Monday, March 03, 2008

New Beginning 457

Girls have it made. They don’t have to worry about what they look like without a shirt on. They’re not expected to get their heads bashed in at football. They can be creative without people questioning their sexuality. They have doors to lock when they pee. They don’t have to deal with big stupid jocks.

“Had enough, queer bait?”

My hair is dripping. The water plinks back into the toilet. At least someone flushed this one recently. ‘Queer bait’. As if Jack would recognize a real queer if one walked up and kissed him.

“Let him go, Jack. We’ll be late for practice.”

Yeah, Jack. Let me go and take your little dick off to the field. Go play your homoerotic games where you pat each other on the ass and pretend it doesn’t mean anything sexual.

“All right, fairy Marcus. More of the same tomorrow.”

Jack’s hand leaves the back of my neck. I wait in case he’s kidding and will shove me down the minute I relax. I wait as the door opens and closes. I wait, but I no longer know what I’m waiting for. Salvation? The answer to my life?

It's quiet now, safe, so I slip out into the corridor, I want to avoid any more attention from these fucktards. I brush back my dripping hair and freeze at footsteps behind me.

"You alright, Principal Ellis?"

"Fine, fine," I mumble, and scuttle back to my office.

Opening: Sarah L......Continuation: Anonymous


Evil Editor said...

A more effective opening than just saying Marcus had been picked on all his life. Presumably there's a reason we're watching this today, rather than the other hundreds of days it happens, like your plot is about to kick in immediately.

Oh, and not that I'm an expert, but I hear girls do worry about what they look like without a shirt on.

Whirlochre said...

Good strong opening - but I'd go with 3 points rather than 5 for humour & punch.

Like the toilet part - I get what's happening here without it having to be rubbed in.

It's very direct overall and I like it - but the line 'Jack's hand leaves the back of my neck' doesn't work. Makes it sound like magic and a little airy-fairy. Jack has been very deliberate in his nastiness thus far and has power over his own hand - he'd 'let go' or some such.

Not sure about the questions at the very end - but would read on to satisfy my own curiosity.

Anonymous said...

BAHAHA. I love the continuation!

1. Girls worry about what they look like with a shirt on, too. And, you know, we had to play dodgeball too.

2. Jack's problem is over-sensitive gaydar, not under-sensitive, so probably he would notice if one kissed him. I'd drop that line.

Otherwise, I thought it was generally interesting and well-done.

Scott from Oregon said...

Great twist in the continuation.

Why does a guy with his head in the toilet ruminate about how girls have it made?

Seems to me... (and my head was never actually forced into the bowl- too strong and squirrely for that) the thoughts would be more of a survival thing at that point.

Breathing, not banging the skull against the porcelain with too much force, keeping the teeth from being chipped...

Lacks verisimilitude...

Dave Fragments said...

I thought this was more 1950's and 60's rather than 2008.

And I thought about all the trouble that girls have with body image what with ultra skinny models, immodest and inappropriate clothing and anorexia.

Elissa M said...

Of course, we all know girls worry more about self image than just about anything else, but do wimpy adolescent boys know that? I do agree with scott from oregon though; I doubt I'd be ruminating about anyone but myself and my immediate situation if my head was in a toilet. Still, this opening interested me and I would read on.

Robin S. said...

I don't know. I like the way the first sentence leads you on into the opening. What is said doesn't have to be actual fact to be as actual fact to the narrator.

And maybe he's not so very worried about his life as he may have been, as it's a place he's been before. He's a little bit jaded, a little bit hurt and tired of the whole damned thing, and he's striking out with his only weapon - his inner smartass.

I like it.

Hi Author,

What's the intended audience?

Stacy said...

I like this. I like the opening, and I like the continuation.

I don't mind that he's ruminating on how girls have it made while his head's in the toilet. Seems the narrator is experienced enough in being toilet dunked that he's got the breathing and preventing teeth damage thing down pat. I could buy that after a while those things become second nature.

Good to see you're around, scott.

McKoala said...

I think this is great; but would like a few more sensory details to make it a little more immediate. His hair is dripping, for example, wouldn't it be running down his face, his neck etc? (I'm assuming his head is out of the toilet at this point, because of the dripping...)

Dodgeball hurts.

Robin S. said...

Hey, Sarah - is this our Sarah?

I saw the "L" and it threw me, because I just think of you as "Sarah".

Sarah Laurenson said...

Yeah, it's me, Robin. This is a story I'm having some trouble with. It's YA told from 2 viewpoints - 1 boy and 1 girl both of whom were molested as kids. And they each react differently.

Marcus is mousy, slightly overweight and maybe gay. He definitely gets accused of it enough. The girl - Mary, but her name is in flux - is an easy lay who rates the boys she sleeps with and will only do it a second time with one if he scores a 7 or above.

Marcus and Mary become friends and help each other begin healing, but I'm still trying to figure out the POV when they start talking to each other. Right now it's an every other chapter thing, but it's not working well in the later chapters. Any thoughts?

And thanks for the comments on the opening!

writtenwyrdd said...

Great, strong opening! (And an hysterical continuation.) I have to say I found nothing really troubling here except the same line whirlochre mentioned. It's a bit of an odd perspective, what with the opening thoughts being about girls' vs. boys' privacy in the bathroom, but it hooked me so I say don't worry about it so long as this sort of mental processing is used consistently for your pov character.

I would love to have read on to see what's going to happen. I infer from this voice that the character is intelligent, thoughtful and is likely to get revenge in a hands off manner.

writtenwyrdd said...

Sarah you might consider just writing the story through to the end then adjusting the pov and plot points a bit to make it follow the pattern after you are done.

And after reading the other comments, I wanted to add that I agree with the ohters who said the initial paragraph worked to tell readers this is not terribly new to the kid.

A book I read last year dealing with abuse and recovery very well (and 2 kids helping each other deal) was "Such A Pretty Girl." And it was told from the girl's pov.

Robin S. said...

Hi Sarah,

I think the idea of every other chapter POV changing between them is a good one - and now you're figuring out when to have them meet, and that part is causing you trouble, is that it?

Have you posted part of this before? I think maybe yes - but I'm not sure.

I like your opening, and I like the idea behind where you're going with it. Makes sense, given their backgrounds, and the audience/age range you're shooting for.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I know I've discussed this POV issue before and someone gave me a recommendation for a book that does it really well. That was probably here - somewhere. *sigh* Brain is a sieve sometimes and I have no idea what book does this well.

Thanks for the great comments!

Wes said...


Chris Eldin said...

Sarah, I don't know if you're still checking here, but I like the opening. ANd I know that book that Wrrttnwrd referred to--I haven't read it, but I heard elsewhere it's very good.

I agree with Whirlochers comments.

Good luck with this!