Monday, April 23, 2012

New Beginning 939

Andromeda Jaunsten was nervous and overwhelmed. She also felt excitement and pure joy, though these emotions didn't belong to her.

 "Come on. It's time."

"I'm not ready," she said.

Wesper Allern had her hand in a firm grip, tugging at it to urge her forward. She refused to move. "We're going," he said.

 "I can't do it. I'm not like you. I don't know how to act around people I don't know."

"Then isn't it time you learned?"

 "Look," she said, pulling her hand free. "I'm socially awkward. You know it, I know it, everyone who's ever met me knows it. I can't help it. I'm literally from outer space. There's no other option than to be awkward."

"You've been using that excuse for years."

"It's a good excuse."

"You don't see me using it."

"You're different."

"How?"

"You're likable." She rolled her eyes. "I'm just… not."

"I like you," Wesper said. He studied her for a moment, and then smiled. "You don't think that counts, do you?" She didn't answer him, and he took that to mean 'no'. She threw a hesitant glance towards the mass of beautiful teenagers ahead, already huddled together in groups that could certainly do without her.

Well, don't worry about it," Wesper continued. "You're new. Once they get used to you, they'll like you as much as I do."

Space girl still didn't reply. She had her eye on a particularly attractive cheerleader. Before Wesper could stop her, her forked tongue shot out of her mouth, wrapped itself around the cheerleader's neck and hauled her in. A couple of hard crunches and a swallow later, all that was left was a team letter and a pom pom.

Awkward.


Opening: Malin.....Continuation: Anon.

11 comments:

Evil Editor said...

UUnchosen continuations:


"Here goes," she said, and threw herself at the racks of shoes on display. "Ooooooh! Look! Sandals! And what about these dinky brogues for $59.99? And these monogrammed wellingtons! These sneakers? Will they go with my alien ankle wing boosts? My purple flappity trousers? And, wow — lookee here at these sport boots! $99.99 for two pairs! Do they take credit here, Wesper? Do they? Visa? Pan-uni? Cosmocred?"

Wesper shook his head as Andromeda's manic flailing prompted a teenage exodus from the sale racks. "Maybe we should head back home and shop for underwear..."

--Whirlochre



But she was just delaying the inevitable. Taking a deep breath, Andromeda let Wesper lead her up to the nearest group.


Three hours later the riot had been quelled, the police had restored calm, and the engineers were estimating the damage to the school buildings.

It turned out social awkwardness wasn't Alexandra's problem. Or at least, not as big a problem as her three sets of razor sharp teeth, her seven eye stalks, and her penchant for melting concrete with her breath when nervous.

--sarahhawthorne



"One question, though," he said, trying to steer the conversation someplace else. "When you say you're literally from outer space... Do you mean 'literally' in the dictionary sense, or just in the 'OMFG LIKE WOW MUST POST THIS ON FACEBOOK RIGHT NOW!!!!!!' sense?"

Andromeda pushed her blonde hair away from her eyes. "What's a dictionary?"

Awkward.

--anon.

Evil Editor said...

I think we can get to the important part a bit faster. Changing

"You don't see me using it."

"You're different."

"How?"

"You're likable." She rolled her eyes. "I'm just… not."


to


"You don't see me using it."

"You're different. You're likable." She rolled her eyes. "I'm just… not."

eliminates two paragraphs.


Changing

Wesper Allern had her hand in a firm grip, tugging at it to urge her forward. She refused to move. "We're going," he said.

"I can't do it. I'm not like you. I don't know how to act around people I don't know."

"Then isn't it time you learned?"

"Look," she said, pulling her hand free. "I'm socially awkward. You know it, I know it, everyone who's ever met me knows it. I can't help it. I'm literally from outer space. There's no other option than to be awkward."


to

Wesper Allern had her hand in a firm grip, tugging at it to urge her forward. She refused to move. "We're going," he said.

"I can't do it," she said, pulling her hand free. "I'm not like you. I'm socially awkward. I can't help it. I'm literally from outer space. There's no other option than to be awkward."

eliminates two more paragraphs. Doesn't shorten it much word-wise, but does in terms of space on the paper. It won't feel like it's taking forever to get where it's going.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Some engaging stuff here. You do need to cut away some excess to get to it. A few things:

1. First two sentences-- either you're telling us way too much about how the character feels, or she's an empath. If the first, cut. If the second, either make more clear (if this is the right place to mention it) or cut.

2. Fourth paragraph-- You've now given us four names and all of them are odd. That's too much.

3. Headhopping. Whose POV are we in? If it's Andromeda's, then he took that to mean 'no' is a problem... in fact, everything from she rolled her eyes seems to switch to his POV.

4. This is a minor detail, but your main character should be likable. It may be an unnecessary stumbling block to have her declare on p. 1 that she's not.

sarahhawthorne said...

Agree with EE and Alaska. Good stuff - I love your second sentence - but you don't need quite so much back and forth about how nervous and self-doubting Andromeda is.

You're using the dialog to tell a lot of backstory that would more interesting if you'd show us instead. You can show us Andromeda's social awkwardness by actually having her interact with the other teens. You can show us Andromeda's alien nature by having her do something cool - or something embarrassing.

Rachel6 said...

Alaska, I took her protest that she isn't likable less as a caution against Andromeda and more as a sign that she herself lacks confidence.

And yeah, definitely wondering about the empath thing. :)

BuffySquirrel said...

As Andromeda is the only character introduced before the first dialogue appears, it's natural for the reader to assume she's the one speaking.

As she apparently isn't, you might want to make it clear who is.

It could also be useful for the reader to know where this conversation is taking place. I think it takes too long to discover they're already at the party (or whatever) rather than having a private conversation.

All that might be needed is to shuffle around some of what you already have.

Andromeda threw a hesitant glance towards the beautiful teenagers huddled together in groups that could certainly do without her. The excitement and joy she felt had to come from them. Nerves and being overwhelmed belonged to her.

Wesper had her hand in a firm grip, tugging at it to urge her forward. "We're going."

"I'm not ready. I'm not like you. I don't know how to act around strangers."

"Then isn't it time you learned?"

"Look," she said, pulling her hand free, "I'm literally from outer space. There's no other option than to be socially awkward."

"That's last year's excuse. And the year before's."

"It's my best one." She rolled her eyes. "You're likeable. I'm just...not."

"I like you," Wesper said. "You don't think that counts, do you?"

Anonymous said...

Rachel, I took it to mean that too. But why send the subliminal suggestion? It's what the Turkey City Lexicon would call a "message from Fred".

Not a major issue either way. Just the kind of assertion I'd feel more comfortable putting on page 23 than page one.

--AlaskaRavenclaw

BuffySquirrel said...

As stated in the O2 advert from so long ago, a character doesn't have to be likeable. We have to like them.

Not the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Hm. If Andromeda's a Betazoid, you'd think that would make her better with people, not worse....

But I really don't think teenagers regularly feel "joy" in general, so I get the impression that the emotions that aren't hers come from some other being in her head ("literally" or otherwise) or are just poetic license. Either way, there's a bit of confusion there that probably resolves itself after the first 250 words. Personally, I would just cut it out and jump straight into the action.

Otherwise, I really like it. It's bouncy and flows well--not really mockable like a lot of the openings here.

The Author said...

Ditto. I started out thinking possessed by spirits/aliens/voldemort. If the emotions don't belong to you, you can't really feel them, can you? Unless you are a psychic or something.

BuffySquirrel said...

Yeah, cos empathy is a myth.