Monday, August 18, 2008

New Beginning 541

Kia wanted to see their eyes. The eyes of the models. They were looking somewhere out of the Gucci ad, somewhere into the rain. As if there's anything worth looking at, thought Kia. They were advertising sunglasses—the dark shades clashed with their otherwise Bronze God appearance. Looking closer, she could actually see the outline of their eyes—but then looking closer she also saw his hand. It was cut off at the wrist, but it was still obvious that he had slung his arm around the neck of the female model. He was leaning against her. It reminded Kia of Pete, who’d left for Sydney last week. It was the best thing that had happened to her since the end of school—Pete was such a pain.

The perfect faces of the models began to bother Kia. The guy especially. Sure, he was hot, but when she looked at him she thought cold. Fake. She could see them in her peripheral vision even if she turned away. A bus sped past her, splashing water on her jacket and bag—her new jacket and bag. She cursed and squinted after it: NOT IN SERVICE. Wonderful. Kia turned back to the bench.

And gasped.

"It's you!"

The guy from the poster smiled, and his eyes twinkled like cut diamonds. "Sorry," he said, "I was watching you staring at my picture."


"I live in the new condos down the road. I usually jog through here in the mornings."

"I must look terrible." She tried to straighten her hair and hide her soaking purse. "Not like the girl on the poster."

He smiled again. "That's all Photoshop. In real life she's not nearly as pretty as you."

Kia blushed. A bus slowed to a stop and the door opened. "Lots of room inside," the handsome driver said with a polite smile. "Coming aboard?"

Okay, that's it, she thought. I must be dream--

Kia woke with a start in the same old drab bedroom. Pete grunted, rolled over taking the sheets with him, and farted.

It's gonna take more than a pair of Gucci shades to fix this, she thought.

Opening: YourWorst Nightmare.....Continuation: ril


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:

Where there had been models, there were no models. Now, plastered to the back of the bus stop was a milk ad. It was a boy, about twelve, with large,happy eyes.

In his right hand was an Oreo. In his left hand was an empty glass, the white film of its contents still apparent on the inside of the glass. His upper lip bore the tell-tale signs of milk drinking-- a white mustache. And right behind this boy, crouched in a giggly octogenarian ball, was Alan Fundt.

--Scott from Oregon

A newspaper box next to the bench opened its door and showed her the headline: “Window Dresser Murder Still a Mystery”.

Kia twisted her head back towards the storefront. The male mannequin pointed its handless arm at her and smiled wickedly. “Embarrass me like this again, and you'll get it worse.”

--Bill H.

The models were stepping out of the frame with difficulty. The girl caught her looking and sneered.

"What? Never seen something like this before?" She detached herself completely, walked to Kia, and slapped her. "Don't judge us!" she cried.

"That's for calling me 'fake'," the boy added.

They began to step back into the ad. Before the guy's head disappeared into the second dimension once more, he called,
"And I'm telling on Pete!"


"You are kidding me," she said, taking a deep breath. "I need glasses!" She stared at the spot where the bus stop bench had been a second ago. She looked around - and froze in horror. A man was sprinting down the street with...with the bench on his back.


There was Pete, like a ghost out of nowhere, leaning against the shelter as casually as the guy on the poster. What was he doing round here? Unless...

“Pete!” Kia said, taking a step toward him. “I-- I thought you were...”

Pete held up a duffel bag. “I forgot a couple of things. I had to pick them up; thought you’d be...”

“Oh.” Kia glanced at the wet sidewalk. “I, uh, missed my bus. I... I was just thinking about you.

“Yeah?” Pete smiled that same old smile.

“Yeah.” Kia blushed. “That guy in the Gucci ad: he reminds me of you.”

“Oh, yeah, I get that a lot.” He straightened up and glanced at the poster. “That’s Stew. He’s my cousin.”

“Really? That’s amazing!” Pete just shrugged. “Lucky guy. That girl’s beautiful.” She blushed again, realizing how she must look, wet and bedraggled, compared to that unattainable perfection.

“Yeah, she is,” Pete replied. “She’s perfect. That’s Sydney.”

Kia’s heart dropped; she closed her eyes and wished for another out of service bus to come speeding through that minute.


The sign said, "Keep back from the kerb in rainy weather. Passing buses may cause water splashes. Town & County Transit Corp."

Well, Kia thought, her indignation rising, what a dumb place to put that sign. It should be at the front of the Bus Stop where people are looking.

Luckily, Kia was an attorney: by the time she'd finished with T&C Transit, she'd be the one wearing Gucci shades; and maybe even a nice new Gucci bag.


Evil Editor said...

The first five sentences are okay, but the rest of the first paragraph isn't clear. I guess a picture really IS worth a thousand words. I don't have a clear picture of the hand/wrist/arm, and don't see the point of bringing it up anyway. Nor do I see what it is that reminds her of Pete. If Pete must be brought in here (for instance, if she's gasping at Pete), I'd just have the model look like Pete.

