Thursday, July 12, 2007

New Beginning 314

"Uncuff her and send her in." The voice emerged from the guard's opaque visor, aloof and impersonal. Lara, still struggling against the cops as they force-marched her up to the door, found her rage boil over at the sight of the praetorian son-of-a-bitch who'd sold out his race to the aliens. Abruptly, she bent her knees to drop her center of gravity, and the cops' automatic reaction-- hauling her back upright-- supported her as she lifted both feet and mule-kicked the guard. But almost before she moved the man side-stepped, swept the kick aside with one hand, totally impassive. Then he was back to parade rest.

The cops, however, staggered, and the three of them almost landed on the floor.

"You sure you want her loose?" one of the cops asked. Still kicking and twisting, Lara managed to twist free of the other cop for a second. But the smart mouth was going to leave finger marks on her arm. He had a grip like a vice and levered her into submission by shoving her wrists between her shoulder blades hard enough to lift her on her toes.

The guard's lips twitched below the visor, then he turned to lay palm to lock pad. "The Hya Vash can handle her."

The man nodded and gestured for Lara to take a seat. She did, forcing herself to do so calmly, as if she were actually going to do as this chump said. She listened to him, her mind wheeling and dealing, as adept at heading off confrontation as her body.

When the conversation ended, the traitor stood, a malicious smile playing on his lips.

She allowed herself to be led back to her cell. Let them think they had her where they wanted her.

"The Hya Vash?" the doctor said, rubbing his face. "Where the hell did you come up with that?"

His colleague shrugged. "Best I could do on the spur of the moment. What do you think?"

"It was a nice save. Yesterday she thought she was Angelina Jolie; now she apparently thinks she's Lara Fucking Croft! You changed from a movie exec offering her a three-picture deal to someone who - what was it?"

"Sold out his race to aliens!" They both laughed wildly.

"Do you think maybe we're impeding her progress?"

"Probably, but hey, we've gotta do something for fun around here."

Opening: writtenwyrdd.....Continuation: freddie


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:

The door opened with a pneumatic whisper. Without fear, Lara marched inside the chamber. A tall man, dressed in black, turned toward her. “At last,” he said, and a smile lifted the jagged scar that ran from the corner of his mouth to his neck. “And you are as beautiful as I had imagined. For decades I have awaited this moment; ever since our probes picked up your signal and relayed it back to us. I feel you pain, your emptiness. I have known tragedy such as yours in my lifetime.”

He turned toward a control panel and flicked a switch: the lights dimmed and music started to play as he dropped to one knee and began to sing: “Tell Laura I love her, tell Laura I need her, tell Laura not to--“

“Lara. My name’s Lara.”

The lights came back up and his hand went to his chin, rubbing thoughtfully as he peered at her. “Fuck,” he said, and another switch reduced her to dust.


Lara choked back a laugh. “The Hya Vash? That’s who’s behind this?” Before the alien takeover, the Hya Vash were called Girl Scouts. “What do they want this time?”

The guard ripped off his visor and gave her a menacing stare. “They demand to know the secret ingredient.”

“I already told the little brats.” Lara rolled her eyes. Alien kids are so stupid. “It’s chocolate! Their stupid cookies are dipped in chocolate.”


“Rich, creamy…” Lara studied the guard’s face. “You don’t remember chocolate from the old world?

“Since the lobotomy….” He touched his head. “Never mind about that! Where do they get this substance you speak of?”

“At the grocery store.” Lara’s lips curled into a smile. “In boxes marked Exlax.”

The guard unlocked the cell. “You’re free to go.”

Her smiled brightened. “You’ll be free to go soon, too. I promise.”

--Jill Lynn

Chris Eldin said...

Hi, I like the author, so I have a hard time saying this. lacks tension (IMHO) And since I'm just learning how to craft tension into a story myself, I can't offer that much.

But....the sentences are all long. Could you do a few long sentences, followed by a short one? Or maybe show quick action/reaction/action/reaction? Just an idea.

Look for sentences with 'was' as the main verb and edit those to be active.

Lara, still struggling against the cops as they force-marched her up to the door, found her rage boil over at the sight of the praetorian son-of-a-bitch who'd sold out his race to the aliens.

((When I got to the word 'aliens,' I chuckled. I'm sure that's not the reaction you want. Maybe it's from reading this blog, and having an auto-laugh whenever I see 'aliens' or 'zombies.' Seriously, maybe you should name the race?))

Abruptly, she bent her knees to drop her center of gravity, and the cops' automatic reaction-- hauling her back upright-- supported her as she lifted both feet and mule-kicked the guard.
((This sentence seemed choppy. Maybe too many hyphens. Delete the word 'abruptly'.))

