Friday, June 15, 2012

New Beginning 956


Hunter plopped down onto the inviting chaise. He wished he sat in his old psychiatrist’s office. That tiny office had two small windows and a comforting low ceiling. It spoke small, enclosed and safe. This new psychiatrist, aptly named Dr. Newman, had a grandiose office. High ceilings rose up above him. Where there should have been a wall, stood a stretch of glass with blinds pulled up to the very top. Some would call the view spectacular, but all Hunter thought was that it made the room too large, open and inviting.

Almost everything about the space made his throat dry and his skin itch. On the wall furthest from those expansive windows sat a lived-in brown chaise. Hunter forged himself with that piece of furniture and waited. His eyes roved from the tightly rolled shades to Dr. Newman. Back and forth they gamboled while he shook his right leg up and down.

Dr. Newman peered over the rim of his spectacles and watched Hunter. “You've improved, Hunter," he said. "You’re finally getting it. I think it's time to move on to the next phase. Now, listen carefully. You put your left leg in, you take your left leg out. You put your left leg in and you shake it all about!”


Opening: Xiexie.....Continuation: PLaF

13 comments:

Evil Editor said...

I don't think "inviting" is a word Hunter would use to describe the room when he's in the midst of complaining about it. Besides, "inviting" was already used in the same paragraph to describe the chaise. Maybe "intimidating" or "imposing"?

When you say On the wall furthest from those expansive windows sat a lived-in brown chaise, it sounds like you're describing it as Hunter first notices it. As if you're talking about a chaise other than the one Hunter plopped into in sentence 1.

"Forged" doesn't strike me as the right word. Maybe he molded himself into?

Mister Furkles said...

You could try “melded” in place of “forged”. If he melded, he was trying to blend into the couch to hide from the rest of the room. If he forged, he was trying for something permanent.

You don’t need to tell the reader that Dr. Newman is aptly named. Let them figure it out themselves. Readers hate being lead by the nose. Alternately, you can have Hunter think that the new guy is aptly named.

The glass wall with “blinds pulled to the very top” is really good. It gives the feel of being completely exposed and under somebody’s judgment.

I’d replace “furthest from” with “opposite”. And because you already mentioned the chaise in the first paragraph, you can use “the lived-in brown chaise” rather than “a lived-in brown chaise”. Just so the reader doesn’t need to wonder – if only for a second – if there might be two of them.

I don’t get “shook his right leg up and down”. Was Hunter vibrating it up and down with the toe of his foot fixed to the floor? Or was he doing something more overt?

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

The writing's not bad, but you've got eleven sentences doing the work of two.

Either cut drastically, or crank it up and make us really feel Hunter's-- what's the word-- does this count as agoraphobia?

Anonymous said...

Instead of "inviting," I would go with "exposed."

PLaF said...

The opening scene is confusing because it opens with the MC apparently comfortable and familiar with the space but seconds later we find he’s not at all relaxed.
I don’t mind being told why he likes one office over the other as it gives clues to his mindset. However, if he truly dislikes the new office, it should be reflected in how it is described.
For instance, a grandiose office is lavish, magnificent, splendid – in other words: awe inspiring, pleasant, inviting. Because Hunter doesn’t like it, it he might describe it as ostentatious, pretentious, flashy, or gaudy. Everything he dislikes or fears about the space gives you the opportunity to hint at his major problem. The reader should share his discomfort with the space and his reluctance to enter the room and see the new doctor.
A few nits:
Change: This new psychiatrist, aptly named Dr. Newman…
To: This psychiatrist, aptly named Dr. Newman…
Trust your reader to be clever enough to pick up what you’re laying down.
Change: forged himself
To: almost anything else. That smacks of Thesauritis.
Rework “His eyes roved” and “he shook his right leg up and down.”
I got the image of a zombie waiting in his shrink’s office and shaking his leg like a maraca.

Dave Fragments said...

This is too many words to say that one office was small and Spartan while the other is huge and grandiose.

Please cut it in half, a least in half.

BuffySquirrel said...

What did he forge himself into?

It's good that you're describing the room as Hunter reacts to it, rather than just using a generic description. But somehow it's not very gripping as the opening to a novel.

Laurie said...

I like what you're trying to say here, but, like everyone else says, there are way too many words being used to say it. (It reminds me of my first drafts when I throw everything out onto the page, then go back and cut down to the essentials).

And, as has also already been said, I know why you started with him finding the chaise, because it's the most important action here, but it's out of place - introduce us to hating this new office, and then have him glom onto the chaise so we understand and feel with him.

sarahhawthorne said...

There's some good stuff in here but it's way too long.


Hunter wished for his old psychiatrist’s office. Two small windows and a comforting low ceiling, it spoke small, enclosed and safe. But the aptly named Dr. Newman favored the grandiose: high ceilings and a wall of glass with blinds pulled up to the very top. Some would call the view spectacular, but all Hunter thought was that it made the room too open.

A brown chaise sat against the wall furthest from those expansive windows. Hunter merged himself with that piece of furniture and waited, eyes gamboling around the room and his right leg shaking up and down.

Anonymous said...

"gamboled"?... really?

Anonymous said...

Hunter plopped down onto the chaise; missing his old psychiatrist's office. That office was small and comforting. It was enclosed and safe.

Everything here in the new doctor's was grandiose and overwhelming. Hunter looked away from the windows that reached to the too-high ceiling to the empty chair behind the too large desk.

His leg shook. he waited.

BuffySquirrel said...

That reads as if he just misses sitting on the old office.

PLaF said...

And it's just telling, not showing. The original had better moments