If the bus has already gone past without stopping, she wouldn't be annoyed that it was out of service. She would be annoyed if it were HER bus, or if she saw it was out of service BEFORE it went past.

writtenwyrdd said...

I also found this confusing. The focus (what's supposed to lead us into the story, that is) first appears to be the eyes of the models. Then it's a resemblance to Pete, with thoughts about why Pete was a pain. But then you focus on teh faces of the models and how they were Fake. Then it's a bus, which annoys her after it's passed by because it's out of service.

The reader is confused by this time, because you haven't led them to focus on what's important. Adding in the little cliffhangar line doesn't make up for the competing lead ins you have used.

I recommend focusing on what you want the reader to take away from the paragraph.

Sarah Laurenson said...

It started out interesting then veered off. I don't know if you're using the model ad to bring in the backstory, but it's not working for me. It looks like a device to bring in backstory instead of something pertinent to the story itself.

You've got potential here. Nice writing style. I agree - it needs to focus.

Anonymous said...

It was cut off at the wrist,

Ouch!! Maybe you meant "cropped"? If it(the hand) was "cut off" how could "she also saw his hand" happen?

But I thought this was a great line:

Sure, he was hot, but when she looked at him she thought cold. Fake.

So if this moment of contemplation (and annoyance -- outfit mussed and late bus)is meant to be an introduction to Pete (I'm just guessing that it's Pete she's gasping over, on the bench)I think you could get us there quicker, as others have mentioned.

Did anyone else think "foreign car" when reading "Kia"?

Well, as cliche as it may be, a line like

And gasped.

would naturally compell me to read on.


WouldBe said...

I was never certain whether the MC was looking at a storefront window display with mannequins, an ad pasted or painted on the building or bus stop, or a newspaper ad. (My continuation illustrates my confusion.) Maybe it doesn't matter, but it snagged my attention away from the storyline.

I'll disagree with the big guy here. The first five sentences may not have been confusing, but all that attention on the eyes seemed to lead nowhere. So unless something important is made of it later, I'd trim it and concentrate more on the hook. (I thought the same of the rest of the ad-related matter; it seemed to exist only as backdrop for a comparison to Pete and seemed grist for the cutting mill.)

It did all paint a picture of the MC being interestingly shallow and/or media-obsessed, which I think is what was intended.

Anonymous said...

Author here. Yay! It finally got posted! Thanks for all your comments - but I think I ought to make something clear...what actually happens next isn't that she sees Pete on the bench...the model from the ad is actaully sitting there. Thus all the focus on their eyes and whatnot.

I will, however, take out some of the stuff with the hand and those details. A new version will be posted here sometime!!

Whirlochre said...

Yes — this begins better than it continues.

You lost me on the repetition of 'looking closer', after which I zoomed in on the blood oozing from the guy's hand.

Beth said...

If we were seeing this through a camera, the images would be disconnected, jumpy, and out of focus. Start with the big picture and zoom in to what's important, one logical step at a time. Above all, be clear and precise.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Author here again.


Kia wanted to see their eyes. The eyes of the models. The ideal couple, looking somewhere out of the Gucci ad, out of the glass of the bus stop. Somewhere into the rain. As if there’s anything worth looking at, thought Kia. They were advertising sunglasses—the dark shades clashed with their otherwise Bronze God appearance. As if they, with their perfect faces, had something to hide.

She turned away but could still see them in her peripheral vision. They began to bother her, the guy especially. Sure, he was hot, but when she looked at him she thought cold. Fake. A bus sped past her, splashing water on her jacket and bag—her new jacket and bag. She cursed and squinted after it: NOT IN SERVICE. She sighed impatiently. When would the 247 come? Kia turned back to the bench.

And gasped. guys were saying that you thought the description of the ad was to bring up backstory...? Of what? It's definitely not to compare anything to Pete. Thank you in advance for any suggestions you may have!!

Anonymous said...

(author here)
Sorry, I have a question: from this beginning, what age would you assume Kia is?

Thanks for all your help!! Thanks EE!

E.D. Walker said...

I read Kia as a tween or teenager. I guess I would hope twenty somethings wouldn't still let a magazine bother them that much.

batgirl said...

The new version is an improvement, there's less distraction.
I thought of Kia as early 20s, young enough to be fussing over an ad, old enough to be buying her own coat & bag and waiting for a bus.

I suspect that the ad looked like a backstory-device because its true purpose wasn't yet apparent, and because it reminded her of Pete, which suggests that we're going to learn more about her relationship with Pete.

Anonymous said...


Kia's 14. She went shopping with her friends and is catching the bus home, I guess making that clearer would help.

The ad isn't really to bring in backstory, as it's the model who appears next.