Tuesday, November 28, 2006
New Beginning 165
Joey Suzuki spent the three weeks after she learned she was dead in detention. They kept her in a small, heavily reinforced room, only hauling her out for tests every other day or so. She spent very little time thinking about the revelation of her untimely demise, instead thinking through methods of escape. She didn't try to escape. She was fairly certain that wouldn't work. Her captors had never bothered to hide the security they had in plain sight, but she had no recollection of arriving at the place, so she didn't know the way out.
Since she felt none of the every day vibrations or heard none of the city sounds she had been accustomed to she felt certain that she was no where near civilization. She imagined there was something terrible cliché about that.
Joey spent some of her time pondering her rights. She took for granted that her captors had more than just a body with her fingerprints to prove she was dead. And if the body was hers, then who was she? She thought she was Josephine Izumi Suzuki, part time blogger, full time web comic artist. Nothing about her sense of self suggested otherwise, so she couldn't imagine that there was some other identity hiding beneath a façade.
It would have been too much of a shock, so Jeanie and Dale Krebnitz didn't inform Joey Suzuki that she was really Josephine Spruggs of Westchester. Nor did they tell her she wasn't really dead. They did tell little Newton Krebnitz he was in big trouble. He had been through twelve babysitters in the last month, but this was the first one he had managed to imprison in his X-Box.
Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: Kate Thornton
Posted by Evil Editor at 5:24 PM
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Maybe it's just me, but Joey Suzuki makes me immediately think of Joe Isuzu.
Also, I *hate* when authors draw attention to their own cliches with phrases like "there was something cliched about it." If you hadn't said that, I wouldn't have thought it, but now I can't get it out of my mind.
Otherwise, this seems okay.
LOVE the continuation.
Kate, Kate, Kate... you slay me.
I like the premise of the opening. Reminds me of something between Dead Like Me and Wolf Boy.
Suzuki is like Smith in Japan.
I too thought of Joe Isuzu. To me, this reads like an information drop. It's well written, and if tightened a bit more could be a decent query.
You're not showing me anything. Show me Joey's "life" as she's "living" it. I assume she's not really dead?
"...Joey Suzuki makes me immediately think of Joe Isuzu."
Hey, I loved that guy!
I'd definitely read more, even though it's a little wordy in places, just to find out what's happening to her.
The snark is coming; brace yourself for the snark.
First, I'll say what I liked:
I liked the fact that the story starts by saying the heroine is dead; that's intriguing. I liked the fact that the heroine is thinking about her escape; she already seems likeable. The premise is interesting and I'd be willing to read on. Also, I see signs that the writer could produce some smooth and engaging writing. There's a nice rhythm to this.
However, despite that nice rhythm, the writer is currently mangling the English language quite grievously.
Her captors had never bothered to hide the security they had in plain sight...
Her captors didn't hide their security in plain sight? Or her captors didn't hide their security, which was in plain sight? That phrase needs trimming for clarity.
...bothered to hide the security they had in plain sight, but she had no recollection of arriving at the place...
*ahem* ...plain sight, and she had no recollection of...
Since she felt none of the every day vibrations or heard none of the city sounds she had been accustomed to she felt certain that she was no where near civilization.
Eek. "Everyday" is one word. "Nowhere" is one word. Replace "or" with "and". Put a period after "to" and capitalise "she" to make it the start of a new sentence.
She imagined there was something terrible cliché about that.
Huh? It must be her imagination, because I have no idea what cliche she is referring to.
She thought she was Josephine Izumi Suzuki, part time blogger, full time web comic artist.
This is a pretty intrusive bit of backstory insertion and a pretty unlikely way to make a living. She's gotta be taking babysitting jobs on the side to make rent. Either that, or the babysitting job is just for arcade money, since she still lives with her parents.
This is a story I want to like. I don't actually hang-out with web cartoonists and part-time bloggers (unless my own blog counts) but I imagine that's who I'd want to hang out with if I had a social life. My interest in the character is great enough that I too would keep reading.
However, I am not sure this is the best way a story of Joey could open. I'd like something more immediate. An actual activity going on right then. Currently, the story seems to span a great deal of time so that we get an overview of this bizarre situation. I want to feel her situation, not just hear about it. If we could choose one important moment inside that time and write that, I think that would make a more catching opening.
I kept thinking that she was in school - 'detention', 'tests' and that kind of went with the idea of being dead. I'd like more details and to see things from her perspective: what's her room like? 'what are 'they' like? Smell, sound, textures?
Overall, I was a bit confused - at first I thought that she really was dead and was living in the afterlife. Then I discovered that 'they' have substituted a corpse for the real 'her'.
I want to like this character but you haven't given me a reason to like Joey Suzuki.
The only hint of her personality, you have hidden in these backward sentence structures.
You've hidden a hint about her personality in the "cliche" statement. As if none of us really knew why Frankenstein's castle was way, way out in the countryside.
It's all Kate's fault... Now I keep seeing this family with fishing rods, gathered around an X-Box.
ogrfuge (ogre fudge?)
So, is she a zombie, or just insane?
You should write a sequel to Tron based on that continuation. -JTC
Thanks for the feedback. I didn't feel very confident in this opening, and I'm happy to have an idea of what did and didn't work.
The cliché line, for example, was really an example of Joey's state of mind. It failed and I see some of the reasons why. Joey's name wasn't a reference to the old Joe Isuzu commercials, but I was aware of the connection and intend to use it at some point.
I'd say more about the other criticisms but they're spot on. Even those I disagreed with at first are correct. The key point I took from this is that the opening fails to connect the reader to the view point character. It stirred a good bit of interest in the plot, but that interest seemed to be in spite of Joey rather than because of her. I think I need to sit down and write a few dozen character studies--little slices of Joey's "normal" life--before I introduce her to the reader. I need to get to know her better.
Thanks again. It was very instructive and very positive.
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