Friday, July 20, 2007

New Beginning 320

"I’m pregnant." Claire’s lips moved slowly, less than an inch from the phone’s receiver.

"What did you--" The voice coming from the other end of the line registered confusion.

"I said I’m pregnant."

"I’m not sure how I can help you."

"I got pregnant while using your product." Duh, Claire thought.

"Oh, I see." There was clicking. The woman was typing on a keyboard.

"I want to know how that happened." Sitting on the closed toilet seat, Claire crossed and uncrossed her fingers.

"Our product is effective over ninety-nine percent of the time."

"Like that matters to me now." Claire sighed and looked to her left. The little frogs that covered the shower curtain gazed at her with a hundred happy eyes.

"If the product is not used properly, the risk or pregnancy or contacting a sexually transmitted disease rises." More clicking.

Claire stood. "I’d rather have an STD," she said to her reflection in the mirror. Her hair was pulled back in a tight ponytail. She wasn’t wearing any make-up.

"If the condom was used after the expiration date, if it was torn or damaged in any way when it was taken out of the package, if it was not properly placed on the penis, if there was not a sufficient space left at the tip to collect the--"

"What are you talking about?" Claire looked at the little stick on the counter. The word Pregnant stared back at her.

"I’m explaining all the things that could have caused our product to fail, ma’am." There was a pause. "You asked how it happened, I’m trying to list--"

"Forget it." Claire took the phone from her face and almost stabbed the button that would end the call. Then she thought of another question. "So, what do you do for people when your product fails them?"

"Well, ma'am, usually failure is due to user error rather than--"

"I don't want to hear it." Claire glanced at the test stick again; the little blue letters might as well have said Fucked.

"Well--without admission of liability--we do provide a trained counsellor to discuss your options with you. And you may choose a selection of products from our maternity and infant care lines."

"I see." Claire pressed the phone closer to her ear, surprised at how reasonable this sounded.

"We will of course reimburse you for the cost of the condom, as a good-will gesture."

"Why, that's very gener--"

"And we'll also send you a big rubber band so that next time there's a fighting chance you'll keep your fucking legs together."

Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: Anonymous


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:

"Why, congratulate them, ma'am."


"Madam," Claire was sure she heard the woman sigh, "it's almost unheard of for our product to fail. We have very stringent quality checks. Are you sure you used it correctly?"

Claire's cheeks flushed with anger again. "Of course I used it corectly. I followed exactly the video on your web site."

"I see," tap, tap, tap. "Well, do you perhaps still have the, ah, product? Could you rinse it, put it in a Ziploc bag and mail it to us. We'll inspect it for any defects."

It was Claire's turn to sigh. At last, some progress. "Yes, I have it, it's still in the refrigerator. I'm looking for compensation, you know; and I'll expect you to replace the cucumber as well."


Bump in the Night said...

Great continuation.

The opening was pretty well written, but I'm not your reader for this one. I need to latch on to a character, and while Claire is in the sad, sad situation of being depressed over a new, unplanned pregnancy, I didn't see anything about her to like. I'm sure others will find the opening more compelling and give better and more specific feedback.

Best of luck with this.

Bernita said...

Continuation was a hoot.

Some unnecessary stuff here in the explanatory tags. How Claire's lips moved, her hair in a pony-tail, etc. I don't see how they contribute anything and leaves one wondering why the fact her lips "moved slowly" or were an inch from the receiver matters.

dan said...

This may be useless as a comment, but a company representative would, I imagine, never, ever, use the word "fail". Aside from the fact their product most likely didn't fail, getting pregnant while using a condom correctly isn't failure, it's just improbable. For them th *say* "fail" may open them up to all sorts of lawsuits and crap. So unfortunately, I would, from the get go, not buy into the scenario. However. If you're writing a comedy or satire or something, and it had good word of mouth or was otherwise said to be very clever, I would overlook it, cos sometimes real-world logic doesn't matter much, in book-world. But now that I think about it, if you are tossing a bit of logic out the window, why not have her show up at the company's offices, demanding an explanation from a bored receptionist, or an intern, or one of their, um, product testers?

I'll second Bernita in saying some of the prose around the dialogue seemed a bit off.

Oh and I'd rest assured about your character. I'd imagine most readers give you more than 150 or so words, to find something 'to like'.

Robin S. said...

I love the cucumber continuation.
It's my favorite.

