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by Ben Yezir 

Posted: 16 November 2011
Word Count: 401
Summary: This is part of my fast first draft. After struggling with 3rd person, I think 1st might suit the work, but I have never written in 1st. So this evening I wrote this, a possible opening scene for the novel. What do you think? It's a bit clunky, but does it grab you? Would you read on? Honesty please, it's only FFD.

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I can tell you exactly when I grew up. It was the moment I watched her car hop out of the damp ramp and into the blustery traffic, the same moment I pulled off my school jumper and made for the lift. Tell the truth, until that moment I wasnít sure that I would do it. I hoped I would, like my will was some external force like the wind or the waves. But the moment my finger jabbed the lift button and the doors slid shut, I knew that something had changed. I just didnít realise by how much.

The flat was silent, in moments I had changed, taking care to scatter bits of my uniform across the hallway. Everything had to look normal. I gelled my hair, I look older that way and shoved some food and the bus timetable into my sports bag. I kicked off my shoes and slipped into the master bedroom, footprints would never do. I padded to the bedside locker and slid open the top drawer. Nothing. The clock radio caught my eye, I was late. I had planned everything but clearly not carefully enough - I rushed to the book shelf and rooted between the bottles, lotions and jewellery boxes. Out of the corner of my eye another minutes clicked past. I should be outside by now. I yanked the wardrobe open, my fingers slipping in and out of her coat pockets, shaking them, rattling them, hoping. My hand closed around a pile of change. Barely enough for the first leg. I realisation crept over me, if I was going to do this I only had one option.

I crossed back to the jewellery boxes and paused. In economics this is what our Old Fart Bucket called cash-flow. My hand closed around a plain gold ring. It was only as I held it in my hand did I realise what it was. Her wedding ring. It was no good to her, but to me . . .

The lift door shut with a sigh. I buried the ring deep in my coat pocket. Iíd have to find a pawn shop near enough to get back to, when I had the money. How Iíd get the money wasnít for now, I had a bus to catch and if I didnít get there and back by 6pm my mother was going to kill me anyway.

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Comments by other Members

Mox at 07:27 on 17 November 2011  Report this post
Hello Ben,

Thanks for uploading.

I don't think it's clunky, it read well. And you've left a series of questions unanswered, to hook readers to carry on reading.

I thought your MC was schoolboy when he pulled off school jumper and amde his way .... He's worried about something. But when he opened the wardrobe hoping to find something, he found a plain gold ring. So I'm wondering what's he, a Schoolboy or a Mature man who's thinking about marriage or something. A teenage culture and adult life culture is different.

A couple of sentences:

I realisation crept over me,

My realisation or I realisation ?

...and if I didnít get there and back by 6pm my mother was going to kill me anyway.

The bold ones wouldn't it be more perfect with 'Would'.

I want to know If I'm correct in giving suggestions or not.

Thanks for the read.

Freebird at 10:11 on 17 November 2011  Report this post
I gave in and read it today! Can't resist a new piece of work from you.

I think it's a great start, because you've flung us straight into the middle of a dramatic moment and raised so many questions such as:

where is he going?
why is he going?
why does his mother not need her wedding ring?
Who's Old Fart Bucket? (I'm presuming it's his Dad, but not necessarily)

Just one or typos that need smoothing out, but if definitely makes me want to turn the page and read on. If I picked it up in a bookshop I'd be interested enough to keep looking.

The mention of a 'damp ramp' threw me a bit. I wasn't sure what you meant.

'barely enough for the first leg' - it might be worth adding... '...of the journey', because otherwise it sounds as though he's looking for things to disguise his legs with!

Good start, Ben

Issy at 11:23 on 17 November 2011  Report this post
Hi Ben,

You do like to speed us along and keep us guessing. No clear idea what this is about except that the mc has seen something and must go and do something.

The first person feels and read absolutely right to me.

I too stuck like a needle in a record at damp ramp as it was such a strange description. I reread the first para several times before moving on and picked up on blustery and wind and waves so there is a watery or wet weather theme going on, so there is a sort of sense to it. But clearly you don't want people sticking at the first line, so is there something else that could go here? Can't suggest anything as I don't know what is going on.

The flat seemed as if it was not like it normally is. But nothing specific.

The mc is clearly up to something and I was connecting the car and the damp ramp episode with his mother who is mentioned further down, only because there was nothing else to connect either to anything, so that might be right or wrong. I think throughout a part of me is trying to make sense and connections from the smallest detail.

Am totally intrigued, great start and keen to see what happens next

Ben Yezir at 14:48 on 17 November 2011  Report this post
Thanks so much for the feedback. It was just what I was looking for.

Mox, it's a Fast First Draft so those questions are very relevant. I don't want to be too obscure. Good suggestions all.

Freebird/Issy - yeah I didn't like damp ramp either and the 'first leg' comment made me laugh out loud.

This is the climax to the story and like in a film noir it's where I start Act 1 - (and end Act 2), so there is an element of Fate hanging over the plot in that we know what is going to happen, we need to figure out why. The why bit is then told in two interweaving flashbacks.

The MC now lives with his mother in the city, his father hasn't been in contact since his parents split. It's almost his 13th birthday and he has decided to make the journey to his father to find out what happened, he needs answers because deep down he blames himself for their break up - and he traces it all back to the moment he found a letter in a bottle.

That's the plan anyway, but getting the voice/tone/style right up front was proving a problem. I will plough on and thanks again!


Freebird at 15:49 on 17 November 2011  Report this post
I really like the sound of that structure, where you know what's going to happen and then you see what leads up to it - so the reader knows what's ahead when the mc doesn't.

cacooper at 08:06 on 18 November 2011  Report this post
Really like it. Although didn't know if mc was male or female but maybe that doesn't matter? And I've never known a car "hop" - that sounded weird to me. Personally I prefer first person.

SusieL at 19:01 on 18 November 2011  Report this post
First person works well here, Ben. Sounds a really interesting structure to the novel. I, too, was a little thrown by the 'damp ramp'.

I was wondering why everything had to look normal? I'm guessing that he goes out after school anyway and leaves a general state of chaos behind him, so his mother wouldn't think to look around for anything else amiss?

Definitely lots of strong hooks to grab your readers. A really good beginning. Hope you'll be sharing more of the story with us.

funnyvalentine at 17:43 on 25 November 2011  Report this post
Hi Ben, I read this ages ago and didn't comment. I thought it was really good. The voice is spot on and I could see him clearly.

Looking forward to more anyway. How great you've started something new!

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