Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New Beginning 387

The smell of summer was thick in the air. Of course, that happens when one simply must plow through a field of wild flowers knee-high and fairly bursting with enthusiasm to bloom. Her path followed an old wire fence that had been embraced by the flowers and was now as supported by their vines as it was by its own weathered wooden posts. A riot of blues, reds and purples greeted her vision as she made her way over the lush green hill, heading towards the inviting red-capped villa one valley over. The house was large with an inviting red door left open to welcome the gentle summer breeze through its corridors.

The dry wind teased loose a curl of thick black hair from the careful confection she had arranged it in that morning. Sighing, she tugged the jeweled butterfly comb from her hair and gave a toss to her lovely head. Her mass of blue black curls went tumbling loose in the wind.

"Shit!" she cursed as she chased after the wig.

A tangle of yellow and brown fur dashed out from behind the green gate in the rusted fence, knocking her on her arse while the dog responded to an ancient urge to fetch. The gentle breeze tugged at the magenta skirt and teal petticoat that she had carefully pressed that morning, now spotted mud brown. A commotion of blue, red and purple blossomed on her elbows where they had struck the pavement.

Flashbulbs popped white as she got to her feet, her red patent leather shoes scuffed. She was sorry she'd shaved her head, but sorry wasn't enough for the tabloids that followed her every waking minute. She closed her brown eyes, and a vision of next week's People Magazine glowed red-hot.

Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: Anonymous


Anonymous said...

I don't always read the New Beginnings, but with this one, I was right there in the Thomas Kinkade limited edition personalized licensed art product.

Seriously, I kept reading it. Sometimes the flintiest soul takes guilty pleasure in a mass o' fluff.

And the bruise in the continuation: great.


Evil Editor said...

We could do with fewer adjectives. I especially didn't like describing both the villa and the door as "inviting" in consecutive sentences. Also, the use of a double adjective grew tiresome (old wire fence, lush green hill, inviting red door, weathered wooden posts, thick black hair, blue black curls). But the biggest problem is, What house? Is the house in the last sentence of paragraph 1 the red-capped villa one valley over? If so, how does she know the door is open to welcome the breeze through it's corridors? Can she see the house in the next valley from where she is? If it's a house in this valley that she sees, it seems to pop up from nowhere, and then to disappear.

Wonderwood said...

The continuation. Clever. Brilliant. Still laughing.

The opening, not so much. As EE pointed out, and the continuation author seized upon, waaayyy heavy on adjectives. So many adjectives left me no time or inclination to use my own imagination to create a vision that's real to me. Use the double adjectives sparingly and give the reader the opportunity to fill in some of the blanks. If you give me the chance to take some ownership of the vision, I'm naturally drawn in to the story.

jjdebenedictis said...

I quite liked the lovely imagery and active verbs. The problem for me is that this story is going nowhere. Two paragraphs and absolutely nothing has happened.

I'd suggest you thin out the pretty stuff and get down to the meat of the story. As Anon 7:15 noted, this is fluff.

Robin S. said...

Hi wonderwood- good to 'see' you!

Oooh, anon, good continuation.


In my opinion, you have some really good sentences filled with sensory information, said well, and you have some that probably need paring.

For example, I really like this one: "Her mass of blue black curls went tumbling loose in the wind",
but this one, in the same paragraph, reads a little awkwardly to me: "The dry wind teased loose a curl of thick black hair from the careful confection she had arranged it in that morning." I'd say it would be good to mention her black hair once, where it's most effective, and then leave it alone in the other sentence (whichever one you choose as the 'other'). My vote would be to keep it in the 'tumbling loose' sentence, but that may just be me. And I'd rewrite the "she had arranged it in that morning" part.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of adjectives and place description, but this was too much for me. By the time I got to "mass of blue black curls" I was wondering what her name was and why she would mess up her careful confection. I worry that subsequent paragraphs may come off as "info dump" to make up for all the excess description. If action or purpose shows up in the next couple paras I might read on, but if the whole novel is filled with double adjectives, I'm not sure I would be able to stick with it.

Anonymous said...

This sounds too over the top - too much like a parody of a bad romance novel or a commercial for a feminie hygiene product.

McKoala said...

