Wednesday, January 17, 2007
New Beginning 192
Emily hated the idea from the moment she heard it. Unfortunately, from the moment she heard it, she also knew it was set in stone.
She was doomed from the start because--as her parents pointed out repeatedly over the following month--there was really no better option. Emily's mother and father would be spending the entire summer in Italy helping to open a new factory: another bid to expand the company that the family had owned for over a hundred years. That meant that Emily could either come along with them, stay at home with her nanny, go to her grandparents' mansion in New York . . . or she could spend the summer at Camp Demosthenes.
"Look, Ems," her father said, almost every day. "There'll be kids there your own age. There's a lake, you can learn some sports or crafts, they keep a stable of horses . . . " Emily perked up at this but quickly checked herself for any outward sign of enthusiasm. This was war, after all. Her father pretended not to notice but went on, encouraged, "And I know you don't want to come to Italy. There's no other choice."
But, Emily thought to herself, there was another choice. She could spend the summer with her boyfriend Rick, teaching him everything she'd learned two years ago at Camp Caligula. But first there was the problem of the parents . . . which was where everything she'd learned last year at Camp Corleone would come into play. And the horses at Camp Demosthenes might come in handy too.
“I understand,” she said. She stood up, took her father’s face in both hands, and kissed him firmly on the forehead. “It’s not personal, Daddy. It’s strictly business.”
Opening: acd.....Continuation: ril
Posted by Evil Editor at 12:17 AM
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Oh ril. I'm so jealous of your abilty to write continuations! I think this time I started my own with almost the same sentence as yours, but then yours goes off on such a sticky tangent. Love it.
I like the first paragraph, but then you seem to go very slowly gettting to the crux of the problem. And when you get to the problem--I have little sympathy for the whining of a spoiled child with too many options, all wonderful. And I wonder if kids would identify with her "war" on the 'rents in this situation.
Funny, funny continuation! :D
As for the opening, the first paragraph drew me in, the second paragraph lost me. I agree with xiqay about the difficulty of sympathizing with Emily. Your writing is good but your character is a wee bit obnoxious. I wouldn't read more unless I had reason to believe the story would move quickly away from the "war" and the whining and Emily would start doing something interesting.
I'm not sure I buy the statement by her father that she wouldn't want to go to Italy.
These people are rich folk with several houses/mansions, a nanny, etc... They seem to be cheaping out and sending (dumping) her to camp "Demosthenes."
Demosthenes, the once inarticulate inventor of Rhetoric and political speeches. What do they teach the kids besides horseback riding? (rhetorical manure comes to mind)
By the way, the second and third paragraphs say the same thing. Somewhat different words, but both paragraphs are alternative versions of each other.
I'm not sure where the story is going, but if it's about all the problems of a poor little rich girl I wouldn't read it. Even if it is snowing deep in the heart of Texas. How 'bout that global warming! -JTC
This feels like the beginning to a YA book to me. I wasn't put off by it, but I wasn't that interested in it either. I'd have read on a bit to see what was going on, though.
As others mentioned, this girl apparently has a pretty damn good life and still manages to be whiny about it, so unless the back flap promises something more interesting I wouldn't be into it. That's just my personal taste, however; I can see others (especially younger ones) liking this, and the writing is mechanically sound.
You did manage to start off with a clear conflict and lay out the path for where the story will move to at Camp D., so that's a plus.
The thing that bugged me about it (and which I played on in my continuation submission) is that you contradict yourself. You lay out four options for her (Italy, camp, home with nanny and NY with grandparents.) Then you eliminate one option by stating she doesn't want to go to Italy (and why not?) Then you repeatedly state that there is "no other option" than Camp D. Why not stay home? Why not go to NY? How are those not options?
As for the continuation, not bad. Loved Camp Caligula / Corleone. If I were the author, I'd write about those two summers and turn this into a series. :)
[ JRM ]
So, Emily doesn't want to go to Italy, stay and play video games with her nanny, visit grandma, or go to an expensive camp?
What does she want? Besides her own way?
I think I'm gonna have a seizure next time someone abbreviates the main character's name by the second use.
Other than that, I think the father's speech about camp isn't natural, but mostly, it's all right so far. Whether I'd read more or not would depend on the back copy.
Having read the other comments, I'd have to say that the people with the most, cushiest, least taxing options, tend to be the ones who whine the most about their options, and I wish more of them would get some kind of comeuppance. Or grow up and start appreciating what they have. So if the girl is headed for some personal growth, I'm cool with it.
And as for her hating all her options, eh, I know a teenager like that. Her parents gave her the option of a) going to Switzerland, b) going horseback riding, c) going to Girl Sprout camp or d) staying home and working and somehow she doesn't like any of them. But she doesn't have anything better to suggest. And that's a second group of people who need comeuppances and growth: the people who hate everything you suggest, but never suggest anything else.
So as long as it's well done, I'd be looking forward to this girl running into some actual misfortunes and getting over herself.
I spent the entire time thinking "Camp DEMONSTHENES???" so I rofled when I got to Camp Caligula in the continuation. Is there a real reason that it's called that or was it just because it sounds neat? If there's a real reason, it's probably okay, but if there's not I'd change the name. It just distracted me too much, and probably would do the same to anyone with a background in rhetoric or classical history.
And she seemed whiny to me, but I have a thing for unlikable main characters who grow, so if she's heading for character change like hawkowl said I'd probably be okay with that aspect of it.
Have you made a New Year's resolution to be nicer? I'm sensing a definite change in the tone of your comments here. Just when I was getting used to the old one.
Perhaps this girl is just oppositional? I hope you give the readers some reason to like her--sooner rather than later. Even hoping for come-uppance or change wouldn't keep me reading about someone I dislike.
And it is YA, right?
Thanks for tossing this out there.
I think Hawkowl's scenario is the only one that would make this interesting for me. It could make a pretty good read, too, done right.
The writing wasn't bad, it just didn't engage me. I felt nothing but "Can I slap this kid?" as I read it.
Is it going to take her a long time to get to camp? Could she just be there and be moaning to her friends about this? Feel unwanted because her parents didn't take her? That would justify her whininess.
I'm just thinking of some options - I didn't hate this, but it didn't hugely grip me either.
Anonymous - I don't think I've gotten nicer. It's just that I'm too tired to spend any energy on the really bad ones, and there's been a few decent ones lately.
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