Not so crazy about a female being told to keep her legs together as the punch line in the chosen one. She wasn't the only one in the fucking (and I mean that in both ways) room. Or back seat. Whatever.


I'm guessing this is one of the girls in the recent query - so Claire and Josie openings go with this one. I'd say this was a good opening for one of the alternating chapters, once we get to know Claire a little bit - but maybe not for the opening page of the novel.

Stacy said...

The continuation was hilarious! Great job, Anon!

I liked the opening, too. I'd like to see where it goes.

Anonymous said...

She wasn't the only one in the fucking (and I mean that in both ways) room.

Hmm. Wouldn't know that from the opening lines though. She's the one complaining about the condom to the manufacturer like it's between her and them. If it was female contraception, sure; but it's a condom, so the question is raised (heh heh) -- where's the guy? And if it was a casual fling and she did provide the prohylactic (not that there's anything wrong with that) and chose to take the risk, and the guy wasn't taking any responsibility, then perhaps she should have, you know...

Anonymous said...

I don't know... She's in the bathroom with the pregnancy test strip, the phone and the number of The Rubber Company? Really?

Bonnie said...

Loved the cucumber continuation.

The unnamed unknown woman on the other end of the phone has more personality than Claire. She's just a voice. I like the restraint of the details you provide, expecially the frogs, but I think maybe you need some rection from Claire. "She wanted to take a flamethrower to the happy smiling frogs on the shower curtain." Or, "Sure, the frogs could be happy. They laid eggs and forgot them."

I did not get the impression of a teenager and would not have connected it to the Claire of the query if Robin hadn't pointed out the connection.

But I do like your style and I would give Claire a lot more than 150 words to show me whether there's a story here.

Anonymous said...

I love the frogs.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Robin S. I don't think this would make a good first page. If this is the Claire/Josie story, I would start with the other character first.

This is minor, but I didn't like the company woman's first line of dialogue- it did not sound professional.

I did like the frog shower curtain, though.

Robin S. said...

Here's the thing, Anon 11:01 -

There's no paperwork signing going on before having sex, as a matter of course, is there? So, the idea that the guy isn't taking any responsibility comes after the "fact". His lack of integrity and balls is now her problem - is the answer to your question-"where's the guy".

And - when should a bad outcome from casual sex only be the woman's problem? What year is this again? 2007?

Hi Bonnie- I loved your ideas about what Claire coudl be thinking about the frogs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your comments - this and the Josie opening are from Face-Lift 421. I've been debating between starting the book off from the perspective of Claire or Josie. Those of you that read/comment on both - let me know which works best.

I'll work on making Claire more likable in this section.

Dan - not a useless comment - I'll use something other than 'fail.' Every word counts, right?

Robin S. - Just curoius - why not for the beginning of the novel? I'm all about chronology and this would be the first thing that happens - so it's kind of in or it's out. Ideas that might make it work for the beginning?

Anon - you give me something to think about - her in the bathroom with all that stuff. Believable? Not sure - but it helps me get across that she was trying to be careful - thought her boyfriend was wearing a condom - later she finds out he wasn't.

Bonnie - helpful suggestions - I'll work on giving her some personality. More inner dialogue perhaps. The next few lines do clarify her age - I was already over the word limit . . .

Loved the continuations - was expecting to laugh and I did. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

FYI - she doesn't tell the guy that she's pregnant. At least not until later in the book.

jjdebenedictis said...

Ye-ah. I hated the continuation too. I think it's assinine to scold a woman for having sex. She is allowed to, and this one was portrayed as having done it responsibly, too.

Which just goes to show how tricky it is to write comedy. To be funny, you want to poke a toe over the line between what's acceptable and what isn't, but everyone's frickin' line is in a different location. Mine was obviously a pace or two back.

I thought the beginning was put together well, I like the fact that you (the writer) start with the main character trying to solve a problem, but I did find the piece a little slow. I would keep reading, however.

I think you've done an excellent job of capturing the stunned numbness Claire is feeling, although as a reader, I want her to snap out of it a little faster. Passive characters aren't fun to read about.

When Claire says, "So, what do you do for people when your product fails them?", that's the point where she's really getting active in trying to solve her problem. I think the pacing would be improved if you got her to that point a bit faster.