Um, yeah. Kind of with whoever. The colours, the description and particularly that second para with the masses of blue black curls.

Anonymous said...

I do like the imagery, but it's simply too much. Right at the jump, the second sentence is a bit run-on. This trend is continued throughout, and we still don't have anything really happening.

This just needs some trimming. I have the same problem too when I do first drafts. Then I lose about half of what I wrote, but you'll see -- things shall still work.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the majority here. A riot of rich descriptive words greet us but are not actually inviting. Rather, less description to allow imagination to take hold and paint the scene would be more welcoming.

Mention the "wild flowers knee-high and bursting with enthusiasm to bloom," once and let us fill in the colors. Also, if the fields are filled with blues, reds, and purples, then they can't also be lush green. You've given us two predominant images at the same time, and I found them clashing.

And I agree with EE on the positioning of the villa. Did you mean that the villa is on the other side of the valley she's walking across, and thus visible? Having just returned from a vacation in the central Italian hills, I can picture what I think you mean, but not what you wrote.

I also see something of a disconnect between her carefully arranged hair and fancy comb--which suggests to me that she wants to impress whoever's in that villa--and her trekking across the field--which will leave her socks full of prickers and her skirt or pants covered in flora detritus.

I do want to know who she's heading across the valley to meet, though.

Bernita said...

Very pretty.
Like a calendar.

JL Carr said...

I hope this is omniscient POV and not all coming from this unnamed character. I've got to say, unless she's supposed to be an unbearable egocentric, anyone who thinks in terms of their own lovely head and masses of curls is a turn-off right away.

Also, the 'Of course, that happens when one simply must plow through...' turned me off a bit. It sticks out in a paragraph of description. Why not just go from the first sentence to, 'The field of wild flowers rose knee-high..."

All in all, my rather cynical nature is hoping all this idealized painting of a scene is going to end in a weredingo attack, or this chick putting her butterfly comb through someone's throat. It reads so over the top it must be a set up for something jarring. (I can hope, anyway.)

Anonymous said...

Is this passage a put-on? I assume it's either a romance or a purported romance. Despite a year of trying, I can't read romances, so I can't say if this is mainstream style or if it's over the top even for romance. I did enjoy the passage, though, the way I very occasionally enjoy a psychedelic-colored lollypop.

Of course, it could be a sly and original opening for a horror novel, and wouldn't that be fun!


E.D. Walker said...

Ok, kids, here's a revised opening. Fewer descriptions. Less hair. Hoepfully better all around:

Kore closed her eyes and spread her arms wide. She idled through an overgrown field and let the wind take her, let it fondle her face and whip its way through the tumbling sheathe of her hair.

She had been gone near an hour and should have returned before now. The malicious chatter and mindless tasks that composed the daily round of life in her mother’s courtege held no appeal, though. Especially when weighed against a bright spring day holding all the promise of potential.

The field was overgrown, lush and green, its grass cool and gentle against her feet and legs. There were riots of wild flowers, knee high and fairly bursting with enthusiasm to bloom. They waited oh so patiently for her to pick them, so Kore did.

Her mother’s voice, insistent and shrill, broke the calm of the place. The voice was faint, far away.

Kore ran.


Dave Fragments said...

I'd set up the daydream and then knock it down with reality. Something like this:

Kore idled through an overgrown field, closed her eyes, raised her arms and let the wind take her, fondle her face and whip its way through the tumbling sheathe of her hair. She loved the touch of the lush, green grass so cool and gentle against her feet. The riotous burst of wild flowers, waiting oh so patiently for her to pick them. The bright promise of spring.

Her mother’s voice, insistent and shrill, broke the calm of the place. The voice was faint, far away. Kore had been gone near an hour and should have returned. The malicious chatter and mindless tasks that composed the daily round of life in her mother’s courtege held no appeal.

Although that's a little pedestrian because I wrote it quickly.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Gee, Moth. I don't know.

I liked the description in the first one. I liked the more immediate sense of her in this one.

This one makes me feel like you're taking too long to get to the point because the lack of lush description is highlighting the lack of action.

They each have their own feel and voice. Maybe add a bit more lushness to the description to this one and cut down on the sentences between actions? Hah. Yeah, easy to do.