Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Beginning 753

My father drove me to camp. My mother couldn’t drive, and someone had to stay home with Pete and Sarah. And it was easier going with my father. He didn’t notice that I was nervous, so I could tell myself that nobody else would notice. We drove past a marsh with twisted cedar trees growing in it and a bird soaring over it, high and lonesome—an osprey, probably, because of the long wings. That was a good sign.

“It’s good to see you looking so pleased.” my father said. “Some people would be nervous, but you’re always been so confident. Just like your mother.”

“It sounds like fun.” I said. “Hiking, and canoeing, and fern identification, and other people who want to learn about nature...” I sounded fake too, like a dumbed-down version of the Conservation Leadership Camp brochure. He didn’t seem to notice.

We got there five minutes before registration opened. That suited me. For one thing, there was just time for me to get my stuff out of the car before my father’s favorite news-quiz show came on the radio, so he would probably be willing to say good-bye quickly and then drive home.

As I threw my rucksack onto my back, I noticed a girl running towards us. She was perhaps two years older than me, with long, tanned legs in cutaway shorts and a cute, tight-fitting camp tee shirt. I noticed my dad staring, open-mouthed.

"Hi!" she shouted, out of breath, as she reached the car. "I'm one of the camp counselors." She tucked a strand of soft, blond hair behind one ear and smiled. "Don't worry, sir, I'll be taking real good care of your son." She bent over and picked up my heavy duffel bag, then grabbed my hand. "Come on, let's find a bed for you. My name's Fern."

I was identifying already.

Opening: Joanna Hoyt.....Continuation: Anon.


Evil Editor said...

P.1: Once you've said your mother couldn't drive, there's no point in saying someone had to stay home with Pete and Sarah, or that it was easier going with dad. The availability of only one driver renders all other considerations irrelevant.

P.2: Delete "been."

P.3. Delete "fake too,".

P.4: Delete "For one thing," unless you're about to add another thing.

Or change "For one thing" to "It meant"

Delete "and then drive home." You don't care if he goes home, just that he gets lost before he embarrasses you.

fairyhedgehog said...

I was drawn in from the start and very, very disappointed when the extract ended.

I want to know what's so nerve racking about the camp and why the narrator is going and what's going to happen next.

_*rachel*_ said...

Not my type of story, but not bad at all.

Is the narrator male or female? I was betting on female.

Joanna Hoyt said...

EE--right on all counts. Thanks. Sorry; that 'you're always been' was meant to be a 'you've.'

Fairyhedgehog--thanks! hurrah!

Dave Fragments said...

The only thing I would add to EE's comments would be to indicate the sex of the speaker. I can't tell if it's a boy or girl.

Joanna Hoyt said...

Yes, this opening doesn't give the age (13) or gender (female), and I can see why that's confusing. I'm trying to decide whether to start the story here (adding age ad gender clues) or to open with the prologue listed as Mother in the Openings section, which gives that info. Any advice would be welcome.

Evil Editor said...

I'd start it here. The Mother opening doesn't have much a reader can grab onto, i.e it's not clear what the narrator's talking about much of the time.