I also didn't like the pony-tail/no makeup line. I think the reason why is that it seems unconnected to what's happening. That might be intentional, but as I mentioned, I was feeling a bit starved for something more than numbness. You might describe Claire's eyes instead, or her face - something that gives us a hint about her distress, even if she can't feel it herself right now.

This does show promise, starts in a good place, and is well-written. Good luck with it!


Evil Editor said...

Complaining that there was someone else in the room if it's part of the opening is one thing, but not as part of the continuation, which is supposed to be a twist. The joke isn't that the woman is being scolded; it's the company representative finally giving up the ridiculous but professional suggestions and making her ridiculous and highly biased comment.

If, in the opening, the guy is the one phoning to complain about the condom, and the representative had finished up by saying, we'll also send you a free roll of duct tape so you can keep your zipper closed, same joke. Are people writing to say, Hey, he wasn't the only person in the room?

As for the cucumber, it was funny, but note that the twist is that she followed the instructions in the company's video--but followed them on a cucumber. But there was no company video in the opening. I prefer that the twist be dependent on the opening rather than on material put into the continuation to make the joke work.

I shoulda gone with "Congratulations."

Robin S. said...

Hi author,

I like your query and the idea/premise of your book. I've been trying to figure out the answer to your question of why I think this would be a good chapter opening rather than the novel opening.

I think, as anon 11:29 suggested, starting with Josie first might be good. I went back and read your opening to Josie's part of the novel. It gives what I think of as "active backgoround" and a grounding to the place the two girls currently inhabit, the school and its hierarchical social structure.

I think maybe, when reading this opening, I wanted more of a picture of where Claire 'is' - but, as you said, it's coming shortly.

I was thinking it could be a good beginning - to show the popular girl second, the one who used to be Josie's friend and who now looks likes she's got the world at her fingertips - show her at home later, on the phone, speaking quietly in the phone so as not to be overheard. Things aren't always as they seem kind of thing.

But you have the entirety of the manuscript in front of you - so you know which way works best for your story- this is just my opinion, based on opening words.

As well, I haven't read this genre, other than the occasional thumb-through when my girls were reading at this stage - so I don't know what the acceptable "set-up" and opening is for this stype of novel- and I bet you do.

Robin S. said...

Just saw your note, EE.

I guess it wasn't fair of me to tease you (previously) about worrying over PC-ness, and then comment on your choice of continuation, was it?

none said...

Yeees, EE, but the joke relies on an attitude that many women are utterly bleeding sick of. Now if it had been suggested that she wind the rubber band tightly around the boyfriend's balls, then we might have laughed. Can't please all of the people all of the time :).

I found it difficult to believe in this opening, maybe because it seems to me that only a very naive teenager would expect to get anything from such a phone call, and yet it's hard to believe such a naive teenager would be so blazé when it came to the actual conversation. So I'm struggling to get a handle on what Claire is like, and what she expects to get out of the company. She doesn't seem to know herself.

Anonymous said...


Yup. Humor's tricky. How about "we'll send you a roll of duct tape for his zipper and a big rubber band for your legs....etc."

Equal opportunity and all that.



Bump in the Night said...

Hi Author. I liked the situation as a novel opening, but I didn't like Claire as presented, even trying to be understanding of her situation. All one person's opinion, of course.

I see the frustration of dealing with a voice reciting policy, but the "duh, you're an idiot" attitude right off, followed by "like that matters..." and cutting off the person all ganged up to make Claire an unsympathetic person in a sympathetic situation to me. If I'd seen Claire, despite her shock and despair, being nice or even tolerant while struggling to hold it together, it would have developed sympathy. Or if I'd already seen her to be a person I liked before this, I'd sympathize.

So there's this one guy's opinion for what it's worth.

Best luck,

Anonymous said...

Oh, hell...

What buffy said. I love it.
There I was, trying to be all contrite, but the balls thing, ooooh, that was great, buffy.

Yeah. What buffy said.


Anonymous said...

Robin - thanks for the thought you put into your comments. I suppose I should have said that the next chapter starts the day she has her miscarriage - making it difficult for me to add that scene in later. This is a short 4 page chapter - I need to work in more of her personality.

buffysquirrel - I know what I needed from this section - as an author I was trying to establish that she was trying to be careful while having sex with her boyfriend and make the betrayal that much worse when she figures it out - but need to ask myself what Claire needed from the conversation and clarify that for the reader. Thanks - you've made me think here!

