Thursday, December 02, 2010

New Beginning 811

Kit ran to the Pacific Ocean Park, her favorite amusement park, like a kid would to an ice cream truck. It was already eight-o-clock, two hours until the fun closed down. Kit’s mother, Mary Jane, had already made them late—taking on a killer double shift at the diner—despite the mile walk from their bungalow to the pier. En route to the old Ocean Park Pier, Mary Jane ran into Kenny, or better said: Kenny almost ran over her as he pulled his filthy blue pick up beside the girls.

Kenny was sickly thin with dingy brown hair and insincere green eyes—someone her mother didn’t know from Adam, aside from the fact he was a man. And since he was a man, for Mary Jane, Kenny was worth getting to know—at least for ten or fifteen minutes.

His smile as greasy as his hair, Kenny leaned out of the open window, his hand careful not to disturb the orange-peeled paint on the door. “Hey ladies, mind helping a poor guy who’s lost? Ev’ry road I’ve taken’s blocked off.”

Mary Jane swung her arm like a car show model and pointed to a parking lot up the road about a block. “None the roads lead smack dab into the park.”

It annoyed Kit how her mother changed her tone, her dialect depending on the kind of man who tried picking her up.

“Not with all them condos they’re puttin’ up.” Mary Jane pouted like Marilyn Monroe, she was almost her doppelganger.

Kenny sported a sly but somehow dopey smile. "Don’t suppose you’d wanna hop on in and show me ‘round?”

"I can durn do better'n that."

Kit rolled her eyes, knowing exactly what was coming next. And sure enough, her mother reached into her pocket and pulled it out. "Well, lookee here," Mary Jane said. "See, here's where we are now, right here, you can see the latitude and longitude displayed in the corner here. This is Long Pier Road right here, you take a left there where the statue is for the East parking lot, or go straight for the Central lot.

"Look here, parking's free in the East lot, but it's a ten minute walk to the park, while the Central lot is right next to the Ferris wheel, but you gotta pay five bucks to leave your car there. I'd recommend the East lot, but, whoa wait a minute; see, if I tap this, it says the East lot is full already so..."

Kit began to walk on toward the park. Ever since her mom bought that damned iPhone, she couldn't resist showing it off to any asshole who happened by.

Opening: Angela Robbins.....Continuation: anon.


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

"Damn skippy I would!" Mary Jane practically leapt into the truck, pulling Kit with her.

"Mom!" shouted Kit.

"It's OK," drawled Kenny. "I like 'em eagBLAGGGHHH!"

Kenny slumped over the while while Mary Jane fed from his throat, her white fangs gleaming like pearls.

Kit buried her face in her hands. Why couldn't Mary Jane ever get anyone who drove a nice car?


"Sure thing. Forty gets you in the front gate and eight gets you in the back." Kit said.

"How much for around the world?" Kenny said like a kid who really likes ice cream says to vendor of an ice cream truck.

Kit was on that like honey on wheat - like a car show model, wink wink


Kit stared at the man, examining his leathery brown skin and the wisp of thin brown hair sticking out of his pointed, oval head.

"Whadda ya think, girl?" Mary Jane asked.

Kit shrugged. "Guess he'll do."

As usual it took only ten or fifteen minutes, and they had what they needed to begin their shift at the haunted coconut shy.


"You bet," was the jubilant answer. And the road less/more traveled would be traveled again. God. How Kit hated her Mary Jane mother.


Anonymous said...

Not sure why a kid would run to an ice cream truck any more enthusiastically that she would run to her favourite amusement paark; so maybe that simile isn't really needed...

Evil Editor said...

I don't see taking on a killer double shift at the diner as making them late. A shift would be maybe four hours minimum. "Late" means more like twenty minutes. I mean, if you're supposed to meet someone at the amusement park at 4, and you call him on his cell phone to say you're gonna be late, and he says How late? he doesn't expect you to say you'll be there at 8:15. By 8:15 his feet are killing him and he's done all the fun stuff. Plus, Mary Jane agreed to work a double shift, wouldn't Kit know this in advance? In which case she would have expected to arrive at the park at 8. Thus I'd leave out the double shift. The Kenny delay is enough annoyance.

