Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Beginning 989

The anti-depressant Zoloft is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor indicated for outpatient management of depression, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (when combined with cognitive behavior therapy). Adolescents on Zoloft have increased risk of suicide.

My doctors: Zoloft = Wonder Drug

Mom + (me + Zoloft) = suicide watch

Me + Zoloft: Eh

As in: Someone: Lottie, your hair’s pretty. Me: Eh.

Lottie, we want to skip you forward in school. Me: Eh.

Lottie, your beloved Grandpa died. Me: Eh.

Those tiny, superabsorbent, emotion-sponges soak up all the joy, all the pain, all the feelings that are part of being alive. Sometimes feelings hurt—maybe even way more than they should—but when you can’t feel anything you’re dead. Right?

Good thing not all emotions are sponge-worthy. I still have greed, sloth, envy . . . And of course gluttony. Zoloft is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor with major munchies as a side effect.

Me + Zoloft = no Oreos for you

Opening: Veronica Rundell.....Continuation: IMHO


Evil Editor said...

Assuming you wish to open with this clinical tone, I would stiill shorten the first paragraph to:

The anti-depressant Zoloft is a serotonin inhibitor indicated for management of numerous emotional disorders, including, in my case, ____________.

The quicker you get to the good stuff the better.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

I'd lose the first paragraph altogether.

khazar-khum said...

I'd cut the stuff that sounds like a disclaimer in a commercial. You know, the "May cause incineration, knuckledragging, death etc" ones that make you wonder if the drug is worse than the disease.

I do want to know where this is going. I'd read on.

150 said...

Apart from coming off as the fine print on a pharmaceutical ad, this opening is a classic example of a certain flaw: tell, then show.

You see it in things like: "Allison was furious. She breathed heavily through her nose and heaved the remote through the TV." The first part is unnecessary because it's shown in the second part.

Likewise, showing how doctors, parents, and patients think of and react to Zoloft does the job of demonstrating what it is, and is about four thousand times more interesting to boot.

BuffySquirrel said...

If I picked up a piece of fiction that started like non-fiction, I'd put it down again.

If you're looking for drugs that take all the emotion out of life, try antipsychotics. If your character had joy in being alive before being put on Zoloft, then I have to wonder why they were put on it at all, tbh.

Mister Furkles said...

I’m just a reader with no expertise in publishing. But IMEO this first page is all tell and no show. As a reader, I want to know who this MC is and “Eh” does nothing for me. You can start with back story or with setup but you should start with story not telling the effects of an antidepressant.

I would write something like this:

They put me on Zoloft at nine. Of course I was depressed, but, under the circumstances, who wouldn't be?

It all started the summer after I turned eight. Daddy had permission to use Uncle Charles’s cabin in the Adirondacks. So that’s where we had to vacation. Imagine Daddy saying “No” to his Uncle Charles – and it was always Charles or Uncle Charles but never Uncle Charlie. Hell, the way they were around him, they may as well have called him “Your Grace” or “Your Holiness.”

Veronica Rundell said...

Thanks all! I was reworking the beginning and this felt right as the MC feels pretty fed up w/all her meds...but I can see it still needs work.

BuffySquirrel said...

Being fed up with the meds, now *that* I can relate to.

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuation:


And that's how I found out I was a zombie. One thing I've learned: Antidepressants make a killer marinade for brains.


150 said...

You could use that first paragraph without changes to the same effect in an opening about how much the protagonist loves her meds. Or rather, you shouldn't use it there either.

Anonymous said...

They wanted to skip Lottie forward in school when she was zonked most of the time? Is she meant to be a genius, or is she just prone to mishearing things when on her meds? (eg, we'd like you to keep moving forwards in the pool, perhaps?)

The opening para made me wonder whether she was being treated for all the conditions listed. It's a "telling" para without actually telling the reader anything.

Nevertheless, she sounds like an interesting character.

Anonymous said...

This is funny. I love the experimental form of this. I mean something is not working,but I see that it could work with a little tweaking. Try to find a beta reader who can guide your vision, not destroy it.