Stacy said...

Well, I thought the chosen continuation was funny.

Bernita said...

Not knowing how old Claire is makes it difficult to assess her conversation too.

Sylvia said...

I think it's a conflict of being brazen enough to phone a condom company to complain, whilst naive enough to believe that it will do any good.

Perhaps if she didn't sound so competent whilst making the phone call it would help. But I also think starting on Josie would make sense (I'll look for that one) so that we have some sense of a person before we hit the trauma.

pacatrue said...

Maybe an issue is that Clair sounds quite reasonable, though in shock, in her words, and yet what she's doing isn't exactly reasonable. I just kept thinking when reading that 99% clearly means that the odds are you are getting pregnant if you go at it 100 times. If you are active twice a week with your partner, then the odds are in your favor to be pregnant in a year. Seems very clear, so what's the shock?

However, I completely understand Clair acting unreasonably in this situation as just a normal human way to feel, and so perhaps the solution is to make her less reasonable in the scene. If you are going for comedy at all, then I actually like the idea of confronting the company in person or storming up to the pharmacist waving the pregnancy test and box of condoms. If you are not going for comedy, then maybe a more subtle change in the language so that she understands that what happened is not too unexpected, but just has to take it out on someone. I've definitely been there.

Anonymous said...

I think this has great potential, but I didn't read Claire as a teenager at all. She sounded too professional. It didn't help that the woman on the phone referred to her as "ma'am" instead of Miss and Claire didn't react to that. Most teens would be pretty nervous at calling a company's hotline. I'd expect her speech to be more halting, with a euphemism for pregnancy thrown in there for one of the several times she repeats it--several euphemisms all in a row would even be funny and give her some spunk. I didn't read the Josie beginning that I can recall, so I can't compare the two as novel openings, but I do like the idea of starting with an external view of Claire before jumping in to her dealing with the pregnancy.

McKoala said...

awrWell, to be different, I really liked this. Making this call is ridiculous and that's why that scene works for me. How does she think calling these people is going to help? So to me making the call at all that is a sign that this is a lost teenager with absolutely no idea what to do. 'I'm pregnant. Where do I start? I'll complain to the manufacturer! I'll get the number and sneak into the bathroom with the phone, because nobody will disturb me there...' I don't need to be told all that, I can figure it out. it seems to me that her dialogue fits that - trying to be mature and then slipping into resentment. Maybe that's her character, I'd accept that at this stage.

I was able to read her emotion through what's there. The little frogs happy eyes - Claire has sighed, she's crossing and uncrossing her fingers - she's clearly uneasy and the frogs' happiness emphasises her misery. She wants to 'stab' the buttons on the phone. It's subtle, but it's all there for me; it's all shown, not told in the choice of words and detail. I like that kind of writing. Over the course of a novel it builds up until the characters' emotions spill out over the page without you ever having to tell us what they are. It does look like some people might not be picking it up, though, so maybe it is a bit subtle. Personally I'd urge you to layer more in in exactly the way you already have, though, rather than suddenly throwing in telling: 'Claire felt sad' etc. The thought of using the frogs in some way is a good one.

Mirrors - not keen in a first scene. But - by the tight ponytail and the lack of make-up you actually do weave this in well. People do do this in a moment of crisis. She's a teenager: 'I'm pregnant. Do I look any different?' And you don't mention hair colour! Woo-hoo!

Anonymous said...

Pacatrue estimated: "99% clearly means that the odds are you are getting pregnant if you go at it 100 times. If you are active twice a week with your partner, then the odds are in your favor to be pregnant in a year."

Maybe pacas are fertile 365.25 days a year, but humans aren't. If you fuck twice a week, nicely spacing out your interludes, and you're a human woman, you have about one chance per month of getting pregnant. Most condom failures will have no dire consequences.

Dave Fragments said...

I've been through this - a teen pregnancy - and I don't think that this conversation would occur. I don't think a teenage girl would call up the maker of the condom and ask what to do. I've heard all the arguments from him, her, his parents and her parents. This conversation wouldn't be part of the situation. Many other paths are viable but not phoning the condom maker.

I can tell you that the first reaction is to deny the fact that she's pregnant and the second is to hide the pregnancy. And everyone discusses abortion, even if it is just to say NO abortion. They consider it.

