Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New Beginning 319

Rennie Neves shifted from one fake Jimmy Choo mule to the other while attempting to focus on her brother Gabe and the current topic of conversation with his coworkers. As if he knew she was thinking of him, he turned to her with a broad grin and brought her back into the fascinating discussion of how to sell golf shoes in the twelve to eighteen year old market.

It was the hot topic of the night among the NHW employees at the Sole of Toronto Fundraiser. She’d heard about shoe-sizing issues during dinner, popular color combinations during dessert, and a whispered conversation about the difficulty of cartoon imaging while an auctioneer raffled off gift baskets. It had been a long night, but one she had agreed to in advance.

To be obliging, Rennie slipped her hand through Gabe’s arm and tried to pay attention. She had to keep reminding herself to act like his date, not his bored sister. Kind of ruined the effect of having a be-gowned, be-jeweled, and hopefully, be-gorgeoused woman on your arm if everyone knew you shared the same parents.

What the hell, she thought. Might as well go all out to make it convincing. She grabbed Gabe's face and stuck her tongue into his mouth. She'd show them a date!

Gabe was happy to play along, and she knew he was proud. They'd fool 'em, fool everybody into thinking the hottest girl in Toronto was his girlfriend.

Betsy rolled her eyes and turned to Janice. "Who are they kidding? How stupid do they think we are?"

"Apparently very stupid."

They both shook their heads as they watched conjoined twins Rennie and Gabe strut from the room.

Opening: RT.....Continuation: whoever


Talia said...

Good twist!

writtenwyrdd said...

Oh, that continuation is just sick! LOL, though...

AFter reading this opening, I am left with the impression of boredom and shoes. I think you can tighten this up significantly, because it's just lead in so far.

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:

Ahhh, who was she kidding? It's fashion, baby! she reminded herself; they love those weird family relations.

Now, if only they knew she was really Gabe's brother, then the night would be full.


And if they ever found out about the sex change, her brother's chance of ever being Deputy Area Manager of the Junior Department of Sub Area 8 East would be completely over.


Chris Eldin said...

Continuation: Eewww!!! LOL!
Opening--Sorry. I wasn't pulled in at all. I can't offer much, except that it reads like the middle of a chapter to me.

Bernita said...

She's bored - but so am I.
The writing is relatively clean but the most interesting thing is in the last two sentences.

Dave Fragments said...

I'm with Bernita. The trouble with describing boring meetings and bored characters is that they are boring.
This needs some jokes or a murder or seriously fashionable shoe faux pas... Or maybe just a piddling pomeranian puddling the auctioneer's shoes. Something, anything to lift it from the dreadful boredom of "how to sell golf shoes."

Bump in the Night said...

I think it's a fun start. Much more detail of the numbing conversations would kill it, but I like it as is. Must be a very light comedy or romantic comedy since the coworkers will find out, if they don't already know, the sibling relationship. The opening set me up for that frame of mind quickly, and I appreciate that.

Tightening this opening would help it, but I would have read more. Consider showing a snippet of dialogue and interaction to let readers see for ourselves what they're talking about. Might get readers involved quicker.

Best of luck with this.

Robin S. said...

Hi RT,

I think this piece would work well if you started it with the third paragraph, and took out "to be obliging" at the start of the first sentence.

Then you could work in the other information as the story unfolded.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Good ideas in here, and a nice hook. I was intrigued enough to wish the writing were tighter.

Take out the extra words, and change the higher level words for something snappier. Example: the first sentence could start out "Rennie Neves shifted in her fake Jimmy Choos, trying to ..."

You don't need to tell us Jimmy Choos are a kind of shoe - if it's all that important we'll figure it out. Try is more immediate than attempt. Tighten every sentence this way and this opening will come alive.

jjdebenedictis said...

This reads too slowly because the second and third paragraphs are just backstory. I'm with Robin S.; try to get us into the action faster and fill in the backstory as you go along.

Is there any reason to start the story here other than you're trying to find a graceful way to stick in all this (as yet, unnecessary) information? This isn't where the real story starts.

I'd suggest trying to find the place where the main character first realises she has a problem to solve, then starting the story at that point. Good luck with it!


AmyB said...

I agree with Robin S. I think if you started with the third paragraph, omitting "to be obliging," you'd have a stronger opening.

The opening paragraphs threw a lot of unfamiliar details at me. When that happens, I start to skim. I perked up when I got to the third paragraph. There's a nice little hook in there--makes me want to read on to find out why she's pretending to be her brother's date.

McKoala said...

The writing was pretty good, but I'm not sure about starting with boredom. It doesn't really suck me in.

Kanani said...

As far as tightening it up, there's something basic you'll need to do. It should you gain more sentence strength, & help the flow. It will also help clarify meaning and isolate imagery or thought.

For instance. Re-read that first sentence. You're trying to convey a lot of info.

Also, other than the conversation being a bore, what's really going on in her mind to distract her right now?

You might want to tell me more of what's going on in her mind than describing all the details of the shoe biz.

In addition, recheck for repetition of words. This alone can help tighten your prose.

"Rennie damned her Jimmie Choo knock-offs. They were making her bunions hurt like hell."

Twill said...

"Fake Jimmy Choo mule" worked for me. It brings a specific image to mind. I'd expect it's just fine for YA female readers.

The commenters are right that you need conflict rather than boredom, though. Better if, say, Gabe's blackmailed her into this rather than she's being nice.

I'm assuming that she's about to meet the guy of her dreams...

Bonnie said...

Assuming the genre is light contemporary romance, chicklit, romantic comedy, or something like that, this is a good opening. I would keep reading. The irony of fake Jimmy Choos at a shoe sales convention hooked me.

Yeah, you could stand to tighten it up some, but the overall effect is good.

Anonymous said...

Thanks guys.

This is the opening for a book I wrote and shopped several years ago (and posted after EE asked for submissions). The comments have been really interesting, because boredom has never once come up in the past (and thanks to some contests I was able to get Agent feedback on it).

I think the difference is the length. I've always known the first 250 words were important, but this really made me realize HOW important.

My only other thought, was about the idea of changing language to tighten. I agree that that can be a good tactic, (I live by cutting), but cutting/tightening also changes voice, and sometimes voice is more important than wordiness (look at Robin McKinley!). If the voice doesn't work, that's a different problem. What I got from the comments was that the number one issue is lack of action and content, not voice.

Or am I wrong?