Tuesday, January 06, 2009

New Beginning 592

“Is there something wrong, Mr. Moore?” my boss leans in to whisper harshly near my ear, his hot bitter breath envelops my head, choking me in a fallout cloud. He’s graying, movie bad-guy teeth click clack inches from my face.

“No Don,” I replied, refusing to use any sort of honorific with the irritating son of a bitch. “Just needed a couple of minutes after that last call.”

“Well, I think you’ve had your couple of minutes. We pay you to take calls for seven and one half hours a day, not to daydream,” he says in a breathy whisper, puffing out a toxic cigarette and coffee halo, which clings persistently to my nose hairs.

“I understand Don. Like I said—I just needed…” against my better judgment, I turn to face him. His crimson head is startlingly close to my face. I can feel the humidity from his evaporating sweat clinging to my forehead. I involuntarily recoil. My next-pod-neighbor stifled his spontaneous snicker.

Don’s already-radiating anger intensifies, and I hear a low rumbling in his throat which sounds dangerously close to a growl. He peers at me with sharp and unblinking eyes, daring me to say another word.

"Don!" calls Kim, from two pods down. "I got one!"

Don rolls away from me; the stench of the smoke lingers in the air. I sigh and try to breathe for a minute.

I knew Hell was going to be bad, but I never expected they'd make me a telemarketer.

Opening: Matthew Heaggans.....Continuation: Khazar-khum


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuation:

Every time. I roll my head, listening to the tendons stretch in my neck. I was tense, but not sure which. What the heck, there was no time like the present, I think. "It's just, I was thinking..." Don's lips press together. "Just blue-skying here; I'll throw it at the wall and we can see what sticks. What if we operationalize our unallocated assets to synergize the segmented market base and consolidize our potential upside?"

I take a deep breath. Don's brow wrinkled, then he smiles. "You know, Moore, you've got something there. Call a meeting."

I let out the breath. Saved again by Dilbert's Management Handbook.


Evil Editor said...

P1: Either make the first sentence two sentences, or change envelops to enveloping. You could also remove "leans in to", as we can assume it from his being inches from your face. "He's" should be "His." Possibly a hyphen after "movie" and "click."

P2. "Replied" is past, while the rest is present tense (except for "stifled" in P4}.

Some of this is nitpicking, but not all, and several errors in the first three sentences could cause an agent to move on to the next manuscript.

none said...

Like EE says, pick a tense and stick with it :).

This feels to me somewhat overwritten. Less can be more.

Chelsea Pitcher said...

Must agree on the tense. This feels to me like a story you have decided to write in the present tense that has adopted a mind of its own and wants dearly to be in the past tense. I only know this because I've attempted affairs with the present tense before, with similar results. But, of course, the choice of tense is ultimately up to you.

"Bad-guy teeth", though effective, made me feel like you were letting another genre do the work that your writing could be doing more effectively.

I don't know that you need the sentence about Don's sweat clinging to Mr. Moore's forehead. We've already been told a lot about Don and this felt like slightly too much.

However, I loved the paragraph beginning, "Well, I think you've had your couple of minutes." The cigarette-coffee halo was a great description and provided a perfect image in my head.

This sounds like it could be really funny, and with a little tweaking, I would definitely read on.

Xiexie said...

I like the imagery here, though I do believe it gets a bit heavy-handed; however, if that's the narrator's voice throughout, then I think it'll work.

Make those grammar corrections (esp that first one: His graying, movie-bad-guy teeth click-clack inches from my face.)

I also enjoy the immediacy of the present tense, so keep it throughout.

MHeaggy said...

Thanks for the feedback. Most is helpful. I get caught up in the big picture sometimes and I've got to be honest, I hired an editor who missed some of those errors. That's dissapointing.

Brenda said...

You hired an editor? As in you're paying him? Not good.

I loooooved the continuation.

There are several little errors that are basic and easily fixed. Try reading your work outloud to find those. Our brains tend to scan over what we THINK we typed rather than what we really typed.

Sylvia said...

It's not necessarily bad to hire an editor to proof-read your work but in this case, I'd be very unhappy with the service received.

Chelsea Pitcher said...

There are lots of people who will edit your work for free (assuming you'll repay the favor). And they're not as afraid to be honest, because they don't have to worry you'll stop payment on their check if their comments offend you.


I paid for a query workshop once (doh!) and the comments I got here were wayyyyyy more valuable and honest.

Anonymous said...

I'm finding that I agree with you. Ohio hasn't been the most nurturing environment for new writer. Not that I didn't get good feedback from my editor, it just obviously wasn't the most... complete job I've ever paid someone to do.