I think that your story would begin better with Claire searching for her alternatives and not argueing with the Condom Maker. Look, in the first week, the "morning after" pill would work, after that, an abortion is the option to stop the pregnancy. We all know this. "If I force my daughter to have an abortion, I'll lose her forever." is operative. "If I take a year of high school, I can come back> Mom and Dad can help" is operative. "Maybe I can give the kid up for adoption?" is operative. "what about RU 486?" is operative.

"Dear Trojans, your product stinks." isn't operative.

Just my opinion from sad experience.

Anonymous said...

Wow - more great comments - all very helpful.

Sylvia & Pacatrue - I'll try to make her sound less competent & reasonable. That makes sense.

Mckoala - you got it! This is supposed to be ridiculous - not logical. A lost teen who wants to blame someone - anyone - but herself. This is the only person she'll tell. She wants answers too - but not any that this person can provide - and she realizes this. Glad you could read the emotion - stress and shock through the clues. Maybe I was too subtle - based on others comments.

not an ob/gyn - you're right - there's only about 24 hours per month that a female can get pregnant.

Dave - thanks for your thoughts - sharing your experience - teen pregnancy is a difficult thing. Your statemnet "This conversation wouldn't be part of the situation. Many other paths are viable but not phoning the condom maker." could be true - but I could actualy see a lost teen who doesn't feel like she can tell/blame anyone doing this. Maybe? I don't know. Maybe as many reactions out there as pregnant teens? Again - as an author - I had specific goals in mind for my story and this scene just evolved. After this - she does hide it until the miscarriage. I will think about what you've said. Maybe I need to specify that she's trying to place blame? Can't trust anyone?

pacatrue said...


not an ob/gyn is completely right and what I wrote was utter nonsense. Oh well. It's good to be completely idiotic in some random comment on a blog.

Now, wait a second! You mean I could have been having more sex relatively safely! Well, crap!

Of course, as a man, I am fertile every day. Now, I just need to find me a placenta and an egg bank and I can start churning out the little ones.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to go with the developing consensus that this maybe isn't the best place to start - it feels contrived and a little unrealistic.

I'm with Dave on this one.

I also wonder what the customer service rep is tapety-tapping into her computer given Claire isn't really saying all that much? Of is the implication she's not interested in the call and busy doing other stuff at the same time? Unlikely.

Also, if, as it turns out, the guy wasn't even wearing a condom, it seems even more unlikely that she'd know which rubber company to call (I assume there's more than one).

Of course, it's only 150 words, too, so the tendency is there to over-analyze.

I'm glad EE -- and a few others -- got the joke. The views expressed in the continuation are not necessarily those of the author.

AmyB said...

I'm pretty sure the window is longer than 24 hours. Sperm stays alive in the woman for several days, so if she ovulates two days after intercourse...

(Boy, has this gotten off topic.)

Anonymous said...

there's only about 24 hours per month that a female can get pregnant.

This is a nit-pick, but the actual number is more like 72 hours.

Anonymous said...

In answer to Dave's comment --what I got out of this situation was that this is a girl who ordinarily considers herself quite competent. She's used to accomplishing things, and if she sees a problem, she tries to think of a way to fix it (or rather, she tries to think of the proper adult who can solve it for her). Now she's pregnant and desperation makes her think "Maybe the condom maker provides some product that makes up for the times the condoms don't work." It's not logical, no, but people aren't logical. To me it was a window into Claire's character.
That said, I personally might not read past this unless you'd already hooked me with Josie, but that's because teen pregnancy doesn't scream "READ ME" to me -- it might to someone else.
I still love the frogs.


Anonymous said...

Dave, we have to remember that this girl has just verified she's pregnant. RU 486 is not an option because she thought she was protected and too much time has passed. We can infer she's probably about a month out now -- two weeks to her first missed period, a week to be sure she's really missed it, and probably another week to work up the courage to buy a pregnancy test kit. While abortion, adoption and all the other options have no doubt gone through her mind, and she's probably played out a dozen "what if" scenarios in her head, none of that would have seemed really real or necessary until she saw the positive result.

This piece begins within an hour of her confirming she's pregnant, so no family discussions would have ocurred yet. It's the rare teen who would think to talk to anyone except maybe a BFF before confirmation. She's alone, she's scared, she's young. And she may very well be a personality who has to blame someone/something for her circumstances. I don't discount a call to a condom manufacturer no matter how irrational that may seem to dispassionate us.

