Friday, June 26, 2009

New Beginning 654

More than anything, Poetry wished she had a button. Failing that, she would have settled for an out-of-the-way corner in which to pin her shirt closed. She had neither. What she did have was forty-odd students and a handful of passers-by, gawking at her and her lime green bra.

She could flee back into school for a bathroom. Of course, the sharks had already scented her blood. Just crossing her arms to cover her chest would be like opening a vein into the water. She was never going to live this down. Poetry stood up straight.

“Could I have your attention, please?”

She already had everyone’s attention; the gigglers, the whisperers, the nice kids cringing in sympathy. Even the man across the street was staring.

“Ladies and gentlemen, your attention, please.” Calmly, without looking down, she began working on her shirt. “Public viewing hours for Poetry Wu’s Wondrous Heaving Bosom are now over.”

It was then that she heard a popping noise from her waistband and felt a sudden draught round her legs. She rolled her eyes. The jeans had proved just as shoddy as the shirt, and now Poetry Wu's Amazing Jiggling Ass was open to the public.

One thing at a time, she thought. She concentrated on the shirt and tried to ignore the increasingly hysterical voice at the back of her mind - the one that kept reminding her she'd bought the underwear on special at Wal-Mart too.

Opening: Lianne.....Continuation: Steve


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

Slowly, Poetry placed her hand on the waistband of her modest skirt, feeling for the velcro. She lowered her lashes, smiling up at her audience coyly. She waited, let the anticipation build.


She tore the skirt right off, whirled it around her head and flung it into the crowd. The music started pounding. She sashayed over to the flagpole - as good as any stage she'd danced on.

"And now the real show can begin!"


"However, for the price of $5 apiece, I can guarantee you a view of Poetry In Motion And Her Lime Green Thong."


“For further viewing, there will be a charge of $8.50 per hour. Tomorrow, for a limited time only, there will be a free display of Poetry’s Perfectly Tout Buttocks. For more information, log onto Case sensitive.”


Evil Editor said...

I would change "button" in sentence 1 to jacket, sweater, safety pin... What good is a button unless you have the materials and time to sew it on?

Maybe we need to know what just happened. If she popped a button, there wouldn't be that much exposure. It sounds like half her blouse has been ripped off. By a werewolf? Whatever happened has drawn forty students to her, which makes me think it was more interesting than just her bra. Hey, at least she wore a bra. Why not start a minute earlier so we know why her shirt is open?

I don't see how crossing her arms makes things worse. Are another forty kids going to come running if she crosses her arms?

Forty is a large number to begin with if nothing happened other than a lost button.

I like the scene and her ultimate solution, I'm just not buying the details leading up to that solution. She should start pinning the shirt immediately while making her announcement, not stand there weighing her options.

Chris Eldin said...

I like your opening, but agree with the Evil one that starting a couple of minutes earlier might help ground the reader. Sounds like a fun book!!

Anonymous said...

I like this. Was thrown at first by the first sentence--the name Poetry and the button. Was thinking a button to push. But the second sentence makes clear that Poetry is a name and which kind of button so I don't think it's a big deal.

Like the voice. Would absolutely read on.

Anonymous said...

Even though the title says NEW BEGINNING in bold, I kept thinking this is a weird query.

This amounts to a list of choices: MC can do A B C OR D but she does E. I'd rather have the action (and what follows) than the list.

Mostly there's not enough of what I need to know and too much about stuff that doesn't matter: like setting. Where is she that she has forty students staring at her, more gawking while passing by and a creep on the corner?

Most people are rather blase when this kind of thing happens, so, in part, I don't understand anyone's behavior. Or that viewing a lime green bra is really that big of deal. I do get the feeling the MC has been humiliated, but her reaction feels somewhere between a teen (who's world would crumble if this happened)and a freshman college student. (Who wouldn't be quite as mortified, but still place great importance on this event). But this does not feel like someone who's had four years of college and has been teaching for a few years. Unless the MC is a kid. Then the guy across the street is really creepy.

Matt said...

This is a good opening. The fact that Poetry momentarily panics over something as small as a loose button shows me that she is outwardly proud yet internally shy.

When she realizes there is no easy way out, she decides to face the problem head on. I think this may be foreshadowing for how she deals with the crisis later in the book.

Sarah from Hawthorne said...

I like Poetry and how she deals with the situation. But I couldn't visualize how her shirt has fallen open. A single button off a blouse, though it might cause embarrassing gapping issues, would not show enough bra to draw the eye of people from all the way across the street. It made the scene hard to visualize.

Robin B. said...

I love this opening. The only paragraph that seems like it could almost go by bye is the second - but I wouldn't change a word of the rest. Damn good.

Wes said...

Nice writing!!! Keep it up. EE is right, of course, in that knowing what occurred before would strengthen it, but we only have so many words to work with.

Good continuations too.

writtenwyrdd said...

I have to agree with everyone else. Seems like it's still a bit awkward (especially the button mention) and maybe you could start earlier.

I'd definitely have read on, but I really didn't feel the "Attention everybody" reaction was realistic. I think my issue was twofold, first that since she's mortified she's unlikely to be that brazen on the fly and still be able to carry off the brazen act; and second that her loss of a button would have caused forty people to stop and stare. In the halls of high school, when something embarrassing occurred, people might titter and gossip behind their hands, laugh and point or perhaps catcall, but generally they just continued on with what they were doing afterwards.

