Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Beginning 701

“There could be muggers in that park.”

“I'm hopin'.”

Kelly Banks watched as Jackson Creed walked on as if he hadn't even noticed he'd given Mr. Spokane the brush-off. Sure, school was out and a teacher couldn't stop a student from going through the park, and Jackson was a big kid, but he was going through a park where there had been some bodies found of late, and he was only fifteen.

If Creed was going to survive an attack he would have to be a very bad boy and that would make things . . . interesting. Kelly figured as long as she was going to be stuck in this one-and-a-half horse town pretending to be a city she might as well keep on with exactly those things her father didn't approve of. She frisked her bag to make certain the items she needed were there, threw it over her shoulder, and headed off to the park.

Of course one of those things her father didn't approve of was murder, storming about the house spewing about how one these days she was going to get caught and sent to prison.

"Not with Barney and George running the police department," she had said, because if this one-and-a-half horse town had anything going for it, that was it.

That, and a park right next door to dump dead bodies in.

And plenty of "bad boys" willing to go into the park with her.

She tossed a wink over her shoulder at Mr. Spokane. "Later, Dad," she said.

Opening: D Jason Cooper.....Continuation: Anon.


fairyhedgehog said...

I really liked this. The only place where I tripped up was on "pretending to be a city" because I expected "pretending to refer to Kelly.

I really want to know what happens next.

Mame said...

You might want to fix the first sentence of the first paragraph.

I stopped at "as if he hadn't even noticed he'd"...

Dave Fragments said...

My over-politicized mind is on a rampage against any name beginning with the sound "cree." It doesn't matter if it is Creighton, or Creigh, or Creed, or Crikey or any other combination of letters that produce that sound. This week it means "self-important boob" to me. Sorry about that.

Putting that aside, I like all the elements but I don't like the words. I feel like this is too understated. It doesn't excite me.

Part of this is my own personal dislike of "was" and "had"... I think they suck the soul out of writing. The other is that the third paragraph is two sentences long. Two very long sentences.

How about Kelly does more than watch? Maybe she's eavesdropping and Jackson's brush off catches her attention and she smiles, or her heart beats faster? She senses excitement? She licks her lips at adventure.

And Jackson is just walking away from Mr Spokane. How is he walking away? Swaggers? Is he self-assured or is he full of the bravado of youthful indiscretion? How is he dressed? What is he carrying? What if he has a backpack on his shoulder, a baseball bat sticking out and a bowie knife strapped to his thigh? And he's dressed in dark plaids and black boots.

Kelly Banks is doing those things her father dislikes.

She "frisks" her bag? That's like feels up the outside. Frisking is feeling up the outside of a person. No one frisks by sticking their hands inside. That's groping.
Another question that might change the words: what is Kelly doing there and what is she wearing?

Kelly assumes that she can join Jackson. Why is that? Actually, I realized going back and reading the opening that she might not join Jackson. She might be tailing him. She might be off an adventure on her own. If they don't join up later in the story, then why are the characters even here? Is it possible that she's blamed for Jackson's death because she was in the park?

Like I said at the start. I like all the elements of the opening, I just don't care for the words.

Anonymous said...

How about

Kelly Banks watched Jackson Creed keep going, as if he hadn't just given Mr. Spokane the brush-off.

gets rid of the double "as" and some of the wordiness.

Also, can you find a way to not say park so much? Maybe at the end say and followed Jackson, instead of saying headed off into the park.

The premise is interesting. The prose just needs tightening.

Chelsea Pitcher said...

If dead bodies are being found in the park, "muggers" doesn't seem like a strong enough warning.

I think the problem with the first paragraph may be that it's giving too much information up front: Kelly watched Jackson ignore Spokane. If there's a way to put in Kelly's presence sooner, the sentence could start out with Jackson.

Also, "Kelly Banks watched" could mean several things. Is she right next to them? I kind of got the feeling she was hiding behind a tree or something.

After that, I didn't have any issues. I'd like to know what happens next, and would definitely read on.

Wes said...

Nice, but it's a little confusing to me. The story opens with two pieces of unattributed dialog, and the third sentence mentions three characters.

Sarah from Hawthorne said...

I'm afraid you lost me at "a park where there had been some bodies found of late".

Even if this is Kelly trying to be blase, I just can't believe anyone would so casually bring up the fact that there are dead bodies turning up near her school! (Unless of course this is some sort of post-apocalyptic vampire world where finding the occasional dead guy is normal.) At the very least this revelation deserves its own sentence.

batgirl said...

What Sarah said. If bodies have been found in the park by the school, I'd expect parent patrols and a pass system for kids, given how overprotective parents have become - I mean, letting your kid walk to school by himself is tantamount to child abuse nowadays. Maybe Kelly is posing as worldly-wise and blase, but that line did make me stumble.

Other than that, it's a fairly intriguing opening.