Perhaps during the first week after missing her period, she had gotten the number of THE condom company if the boyfriend had a favorite kind. Or maybe she just contacts A company to see what advice they may have. In either case, author, the reader may need a little more assurance that this is a believable event, and why she would happen to have a condom mfr's number in the bathroom with her.

The customer service rep's typing was clear to me. CR reps read scripts. They input the customer's question or complaint, and the scripted reply is spit out on their display.

What bothered me some is that Claire's words don't seem to match her actions. "Like that matters to me now" and "I'd rather have an STD" sound like they should be angry statements, but her actions don't suggest anger. She sighs after one statement, and converses with her reflection during the other. Like mb, I'm loving the frogs and would love to get some pithy thought from Claire about them.

I'm in the camp that hopes Josie's chapter comes before this one and that Josie has some snide "little Miss Perfect" comments in that chapter about Claire. We need some setup, IMO, to see that this scene defines Claire in a way that's different from what we the reader have come to expect of her having first seen her through Josie's biased eyes.

I'm also in the camp that doesn't find the chosen continuation funny (sorry, Anon -- I do see where you're trying to go there). My vote would have been for the cuke.

Evil Editor said...

My vote would have been for the cuke.

While there's a long history of people getting laughs from women with cucumbers, one wonders if that's not the type of joke that offends even more people. Besides, we already had these two Guess the Plots for the title Loving Yourself with Food:

4. This new how-to cookbook/romance tantalizes with such utilitarian dishes as Portnoy's liver, low-cal chocolate sauce and oiled cucumbers. Profusely Illustrated.

6. Margot thought no one knew what she did with the Japanese eggplant - until the handsome young clerk at the market slipped a can of Redi-Whip and a banana squash into her bag.

There's a limit to how many gags about women and their vegetables should appear on a sophisticated blog.

Anonymous said...

But see, EE, it's not a "woman and her cuke" joke like the others. The training video has the user practice how to properly fit a condom using a cucumber. So, when it's showtime, the user put the condom on the cucumber instead of on her partner, thinking that's where it's supposed to go. How would she have gotten pregnant if she were simply using her favorite vegetable?

It's like a dumb blonde joke, only without the hair color. Now, how many of those jokes such a sophisticated blog can support, I'm sure I don't know. But I'm guessing it must be in the scads.

Evil Editor said...

The training video has the user practice how to properly fit a condom using a cucumber.

1. No need to explain the joke to me; I'd already explained it in my 12:59 comment.

2. I also pointed out that there is no training video in the opening. The continuation author can't decide to change the world because he came up with a joke that makes no sense in the world of the opening author. It's like the director of The Wizard of Oz says, "I think a great scene would be to have the tin woodsman chop the head off the zombie," and L. Frank Baum says, "There's no zombie in my book," and the director says, "There is now."

Anonymous said...

Ah, before the fisticuffs escalate too far, I'd like to point out that both the "Rubber band' continuation and the "Cuke" continuation were submitted by the same person. Me.

I'm sorry to have derailed the attention from the opening where it ought to be, as I'm sure the real author put much more time, effort and thought in putting their words together.

Evil Editor said...

Plus, the whole point of posting the unchosen ones is so that different senses of humor can choose their own poison. There's no prize for being "chosen."

I will admit that if Claire had mentioned in the opening that she had followed the instructions in the video, the cuke would have been chosen.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I should add the training video to my opening . . .

Anonymous said...

Maybe I should add the training video to my opening . . .

That would be the decent thing to do...

Robin S. said...

I'm sitting here watching the Open Championship and looking through "old" stuff here, because it's often interesting to see if anything happens after the orgininal conversation.

The good news- this post has 44 comments. The not so good news - a good number of them aren't about the author's opening. Still, 44 comments is 44 comments.

EE, I'm sorry I made you so irritated by all of this conversation over a continuation, and I'm almost sorry I said anything in the first place.
It never occurred to me you'd be annoyed by my voicing an opinion that differed, in a way, with yours. Not THE way, of course.

And yeah, author, the training video, what the hell, might be a good one.(Just kidding.)

Evil Editor said...

Actually, there probably are people who believe I've chosen poorly on most continuations, just as, if a thousand people watched The Graduate and There's Something About Mary, there'd be a few who liked each better than the other. Is it better to show all the continuations, so everyone can choose their favorite, or is it going to lead to more displeasure than before?

