Friday, March 29, 2013

New Beginning 1000!

A boy--sixteen I guessed, short, scrappy--stood in the ring, landing punches on the speed bag. His timing didn’t vary: wappity-wap, wap-wap, wappity-wap, wap-wap. His hands moving so fast they blurred.

“Is he as good as he looks?” 

“Better than you.” Coach Sacconides let his fists shadow the kid’s movements. ”Best I ever coached but he only tips the scales at 93 pounds. Another twenty pounds he might get a match with some pathetic flyweight. Boxing commissioners take one look at him and refuse. They’re afraid he’s too delicate and might break.” 

“Uncle Charlie died, left me RobotWorks. Think he’d fight a robot?” My question snapped Coach’s head around. 

“Robots ain’t boxing.” 

“It will be when I’m done. Introduce me.” 

“Hell no. You ain’t no promoter.”

“Not now, but with his ability I can create robots that beat all contenders. They always have a human in the exo-controller.”  

“Then climb in the ring and fight him. If you win, you ask. If you lose, walk away.” He elbowed me. We jostled, snickering like little boys.

“You’re all heart.” 

“Forty gallons a minute.” It was a long time since we parted ways. He wouldn’t give me an easy out.

"Coach, you say robots ain't boxing, but what about Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots?"

"Oh, well sure, that's boxing, and damn good boxing. But that's robots fightin' robots. I'd like to see Robocop fight Terminator. Who wouldn't? Or Wall-E against R2-D2. But--"

"How about the Fembots from Austin Powers versus the Stepford Wives?"

"I'm beginnin' to see the attraction. Data vs. C-3P0?"

"Data would kill him," I said. "C-3P0 would be the worst robot boxer ever. Remember Ash, from Alien, who could still talk after he was decapitated? His head could beat C-3P0."

"I spose. There'd be too many mismatches."

"There'd be mismatches in human boxing if there weren't weight classes," I pointed out. "Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet against the robot from Lost in Space would be fair. But you wouldn't put Optimus Prime in the ring with Johnny 5 from Short Circuit."

"I dunno, might be entertainin' . . . for about five seconds. Anyhow, what kinda robot you thinkin' of puttin' my 93-pound weakling in the ring with?"

"No one he couldn't handle. Hymie the Robot from Get Smart maybe. Or Marvin the Paranoid Robot from Hitchhiker's Guide?"

"Hmm. What the hell. Go on, ask him. But if he says yes, you're still gonna need a good promoter."

"I was hoping you might want that job, Coach."

"Thought you'd never ask."

Opening: Dave F......Continuation: Evil Editor 


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

Still, he was a ripe old bastard telling me to get in the ring with the scrawny kid. In my prime I could have taken him, sure. But now? With the colostomy bag strapped to my paunch and the stitches not even set it was courting death's kiss to set foot on the canvas.

--Veronica Rundell

Like an idiot, I got into the ring. The kid gave me a funny look, smiled, and came over.

That's when I saw his ears. Little bastard was an elf, and he wasn't 16--no, more like 116. And he saw I'd seen.

Next thing I know, I'm flat on my back, the 'kid' is smirking, and I hear him say, "We're coming to retake our home."



I looked up again at the boy practicing, his rhythm still precise. This could be the break I'd been looking for. This kid really had potential. Better than my own feckless, waste-of-air offspring, probably sitting home in front of my computer now when he should be in school, his own hands a blur, fappity-fap, fap-fap, fappity-fap...


"Okay." I took off my sweater and climbed into the ring. This kid might have timing, but he wouldn't last against a former heavyweight's punch.

The kid adjusted his gloves, turned around, and stopped.

"Mich--Michelle?" I stammered.

My ex flattened me with a right hook.

Over by the bag, Coach was laughing.


Evil Editor said...

The speed bag wouldn't be in the ring, would it?

113 pounds would be super flyweight.

Not clear (to me) what anything in the last paragraph means.

Dave Fragments said...

First in order is congratulations on 1000 new openings. That's quite an accomplishment. The comments have helped.

I like all of the continuations. There's some great ideas in them.

Suffice to say that the narrator is going to get in the rings with the kid. That's the entire first scene. After that, my writing is blocked thanks to taxes and I've got to prep food for Easter.

Chelsea Pitcher said...