"Uncuff her and send her in." Delete 'and.'

Just some thoughts...only opinions of course. The part I liked best was this:
The guard's lips twitched below the visor, then he turned to lay palm to lock pad. "The Hya Vash can handle her."


Anonymous said...

Fanfic or just a poor choice of name?

Anonymous said...

Very active start not burdened with exposition, backstory, or distracting scenery. Good job.

Bernita said...

Yes, I too find the construction distancing.
You don't have to precisely explain every movement for the reader to grasp the action.
How about beginning with
"Laura struggled as the cops forced matched her up to the guard at the door.
Rage boiled up at the sight of....aliens.
She bent her knees to drop her centre of gravity and mule-kicked the guard.The man side-stepped and swept her feet ( kick,thrust, boots) aside with one casual hand. He resumed parade rest.|
"Uncuff her and send her in." The guard's voice remained aloof, impersonal.
"You sure you want her loose?" asked the first cop as he shoved her wrists hard between her shoulder blades.
The guard's lips twitched. "The Haya Vash can handle her." He turned to lay palm to lock pad.
My re-write is a crude one and I apologize.
But I do think shorter sentences and elimination of explanation might increase the tension.

writtenwyrdd said...

Great, run me across the cheese grater, takoda! Seriously, good points. I don't think the name choice would be a problem in an actual book, but I'm not married to it, either. This is a draft that didn't feel right and I didn't know what else to do with it, so I submitted it.

Loved the continuations, all three. My fav is the Girl Scouts, though...

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Action scene. Speed it up. Short and punchy, please.

Takoda was right about naming the aliens rather than calling them aliens. Too Heinlein-era-ish. Also, I wouldn't go with "his race." Something more like "them all" since, presumably, she's of the same race. Still, two cliches in that sentence -- "rage boil over" and "sold out his race" -- would make me be a bit suspect of the writing if I were a reader approaching your work for the first time.

I've seen muh better from you, WW. Deep down, you know how to fix this. So just go do it and dazzle us all with the rewrite!

OMG, Anonymous, Tell Laura I Love Her -- I used to love that song about 30 years ago! So I had to go take a peek at the lyrics. Aaargghh. Dreadful! The chorus is OK, but what about those verses?! Could they BE any worse? Ah, to be young and stupid again...

Great continuation, freddie!

Anonymous said...

Good opening and good suggestions from the crew. My only question is, are you sure "found her rage boil over" is grammatically correct? It sounds to my ear as if it should be "found her rage boiling over," or "felt her rage boil over."


none said...

There are only two "was"es in the beginning. We might have to find a different scapegoat this time. Or even accept that the solution to writing tension does not lie in the eradication of "was".

McKoala said...

Yup, this should be a cracking start, because there's tons of action, but I think there's just a few too many words in it to get the excitement across. You can do it!

AmyB said...

This is a personal preference thing, but I just can't get into fighting scenes when I'm not attached to the characters involved. I tend to skim them. The only situation in which I'll actually read a fighting scene is if I'm really into the characters and I absolutely have to know everything that happens to them.

The bits that interested me were the mention of aliens, and the mention of Hya Vash--not that I know what that is, but it's probably something interesting.

If I read this as the first couple paragraphs of a book, I'd think, Action book. Not for me. And if that's what it is, fine. I'm not the target market. But if it's a character-focused book, the opening didn't clue me in to that.

Anonymous said...

Yikes! Sorry, didn't mean to do that WW! I agree with the others that your writing is so much better than what you posted. Let's see a rewrite!!!


writtenwyrdd said...

Thanks for the comments. The problem is, I don't know what to do with this. Sometimes, it is hard to edit when you haven't figured out where the story is supposed to go. Anyhow, EE was getting short of queries, so I dumped it on you guys to get royally reamed for the piece of crap that it is.

The general idea is that this is a short story. Aliens have taken Earth over, and they have an agenda which they don't wish to disclose under the guise of mentoring our planet as we join the Great Galactic Federation or some such group. Over the course of a conversation with the alien (Hya Vash is a title) we begin to see what's been done to humanity by how it is reflected in her changing behavior.

Now, seeing as I loathed Waiting For Godot, I already believe that a story that is really just a conversation is probably unworkable. But that's the idea I'm stuck with at the moment. I didn't know what to do with this.

I'm thinking, Evil Minions, based on your comments and my own suspicions, the story probably needs to be action oriented. Or, this is a prolog, and after she's tossed through the door we go to the beginning. Dunno. Thanks, though!