Friday, June 22, 2012

New Beginning 959


Tiki Bob preferred to work alone.

Perhaps “preferred” was too mild a word. He insisted.

Which was why, when Kandy Kane’s mutilated body was found under a massive pile of sawdust in the backyard where he created his masterpieces, Bob was the obvious suspect and arrested on the spot.

The usual Tuesday night crowd at the Main Street Wine Bar was outraged.

“It’s impossible!” declared one patron. “He loved the heck out of that girl. Everyone knows that.”

“Bob wouldn’t hurt a fly,” said another. “I say that because I’ve actually seen him catch a fly in his house and take it outside to release it. You’d never guess it from looking at the man, but he’s sure got quick hands.”

Even mild-mannered former judge James Cartwright had a few choice words to say. “The cop’s are friggin’ idiots on this one. If I were still on the bench and this case came up in front of me, I’d give ‘em a tongue lashing that’d sting their rear ends for months! And that idiot D.A. for even allowing it!”

I sat on a wine barrel bar stool, dangling my short legs, sipping a Fresita and listening to the chatter.

That's when Tiki Bob walked in. "I wanna thank all you boozers," he said as he made the rounds shaking everyone's hand. "Between you guys and my Twitter followers, there was so much support for me, the cops let me go. They picked up a homeless guy instead."

We all applauded as Bob left the bar. It was then than a bunch of us noticed we were missing our wallets. Yep, Bob's still got them quick hands.


Opening: Lisa Hurley.....Continuation: Evil Editor

32 comments:

Tk said...

Hi Lisa, this is fun and I would read on because of the atmosphere and because you immediately create tension about Bob's character.

A couple clunky things that throw off the pace:

declared one patron, said another - you could delete both those and just have straight dialogue

mild-mannered former judge James Cartwright --> mild-mannered Judge Cartwright

choice words to say --> choice words.

Would he say "The cops are friggin' idiots on this one" or "Friggin' idiot cops" ? Or maybe he's just a wordy person.

Loved the fly catch and release.

Lisa said...

I LOVE your continuation, EE. I'm thinking of re-writing the book with this whole new characterization of Bob. Awesome.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Stephen King says the first draft is when you tell the story to yourself, and the second draft, is when you tell the story to others. This smacks of first draft.

You're summarizing. You're telling, not showing. Some of your characters don't have names. In the last sentence you're suddenly first person and in scene, and that's a bit of a jolt.

Some things can be summarized. Some things should be summarized. Finding a corpse should not be summarized.

Oh, and rethink Kandy Kane.

Lisa said...

Kandy Kane isn't her real name, it's what she called herself, which is revealed in the novel. She was quite flamboyant. I debated starting with her real name, but everyone in the first scene knows her by Kandy, so that might seem confusing.

150 said...

Huh. I liked the query, but the writing is pretty on-the-nose. Like AKR says, you gotta show. I'd suggest starting with "The Tuesday night crowd at my usual wine bar was outraged." and then have characters deliver the news and react to it. This is like reading a police blotter about the scene, not watching it.

Lisa said...

I was worried about this opening, which is why I wanted to post it here. I rewrote the beginning -

The evening I learned of Robert “Tiki Bob” MacMillan’s arrest, I was sitting on a wine barrel barstool sipping a Fresita and listening to the chatter of people around me. The usual Tuesday night crowd at the Main Street Wine Bar was outraged.

“It’s impossible! He loved the heck out of that girl. Everyone knows that.”


etc. . .

sarahhawthorne said...

I like this a lot.

The only line that didn't work for me was Judge Carter calling the cops "friggin' idiots." Because it might be lazy not to investigate further, but it's not really idiotic to arrest a guy after finding his girlfriend's body in the dude's workshop. And I would think that even a drunk judge would be precise about his words.

But hey, that's a nitpick. I'd totally read on. Nice work.

Evil Editor said...

I didn't like "You’d never guess it from looking at the man, but he’s sure got quick hands.”

The previous line is basically a joke, even if it's true, so there's no need to carry it further. Besides, no one looks at someone and guesses that they have quick hands.

Lisa said...

Very true, EE. Consider it gone.

Chicory said...

Like Lisa, I was thrown by the name Kandy Kane. I instantly transposed the action to a board game in my head. (You know, Professor Plum, Colonal Mustard, Kandy Kane... it would so fit.)

Maybe consider just calling her Kandy in the first scene? Most folks don't call people by their first and last name anyway, unless they know several people with the same first name and have to differentiate them.

Ezzie said...

