Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Beginning 794

Anaïs quickly parked her car in the lot. She threw the car door open and ran up to the front door of the daycare center. She rang the doorbell over and over, cursing her friend Mary for not being fast enough. She paused for a moment and raised her hand ready to knock on the door. After a hearing locks clicking open, she let out a sigh of relief. The door opened slightly as a face peered from inside. Then it was flung open.

“Oh, Ana, it’s just you! Why you here so early? It’s only two.” Mary saw the look on Anaïs’s face. “Is something wrong? Did something happen?”

Anaïs shook her head, “ No—well, I don’t know. Aalando called me at work. Said it was urgent. I just came to pick up Angelesa.”

“Alright,” Mary stepped inside, “I’ll get Angie.”

Anaïs followed Mary in and made a beeline to the cubby shelves, picking her diaper bag. She tossed it onto her shoulder while Mary put Angelesa’s shoes and light jacket on. She picked up picked up the small toddler and handed her to her mother. Anaïs smiled. “Thanks Mary.”

Before she could turn to leave, Mary asked, “Really, Ana? Is everything okay?”

Anaïs looked away. She looked at Angelesa who was waving goodbye to Mary’s daughter who peaked at them from the doorway to the playroom. Anaïs met Mary’s eyes. “I don’t know what’s going yet, but I may have to ask you to keep Angelesa for a few days.”

She looked at the door and considered how to manage the knob. Switching her baby to her other arm, she reached for the door and pulled it open. Much better; she was, of course, right-handed. Passing through, she paused to transfer Angelesa to her other arm and pulled the door shut with her left hand, as was only natural: she was on the other side now, of course.

The steps to the street she negotiated in the usual manner, one foot after the other, poising one firmly in place while lowering the other until it was itself reliably settled. At last, she reached the sidewalk and began her journey, mindful at all times of the precise sequence of actions that were required to convey her to her destination. Fortunately, as she was in a hurry after all, she'd found a parking place near the front of the lot. At her car, solutions were required to deal with a new set of conditions: where to hold Angelesa while she searched for her keys; securing the baby in the car seat; starting the car; accurately selecting the proper gear, depending on whether she'd parked head-in or out; applying just the right amount of pressure to the accelerator to assure effective but not reckless motion; it was daunting, the plethora of details one had to deal with to accomplish the simplest tasks in life.

She had to pause and think; at this rate no one, least of all she herself, would ever find out what was going on.


Opening: Xiexie.....Continuation: Paul Penna

13 comments:

Adam Heine said...

LOL. I think the continuation sums it up best. Every little action is described, but whatever Anais is afraid of is kept hidden. If this is Anais' point of view, hiding the real issue feels unnecessary and a little tiresome to me. I can understand why she might not tell someone else, but I expected at least a little inner dialogue to the effect of "She couldn't tell Mary. Not yet." if not something more revealing.

Other nitpicks: Many of the action sentences are the same structure (She did this. She did this and did that. She paused and did the other thing.) making it feel very repetitive.

Also there were a lot of A names. That sounds stupid, but it matters. Most people get names that start with the same letter easily confused (I know I do), especially if they're tossed at the reader all at once like in paragraph 3.

Dave F. said...

This opening is like a bait and switch. A woman runs to the day care to grab her daughter and the reader thinks the child is in jeopardy (nothing is more heart-grabbing and concern causing) and what happens is that there might be jeopardy if, if, if...

The trick is to put real jeopardy in the rather bland lie - “No—well, I don’t know. Aalando called me at work. Said it was urgent. I just came to pick up Angelesa.”

Did Aalando call and say come here it's urgent to Anais? Did he know of jeopardy to the child? Are they leaving on a surprise vacation? Running away to be married? Running from the mob? Is the child the second coming and demons are going to take her? OR is this the movie 2012? A surprise birthday party? A troop of zombie girl scouts?

All the details of the day care are just that, details of the routine daily operation of a daycare. Breaking a routine is interesting. Routine is not.

I would find this exciting if Anais was dropping Angelesa off and leaving her for a few days. In essence, hiding her daughter.
Or, if Anais said to Mary not to worry if she didn't return with Angelesa for a few days.

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuation:


"A few days?" Mary frowned. "I don't know if I can. I already have Andromeda, Aloysious and Abernathy scheduled to stay late this week. And then Abigail, Absalom and Allegheny are here, too. Maybe you should talk to the grandmother?"

Anais sighed. "All right."