Oh my god, it's the end of an era. THE END OF AN ERA, YOU GUYS.

(I am genuinely getting nostalgic here.)

Congrats on 1000!!! Every novel opening of mine that's ever gone anywhere, I workshopped here first. Thank you.

I don't have a lot to add, critique-wise. The final paragraph confused me as well. Everything else, I loved.

Am quite tickled by the fact that I could pick out the authors of both the opening and the continuation before I read the names. You both have a very distinct voice (Dave, I've probably told you that 1800 times).

I would read on.

Once again, EE, congrats! And thank you.

Unknown said...

Hi there! I, too am glad to have had a chance to put my openings out there. Thanks for suffering them...

As for this opening, I was really intrigued. Liked the flow and would read on.

Couple quick things: I was confused about the speed bag being in the ring. That seemed off.

Also, as for the end-exchange, I wasn't sure if the 40 gal/min was a reference to heart rate--it seemed so, but perhaps not. If you are alluding to heart rate, I was really confused--and perhaps that's because Coach isn't human. I assumed he was. But no human heart sends blood through the body at 40 gal/min. The working human heart range is 5-30 liters/minute. 5 l/min at rest, which is where the coach would be. Maybe the boxer would be 25 l/min--heavy exercise. Anyone who might hit 40 l/min (olympic sprinters) wouldn't maintain it long. It results in extreme angina and the person usually must stop exercise due to both heart and lung pain....
(This likely wouldn't bother someone who doesn't know much about physiology, but I'd imagine sci-fi readers could be savvy.)

And, the continuation was outstanding.

Unknown said...

Yea 1000!
Sorry to see this end...

Dave Fragments said...

Yes, the end of an era of Openings.
A number of years ago when I got free time and turned my attention to writing fiction rather than chemical engineering and related subjects, I searched and found websites that would help. First was Miss Snark, Second was EE. There were five or six more.
EE is the only one still operating or blogging or giving advice... He's survived where others have gone away. I hope the queries continue for a few more years. The advice is sound and honest.
As for the New Openings, I have EE's books. I've sent more than a mere few in those thousand and some are published, some have been forsaken.
Thank you.

Now about opening 1000 --

That last paragraph is what happens when a writer tries to shove too much information into too few words. I know I always say "cut, cut, cut" but there is a minimum number of words required to get ideas and plot lines across. The narrator is an orphan just like the kid they are watching. The Coach took the narrator in and made him a man. There's a father/son relationship there that I've messed up in the previous discussion between them. Fixing those last three paragraphs is going to take a half a day. (After Easter)

I have another one of those over-detailed distractions in the 93 pounds and flyweight. I spent two hours studying weight classes and creating my scrawny boxer. So I put in all that detail.
But I don't need it. i can see that now that I've been forced to set the story aside for to work on my Taxes.
What the paragraph should say is the Coach expressing his frustration that the Boxing Commissioners won't give the Kid a match because he's too small. That sets up the Kid for an offer the narrator is going to make. It also says that the reader has come into the scene after some other discussion between the Coach and the Narrator. The Coach seems to understand without explanation. However, the coach won't ask the Kid on behalf of the narrator.

And that is enough to pack into what amounts to about 300 words.

And that's what I do when I edit my own work. Analyze, chop, rearrange, restore, work the dialog both internal and external. Add some pizzaz and fix tone problems.

And I will miss these little sessions. These Openings force me to be better.

Thanks so very much once again.

ril said...


Jo-Ann S said...

Sighhhh....the last opening and continuation.

Thank you so very much, Evil Editor, for the lovely twists and turns.

I've had a few of my openings posted here, and benefitted from the critiques and have always had a great laugh with the continuations. I admit to only submitting a very small number of continuations...just not my forte...but really enjoying reading the weird and wonderful places other minions took their words to. you guys rock.

I'd love to see which openings and continuations were your personal favourites, EE, are you going to post a top 10 all time greats?

Evil Editor said...

10 out of 1000? Someday, maybe, but I'd have trouble narrowing it down to 100. Of course most of my favorites are collected in the 3 Novel Deviations books, available in the Evil Editor store, or by outbidding everyone else in the Brenda Novak auction, which begins May 1.

james said...

Well done, EE

Tony said...

I've read quite a few great openings on here. 1000, wow