Tuesday, August 07, 2007

New Beginning 334

Too-Early o'clock came around far too quickly, as far as Jasfoup was concerned, and the sound of heavy metal coming from the speaker of his clock radio was not the most soothing in the morning. He focused bleary eyes upon the tuner. That was certainly not the station he'd tuned into before going to bed last night, he preferred the soft music of the golden years and the dulcet, cultured tones of radio three. This was some local radio station where the announcer spoke in a mixture of street patois, broken English and broad Scots, sounding like a Glaswegian who had spent his formative years on an oil rig manned by skateboarding Australians. Tempted as he was to hit the snooze button, he instead turned the radio off and stood up stepping, as his foot toucked the floor, upon the stub of a pencil.

“Bugger in Hell,” Jasfoup ejaculated. A low groan drew his sticky gaze to the usually unoccupied other side of his bed where a not-quite-slim mound terminated in a shock of multi-coloured, frizzy hair. Memories clawed their way forward: images of a bar, or two, and a Scottish truck-driver girl and too many beers to count and driving rock music and rough hands grabbing his arse while a rough tongue inspected his mouth and, Jesus, what was that itch below his belt line?

“You’ll want ta watch where you’re walking,” a lilting mumble told him. “Dropped all me stuff over there.”

“I found it,” Jasfoup said and scratched himself. What had he told himself? Quit the drinking or--

“What time is it, darlin’?” The bed mound moved; the morning light was unkind.

Jasfoup looked at the clock again. “It’s just after Too-Fucking-Late o’clock,” he said.


Opening: Rachel Green.....Continuation: ril

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Piqued my interest, but the use of "far" twice in the opening sentence was a bit grating.

"Stood up stepping"? Awkward phrasing.

As for the Glaswegian among the skateboarding Australians -- what a picture that paints.

Bernita said...

"Glaswegian who had spent his formative years on an oil rig manned by skateboarding Australians." is a great line.
Otherwise, you've told us the same thing - he's groggy in the morning - several different ways.

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:


Suddenly, a Tasmanian devil, hairy as a Shetland pony, strong as an Irish steelworker, and with a Welsh accent and eyes the color of Portland limestone, grabbed his leg and pulled him under the bed. "Keep your English paws off me pencil and me radio," said the devil.

--Bill Highsmith


Jasfoup picked up the pencil, examining its dull edge and making a mental note to sharpen it later. He straightened his back and stretched his arms, admiring the pajamas his girlfriend gave him for Christmas. They were one hundred percent cotton. Jasfoup took three steps toward the bathroom then adjusted his penis. He really had to go pee. But first, he listened more to the radio station which was playing a crackly-sounding Irish tune.

After two more Scottish songs, a few Irish ditties, and four sweet ethnic tunes produced locally, Jasfoup finally made it to the bathroom.

--takoda


"Ouch!" he whisper-hissed. The body next to him stirred.

Jasfoup looked around the room. It didn't look familiar at all. Slowly the last night came to him and he slapped his forehead, hard.

He sighed and fished his cell phone out of his pants, wondering what in God's name he was going to tell his wife.

--freddie

Dave said...

A friend gave me Fleshmarket Alley (called Fleshmarket Close in Britian) and working at the translation of hard Brit accents to plain old American English.

The opening reminds me of that. Unless I was prepared to learn all that and put up with the inconvenience of "odd" expressions, I'd pass at Glaswegian who had spent his formative years on an oil rig manned by skateboarding Australians... I know that some of you love that phrase but it's opening the book. You're already asking the reader to work too hard for no payoff. Nothing happens in thos opening other than "Jasfoup" steps on a pencil.

BTW - To me, most "HIP" radio announcers are boobs with motormouths.

"street patois, broken English and broad Scots" - A chopped liver voice?
Broken English means it's a second language?
broad Scots (I understand Scots. I knew them in college when I played bagpipes. there's nothing "hard" about that accent.)
But more to the point, it's a colorific of a bad radio station that tells me only that "Jasfoup" dislikes bad radio.

In my opinion (And here's where I stick my foot completely inthe burning bag of doggie droppings) the author is trying too hard to be colorful and not enough to tell a story.

~Nancy said...

I usually don't like getting a huge paragraph right off in a novel, and this unfortunately proved to be true.

But I would've put up with it if, at the end, he stepped on something more than a pencil. A PENCIL? My brain thought, "That's it?" I was expecting him to careen through the floor or find himself in another world or something.

