Saturday, January 13, 2007

New Beginning 188

When the last bell rang, April sent up a heartfelt prayer of gratitude. As her students filed out the door into the escalating noise in the hall, she slid her feet out of her practical, supposedly comfortable, distressingly painful shoes, and grinned and wiggled her toes on the carpet. She considered stepping into the storage closet to take off the god-awful pantyhose too, but decided against it.

The trashcan was nearly overflowing with empty soda cans, so she placed it and the stack of empty pizza boxes just outside the door. The rest of the room was pretty tidy, just a few crumbs and the desks might be a little sticky with soda. Not bad after her sixth hour class full of hungry sophomores. She packed up left over party supplies in plastic bags. She checked her cabinet doors one last time. The text books and other teaching supplies were locked up tight for the summer.

And so was Principal Carstairs.

She thought of the way his eyes had bulged at her above the strip of duct tape across his mouth just before she and her students had closed and locked the cabinet doors. Perhaps she should have tied his feet and hands together more securely, so that he wouldn't wiggle around and knock over the neatly stacked books and bundles of composition paper. She hated messes.

Oh well, the good news was that her fall biology classes would have a new human skeleton to aid in their studies.

Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: Marissa Doyle


Anonymous said...

Why on earth was she wearing painful shoes when she didn't have to?

McKoala said...

Love the continuation. To me it shows what I think the original needs - something weird, wonderful or exciting to happen pretty sharpish.

Anonymous said...

I've never been in a school where they have carpet. Can't you skip ahead to the part where something happens?

shaded-lily said...

Maybe because, on a teacher's salary, if the shoes you buy turn out to be painful, you just have to put up with the pain until either the shoes get broken in or you save up enough to buy another pair.

Usually, practical shoes turn out to be distressingly ugly, not painful, but on the other hand (or foot) I've gotten some nasty blisters from practical shoes.

But we're here about the writing, aren't we? -- it's smooth enough. The first paragraph sketches out the main character's situation and personality -- a woman who's good at her teaching job (or nice enough to throw a pizza party and competent enough to keep it from erupting into a food fight) but also feels a little constrained by it (the prayer, the toes in the carpet, the pantyhose).

The second paragraph is like a pair of practical shoes. But presumably I've read the blurb on the back and know something is going to happen, and can skim over things like paragraph 2 without it hurting too much.

writtenwyrdd said...

Most teachers perch on something or have a desk at the head of the class. They shouldn't have to stand all day and get sore feet. Or that's how I recall it, anyhow.

The writing didn't really grab me for some reason. I think it's because it focused on just mundane details and didn't foreshadow anything. There was no hint that her activities led to anything, I guess you could say. No tension.

That sounds like a stupid complaint, but after considering this a while, I just can't come up with anything else. It just didn't grab me.

The continuation was great. My offering had a werewolf, but this one is much better.

Dave Fragments said...

All I'm reading about is a teacher leaving a classroom on the last day before summer vacation.

Was it an eventful semester?
Will it be an eventful summer?

Do we care that she set the trash outside? Is the trash part of the plot?

Do we care that she wears cheap shoes? Do they figure in the plot or only that she's an underpaid teacher like the rest of the teachers in the world?

And finally the dreaded - too many words. Too many in the sense that this is your shot, your five or ten seconds (maybe thirty if you are lucky) to hook a reader into buying and reading your book. None of these words tell the reader anything about the story.

Anonymous said...

I think the opening is well written. But I guess the point of this 150 word exercise is to get off to a quick start and this doesn't. But, that doesn't mean it's not going to be a good story. -JTC