Anais loaded her baby into to the baby seat of the Audi before setting off. And now what was she to do? After all, this was supposed to be AAA Day Care of A-Lister city.

--Khazar-khum

Evil Editor said...

I tend to think of a daycare center with a parking lot as a commercial venture, while the details of the doorbell, double locked door, face peering out a slightly opened door sound more like someone's house. Someone who keeps a few kids, but not someone with a parking lot. Not that there aren't exceptions, I'm sure.

Last paragraph: "peeked"; "going on."

P5: picked up repeated, and is the other picked supposed to be picked up?

And I agree there's too much detail and too many "she..." sentences.

Hard to believe Aalando phones her at work and says It's urgent, pick up the kid and get over here, and gives no explanation.

Anonymous said...

awesome cont.

alaskaravenclaw said...

There're a couple of typos; proofread!

But I fear "alright" is not a typo, but a battle we are losing.

vkw said...

Actually both continuations were awesome.

I agree with EE The author has described a home day care center which is fine and then the cubby holes and playroom sounds and parking lot makes it sound like a commercial daycare.

But I'm nitpicking. I had problems with the entire opening. The author successfully described urgency but it doesn't sound real.

Anais doesn't know what is going on but knows enough that she may need a babysitter for a few days. That's odd. She curses her friend and rings the bell several times because Mary isn't fast enough - though she does not know what the problem is or if she does, she doesn't tell Mary her friend.

And I agree about the names. I curse authors who try to confuse me with names. In my Gollum moments I am convinced Tolkien deliberately gave the two bad guys similar names, (Saruman and Sauron)to make me slow down and read more carefully.

vkw

Anonymous said...

No matter what I tell my brain, it tells me your characters are named Anais, Orlando, and Anglesea. Just sayin'

Plus, it seems that Anais is thinking "I may need to leave my daughter where she is for a few days, so I'll go pick her up right away", and I get bogged down trying to figure out the logic of that.

Anonymous said...

There are big problems (logic) with this passage, as others have noted, but there are smaller problems as well. For one thing, you don't vary your word choice very much. If you read this out loud, I think you'd notice the repetition..she parked her "car" she threw her "car door" open She range the "doorbell" reading to knock on the "door" The "door opened"... It reads to me like a draft that has not been carefully planned.

There is a POV problem in the second paragraph. Mary saw the look on Anais' face and asked if something was wrong. You could say Mary must have noticed the look, but if you're in Anais' POV you don't really know why Mary asked if something was wrong. Maybe it's because she's early. Who knows. Well, presumably Mary knows, but we are not, so far, in Mary's head.

The commas in paragraph 4 should be periods. "Alright." Mary stepped inside. "I'll get Angie."

The abundance of A names is compounded by the use of nicknames, Instead of the cumbersome 3 A names, there are a mindnumbing 5.

_*rachel*_ said...

Yeah, we don't need to know everything; that sort of detail leads to things like your first paragraph, where you have a number of sentences with the same structure (and two passive). You might consider starting at the point of confrontation, either where Aalando calls, or when they get home.

Aalando, Anais, and Angelesa? And then Mary? Really?

Sarah from Hawthorne said...

Some ideas on what this might look like with a lot of the extra descriptions trimmed:


Anaïs rang the doorbell over and over, cursing Mary for not being fast enough. She raised her hand ready to knock (when she heard) locks clicking open. The door opened slightly as a face peered from inside.

“Ana! Why you here so early? It’s only two.” Mary saw the look on Anaïs’s face. “Is something wrong? Did something happen?”

Anaïs shook her head, “ No—well, I don’t know. Aalando called me at work. Said it was urgent. I just came to pick up Angelesa.”

“Alright,” Mary stepped inside, “I’ll get Angie.”

Anaïs followed Mary in (and picked up) her diaper bag while Mary put Angelesa’s shoes and light jacket on. She (handed) the small toddler to her mother. Anaïs smiled. “Thanks Mary.”

Before she could turn to leave, Mary asked, “Really, Ana? Is everything okay?”

Anaïs looked (down) at Angelesa. “I don’t know what’s going (on) yet. I may ask you to keep Angelesa for a few days.”

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about the names. Not everybody in the world is named Trent or Gary.

Writing needs a lot of work though. Count on your readers to have some imagination.

Xiexie said...

Love, love, love the continuation.

Thanks for the logic flaws. They'll be fixed. Dave, your suggestion is what I had been thinking, but I wasn't sure if I was going to go in that direction, but the urgency would make more sense.

I can limit the name-drop.

Thanks all!