What Bernita said - he's groggy in the morning, we get it. Describe that to us in a brief first paragraph and move along.

Sorry, author, but I wouldn't get beyond the first paragraph, for the reason stated above.

~jerseygirl

spooge26 said...

i'm with dave on this one.

Jasfoup said...

I laughed aloud at the continuation, thank you for that. As for the critiques, thank you, folks, that's a great help for the re-write.

bonniers said...

Some of the phrasing is awkward and repetitious, and I agree you might be working just a little too hard to be colorful, but the voice is great. You might consider taking out some of the extra words that are just words so the original phrases and observations come through.

I spewed coffee at the line about the skateboarding Australians. I would have spewed again at the continuation, but I had the sense not to be drinking by then.

I'm guessing this is probably not aimed primarily at an American audience?

writtenwyrdd said...

I also felt I had to work too hard to decipher the language, as well as the first paragraph is just too long. YOu do present us with an intriguing voice, but it isn't doing anything for the opening. All this lead in for a pencil?

jjdebenedictis said...

Starting a story with the main character waking up is a cliche agents moan about. If you think about it, there's nothing particularly gripping about that moment, is there?

Try to find the point when the main character realises he has a problem to solve and start the story there.

sylvia said...

It depends on your audience, of course. I didn't find it too colourful (Radio Three should be capitalised though) although I did find it slow moving. The interjection "as his foot touched the floor" was rather awkward.

Robin S. said...

For me, this has some good stuff in it - phrasing, etc., and I want to know who reset the radio dial, and why. I like the language - so Davd and I differ there - instead of finding it a chore, I find it nice to read.

I do think this seems like a draft rather than the finished piece.

I like the Glaswegian bit, and I like "stoood up stepping" but I think it would read better if the "foot touched the floor" part was left out. Just my opinion.

So you could do something sort of like this -

Too-Early o'clock came around too quickly, as far as Jasfoup was concerned, and the sound of heavy metal coming from the speaker of his clock radio was not the most soothing in the morning.

He focused bleary eyes upon the tuner. That was certainly not the station he'd tuned into before going to bed last night; he preferred the soft music of the golden years and the dulcet, cultured tones of radio three. This was some local radio station where the announcer spoke in a mixture of street patois, broken English and broad Scots, sounding like a Glaswegian who had spent his formative years on an oil rig manned by skateboarding Australians.

Tempted as he was to hit the snooze button, he instead turned the radio off and stood up, stepping upon the stub of a pencil...

and then work it from there. Just a thought.

McKoala said...

Colorful is fine, but the tone didn't quite gel for me 'Too-Early o'clock' didn't seem to match with the 'most soothing' and 'dulcet, cultured tones' (bit of a cliche there). I couldn't form even the start of a picture of the narrator. I'd read on, though, to see if things came together soon.

Kanani said...

Not too many changes here. Some tightening up is needed. Read it aloud. You might find where your repetition of imagery is coming into play.

Your first sentence is a run on and a lot of the images are ones we're already familiar with. Try reworking the first sentence and breaking it up.

Also... throw a little attitude. Let me hear Jasfoup think.

I agree that you're repeating the fact that it's early and Jas is tired. For instance, you can get rid of "bleary eyes" --it's a cliché anyway. Just have him look at the tuner and do something --fumble for radio 3 and knock the whole thing onto the floor. Something bigger than stepping on the stub. But yes, keep the stub on there --especially if it's key to something else going on.

Try it, see how it works out.

AJ said...

"...stood up stepping..." IS awkward, but you can improve it with a comma.
"...stood up, stepping..."
There's more awkward phrasing, like your first sentence:
"Too-Early o'clock came around far too quickly, as far as Jasfoup was concerned..."
You used "too" and "far" twice, both essentially meaning the same thing: in excess. Is that like saying it four times?...;) Furthermore, the time "Too-Early o'clock" should be too early as far as EVERYONE is concerned, right? Isn’t that what “too-early o’clock” means? It would be more effective to say, "It was too-early o’clock, and heavy metal music was…”

You have a distinct voice though--keep the voice, lose the adjectives.

"Glaswegian who had spent his formative years on an oil rig manned by skateboarding Australians.--I'm guessing this is probably not aimed primarily at an American audience?”

My first clue was the MC's name, but, yes, anyone who is not familiar with how Glaswegians, oil rig workers, and skateboarding Australians sound would lose the brilliance of that line. But I don’t even know how a skateboarding American sounds.