Friday, December 18, 2009

New Beginning 714

The watch turned into a magpie.

Misha blinked and rubbed her eyes. Maybe I have sand in my eyes. She shifted from her position behind the boulder to get a better look. A woman stood by a cluster of big rocks on a near-empty beach. Her dark hair scattered over an angular, scary face.

Mom’s prettier, Misha concluded. She was smart enough not to say it out loud. Grownups usually didn’t like it when she told them the truth.

But that fluffy, black thing the woman carried? Definitely a magpie. Honest to God, Misha saw the woman curse and fumble for her wristwatch, tear it off her wrist, and throw it into the air. She saw the straps grow and feathers sprout. She saw a magpie with rustling, bent feathers land in the woman’s hands. It puffed out a white chest.

She could know how to do magic. I think Mom called those people mages.

As Misha watched, the woman turned a cell phone into a brick, a felt-tip pen into a palm frond, and a dollar bill into a gum wrapper.

She has that "turn-it-into-something-less-useful" spell down pat, Misha thought. I think Mom called those people politicians.

Opening: Silvia Park.....Continuation: John


Anonymous said...

That last line in the italics must go.

Evil Editor said...

P2: I wasn't under the impression Misha was close enough that the woman would hear her if she spoke aloud. Nor does it take smarts to not speak aloud when you're not speaking to anyone. "Concluded" implies she went through a thought process before deciding Mom was prettier. As the woman has dark hair scattered over an angular, scary face, I wouldn't expect Misha to need to weigh the evidence before reaching a conclusion. Actually, I don't see the point of paragraph 2 at all. I'd dump it.

P4: We can figure out for ourselves that the woman can do magic.

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

“Mmm,” mumbled Mischa, “my marvellous mother mentioned magic mages maintaining magpies. Mom must munch many mushrooms.”


Misha whipped out a gun and yelled, "Stick your hands in the air!"
"Step away from the magpie, I repeat, step away from the magpie."
The woman placed the magpie at her feet and slowly took a step back.
Misha pulled out a radio. "We've got a female who's been using animal subjects in magical experimentation. Lady, you've got a lot of talking to do back at the station. This little-girl body is just a cover and I've got a lot more muscle to back me up."


Misha took a deep breath and stepped out from behind the boulder. "Mage!" she called.

The woman turned. Her eyes narrowed as she squinted at Misha, and she chose not to disturb her face with a smile. "What the--" she said. "The name's Marge. Marge, goddammit! Jesus! Can't you people pronounce anything right? Go to China, they said. Five thousand years of culture, untouched beaches, and everything's a bargain. A bargain! Yeah, right. This is the third ten dollar genuine Rolex I got. The strap fell off the first one, the second spins through and hour in thirty minutes, and now this! Five thousand years of culture and you people make a watch that turns into a freaking chicken or something. So whadda you want, kid?"


She used to think mages carried around gold. I thought it was frankincense and myrrh. Mom would have said it was all three, and Magi. I like that word because she thinks I think she thinks I think she thinks she thinks I like it.


_*rachel*_ said...

She reminds me of a guy in one of my classes. He talks a lot a lot a lot, and a large percentage is "According to my dad... My father thinks..." etc.

The way you're putting in her thoughts needs to be redone. If you're going first person, you have to have italics, or at least a tag. Otherwise you're switching POV in the middle of the paragraph.

Link of the day:

Thought of the day: It's "Slap a Twilight Fan" Day.

Dave Fragments said...

This might be a simple case of trying to do too much at once. You are introducing Misha, the location (a seashore), the magic lady and the watch as a magpie. That's plenty of images for the opening.

Perhaps Misha's internal dialog about her mother is too much for the opening. I would be interested in knowing the author's thoughts on the importance of various elements in the opening.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a great start to a story. I like the child character and how the voice is appropriate for her age.The premise is spot on. I wanted to read more.

With a few tweaks this is going somewhere. Good luck!

The Author said...

Thank you all for the great advice!

Phoenix Sullivan said...

Hi Silvia:

Is this the beginning of a chapter book? If so, then yes, this might work nicely with a few tweaks. Misha seems around 8 yo by her voice, IMO. Much older, and I'd have some doubts as to the voice working.

I do agree with EE that the "Mom's prettier" paragraph doesn't seem to fit here. The kid just saw a watch turn into a magpie -- the last thing she's going to be doing is comparing pulchritude, IMO.

To avoid the repetition of "eyes" in P1, I would rework the thought to: "Maybe I got sand in them."

"She could know how to do magic" seems off. Most kids see things in black and white. I would make that a declarative statement: "She knows magic!"

And why is "called" past tense? Why not "calls"?

As for the contin: That is soooo perfect, John. Definitely one of my faves!