I agree the opening was a bit on the nose, but I still got a fun vibe from the writing and the suggestions here are good. I enjoy reading the suggestions and hearing the author's responses. Very educational!

BuffySquirrel said...

He insists on working alone? Is there a queue of people who want to work with him?

Lisa said...

New, New Beginning -

I learned of Robert “Tiki Bob” MacMillan’s arrest while sipping a Fresita at the Main Street Wine Bar. The usual Tuesday night crowd was outraged.

“It’s impossible! Bob loved the heck out of that girl. Everyone knows that.”

“Bob wouldn’t hurt a fly! And I can say that because I’ve actually seen him catch a fly in his house and take it outside to release it.”

Even mild-mannered Judge Cartwright had a few choice words. “If I were still on the bench, I’d give the cops and the D.A. a tongue lashing that’d sting their rear ends for months. Have investigations gone out of style since I retired?”

“Another round?” the sommelier asked from the other side of the marble topped bar.

“Please,” I said. My companions nodded. When he left, I turned to the woman seated on the wine barrel barstool to my right. “Are you going to represent him, Anne?”

“You bet!” she said, setting down her empty Chablis glass with a clank on the marble slab. “Pro bono, even!”

“Good for you,” cheered the tall bald man seated on my left. “Bob’s a good guy.”

Bob was indeed a good guy. Ask anyone in Pacific Groves.

BuffySquirrel said...

I suppose it answers the minions' objections but the voice died.

Evil Editor said...

Just call him Tiki Bob in the first sentence. Change "was" to "were" in the second.

Judges don't give tongue lashings until the trial is at least underway. Just have him say, Has competent police work gone out of style?

Drop the sommelier and the nodding companions. (Having deleted marble-topped bar, you'll now have to change marble slab to marble-topped bar.)

The last paragraph isn't needed, as you've already shown how they feel.

Anonymous said...

There's something creepy about "tongue lashing... their rear ends."

Also, does something happen soon? 'cause this is all chit-chat.

Evil Editor said...

Maybe you should start:

They found Kandy Kane’s body under a pile of sawdust in Tiki Bob's backyard. Tiki Bob was arrested on the spot.

My usual Tuesday night companions at the Main Street Wine Bar were, of course, outraged.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Agree with what everyone else said.

I like EE's opening.

Y'know why? Because it contains the essentials and doesn't disguise them under heaps of sawdust (excess verbiage and the introduction of characters who presumably can wait and be introduced when they actually do something.)

Anonymous said...

There's an element missing. Urgency, humanity? There's no connection to the characters and the situation.

Tiki Bob picked the neighbors' kids from school and got them home safe.

TB went through all of our garbage cans to recycle our leavings that he found value in. "Trying to my bit to save the planet." He'd laugh and keep sifting. We loved him for that although we blushed with what he found. But he never spread our secrets around.

TB took in the starving pregnant cat the rest of us ignored. It was his way. Through the shock of his arrest we changed and...

Or something. Meandering.

BuffySquirrel said...

The voice is dead yet everyone's still beating on it. Not every book has to open in the exact same way.

Evil Editor said...

If you'd tell us specifically which lines of the original gave it the voice that's no longer there, it would help.

KC said...

Yeah, this version is lacking something. Sorry, don't really know how to help.

I also agree with Anon; the "tongue lashing...rear ends" line definitely came off as icky.

Good luck.

Ezzie said...

Not sure why I was called out to comment, but I'm always willing! I enjoyed the original and this version has taken out a lot of the "on the nose" lines I first disliked. The intro about "Tiki Bob preferred to work alone" followed by him "insisting" he work alone, and the patron "declaring" his declaration are all gone, and I think that improves the intro.

I think the line about the patrons being "outraged" can go, as you're showing the outrage. A better transition line might be "everyone in the bar had an opinion, of course" followed by the outraged comments.

I also think you can just call him Tiki Bob in the first line. There will be time later to add necessary details like his full name, after you've hooked us.

One thing I noticed was that I was expecting the group to be in a tiki bar, thanks to Tiki Bob's name. If I remember the original query correctly, this is a laid-back SoCo surfer mystery. But once I realized the relative classiness of the bar, I liked the details you put in, the marble slab and such.

Just to be nitpicky, I first thought by "Chablis glass" you meant the shape of the glass, and I got distracted wondering if there was such a thing as a Chablis glass. I know though that you meant an empty wine glass that had formerly held Chablis, which is kind of cumbersome to say.

Ok, here's a suggested revision (all suggestions are suggestions only! Take with a grain of salt, steal what you like, and zip it up with your own voice. Or ignore entirely, you won't hurt my feelings. :) ) I also took the exclamation marks out of your dialogue; I don't think you needed them. Good luck with the writing! This sounds like a great book!

