Sunday, October 08, 2006

New Beginning 139


Miriel awoke with a start and opened her eyes to a dim red haze. Her head throbbed behind her eyes and at the base of her skull. Her stomach didn’t feel too good either. She closed her eyes again and hoped she’d fall back asleep. But the longer she stayed awake, the more pains she discovered. Her shoulders ached, and there was a fiery burn in her wrists. She moaned and opened her eyes once again.

There wasn’t much to see. She was lying on her right side, inches from a metal wall. She tried to roll over, but the pain in her shoulders redoubled until she thought she would pass out. Then the pain returned to a manageable level and she could think again. A tentative stretch told her that her arms were tied behind her back; judging from the pain, they had been, for quite a long time.

Slowly, fighting waves of nausea, Miriel twisted herself around. Darrel lay unconscious on the floor; he had taken the brunt of the rage. His wrists and feet were bound with parcel tape, and a lamp was in pieces next to him.

A key turned in the lock and the door opened, letting a painful arc of light swing across the room. Darrel moaned; he was starting to come around. Miriel’s eyes focused on the silhouette in the doorway.

“Well?” the shadow said confidently.

“You win,” Miriel acquiesced. “ You can have a Playstation 3. But definitely no more violent games.”


Opening: Jenna Black.....Continuation: ril

18 comments:

pjd said...

I think you mostly accomplished what you wanted--a disturbing image of a main character in a bad situation.

What I think it lacks is emotion and personal connection. It's a lot of this, that, & the other, but not much about Miriel's feelings... or how we're supposed to feel about Miriel and her predicament. Are we to be shocked? Saddened? Triumphant? Is she terrified? Confused? Thinking of her next move (not likely if she's wishing she could fall asleep again)?

A nit I will pick: The first sentence has her waking "with a start" and opening her eyes. Then the rest of the next two paragraphs shows how much pain she's in--can't roll over without almost passing out, hoping she'll fall asleep again to escape the pain, etc. Seems to me that a slow ascent from sleep to awareness would be more likely unless some outside influence caused her to wake with a start. (Plus, the "with a start" is somewhat cliched... maybe just get rid of the "awoke with a start and" and have the first line be "Miriel opened her eyes to a dim red haze."

Anyway, this says "thriller" all through it, but give us something about the character in the first paragraphs, something to hold on to besides just that she's tied up and in pain and is somewhere uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the greatest continuation ever...

...dave conifer

Cheryl Mills said...

My nit is with the sentence "Her stomach didn't feel too good either." Could you be more specific? Cramps, acid, nausea? Full of rocks?

I also think we should find out that she's tied up by the end of the first paragraph. The current 1st para could lead to chick-lit, a protag who's awakened after a crazy night on the town. Perhaps you should start with something along the lines of, "Miriel awoke to find herself facing a metal wall, her wrists bound behind her back." If you're going to start with someone waking up, make it dangerous right from the first sentence.

HawkOwl said...

Uncommon at Evil Editor: an opening that moves too fast. Not that there is really a lot of action, but the pacing of the sentences makes a lot of thoughts happen in much closer succession than I would expect them. In other words, this would take a lot longer to happen than it takes to read.

Also uncommon, the style is under-done and needs sprucing up, especially as this sounds like genre fiction and genre usually comes with a certain style. "Her stomach didn't feel too good either" sounds out of place, for example, and in the second paragraph you have "pain" three times.

And like PJD said, it doesn't set the scene. I don't believe in hard and fast rules of beginnings, but this really has too little information to get me started.

I wouldn't read more.

writtenwyrdd said...

PJD has hit on what caught my attention: lack of involvement on teh part of your character. Even if you are using omniscient narration where we can't see inside the character's head, she would try to struggle or do something other than trying to move once and then laying there playing observer.

It is rather telling when a character doesn't react to extreme circumstances. So if this is deliberate, we need to see something to indicate whether it is shock, she's a sociopath, or whatever.

I actually like the emotionless viewpoint, if it leads to revealign something about the main character. If she ends up being the bad guy it would be an interesting twist, anyhow.

Great continuation, too. It was a snort coffee through my nose moment.

anonyme said...

Someone will probably think this is a nitpick but you mention eyes four times in the first paragraph. I'd cut that by at least half. Other than that I'd like some description of setting - something to orient me in the scene. Is she in her house, in a cell, on a prison planet?

Also, like pjd said, something about Miriel's feelings - so far she doesn't seem frightened or surprised at her situation.

Anonymous said...

This is a cliche opening in so many ways--heroine awakens. Heroine is in jeopardy but we don't know what. It's been done over and over. Come up with a better opening for your story.

Virginia Miss said...

Author, I agree with pjd's comments.

McKoala said...

Also not liking 'her stomach didn't feel too good either' - sounds more like period pain than post-beating. 'fiery burn in her wrists' - but she doesn't realise that she's tied up with her arms behind her back until the end of the next para?

I'd read on, I think, because it's an interesting situation, but the writing doesn't grab me. It's fine, but a bit bland - there's nothing that stands out. The story might pull me in though.

Awesome continuation.

HawkOwl said...

LOL Now that McKoala mentions "fiery burn," it reminds me of Homer Simpson. "Let's all bask in its warm glowing warming glow."

Steph_J said...

I hate to say it, but this opening caused me pain. As other posters have mentioned, the words “eyes” and “pain” are used so often that it is annoyingly noticeable. I understand the woman is in pain. I felt like the author was trying to drill this fact into my skull (through the sphenoid bone). Speaking of headaches, you went from a localized throbbing (behind her eyes) to a generalized throbbing (the base of her skull). The base of the human skull covers a lot of area, including the roof of the mouth and some of the cheekbones. Perhaps you meant there was throbbing behind her eyes and in the back of her head? I would find a way to lessen the areas of pain. Before I finished reading, I found myself wondering how many different origins of pain can the human brain deal with at one time. I’ve always heard that the best remedy for a headache is to smash your toe with a hammer (I’m just making a point…not suggesting that anyone do this).

If I were standing in a bookstore checking out the first chapter of this book, the next paragraph is going to be critical for me. I need to know that there is plot to this story.

”She tried to roll over, but the pain in her shoulders redoubled until she thought she would pass out. Then the pain returned to a manageable level and she could think again.”

The word “then” denotes too short a time frame for these two events to have occurred. You may want to consider: “When the pain returned to a manageable level, she could think again.”

Bernita said...

Sorry, Author, I have the sense of being awkwardly told, not shown.

judy said...

No one mentioned the ending! Well, maybe one. I thought it was brilliant. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

Anonymous said...

I guess that makes ril the Babe Ruth of continuations. Everyone else is just playin' small ball (based on the number of times ril's continuations are used).

Anonymous said...

I would read further just to see what is going on, but bernita is right about needing more showing and less telling. -JTC

-ril said...

I guess that makes ril the Babe Ruth of continuations...

No, I think it's just proof that if you throw enough stuff at the wall, something's gotta stick. You should see the dreck of mine that EE throws away before the occasional one hits the mark...

I thank you, though, for the kind words. I'm just having a ball with these - I'm kind of sad the supply is running low.

-ril

bonniers said...

I guess waking with a start is better than waking with a jerk. At least you don't have to try to talk to the start.

Word verification is "sxlbugyb." Sounds like a second-tier demon from a Cthulu ripoff.

HawkOwl said...

This blog has the highest density of "Cthulu" of anything I've been exposed to since graduating college.