Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Beginning 834

Ben Fieldstone watched the coffin lowered into the earth and fantasized new ways to kill his foster father, Frank. He drags him in his drunken daze to the shed, holds up his reeking body and presses his head in the vise on the workbench. He slowly winds the mechanism …tighter, tighter…Frank mumbles then shrieks…his skin splits and blood oozes out dripping down his face.

He didn’t know what would happen if you squeezed someone’s head in a vise. Would it just pop and bits of brain and blood explode outward or would it be a slow, bloody mess? His heart pulsed quicker just thinking of it. He knew he could never kill him though. He was tall, but thin, and no match against Frank’s bulky, squat frame.

“Hey, let’s go,” directed Frank, nudging him. “I need to get outta here.”

His red-rimmed eyes made him appear forlorn over the passing of his wife, Emma, but Ben knew it was mostly the booze. Ben nodded and flicked his black bangs away from his gray eyes and glanced over at the man who had been standing motionless across the cemetery throughout the service. He was an immense figure clad all in black. Ben couldn’t see his face as he was too far away. He wondered briefly who he could be and why he was there, but then dismissed the thoughts. He had bigger problems to deal with now, like Frank.

* * *

Evil Editor pulled his black Burberry tighter around him and whistled for his dog. But before they headed home, he took one last look at the grave, thinking to himself, That's the best damned plot I've seen in months.


Opening: Donna Galanti.....Continuation: anon.

8 comments:

Evil Editor said...

The shift from past to present in sentence 2 has to go. Sentence 2 could be: Dragging him in his drunken daze to the shed, pressing his head in the vise on the workbench and winding the mechanism until bits of brain and blood explode outward.

At which point you need to add another new way to kill Frank. If he's fantasizing ways to kill the guy, give us a couple ways, briefly, instead of one way in so much detail.


I would change "flicked his black bangs away from his gray eyes" to "flicked his hair."

We don't need "Ben couldn’t see his face as he was too far away." The next sentence makes it clear that either he can't see the face, or it wouldn't matter if he could, because he doesn't know who the guy is.

It's implied that not knowing who the guy is is a "problem," albeit not a big one. Perhaps "he had more important concerns" is better, or just drop the whole sentence.


"He knew he could never kill him though. He was tall, but thin, and no match against Frank’s bulky, squat frame." This implies that Ben would kill Frank if he were a physical match for him, but Ben earlier imagined Frank in a drunken daze when he killed him. And the size difference wouldn't matter if Ben used a gun or poison. So what is the real reason he could never kill him?

Dave Fragments said...

Why don't you take more advantage of your minor villain?

First, instead of "the coffin" please say "his Mother's coffin" that would explain so much in the first sentence.

As for the minor villain:
Why don't you make "red-rimmed eyes made him appear forlorn over the passing of his wife..." the second sentence of the opening like "Frank's red rimmed ..."

In the middle of his fantasies about murder, Frank interrupts with his "I need to get out" statement and the because his attention is drawn off the coffin and around to the crowd, he notices the man in black but the funeral pulls him back to the graveside.

And I think that you could do without the second paragraph.

Adele said...

It's bothering me that I don't know, even roughly, how old Ben is. Imagining squishing Frank's head in a vise seems teenaged, and so does being tall and thin, but if he's a teen he'd realize the vise (assuming it's a normal one) wouldn't take Frank's head. The bangs make me think of a very little boy.

So as I read this I'm popping back and forth between little boy and teenager, which takes me out of the story.

Plus, resist the urge to tell. Frank's eyes are red-rimmed. Ben couldn't see the stranger's face. Let the reader figure out why.

Dave Fragments said...

I reread what I wrote. I was rushing and my thoughts didn't come out as I thought they did. This is what I thought your opening should be.

Ben Fieldstone watched his mother's coffin as it was lowered into the earth and fantasized new ways to kill his foster father, Frank. Frank, his mother's latest bopyfriend and whose red-rimmed eyes made him appear forlorn over the passing of his Mother, Emma, but Ben knew it was mostly the booze. Ben wanted to drag Frank in one of his drunken stupors to the shed, hold up his reeking body and press his head in the vise on the workbench. Then he would slowly winds the mechanism …tighter, tighter…Frank mumbles then shrieks…his skin splits and blood oozes out dripping down his face.

“Hey, let’s go,” directed Frank, nudging him. “I need to get outta here,” Frank said. Ben flicked his black bangs away from his gray eyes and glanced over at the man who had been standing motionless across the cemetery throughout the service. He was an immense figure clad all in black. He wondered briefly who he could be and why he was there, but then dismissed the thoughts. He had to deal with his personal problems.


Now it's all told from Ben's eyes and his knowledge of the situation.

BuffySquirrel said...

I don't feel much reading this, which is a bad sign. A funeral at which someone is plotting against their step-father ought to generate an emotional response in the reader.

Start again. That first line in particular is trying to do too much. We don't get any sense of emotion connected with the coffin because the story rushes to the next idea.

Resist the urge to give us information before we need it. We don't need 'the passing of his wife, Emma...' for example. Just 'his wife's death'.

If this is 'A Human Element', I'd say you're querying too soon. The story still needs work.

Ink and Pixel Club said...

Dave Fragments> You second sentence appear to be a fragment.

I don't understand where everyone is getting the idea that Emma is Ben's mother. If Frank is his foster father and Emma was his wife, then presumably Ben is in foster care and Emma was his foster mother. We don't know yet whether Ben was any closer to Emma than he is to the man he's currently fantasizing about murdering.

Dave Fragments said...

I don't know why I assumed they were related.

Emma could be Ben's wife or she could be a neighbor. It's not clear in the opening.

It won't make much sense if the deceased was a complete stranger to Ben or his foster father. Funerals rarely attract strangers. There's got to be a link.

Sorry about the misunderstanding.

BuffySquirrel said...

The funeral must have some significance or why would the novel open with it?