Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Beginning 916

She crossed her legs as if to keep him out, but he had already come and gone. Before he left he threatened to return. He punched her and knocked the wind out of her, so that he could get away before she could scream.

“All the time I lay there curled up, I could still feel his knife at my throat.”

She chewed her nails. When her nails were chewed away, she chewed the skin at the end of her fingers.

“I call the police nearly every day. They must be tired of me by now. They never have anything new to report. I'm just another statistic that everyone wishes would go away.”

Young, pretty, Caucasian brunette with short hair. Whatever the serial rapist was targeting it wasn't physical. In previous victims every one of those variables had changed.

“What do you want me to do?”

Unemployed secretary. Types 60 words per minute. 75 after her fingers heal. He might have found her online. Twitter. Facebook. RapeNet.

"Do you sell colored chalk here, mister?"

She knew he'd be back. Just a matter of time. She'd bought a crossbow.

"Hey, Ginny! Either turn off the television or turn off the audio book. It's driving me crazy."

Opening: D Jason Cooper.....Continuation: Evil Editor


Evil Editor said...

The third dialogue line sounds like it's being said by a different person from the other two. Like maybe the first two are the victim and the third is the detective she's hiring. It would be easier to follow if we knew who was talking.

And the POV of the non-dialogue paragraphs could be a shrink, a cop, a reporter. You're making us work too hard. Invite us into the story gently. (Keep it simple, scribe.)

Laurie said...

Maybe it's because I'm sleep-deprived this morning and the caffeine hasn't kicked in, but I was totally lost reading this through the first time. It wasn't until I got to the end, understood that's she's talking to the narrator about a past event, and then re-read it, that I could follow it. For example, in the first paragrapht, you've got the "him" of "keep him out" that I assumed meant the narrator, followed by the "he had come and gone" - which you meant to be a different "him", but I didn't know that, thought it was the same "him", and got completely thrown.

So, for me at least, I need something to anchor me, to tell me who's POV I'm in, where we are.

Fix that, though, and this could be a good hook. It's hard, at the beginning - I always overwrite my beginnings in the first draft, then pare back, and there's the danger of removing too much.

Great continuation.

Anonymous said...

I found the time-worn "come and gone" pun annoying when I thought you were writing about a one-night stand. When I discovered you were writing about forcible rape, I found it unforgivable.

And not in a good way.

Anonymous said...

What they said. The who what when and pov etc. seem to be all mixed up. Also, yuck.

vkw said...

I liked it. I stumbled over the first paragraph, however. I read it like the rape had just happened.

Then, I learned it was at least several weeks ago. Maybe longer. .

I want to know the following: who is the woman talking to, (that will draw me into the story - is it superman, or a self-help group, or?) and I want to know right off the back how long ago the raped occurred.

It was last year but still she sat. .. . blah,


Dave Fragments said...

When I read this it seemed like two openings of the same story. One told in the three spoken paragraphs (2,4,6) and another told in the other three (1,3,5) paragraphs.
You need to blend them a bit better.

It is a good start to a story.

Whirlochre said...

I'm guessing that if seven dwarves appear in chapter two they're going to be of the serial buggery kind.

Too much immediate grim here for me to weigh in with a readerly gram.

Xiexie said...

It wasn't until I read the comments that my confusion about when and where this took place was cleared up. I got it now.

This is a great start. It's just not clear. Something has to be to make it more clear that she is recalling a past event. Maybe start with:
She had crossed her legs as if to keep him out, but he'd already come and gone.

I like the grittiness. Good on you, author.

Mister Furkles said...

Try adding one or two ‘had’ auxiliary verbs to P1. Then we know right off that it is about the past. The last half of sentence three switches from showing the trauma of the victim to the mind of the rapist. Replace ‘so that’ and let the reader connect ‘punching her in the gut’ to her being unable to scream; then the reader concludes the motive of the rapist and is more involved. [And as Anon says: “Yuck”!]

Try moving paragraph three above the first dialog. Then the reader isn’t bouncing between times like a ping pong ball.

I’ve been on a jury where a 30 year-old tried to rape a 14 year-old petit, sheltered and shy little girl. When she came to testify she was seventeen and looked twelve. She was scared to death. It was halted in mid trial by a plea bargain because it was obvious that the jurors wanted to kill the defendant.

My friend Mike was on a jury where an eight-year-old girl was raped by her middle-aged uncle. After raping her, he choked her to death. She was eight. He was her uncle. The judge called a 150 people for the jury pool. He knew he’d have trouble seating one. He sat 16 jurors because he knew he would lose at least two or three after they came out of the lavatory from puking their guts out or broke down crying in open court.

Are you going to ‘show’ the trauma of the rape victim rather than simply allude to it or ‘tell’ the reader about it? Who do you imagine will read that for pleasure?

EE: please feel free to edit as you think best.