Sunday, October 22, 2006

New Beginning 145

Three witches floated through my bedroom wall on Wednesday morning. “Ouch—look out,” I said, as Leonora’s long robes swept across the top of my dresser, knocking over my lotion and deodorant and crucibles, her knee bumping my shoulder. Niad came close behind her; at least she managed to arrive without breaking anything. Sirianna followed about a half a minute later, stamping her feet and shaking her head as if she had a bloodworm in her ear. She landed unsteadily on the floor beside my bed, then reached back and tried to pull the rest of her hair in. It cooperated, eventually.

I waited for them to gather themselves and tell me why in the name of the Blessed Mother they had chosen this moment to drop in. And I hoped they would get to it quickly. If they stayed more than a few minutes, I’d be late for work again.

"It isn't working," Sirianna said.

"It's only Wednesday," I told her. "Give him until the end of the week."

Leonora scowled. "It won't make any difference. We called him Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor. We told him he's gonna be king. He just--"

"I don't have time for this; I'm due on the set. Improvise."

"But there's a problem," Niad said.

I glared at them. "What is it?"

"He's read the script, Mr. Branagh! He knows how it ends. He keeps telling us to bugger off."

"Enough," I said. "Tell Mr. Crowe either he plays the part as it's written, or I'll replace him with a CGI version of myself."

Opening: Shannon Page.....Continuation: j.h. woodyatt


Bernita said...

I'd rearrange the second sentence - too long between effect and cause - to "Ouch - look out," I said when her knee bumped my shoulder.
Her long robe swepted...and knocked...."
And wonder if "Naid came close behind...." and " least she managed....anything" should be two separate sentences.

I liked the idea of three witches swanning in just the same.

Anonymous said...

The situation here definitely has my attention. I love the idea that the narrator's first thought on seeing these witches is that their going to make her (or him - but I assumed it was a female narrator) late for work. That in itself shows me a lot about the way in which magic is regarded in this world. It also gives me the feeling that this is going to be a really fun read.

There are a couple of minor suggestions I'd like to make. Firstly, I think that first sentence might 'sound' better having a paragraph to itself. I thought it was a great hook, but if I were skimming this in a bookstore, I might lose it in what comes next.

The number of things happening in the second sentence threw me. If the point is to illustrate that Leonora is clumsy (which I think is great), perhaps one of those events would be sufficient, e.g. 'Leonora knocked my deodorant from the dresser'. Just a thought.

The other thing I felt weighed the story down a bit at this point was the number of names introduced in that first paragraph. I'm all for not forcing the reader to wade through pages of pronouns, but this was all a little rapid for me. That said, I'm getting a great impression of what's going on. I almost certainly won't remember which witch is which though *grins*

I couldn't see a whole lot of point in having the first line of the second paragraph. The phrase 'Blessed Mother' on its own doesn't tell me a whole lot, so I'd favour working it in later. At this point, I'm more interested in the narrator's reaction, and in finding out why exactly a trio of witches have just landed on her bedspread.

Overall though, I like this. I'd definitely be reading on.

And JH, I'd say that continuation is a good candidate for the book :)

Dave Fragments said...

I hope I'm not the first comment, I hate being the first comment. That being said, here are my thoughts for the author:

I think you are trying to do too much in 150 words. Introducing one character in a compelling situation is hard enough but you have four characters, some of which sound like fun to write. You need to step back and describe the scene and properly introduce the characters.

I also first thought the narrator was in bed, she isn’t, oops.

At the end of the 151 words, I find that the narrator is concerned about being late for work. Wow, does that lower expectations for the news the witches bring to the narrator. Work seems to be more important and that rush to work provides a literary foil for making her dealings with the witches urgent, or even dismissing the witches. I’ll bet that the Witches aren’t arriving with juicy gossip about the neighbor sunbathing naked on the roof. They are arriving with word that the world is going to end (or at least become much more difficult). .

In addition, when I first read this and even now, I have trouble imagining the size of the witches. “Long robes swept” implies small in size to fit over a dresser and below the ceiling. “Stamping her feet” implies the opposite of floating. And “landed unsteadily … beside my bed” gives me another image especially when this character pulls her hair. That’s a nice image of hair flowing after a pretty lady like a large cape whose hair gets slightly entangled in whatever the transportation method involves. Unfortunately, you lose the image.

Over all, this is an interesting opening with nice characters, Whether I would read on would depend on the title, book cover and other things.

Anonymous said...

I love the beginning. It is sooo cute.

Virginia Miss said...

I liked opening with the floating witches, but I agree with what bernita said about the second sentence. Change it so that the "ouch" follows a knee hitting her shoulder.

HawkOwl said...

I'm interested in what's happening, but in general I'm not very fond of the "fashionably tongue-in-cheek" style. It's so two years ago. If you keep it in check, the opening is promosing. If it's gonna be all cutesy and Harry-Potter-y, blah.

I'd look at the synopsis and chapters and hope for the best.

Dan Lewis said...

Sirianna sounds like Syriana to me. I would think of the CIA, big oil and the Middle East every time I read the name. FYI.

That said, I like dodgy witches floating around and knocking things over. And jfk was right on about "late for work."

I assumed it was a female narrator too. I looked back and it was probably the lotion that made me jump that way.

Is Sirianna pulling her hair through the wall? "pull the rest of her hair in" conjured an image for me of floaty/disobedient/ether-blown hair needing to be wrestled into place.

I don't think there were too many names in the first paragraph. I might just need help later, as in more description and personality, to separate the three witches in my mind. Niad, for instance, has no distinguishing characteristics yet. E.g., the brothers Karamazov are the brawn, the brain, and the heart. Really they're so much more than that, but some easy distinctions might be made early.

McKoala said...

I liked this start. I agree with some of the suggestions - maybe separating the first sentence and moving the knee bit. The names were a bit of a pile up. Perhaps they could come out more slowly. I definitely liked the idea of their visit being a total pain and I'd read on.

writtenwyrdd said...

This reads more like supernatural chick lit than Harry Potter, which inclines me to like it.

However, I have to agree that the wording is awkward in this opening. It reads like a fairly rough draft. But I was interested in discovering what was going on, and I would have read on a bit.

Keep at it, Author.

And I have to say, this is the first continuation I just don't get. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

And I have to say, this is the first continuation I just don't get.

It's Branagh doing Macbeth. The 3 witches. Double, Double, toil and trouble...

Frankly, for me, Othello was the better play.

writtenwyrdd said...

If I'd known who Branaugh is, it might have helped. I wondered if we were talking Shakespeare, but even knowing for certain, still don't think it works. Alas. There's just no pleasing me today, I guess.

Anonymous said...

I thought the continuation was priceless.

I liked the opening as is -- okay, move the 'ouch' -- and would definitely read on. Love the supernatural-chick-lit feel of it, and I assume that the news they're coming to deliver will be as clumsy and comic as their arrival.

If that's not the genre, you need to change some things.

Nancy Beck said...

I'd definitely read on; this sounds like fun!

I agree with Bernita, in that the "Ouch" should come after the knee bumping; it makes more sense there.

I didn't have a problem with introducing 3 names at once, and they seemed to have distinct characteristics (at least, to me they did).

Good luck, Author!


Virginia Miss said...

wittenwyrd, Kenneth Branagh is a great British actor and director. I particularly enjoyed his Shakespearean films and roles: Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, and As You Like It.