"I learned of Tiki Bob's arrest when I dropped in on the Tuesday night crowd at the Main Street Wine Bar. I almost snorted Fresita out my nose when I heard the news. Everyone had an opinion, of course.

"It's impossible. Bob loved the heck out of that girl, everyone knows that."

"Bob wouldn't hurt a fly. And I can say that because I've actually seen him catch a fly in his hand and take it outside to release it."

Even Judge Cartwright was stirred out of his usual wine-soaked murmurs. "If I were still on the bench I'd give the cops a tongue-lashing that'd blister their ears. Have investigations gone out of style since I retired?"

A white-shirted server glided over to me. "Another round?"

"Please," I said. I turned to the woman seated on the wine-barrel barstool to my right. "Are you going to represent him, Anne?"

"You bet!" She clinked her empty glass down on the marble slab, waiting for the server to return with the bottle of Domaine Bernard Defaix. Being a successful criminal attorney means never having to drink Fresita. "Pro bono, even. Well, maybe half bono."

The table cheered and raised their glasses.

Chelsea Pitcher said...

Um.. Don't hate me (now that you've rewritten the thing) but I actually loved the first version. It's unique, entertaining and easy to read because the writing doesn't get in the way. I personally wouldn't change it too much to fit convention.

And EE, as for the "quick hands" comment, I thought that was a hint dropped by the author. Something that's going to come back around. No?

Lisa said...

Ezzie, I like your stuff. Very helpful. Thanks.

Ezzie said...

Glad I could help, Lisa! I'm no stranger to revision. :) After a while it can all seem overwhelming and your original work looks more and more like a mess the more feedback you get. It's important, I think, to let the comments sit for a bit and not rush off to change everything based on feedback. There's nothing wrong with considering others' opinions and then discarding them as not right for you, and for your work.

On that note, this is obviously a feedback forum and the comments you get will mostly be criticism. But I think the focus is mainly on the details, on shaping this first page to be as polished and gripping as it can be. Often I find my first page is the most wooden and awkward of the book, because the longer I write, the more naturally and easily the words come. Then I go back to the beginning and I'm like, "Wtf! Who wrote this? A deranged one-armed monkey?"

What I'm trying to say is, I like the bones of your intro. I read a lot of mysteries and this one sounds like fun. Don't be discouraged, and good luck!

Lisa said...

Uno mas,


Let’s get this straight – I don’t investigate murder. And I had no idea what I was getting myself into when my friends and I made our weekly pilgrimage to the Main Street Wine bar. The usual Tuesday night crowd were jabbering about nothing but Tiki Bob’s arrest.

“It’s impossible! Bob loved the heck out of that poor girl. Everyone knows that.”

“Bob wouldn’t hurt a fly. I can say that because I’ve actually seen him catch a fly in his house and take it outside to release it.”

Even Judge Cartwright muttered a few choice words to no one in particular. “Friggin’ cops. Have investigations gone out of style since I retired?”

I sat on a wine barrel bar stool, sipping a Fresita while enviously eyeing a bottle of Veuve Clicquot in the chiller on the other side of the marble-topped bar.

“What’s the news, Anne?” I asked as a woman took the seat to my left.

“They’re still processing his paperwork,” said my friend, clanking her cell phone down on the marble slab. “I’ll go to the station first thing in the morning and get this straightened out.”

“So you’ll take his case?”

“You bet! Pro bono even.”

Anonymous said...

So get that Ezzie.

After a few/several thousand words I guess I hit the stride/rhythm/pace. A Famous CDN Writer once told me the first pages/chapters need a good flush. Toss the first 300 odd pages then continue. That's where the story always starts.

Ezzie, enjoyed reading your take/stuff/comments.

BuffySquirrel said...

Well. Although I didn't like the insisting on working alone line, I did like "Tiki Bob preferred to work alone" as a) it introduces a character, then develops ambiguity when we learn he's been accused of murder and b) it's a lot better opening than the telling line of "I learned of...." The first opening has voice and makes an impression, the second opening is dull and what you might see in a hundred books out there.

Also, the sommelier's line doesn't add anything. It simply dilutes the good stuff that was there before.

Evil Editor said...

Actually, it sounds like it's a response to Ezzie's comment. Anon so gets what Ezzie is saying.

Lisa said...

I get it now. Thanks EE.

Lisa said...

I don't know why I didn't read it like that. Maybe I'm just ultra-sensitive at the moment.