Monday, October 18, 2010

New Beginning 795

The afternoon was colder than normal, but the sun helped shield my body from the icy nip. Rachel was still at work, which meant I was the one who had to rake the leaves. The wind picked up a little, so I raked faster, so my leaf piles wouldn’t blow away. I bent down to stuff the leaves in a brown biodegradable bag. The wind suddenly stopped like someone flipped a switch. I looked up, and my breath caught as I stared at the most beautiful man I have ever seen leaning casually against the birch tree in front of me.

The beautiful man pushed himself off the tree and came sauntering towards me with a long stride. I stood up to run, but my legs refused to work. He stopped an inch from me, breathing steadily. His face was so beautiful that it could have inspired works of the great masters and driven unfathomable fear into those painters simultaneously. His pallid skin wrinkled around the edges of his full lips, the right side of his mouth moving a little more upwards than to the left as a frighteningly beautiful smile spread across the perfect face.

As his eyes met mine I realized belatedly that his incredibly beautiful irises were green, and not the green of a summer birch leaf, but the green that might have caused the wreck of the Titanic if the captain had looked into the eyes of a woman whose irises were that same color of green at the same time his ship was approaching the iceberg. His gorgeous pupils were slightly dilated, and as black as a raven eating licorice at midnight. His scary but freakishly ravishing corneas were like clear lenses through which beauty was amplified to the nth degree.

Finally, I could take it no longer. I said to him, "You, know, I could describe more than just the parts of your eyes if you had stopped a little more than one inch from me."



Opening: Monika Pardon.....Continuation: Evil Editor

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I had a continuation where the guy turned out to be a pedophile, but I deleted it because I thought that my be where this story is actually going.

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:


"Can you help me?" he said, beautifully, "I'm feeling very faint..." before collapsing gracefully into a beautiful heap on the ground. I should have noticed something was wrong from the pallor- curse you, Stephanie Meyer.

--Andrew


When I noticed he was standing in my begonias, my fascination was suddenly gone. Only a week earlier I had seen a man twice as beautiful as him stand in that exact flowerbed. He must have felt my indifference, because he instantly moved to the leaves, removed his shirt and rolled around in a newly raked pile. After a moment he looked up at me expectantly. I shrugged. Only yesterday, another perfect man had been here, doing the same thing.

I started to feel sorry for my guest, because in a matter of minutes I found out that he wasn’t the most beautiful man to ever walk on his hands through the gooseberry bushes, nor was he the most handsome man to ever hum Beethoven’s ninth while swinging from the apple tree. Defeated, he returned to his casual position by the birch tree. I could see the sadness in his perfect eyes, and I apologetically held up my hands. Then, suddenly, as if someone had put in the plug, the wind started blowing and the man was gone.

I sighed when I noticed the state of the garden. Cussing, I started to rake the leaves that were once again scattered across the grass. “Bloody vampires; always messing up my garden.”

--Nicolette


And yet, for all his beauty, this man, with his narrow, piercing gaze, with his spiky, bleached hair, straight out of a Manga fantasy, was unnerving. His smile was simultaneously beautiful and cold and empty; it sent a shiver down my spine.

It would only be later, after I rescued Rachel and the others from his lair, that I would truly understand why the media christened this man, Morio Fujitori, "The Icy Nip".

--anon.

Evil Editor said...

I would prefer less detail about the raking and more of a sense of who the narrator is. The entire sentence about inspiring old masters has to go, and there'll still be too much in here about how beautiful the man is.

alaskaravenclaw said...

One thing a beginning should always do is let us know what kind of story we've wandered into. This doesn't.

(I'm gonna guess it's a YA paranormal, but that's just because I know the odds.)

Take Rachel out of the opening. She doesn't tell us anything and we'll get to her in due time.

Why does the leaf raker get ready to run when she sees a beautiful man? Is she going to ravish him? If so she loses reader sympathy; nobody loves a sexual predator. Is she going to flee? Why? If a beautiful man was watching me rake leaves I wouldn't do that. Would you?

BuffySquirrel said...

Wonder if it'd be considered too much detail if the narrator were a man and the beautiful one a woman.

_*rachel*_ said...

Something here isn't sitting right with me. I feel like it should either be more vivid--not wordily, but with more carefully chosen words--or skip some of the description. You might try something like:
---
The wind stopped like someone flipped a switch. I looked up from where I'd been stuffing leaves into a biodegradable trash bag, and my breath caught in my throat. Leaning against the tree was the most beautiful man I'd ever seen, and he was smiling at me.
---
The word "sauntered" gives me the idea that this guy isn't as nice inside as he is outside. Depending on your intent, you may want to change that.

Evil Editor said...

I looked up, and my breath caught as I stared at the most beautiful man I have ever seen leaning casually against the birch tree in front of me.

