Thursday, August 30, 2007

New Beginning 351

If I am forced to answer one more personal question from a nosy Scot--especially that question--they cannot hold me responsible for my actions . Outwardly, Elizabeth Martin affected a smile and took the brochure from the kindly clerk behind the desk at the Loch Awe Hotel. "No, I don't have 'a fine braw laddie' to go out on the loch with. I'm traveling alone."

"Ah, now that's a shame. Pretty lass like yourself with your great dark eyes . . . Did ye no' go and pick some St. John's wort last night? They say it will tell if you're to be married in the comin' year--if the flowers dinna wilt. It's best to do it on Midsummer's Eve, ye ken," the clerk explained with a twinkle in her eye. "But I'm sure it'd still work if ye tried tonight."

Midsummer. June 21st. Today was supposed to be my wedding day.

I knew I should have traded in the tickets and gone to Fresno, instead of this god-forsaken, rainswept, fogged in, bagpipe-obsessed, kilt factory. It figures. Scotland was his idea, the two-timing bastard.

I'll have to remember to send him some week-old haggis as a souvenir of "our" honeymoon.

Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: Anonymous


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuation:

As it always has been. I'm sure this is just a dry spell. She had been wed five times in six years, and as many times she'd played the grieving widow. A fall from a church steeple. An unhappy mischance with wild mushrooms. The aroused elephant during that tiger hunt in Madipoor. Elizabeth reflected that gossips might have thought her quite careless, if she weren't such a great believer in the benefits of travel.


writtenwyrdd said...

Author, I thought this was well written and interesting. I feel I know the character's mental state and situation and what she is doing in Scotland while less than happy to be there.

Evil Editor said...

I like the writing. It's an economical set-up--assuming it's over and something's going to happen, like a hunky Scotsman walking into the lobby, and a gust of wind blowing up his kilt.

In view of Elizabeth's opening thought, I'm surprised that the clerk's spiel didn't lead Liz to leap across the counter and throttle the woman.

This much dialect isn't bothering me, but if it's going to go on throughout the book I'd just as soon do without it.

I'm also not bothered--yet--by the fact that only one sentence indicates that the book is not in 1st person. The last paragraph could just as easily be: Midsummer. June 21st. Today was supposed to be her wedding day.

A 3rd-person narrator can provide the POV character's thoughts, so you might limit the frequency with which you switch to 1st-person italics.

Anonymous said...

Reading EE's comment, I do think that first line might work better as, "If she were forced to answer one more personal question from a nosy Scot-- especially that question-- they couldn't hold her responsible for her actions." Or, you could switch the paragraph around and start with dialog, the nosy question. Then answer with a shortenend version of the "No, I don't have a 'fine braw laddie' to go otu on the loch with. I'm travelling alone."

This might tighten up what you wrote. Not sure you need to do so, however. This may be an 'if it's not broke, don't fix it' situations.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a fine beginning. Sets up quite a lot in just a couple of short paragraphs - why she's there, why she's alone, what her thoughts are. I wasn't too bothered by the switch from 1st to 3rd since it seems like most of the story will be in 3rd - the 1st person is just a clue to how upset Elizabeth is at the moment. I'd definitely read on!

WouldBe said...

I thought the opening offered plenty of hook to get the reader to the next page. And as EE said, the story can go in many directions. The reader would have an advantage over the minions: he/she would know the genre. (Maybe that could be added along side the opening, EE.) This could be chick lit, a quirky romance/revenge story, a SF farce, a vampiress story...just about anything. That speaks in favor of the hook, I think.

Bernita said...

Just an idea, but would it be stronger if you were specific about her "responsible for my actions"? ie. "I will leap upon them and rip out their throat with my bare teeth?"

Anonymous said...

I liked this opening a lot, but I was surprised to find the clerk was a woman, not a man. Most women would not comment on another's beauty at all, and certainly not on beautiful eyes, even if she were an older woman. This would work better if the clerk were male.

I would definitely read on.

Precie said...

To me, the clerk seems sort of the grandmotherly matchmaker type. So I can easily see the clerk as female.

I could see changing that last line to 3rd person...I think it might have stronger impact with only "supposed" emphasized.

Overall I'd definitely read on.

Ali said...

Interesting point, anon. I actually missed the "her eye" and assumed the clerk was a man. I think it works either way--an older woman very well might comment on a young woman's pretty eyes. (Happens to me all the time, ha ha). But maybe we need to see the woman in the first paragraph. (Or I just need to read the pronouns more carefully...)

I liked the opening very much. I thought the dialect worked, as long as it's not overdone in future passages.

Liked both continuations, as well.

Anonymous said...

Author here...

AHAHA, the continuation was great! I almost snorted when I read it - a snarkier version of what the character is feeling right now. She's just not the sort to act on it...yet.

And wow, thanks for all the comments! I agree with EE and some of the other commenters about taking away the FP italics. Actually just had a crit partner warn me to use them sparingly, too. Lesson learned. *g*

For those who wondered, it's a romance. The query should be coming down the pike pretty soon.

Thanks again!

Sylvia said...

"Loch Awe Hotel"

I used to work there!