Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Beginning 616

Clad in her travel clothing of doeskin jerkin and breeches, Talpianna double-checked the supplies laid out on the bed, as no doubt the others planning to join the rescue party were doing elsewhere in the Inn. Packets of medicinal and magical herbs, charged powerstones, a supply of handkerchiefs, Su-Shi, two precious parcels of Elven lembas—


Talpianna glared at the mole with the perky vibrissae. “Su-Shi, this is not a party of pleasure. I don’t have time to take care of you. We will be traveling fast and facing unknown dangers.”

The mole executed a couple of inexpert katas. “Ka-bam! Shazam! Cowabunga, dude! Kiku and me are as good as an army!”

“The Salvation Army, maybe. And it’s ‘Kiku and I.’”

“That’s what I said.”

Tal picked Su-Shi up by the collar between her thumb and forefinger and deposited her outside the door.

Just as well, thought Su-Shi. I forgot my makeup kit. Wait till sister Kiku sees what I can do to the forces of evil with an eyelash curler.

Talpianna turned back to her expedition supply list. Spunky ranger-girl with healing powers, check. Taciturn experienced fighter with mysterious past, check. Callow farmboy with far-reaching destiny, check. Annoying talking animal for comic relief . . . Damn! She opened the door and grabbed Su-Shi back.

Opening: Tal.....Continuation: Batgirl


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuation:

Su-Shi scampered home to her sisters, Gua-Camole, Kiku, Ha-Gis, and Teri-Aki. Her and her sisters could do a lot with a makeup kit—maybe even convince Talpianna to take them along.


batgirl said...

I'm not sure any continuation could outdo Talpianna's closing line.
Rachel, nice touch of picking up Su-Shi's idiosyncratic grammar!

writtenwyrdd said...

Cute, and I'd never have guessed who the author was, heh. the opening does the job of attracting interest pretty well. I only have a couple of minor complaints.

The first is a matter of taste, because the character is way too girly for me. But that's me. The descriptions are good and do give us a lot of information to go on about what's going to happen, where the story is taking place and a lot about Talpianna.

Structurally, however, it's a bit listy, which may not be the best way to start a book. If you trimmed it just a little bit it might avoid that listy feel and move the action forward a touch faster instead of potentially stalling readers with the grocery list of what's in the luggage.

I'd have read on because I was curious how someone so obviously a girly girl would make out in the wilderness. (It seems like a clash of two realities about to happen, to me--and I wanted to see it, lol.)

As a nit pick, you might want to change the "Just as well" in the final paragraph, because the logical connection to removing the mole and getting a make up bag isn't there and I had to pause to consider what, exactly, you meant.

And I love the last line about the eyelash curler.

Dave Fragments said...

I think I would open with "Clad in doeskin jerkin and breeches, Tal checked her supplies. Packets of medicinal and magical herbs, charged powerstones, a supply of handkerchiefs, Su-Shi, two precious parcels of Elven lembas—"
And I do this because we are focused on Tal and her actions when we come across Su-Shi. As you've written it, we know Tal is traveling and we get a glimpse of the rescue party and the Inn's bedroom before we hit Su-Shi. That made me put the rescue and the inn on the back burner to focus on a talking mole. Very non-linear.

And when Tal speaks to Su-Shi, she can say that this is a rescue party and not a vacation or shopping trip or picnic. And where she says "we will be traveling fast," the character can say "The rescue party will be traveling fast."

Think about replacing "unknown dangers" with something that links to the rest of the story.

That makes this opening a bit more compact and still introduces the talking animal and the situation.

One last stupid question. Why does Su-Shi include Kiku if Kiku isn't in the room? She says "Kiku and me" and then thinks "...wait till sister Kiku sees..."

_*rachel*_ said...

YA/middle school/elementary-my-dear-watson audience, right? Good. And how many of your characters are talking animals with funny names?
My goodness, my tastes have changed over the years. Now... I don't suppose the rescue party ends up like the Donner party and the talking animals with food names are foreshadowing? No? Then I guess I won't hunt you down and steal an advanced copy. No offense, of course. Like I said, my tastes have changed over the years. For instance, I now like sushi in a much different way. Heh-heh-drool.

Anonymous said...

That continuation...oh...I lost it into a sneezing fit!!!

Anonymous said...

"HER and her sisters"????

(Sorry but we have been lectured to.)

Anonymous said...

"Lembas" is an invention of Tolkien's, specific to the Lord of Rings. I don't know if one can claim intellectual property rights on a fictional bread product, but it might be worth coming up with a different name just to spare yourself any hypothetical grief. If you say something like "two precious parcels of Elven travel bread" people will get the reference.

Other than that, charming. This is a chapter start, right, not the actual book opening?

batgirl said...

Anon, I think that 'Her' was a nod to Su-Shi's own 'Kiku and me'. Bad grammar in dialogue is sometimes necessary.

_*rachel*_ said...

You're right, batgirl, the grammar is Su-Shi-like on purpose. Trust me, if it was accidental I'd be throwing myself on a bed of nails without tetanus shots. Or at least doing the lecturing. Tal has his/her grammar down pat.

talpianna said...

Great continuation, Batgirl--only you forgot the anthroposaurian.

Yes, it's a chapter/sequence beginning from the collaborative Inn Between Realms story on the Delphi SF&F board.

Kiku is a well established character at this point. (Her name is short for the Japanese for "Chrysanthemum.") She has a black belt in Py Thon Do, which she learned from a bi-colored python rock snake, and always wears an immaculate martial-arts gi. On the other hand, if Jessica Simpson were a mole, she'd be Kiku's sister Su-Shi, who wears a pink Ralph Lauren tracksuit and talks like a Valley Girl. She has recently arrived at the Inn to join her warrior sister in adventures, much to Kiku's dismay.

I'm not sure which character you think of as "girly." Su-Shi is supposed to be, being a Valley Girl parody. And if I ever do attempt to publish this, I will of course change the hobbits and lembas to halflings and waybread. Tal isn't girly: the handkerchiefs are one of the things she does magic with.

The last line, incidentally, wasn't in the original. I added it here because something conclusive seemed to be needed. And during the rescue, Su-Shi does manage to take out a demon with that eyelash curler. (Earlier there is a scene where Kiku makes her discard her hair dryer.)

Anonymous said...

Ah. Then never mind about the lembas. :-)

What's an anthroposaurian? I misread it as anthroposaurus and now I can't get the image of Barney out of my head.

writtenwyrdd said...

Tal, it appears to me that the girl who's packing is the one talking about eyelash curlers and what's going in the luggage. Rereading I see I missed the pov change where you say Su-Shi was thinking about the eyelash curler. Mention of which and the makeup bag seemed to make Talpianna girly because of it.

talpianna said...

An anthroposaurian is a critter that's part dragon and part human. The one here is named Harold and is the spouse of Dragonmama, one of the main creators of, and characters in, the Inn saga, who spends most of her time indulging her Inner Floozy. Harold is more serious-minded.