I don't like "Kit ran to the Pacific Ocean Park" being followed by such a large amount of writing about what happened a few minutes before she ran to the park. I would either drop the Kenny scene entirely and follow the running to the park with what happens at the park, or start the story with Kenny instead of with running to the park. (Depending on which scene is most important.)

Anonymous said...

Granted I'm easily confused, the POV shifts here really threw me.

Is Kit the POV character? Okay. And she calls her mother "Mary Jane," and she's totally into similes. That's fine, maybe her teacher gives the class a reward if they think up a lot of good similes or something.

But then when Kenny drove up, I thought Kit knew him-- because he has a name. But then it appears that MJ doesn't know Kenny "from Adam".

So does that mean that
1. Kit knows Kenny, but MJ doesn't
2. Kenny has an identical twin, Adam, and MJ knows both vaguely
3. Neither character knows Kenny?


Dave Fragments said...

There's two occurrences of "already" in the first paragraph. This is fat with too many words. Cut a bunch out, at least a third if not half.

Also, are these women, teens, or just kids? I can't tell the ages of anyone this fast in the story.

Does Kit think her mother is a slut or just overly friendly to all men? If this is all from Kit's POV then it is ineffective because Kit has the POV of an adult.

Sorry to be blunt. I'm in a rush today.

Anonymous said...

The writing isn't doing much for me. Running to an amusement park like a kid to an ice cream truck is little more than restatement; "The lamp illuminated the room like a bright light" or "The window rattled like a rattling door." There's also a lot of restatement in the plain facts. "The Pacific Ocean Park" -- "her favorite amusement park" (how many amusement parks does this low-income kid get to know?) -- "Ocean Park Pier" -- ran -- the mile walk -- en route.

That's just the first paragraph. I'd throw out all these words, find your POV, and rewrite in the appropriate voice.

Anonymous said...

Eh, what? Mixed up pov and too thick with descriptives for me, especially since so many of them have obtuse and/or puzzling qualities. Don't know why I should care what happens next. What's your genre? The work-to-payoff ratio here just isn't keeping my attention.

Anonymous said...

Here's one way you could rewrite it. I thought you did too much "as you know" infodumping on top of the pov and chronology issues already mentioned. Let the info come out through the action and dialogue. You have to fix the voice yourself - as Dave said, only you know how old Kit is.

It was already eight-o-clock, two hours until the amusement park closed down.

"Hurry Mom!" Kit ran, tugging Mary Jane after her.

"I'm tired, Kit. That double shift was a killer. And it's a mile to the pier. Hell-lo!"

Kit spun around. The blue pick up was filthy; the man leaning out the open window sickly thin with insincere green eyes. His smile was greasy as his dingy brown hair.

“Hey ladies, mind helping a poor guy who’s lost? Ev’ry road I’ve taken’s blocked off.”

Mary Jane swung her arm like a car show model and pointed. “None the roads lead smack dab into the park.”

Kit rolled her eyes. Her mom didn’t know this guy from Adam, aside from the fact he was a man. And she was changing her dialect again, to match the creep's.

“Not with all them condos they’re puttin’ up.” Mary Jane pouted like Marilyn Monroe.

The creep held out his hand, careful not to disturb the orange-peeled paint on the door. "Don’t suppose you’d wanna hop on in and show me ‘round?”

150 said...

I've been thinking this over, and I think what's tripping me up is the information flow: the order in which you're introducing things, how fast they come on top of one another, and each thought doesn't lend itself naturally to the next. I'd take the first paragraph more slowly, split it into two, and make sure you're choosing the right subject for each sentence: the one that starts "En route" threw me right off because suddenly you're describing things through Mary Jane's experience, not Kit's. Five proper nouns in the first paragraph is a lot to process.

In happier news, my word ver is "derfunk" which might be the best one I've ever had.

Anonymous said...

What's the difference between every and ev'ry?

Anonymous said...

What's the difference between every and ev'ry?


none said...

Oh dear me. She's so excited about running into the amusement park at last that all she can think about is what happened before she got there.

Scrap this, and start again. Either show us the increasing frustration as one obstacle after another gets between her and the park, or get on with what happens when she's there.

_*rachel*_ said...

This is too frontloaded with exposition for my tastes. I'd start over.

Who's Adam? --and the Marylin Monroe line has a comma splice.

The characterization is nice, though--shows us a lot about how observant Kit is.