Robin S. said...

No, choosing one is what you do, and in my opinion, this place is 'your baby'. It's good that way.

Hasn't it been only lately that you've posted the 'also rans'? It's nice to have a chance to see them. Many times people have picked an alternate favorite after having the chance to read the lot, without any after effects.

The difference here, I suppose, is that the chosen continuation struck a nerve, which may be a little more involved than simply saying 'I like this one better'.

I think conversations and differences of opinion are interesting, so I have to say I've enjoyed the back and forth on this. I realize this conversation is only tangentially related to the core subject matter: the author's opening.

Still, (and this was definitely NOT my intention when I simply wrote a line or so about my opinion of the chosen continuation), it's extended the discussion aurrounding the topic covered in her opening, which can't be bad, at least to me.

Also, there isn't any 'displeasure', as far as I am concerned, just healthy disagreement. You know, the kind associated with a sophisticated evil editor's blog. Yours. I like it here.

Twill said...

Not an ob/gyn was wrong.

1) The pregnancy statistics are based upon annual chance of getting pregnant for a couple practicing that form of birth control, not "percentage chance per sex act".

2) Women tend to naturally want sex during the days that they can get pregnant the easiest. Evolution is funny that way.

3) Sperm can live on in the female equipment for a few days. Evolution is funny that way also.

4) The rubber band was a cliche. Didn't make me angry, just flopped.

Anonymous said...

I like seeing the other continuation submissions posted. Whether I saw other conts or not would not have influenced whether I liked the chosen one or not; it would have still struck a nerve. Seeing the other conts just gave me a comparison point.

For the author's sake, most of those who joined the continuation debate also had some thoughtful remarks for the author about the opening, so I don't think the debate distracted too much from the work at hand. Besides, the back-and-forthing makes the blog feel more like "community."

There's no prize for being "chosen."

Ah, is this your way of saying there won't be a Novel Deviations Strikes Back? Or are you simply saying finding your continuation in there is no prize? :o)

Evil Editor said...

Making the pages of Novel Deviations 3 is more than just a prize; it's immortality. But not if you call yourself anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed reading all the comments and feel honored that my opening has sparked such a debate. Well, my opening that inspired the continuations. I have taken much from the experience and am glad for this forum. I have no complaints that every comment was not directly related to my writing.

For what it's worth - I like that you (EE) list more than one cont. and think that you're reaching a lot of different people this way. Isn't that the point? And controversy often pulls more people in.

Thanks again to all!

Robin S. said...

I swear to you this is my last post on this opening - but I agee with phoenix and the author- it does feel more like a community when there's some back and forth

and the debate was a good one.

Anonymous said...

I would hate to see only bland, "politically correct" continuations be chosen for fear of offending people, 'cause chances are they won't be as funny.

So long as the purpose is not to offend, not driven from disrespect or hate, then we should not fear pushing the boundaries.

We don't laugh at everything, and we don't all laugh at the same things.

Let's face it, we've had jokes based on cannibalism, body snatching, conjoined twins, incest, sex in all its varied forms...

Jeez: Sick, sick puppies.

Anonymous said...

Aw heck, what is it with the chicks this weekend? Time of the month?

none said...

It wouldn't have mattered had the unchosen continuations not been posted; I would still have felt the same way about the one that was. And all anyone did, anon 8:13, was express dissenting opinions. Nobody demanded the continuation be removed or that such continuations not appear in future. So quit whining about PC; that's the lamest method of trying to silence debate that appears on the list.

Anonymous said...

So quit whining...

Oh, really. Please, that was hardly a whine. If I wanted to whine I could do way better than that.

none said...

lol, anon!

Anonymous said...

There might be only 24 hours a gal can get pregnant per month, but some sperm can live for several days, thereby giving a gal a 4-day stretch where she can get knocked up...

Anonymous said...

...thereby giving a gal a 4-day stretch where she can get knocked up...

Of course, the sperm need to be sufficiently motile as well. I'm gonna guess the "gals" are safe with you...

Robin S. said...

OK- I said I wouldn't comment again here- but this last pollywog post is absolutely hysterical. Complete with motile photo.

Every time I read that "gals" sentence I laugh like I've just escaped from my own personalized straightjacket.

You're really good with finding photos, "pollywog".

Anonymous said...

Why, thank you, Ma'am...