Saturday, August 02, 2008

Opening No. 9

For the thousandth time, Isabel wished Jared had sent someone else to 
cover this story. Taking a deep breath, she composed a professional
expression on her face and followed the mother up the stairs.

Isabel paused at the threshold of the girl's room. Sera Campbell's ashen
face and blond hair stood out against the oppressively cheerful pink
bedspread. Pink curtains filtered the afternoon sun, filling the room
with pastel light.

"Sweetie? This is Ms. Jepsen, the reporter I told you about. Remember?"

The girl's eyes were open in a fixed stare.

Isabel perched on the edge of a wicker rocking chair next to the bed.
Turning her tablet to record, she leaned close to the girl. "Sera, can
you hear me?"

The child's slow breathing never changed its cadence. Isabel reached out
with her full senses and felt nothing. She shivered. Even mindblinds had
an echo, but Sera was like a life sized hollow doll. Isabel forced
herself to swallow against a rising tide of nausea.



Anonymous said...

I liked your opening and I would read on. I however didn't like the last sentence

Isabel forced herself to swallow against a rising tide of nausea.

rising tide, sounds too poetic for feeling nauseated... I'm sure you can reword it better than I could..


Lisa66 said...

I disagree. I liked the rising tide description. I think it conveys the feeling the author intended.

Sherryl said...

Good story questions here - she seems to be at the girl's house as a reporter but she knows about mindblinds and stuff, which suddenly lifts the story up a few notches.
I'd like to see a stronger hook or voice or something in the first couple of paragraphs. They seemed to be a little slow and bland, especially when compared to what comes further down. You could argue that you've created a deliberate contrast, but I still would recommend another look there.
I'd read more of this!

Lisa Cohen said...

Thank you for the comments and suggestions! I've played with this opening so many times, it's hard to see the big picture or the effect on the reader. After this workshop, I have a much better idea on how to attack the opening.

Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

I like this a lot. Good hooks (mindblinds? What has happened to the child?) -- but the first sentence read a bit cliched to me. "The thousandth time"...I know we all use that as the ultimate exasperated exaggeration, but perhaps toning it down just a tad might un-cliche it? Actually, any odd number of times would work to convey the mood, I think, but thousandth seemed a bit too over the top even for someone who's cynical and worn out.

Just a thought. :-)