Monday, February 19, 2007

New Beginning 221

In the last hour of the last day of her going out of business sale, Susan Smith-Halsey, owner of the Turn My Page book and aromatherapy candle shop began taking paperback books from the sale table set up in front of the store and heaving them at passing motorists. When she ran out of the light weight books she turned to the 2 for $3 hard cover books and threw those, denting at least one roof and a few fenders. By the time the police arrived the sale tables were bare, and broken books and torn pages littered the street where, by now, a crowd had gathered to watch the action. The police allowed her to put away the tables and lock the doors before hauling her down to the station to be, of all things, booked.

Lydia Perry smiled to herself. Susan’s Final Chapter, at last. She’d always thought Bridget Jones was a bit of a wimp, and Shopaholic? Who has that kind of money? The confessions of a spunky bookshop owner, though: that was so completely Lydia’s cup of tea. Flipping through the pages and buzzing with excitement, she headed toward the register -- and walked straight into a guy browsing the outdoor pursuits section. Shocked, she looked up into the deepest blue eyes she’d ever seen.

"Shocked"? No. "Surprised"? No . . . "Startled!" Yes: Startled, she looked up into the deepest blue eyes she’d ever seen.

Ginny put down her pen and sipped her coffee as Brad came into the room wearing nothing but a towel. He massaged her neck and asked, "How's the book coming? I can't wait to read it. Does Lydia finally find happiness?"

Elaine Marie Marcos smiled and hit SAVE. This was shaping up as the best book of her Ginny Blaine series by far. This time, Ginny would finally get her dream guy: just what the fans were pleading for.

That was enough. Joel Lymas, associate agent at Moboten Literary, put the manuscript down on his desk, rubbed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Metafiction,” he said, shaking his head. “Fuck.”

Opening: Inkmandoo.....Continuation: Anonymous


Stacia said...

Yay! I've been waiting for this one to come up so I can say how much I love this opening!

The continuation is great, too. I couldn't think of one, because I was too busy loving the opening.

Which, uh, might sound a little dirtier than I meant it to...

shaded-lily said...

A meta-continuation! I'm so impressed! :D

I liked this opening, too. It's interesting and funny. The "to be, of all things, booked" line is LOL funny.

Just a few nitpicks:
-I think "going-out-of-business sale" is hyphenated
-comma after "shop"
-"lightweight" is one word; so is "hardcover"
-I think "the 2-for-$3 hardcover books" is hyphenated

none said...

An intriguing opening. For once.

Dave Fragments said...

Now this is what I consider strange and weird.
The opening is fine. I read it on the Openings Page and I liked it. I thought it was a fun thing to write about - the closing of a bookstore.
However, something kept bugging me.
Now I think I figure that out - this is the opening of the last chapter, the way the continuation implies. My reasoning for that is that the end of a bookstore with a crazy lady throwing books at cars (anger issues) is something that would occur at the end of a story rather than the beginning.

I would like to read what lead up to these 150 words. I don't care about the fine and trial afterward.

Bernita said...

I like this.
All sorts of possibilities.

Rei said...

Interesting opening. :) Not hooked, but would certainly read on.

Robin S. said...

This beginning sets up really well - I enjoyed reading it- and would enjoy reading on to see what happens.

Theo Katz already caught the "fixes" I saw when reading.

Reminds me of an angrier version of the protagonist in the movie "You've Got Mail" - which for me, would be a good thing.

Anonymous said...

So many people here post comments that say something along the lines of "start with the action, you've got to start with the actions!" Now someone starts with the action and it confuses poor ol' word count Dave, he thinks it's the end of the story. Freakin' priceless...

Anonymous said...

The opening got me interested in what was going on. I did think, however, that I'm rather tired of reading books about writers or bookshop owners. It's like every book I pick up lately just so happens to have one or the other. That probably wouldn't bother anyone else, but it did make me a bit disappointed.

The writing is good and enjoyable, but that last line pulled me back out because, even with the omniscient narration so far, it was a bit self conscious.

Saipan Writer said...

The continuation was brilliant.

And I loved the opening. It has a cozy feel to it. I can identify with the bookseller's frustration and might want to join her on the curb and chuck a few books at people, too.

And Dave, it is the "end" of one story (the how Susan Smith-Halsey came to be this frustrated), but since she's not dead, it can be the beginning of another.

Stacia said...

I have read this eight times already, because I love it so much.

Lol, anon.

McKoala said...

I really liked this opening too.

LOL, Dave! This could easily be the start of something dramatic! Who cares about why she went out of business. What's going to happen to her now? How can this be the end of the story?!

Very clever continuation.

Wonderwood said...

Writtenwyrdd, it's kind of hard to tell if this is omniscient narration from just one chapter. I took it as third person limited, in which case that line fits just fine.

I liked this opening. I'd keep reading. It drops us right into the action, and I want to find out what has caused all this frustration, and where it goes from there. Dave, what you are referring to is called "backstory", and the author seems pretty competent so far, so I'm sure it will be provided.

GutterBall said...

Fabulous continuation! The opening wasn't half bad, either. It was just quirky enough -- the line about being booked cracked me right the hell up -- to keep me interested. Good job!

Wonderwood said...

Doh! I said one "chapter" but meant one paragraph.

Anonymous said...

I still say it's omniscient because of the way it is written. I could be wrong, but all indications are omnicient to my way of thinking.

Of course, a lot of beginnings employ a "zooming in" approach in the first couple of paragraphs. I still maintain that the comment in the last sentence is rather self conscious.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to join Susan on the curb there :) I don't think this is the sort of thing I'd normally read, but the voice is just so fun, I'd keep going.

kiss-me-at-the-gate said...

This opening is great! I would definitely read on. Good job, author, you hooked me!

Huge LOL at the continuation.

Blogless Troll said...

I liked this. Of course, this could be just another one of Inkmandoo's "writing exercises," and 150 words is all there is. Then it would be the beginning and the end, thus illustrating how ridiculous we all are.

Anonymous said...

Love both the opening and the continuation.

I would definitely buy this book. What is Susan going to do now that her life has, apparently, hit rock bottom?

Inkmandoo said...

This was not another exercise. I wrote it about five years ago. An acquaintance of mine owned a small bookstore in our cute downtown (on Main street no less). A Little Professor moved in two blocks away and drove her out of business. I imagined what her last defiant act might be. The story was going to show how she extracted revenge on the local folks who browsed her shelves but bought elsewhere.

Of course the LP went under when Borders moved in a mile away. Now we even have a giant BN. All that, and Amazon, would make any small bookstore owner nuts.

batgirl said...

It's a snappy opening, and I'd certainly read a few more pages if I picked it up. I wasn't crazy about the last line, it seemed a bit nudging in the ribs to point out its own cleverness. Theo's right about the errors, I think. The continuation is loverly, loverly.