Mr. Mcmillan would have done better to devote attention to biological matters in the cafeteria that day. After the food fight, one hundred and fourteen kids lay dead, along with seven teachers, all thanks to Nathaniel's new ability to kill with his farts. God only knew what the lunch lady put in the chili that day.

Opening: acd.....Continuation: kis


Dave Fragments said...

I remember this opening from long ago when EE's minions beat me about the head and neck with savage glee.
So see New Opening # 48 - The Boys.

The point is that you have to put a hook inside these 150 words. Right now, you describe a good character and an excellent setting for Nathaniel.

Be careful, you don't want to start your book with the immortal climax by Kafka "One morning Gregor Samsa woke to find himself transformed into a Gromphadorhina portentosa"... Or like "Nate was struck by lightnin' and given superpowers one morning." You started to establish Nathaniel, so maybe take a few pages to do so. Maybe you could start with more atmosphere "last night I dreamed I went to science class in Manderley." Maybe you can have Nathaniel describing his day to someone - "I thought getting super powers would be way cooler than..."

BTW I like your writing style.

Anonymous said...

"last night I dreamed I went to science class in Manderley."

OMG! I spit all over my keyboard! Too funny, Dave!

I really liked this opening and would like to know more about this kid.

Rei said...

I think this is an excellent opener, and I wouldn't change the pace. Just make sure that you can keep up the pace. :)

The only thing I would change:

"weak yellow rays of the morning sun"

I'd kill one of those words. It's too much.

Angel Feathers Tickle Me said...

Love to all..

McKoala said...

I like the first para a lot - something big's 'a coming - and in an unusual way. There's wit, there's charm, there's plenty of 'cool stuff' for small boys. My son would be loving every word. He might lose interest a little in the third para, but he'd probably be hanging on for the good stuff.

The continuation rocks!

Anonymous said...

I would read on.

Stacia said...

I'd keep reading. I liked it.

Anonymous said...

I loved this, but if the sun's rays are so weak, why are they squinting? Just cut that line -- the imagery seems forced and out of place. Everything else is pitch perfect.

acd said...

"last night I dreamed I went to science class in Manderley."

Boy, would I like to read a story that started like that!

Nancy Beck said...

OMG, Kis, that was a great continuation! :-)

The writing style, the character, and the story all held my interest.

Good start!


Anonymous said...

I would read further.

The continuation brings to mind Howard Stern at an awards show. Not a pretty picture. -JTC

braun said...

Love the hook, which we start right off with and which is presented in a humorous fashion. I recommend you get us to the food fight as soon as possible.

I don't know why Dave dragged Kafka into this.

Anonymous said...

The first sentence is a little puzzling -- he had been hoping to get super powers, just in a different way? Or had he just always fantasized about having super powers? However, That's pretty trivial, and maybe you really do mean it the way it's written. I like this and would read on.

Anonymous said...

great opening line, hooked me. I'd keep reading. However, I didn't like the bits about the normal classes and the biology class. Unless these directly relate to the food fight you might want to tighten that up a bit.

Good luck.

braun said...

Anon 12:56 was clearly never a teenage boy. heh

(apologies if they were, but when I was that age what I would do with Wolverine claws was like the second largest thing on my mind)

Anonymous said...

anon 12:56 here. No, I wasn't a teenage boy. I would have liked some super powers, though. My point is that saying he'd been hoping it would happen a different way makes it sound like he had a realistic hope rather than a fantastic one. But it's a nitpicky comment anyway.

Dave Fragments said...

I only invoked Kafka because he wrote a short story with the climax in the first sentence and then after that it all trailed off into insignificance.
Of course, so did Kafka's character since his family ignored him as a giant cockroach, even a romphadorhina portentosa - the giant, hissing kind.

Wikipedia explains it all:

My comment was that maybe the author didn't want the first sentance to say "Nathaniel got superpowers today" and then write a story after that with nothing left to arouse the reader.

GutterBall said...

Anon 12:56 was clearly never a teenage boy. heh

(apologies if they were, but when I was that age what I would do with Wolverine claws was like the second largest thing on my mind)

Hey! I was never a teenage boy, but Wolverine claws are STILL like the second largest thing on my mind!

Um...maybe I shouldn't admit that.

Admittedly, the "how" of getting Wolverine claws always fascinated me, too, so I can understand a kiddo grumbling about getting them from a food fight instead of getting hit by a meteor or whatever.

Anonymous said...

There was nothing exciting or impressive about getting super powers because of a food fight in the school cafeteria.

Totally great hook. I'd read on.

Leah said...

If I saw this in paperback in a bookstore, I would check out the blurb then buy it. If it were hardback, I'd read further.

Heck, if I knew whose this was, I'd be badgering to read more now.

(17 year-old girl)

Steph_J said...

I really like this beginning. It is very interesting and well written. I would keep reading.

HawkOwl said...

Actually I totally agree with Dave about Kafka. That's the first thing that came to my mind reading this. "Something happened! But yeah, not really, let's talk about how dull life is."

Can we have an opening with something in it? It seems we've just been reading nothing but static, mundane emptiness for days.

Anonymous said...

I am just simply... *amazed* that people commenting here are suggesting that Kafka *screwed up* by starting Metaphorphosis the way he did, and saying that after the first sentence, the rest of the story was *boring*.

I just... I don't even know what to say to that.

HawkOwl said...

Boggled - You need to learn to read. No one is suggesting that Kafka screwed up, or that the story is boring.

Hey, do I know you from somewhere? LOL

Anonymous said...

Good ol' EE really stripped the word count from my original continuation, and his pared down version is much better. Brevity. Must... learn... brevity. Of course, he did up the death count, as well--by about a hundred bodies. God, I love a man with the right priorities.

I liked the opening a lot. It has a great hook, and looks like an interesting read. As far as fantasizing about super-powers, I kinda always wanted to be Xena, Warrior Princess. Or the badass blue chick from X-men.