Friday, February 04, 2011

New Beginning 831

The woman stretched her petite frame along the damask love seat. "Come rub my feet, Sweetheart."

He eyed her through dark lashes, a smirk on his face. Lowering himself on the oval-topped coffee table, he took her foot in his wide-fingered hands. Freshly bathed and perfumed, pedicured and bare, the limb looked innocent enough, but the man knew better. There was nothing innocuous about his mentor.

In the bedroom, a movie played, a gangster film he'd been watching until he'd been summoned. Otherwise, the only sound in the sumptuous room was the purring of his mistress.

"The arch, darling. Massage the arch."

"What have you done today to require a massage." He learned from her how to turn a question into an accusation. She looked younger than her sixty years, thanks to dye and a trim body. He kneaded the bones stringently. "When does he arrive?"

"Well, the Jets game ended at four, then there'd be a post-game interview, and he'd need to shower and change clothes. Plus the traffic on the expressway. I'm thinking eight o'clock."

"Guess I'd better get out of here then. The last thing I need is for the New York press to find out I'm having an affair with the wife of Rex Ryan."

Opening: Kat Day.....Continuation: EE


Evil Editor said...

Normally I try to avoid using continuations much of the audience won't get, but I'd received no continuations for this, the only opening in the queue, and the only query in the queue has received no fake plots yet, and this was all I could come up with. So, for my non-US and non-sports-fan readers, Rex Ryan is the coach of the NY Jeys football team, who was recently embarrassed by foot fetish video footage of him and his wife, which somehow got onto the Internet.

Evil Editor said...

There's a lot of word choice that seems odd in this piece, and some details that don't seem worth including.

"He eyed her through dark lashes, a smirk on his face." This may be an attempt to show rather than tell, but I'm not sure what it's showing, so I'd rather it told us He eyed her suspiciously or mockingly or whatever.

"oval-topped coffee table" Tables are usually described by a shape, but the shape is assumed to be the top, so the "topped" isn't needed.

Also, he should lower himself "onto" the table.

I don't need to know his hands are wide-fingered.

"and bare" isn't needed. We assume it.

I wouldn't refer to her foot as "the limb." You've referred to the foot recently enough that you can just call it "it".

There was nothing innocuous about his mentor. I'd drop this sentence. I assume it means the same as "but the man knew better." so it's not needed.

As for "but the man knew better," that seems to mean the limb isn't innocent. A strange idea for him to have.

Is his mistress his mentor? Is his mentor this woman? It's unusual for your mentor to be your mistress, but not impossible. I do think it's confusing to refer to her by both terms before we know anything about them.

"What have you done today to require a massage." Okay if he's asking what physical activity she'd done that left her feet sore. I'm guessing that's not his intent, and "require" should be changed to "earn" or "deserve." Also, there's no question mark. And I'd change "He" to He'd in the following sentence.

"She looked younger than her sixty years, thanks to dye and a trim body." This doesn't belong in that paragraph.

I'd also get rid of "He kneaded the bones stringently." Or make it the first sentence of the paragraph so it doesn't interrupt the key idea.

none said...

'Mistress' is clearly an attempt to save face. Given the power setup, it's obvious he's her toyboy.

I felt this opening lacked focus. There are a lot of threads--the feet, the tension between the two characters, the interrupted film, the person who's arriving. Makes it hard for the reader to know what's important and what isn't.

Anonymous said...

Agree with previous comments. The word choice feels forced. The focus is off and I'm not sure what this is about.

But I'm more bothered by the point of view shift. We're seeing both characters from the outside-- they're called "the man" and "the woman," and their features are described as if by an invisible third party. That's a limited-omniscient POV. (So limited the narrator doesn't even know the characters' names.)

Then we're seeing inside the man's brain. That makes me think the story's from his POV. But we still don't know his name, or the woman's?

You can get away with slipshod POV if you're a famous writer. If you're trying to get published, your POV needs to be pretty tight.

batgirl said...

This is potentially an interesting situation, and there's a hint of tension in the power imbalance. But the strained word choice put me off. I see a lot of this lately, authors using more unusual words without being quite certain of all their connotations and associations.

Anonymous said...

Usually the eyeing through dark lashes is done by the viewer, not the viewee.

Dave Fragments said...

What you are doing by not naming the two characters, the POV issues and the vocabulary is to distract the reader from the plot.

When you think of the purpose of the entire opening -- it is not that "they" (ambiguous) are waiting for someone. It is that she is waiting for someone and he is servicing her. In this little scene, the purpose is to reveal that a third person is coming and that person has something of interest to the reader.

Beth said...

The characters need names. The scene needs a clear POV. The prose needs tidying up. And just possibly, the story needs to begin with the arrival of the mysterious visitor.