Wonder if it'd be considered too much detail if the narrator were a man and the beautiful one a woman.

Only one way to find out. I stared at the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. The beautiful woman yada yada. Her face was so beautiful that yada yada . . . frighteningly beautiful smile yada yada perfect face.

Anonymous said...

I don't notice anything in the opening that confirms what gender the narrator is. In face, given the narrator is waiting for a "Rachel" who is "still at work", it's entirely possible that the narrator is a man. Who finds another man beautiful. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I wonder, how many times has a person picked a novel off the shelf at Borders with absolutely no idea what kind of story it is, 'cause the shelving and cover and flap copy gives nary a clue, so they need the first paragraph of the story to spell it out for them. Just wondering, that's all.

vkw said...

Dorian Gray. For some reason that is all I could think of when I read this opening.

I love the "Picture of Dorian Gray." He was so beautiful that even his sins could not bear to mark his face.

I don't think the sun shields anyone from icy nips. It may take the chill off, it may make the icy nips of the wind bearable

"so my leaf piles wouldn't blow away." That's understood, no reason to tell us about it.

brown, biodegradable (details that may be interesting later but not now)

"The wind suddenly stopped like someone flipped a switch." Now there is a detail that you need to make stand out. That should be your first sentence of your 2nd paragraph or better yet, the first sentence of your first paragraph.

But then we get bogged down in details and the interesting part disappears

When I looked up, I saw the most beautiful man I had ever seen, leaning against the tree.

(That's all you need).

the man walked toward me and I was afraid, his memorizing eyes looked into my very soul and I knew it was too ugly for such a god to see. . . .yada, yada, yada.(something happened here other than an URGE.Normally we don't get an urge to run because Brad Pitt starts walking towards us. We may faint, but we don't run.)

the breath isn't necessary, unless you tell us something different, we will assume he is breathing normally. Don't describe 'normal' things.

Ditch the great masters and the painters, the pallid skin.

Count how many times you used beautiful and reduce it by half.

"The wind stopped as if someone flipped a switch. Surprised, I looked up to see the most beautiful man I had ever seen staring at me."

I would start there.

Dave F. said...

There's two big, long, juicy paragraphs that never reach anything exciting. All of the problems here can be fixed by cutting half the words and getting to the point.

"One fall day when Rachel was still at work, I met the most beautiful man I'd ever seen standing against our birch tree."

"He told me his name was Johnny, Johnny Knoxville."

I made up that last sentence to illustrate my point. I don't think that Knoxville is in your novel. Although I must admit that Knoxville might be fun to hang with in a self-destructive sort of way that appeals to men.

alaskaravenclaw said...

I wonder, how many times has a person picked a novel off the shelf at Borders with absolutely no idea what kind of story it is, 'cause the shelving and cover and flap copy gives nary a clue, so they need the first paragraph of the story to spell it out for them. Just wondering, that's all.

Anonymous, this novel isn't headed for a shelf at Borders. It's headed for an agent's or editor's inbox. It will arrive there with no cover, no flap, and damn little chance of anyone actually reading past the first page.

I don't mean there's damn little chance for this writer. I mean there's damn little chance for anybody. This an extremely competitive business, and there's absolutely no point in lessening one's odds... by, for example, presenting a confusing and less-than-gripping first page.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, this novel isn't headed for a shelf at Borders. It's headed for an agent's or editor's inbox. It will arrive there with no cover, no flap, and damn little chance of anyone actually reading past the first page.

It'll arrive with a query letter, though, won't it?

I'm not sure that I could pick any published and quality work up unknown and from the first couple paragraphs infer "what sort of story" it is. And frankly, I'm not sure I'd want to read something so obvious.

That I don't know whether this guy is a serial killer or the narrator's next husband (or victim) really doesn't bother me at this point.

BuffySquirrel said...

Nothing in my question implied that the narrator of this opening is a man or a woman. I simply note with interest that while the reader is expected to enjoy paragraph after paragraph of a narrator drooling over a woman, apparently when the droolee is a man, it's considered de trop.

Anonymous said...

Twilight was book after book of a woman drooling over a man.

Anonymous said...

Nothing in my question implied that the narrator of this opening is a man or a woman...

I'm reasonably sure that the narrator of this opening is a man or a woman. But you're right, that shouldn't be simply assumed.

Sylvia said...

I don't think there's a gender issue here so much as a trying-to-hard issue. Whether male or female, I remain unconvinced by someone giving me that many examples of how beautiful he (or she) is whilst using terms such as pallid skin and wrinkled.

The breath catching works for me but by the time the narrator is telling me no, really, so beautiful I begin to have my doubts. By the time I hit the negative terms, I've lost faith in the narrator.