Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Beginning 958

It was 10:30 and we were halfway through the quarterly meeting when my clothing combusted. Several people gasped, and Celine Carter started giggling. I just stood up, dumped my cup of water down the front of my pantsuit, grabbed my briefcase, and said, “Excuse me.” Jennings pinched the bridge of his nose with one hand and waved me out with the other. 

I fumed all the way to the bathroom, clothes sizzling and the whole office gawking. Maddening. Just maddening. I’d always heard menopause was painful for super heroines, but this? This was humiliating! This was my third pantsuit in a week to explode; the second in a month to explode during a meeting.

I shucked off the ashy pantsuit and pulled a skirt and blouse from my briefcase. As I struggled into the new outfit, I called my husband on my cell.

“Jeff? I need an asbestos wardrobe!”

Jeff sighed. “Oh, sweetie. The flame retardant didn’t help?”

“No! I had a hot flash, and my clothes blew up. Again! It’s just…it’s so frustrating.”

“Maybe we could get Edna to make something for you? She dresses all the hip you--hip superheroes, doesn’t she? Or, wait, maybe we can just pull your old suit out of the attic!”

I huffed into the phone. “Even if I could fit into it, which I seriously doubt, I’d like to remind you that when I wore that thing, I only shot fire from my hands. It won’t do anything against a full body hot flash!”

“You could always quit your job and just sit around the house naked.”

* * * 

Jesus H. Christ!" Stan hollered. "I Know I said we needed a female superhero in our comics line, and that I wanted it written by a woman, but issue 1 was breast feeding in public, issue 2 was that time of the month, and now menopause?! Firebabe has yet to take on a single villain!" 

 "But Boss," Chatsworth replied, "it's outselling Spiderman and Superman. It's the hottest title in comics." 

"I know, I know. It just feels wrong." 

"Not to worry, Boss. Next month Firebabe faces her toughest foe yet. The shoe salesman from hell, known as . . . The Misogynist!"

"Now you're talking." 

 Opening: Rachel Roy......Continuation: Evil Editor


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

"Sorry, honey, but I don't think the sofa can handle both of us."
--Lisa H.

“Quit?... Right when we’re taping the season finale for ‘Real Housewives from Hades’? If I don’t work, we don’t get renewed. Now bring me some fireproof panties, buster, and be quick about it!”


Evil Editor said...

Aging superheroes. It's like Superman needing Viagra to remain the Man of Steel.

If it's a book about a superheroine who comes out of retirement, and this scene is the comic relief, it probably shouldn't be the opening scene.

If it's straight comedy, it still probably shouldn't be the first scene. It'll be funnier later when we know the characters. Right now it feels like TMI.

khazar-khum said...

Did she need to get overheated to use her fire-hands before? Or is this uncharted territory?

As for Superman, I think he'd blame the kryptonite condoms.

none said...

I don't think you need to tell us in both narrative and dialogue that this has happened to her before. Pick one.

150 said...


Ryan Mueller said...

I liked the opening line. It made me want to read more. After that, it kind of felt flat and disappointing, though.

Dave Fragments said...

I like this. Full speed ahead. I actually think the opposite of the CW (common wisdom) that this isn't your opening.

I would however, have the very next 500 words be a fight against some weirdo villain just for action that isn't menopause related. I'm not sure what sort of villains you are going to use. Pick a minor one or a spy villain or a TSTL demon from hell, something that threatens her so she can burn the villain in the office and end with the sprinkler going off, thus ruining everyone's clothing.

I've been through public breast feedings in a mall food court.
I've been near diaper changes and not of mere babes but those older kids with the maggot-gagging diapers of death-stench.
And I've had to put up with couples PDA's that were steamier than most movies.

And who think that in Michigan last week, a woman legislator was silenced by her male "superiors" running the legislature for creating a scene.
The women assembled and acted out the VAGINA monologues on the state capital steps that night.

It's a shame how having a penis makes you king of the world to some men and having a vagina makes you dirt under the penis king's feet. I'd bat his head so hard his baby blues would rattle around like tops...

If you don't believe me --

So if they can recite the VAGINA Monologues, you can open your novel with menopause and a fight.

Lela, former lurker said...

I like the first sentence, and the subsequent action and reaction is fun and engaging.

However, I have to agree with other commenters that perhaps this isn't the place to start. Maybe it could be if she didn't call and whine to her husband. She's a superheroine and she already seems weak and whiny on page one.

Could you have her defeat some scumbag before we see how vulnerable she is?

none said...

Nice to have Dave's permission.

none said...

It's presumptuous of course, but maybe the contrast between people's ridiculously over-inflated expectations of superheroes and the reality was, umm, the point the author was trying to make?

Dave Fragments said...

Vagina is not a four-letter word.

And no woman needs my permission to do anything with it.

Princess Sara said...

I agree with the majority opinion--love the first line, less sure about the rest. There's potential here, but it needs polishing.

Also...Edna? Does this story take place in the same universe as "The Incredibles"? If so, that seems potentially problematic. If not, I would suggest you change Edna's name.

none said...

Yet somehow you think I need to hear you say that....

Rachel6 said...

All righty, author here. All I have of this story is this one scene and a query. I think I'd have to agree with the gang, this may not be the best place to start. (But thanks, Dave, for the immediate support. You've pretty made the next two weeks AWESOME.)

Buffy, the point I was trying to make was, "huh. Funny opening sentence popped into my head. Wonder what would go with it..." Rather anticlimactic, but I like your idea!

Princess Sarah: hah, kudos for getting the Incredibles reference! Maybe I'll change the name to Edith, as in Edith Head, who was the inspiration for Edna. No last names, so no copyright issues. ;)

Lela, excellent point, thank you. I guess I'm picturing her as more of an ordinary mom with super powers (though they all have those...)

PLaF said...

A couple of points:
1. Use of the word "just" slows the pace of the story. Recommend you replace it with something more descriptive or delete it altogether
2. Use of the word "heard" takes the interest off the protag and puts it on someone else - usually nameless and unimportant. Restate the idea with the protege firmly in the middle of the action I.e. I knew menopause would be etc.
3 I like this idea, but there is a lot of "telling" going on and it keeps the fun from ever really getting going