I think we really do need to know a bit of what happened before to negate any confusion or reactions like mine. Once we readers know the entire situation and you show us we can trust Poetry's reactions are realistic, then we can go on from there.

Unknown said...

Good opening. I like Poetry and would definately read on. But the first "button" line threw me for a second.

Depending on the shirt, i.e. if it was already low cut, one button could mean the difference of full coverage and popping out. Think of the scene in The 40 Year-Old Virgin where he's speed dating and the person he's talking to has a wardrobe malfunction.

But yes, I'd like to know why she's showing off the lime green bra. The color's a nice detail, BTW.

A confusion question - if there's no button or pin how's she "working on her shirt"?

Great start. Keep it up.

writtenwyrdd said...

I just read anon's comment. Did I miss something? Isn't the MC a kid at school?

Chelsea Pitcher said...

This opening was hilarious. I have a vague recollection of the query so the name Poetry was no problem for me.

I did feel you could cut "her and her lime green bra" to just "her lime green bra," but I seem to be the only one. I would definitely read on.

Dave Fragments said...

This is a cute opening. Sorry if I repeat a comment. I just read the opening and not the comment trail.

This works well. I think the author's problem is "pin her shirt." Perhaps a bit more explanation -- "Sewing the buttons back on her blouse," or "putting a safety pin on her ripped shirt."

I personally, wouldn't use the shark image but there's nothing wrong with it. I think it hurts the humor in Poetry's announcement.

Only a teen would wear a lime green blouse. I hope you realize that makes her a person with a darker complexion. I have a fair complexion and hazel eyes and look like death warmed over in anything lime green, worse yet, a bra.

Wes said...

Yeah, Dave. I think there are several of us here who don't want to think of you in a bra.

Robin B. said...

Dave, honey...

OK, I have to say it. I'm wearing a royal blue bra right now. With lace.

People wear pretty colore even under what you see - unless they don't like any sex except missionary style. That's a personality rule to live by - you can take it to the bra bank, baby.

Ruth (Book Focus) said...

I don't really like the shark image either... I do like the specifics of the "lime green" bra, though. I also got confused by the mention of the button in the first sentence.

I really like this beginning, though, and I'd definitely read on!

Anonymous said...

Dave, I am pale as a ghost and I wear lime green shirts. They actually look good. It depends on your skin tone (how much yellow, pink, etc in it) not how dark you are.

Mame said...

I'm going to throw my professional opinion out into the rink and say this...

I'm totally lost. Is this the opening scene of the novel?

Just when I thought I knew what was going on around here...*facepalm*

none said...

That first line is unnecessarily confusing. I was thinking Muses and red buttons....

Remembering the Huge Ridiculous and Immature Fuss over the Superbowl nipple, I'm not that surprised everyone is gawking. Seems to be normal across the pond.

I agree, though...less thinking about what she's not going to do and more doing what she is going to do.

_*rachel*_ said...

I can tell already that Poetry's a smart gal with a sense of humor--a good protagonist. There are enough people wondering about logistics--the main problem, I think, is working on her shirt without a pin--that I won't critique much.

Steve, you made me cackle! This reminds me of Face-lift 180, which was so awesome I bookmarked it.

Dave, you're scaring me. That's an image I never, ever wanted to have in my mind. Sure, some people, me included, look really bad in anything yellow-based, but... you're a guy and that imagery is flabbergasting.

Matt said...

Aimee, it is the opening scene of a novel. There is a link to the left of the main blog that says, "Write a continuation." Check it out and it should explain everything.

Matt said...

Woops, it says Continue an Opening...I should have double-checked that first.

Robin S. said...

Hey Lianne,

Hope you don't change that first line. It's a very good one - good rhythm and cadence to it, and I can see the picture of it.

Evil Editor said...

The first sentence makes no sense. Give her a button. Give her a needle and thread. She'll still be standing there five minutes sewing the button on while everyone gawks. Sweater has the same cadence, and putting on a sweater ends her problem in two seconds.

As for the second sentence, why does she need an out-of-the-way corner to pin her shirt when everyone's already seen her bra? Just put the pin on and be done with it.

More than anything, Poetry wished she had a sweater. Failing that, she would have settled for the ability to turn invisible. She had neither. What she did have was a dozen students and a handful of passers-by, gawking at her and her lime green bra.

She was never going to live this down.

“Ladies and gentlemen," she said, "could I have your attention, please?” She already had everyone’s attention; the gigglers, the whisperers, the nice kids cringing in sympathy. "Public viewing hours for Poetry Wu’s Wondrous Heaving Bosom are now over.”

Something like that solves the logic problems bothering me and gets rid of some of her ruminating when she seems (from her speech) to be a girl of action.

Steve Wright said...

"Steve, you made me cackle! "

Honour, if I had any, would demand that I point out that EE tightened up my flabby prose in that continuation quite a bit ...

Mame said...

Thank you Matthew, I've happily found something new to do on a Saturday night besides pick up a new habit. Not that, you know, Heroin is any harder to quit than smoking.

Lianne said...

Thank you, Evil Editor and minions for the comments and the helpful re-write. I'll shine this up from your suggestions.

Robin S. said...

Just noticed your rewrite, EE. Dammit... it is better this way.