Sunday, March 18, 2007

Beginning - Comments Needed

I wrote this last night and would appreciate feeback. It's a first pass at the opening to the third book in my trilogy based in a resource-depleted future.

The train pulled into the station with a metal-on-metal screech of brakes. Kitta had been looking out the window, but now she turned to gather up her belongings. Others were doing the same, talking about what remarkably good time the train had made.

“Just last week someone tore up a stretch of track near the river to protest the new water distribution laws.”

“And there was a holdup last month on the Deming line.”

“I don’t know why the government can’t control the raiders.”

“Too busy with water issues. That’s why they leave the outlaws to the mercenaries.”

“And the mercenaries are almost as bad.”

Kitta stood up and tried to shake the creases out of her skirt. Although only sixteen, she knew all about mercenaries. She also knew there would be no trouble on this train. “Joseph sees things,” was how her grandmother had explained it. “And if he says the 3220 is safe, then that’s the train you’re going on.”

Kitta joined the passengers squeezing down the aisle. At the exit she hesitated, scanning the crowd below. Then she saw him—a broad-shouldered man with a weather-creased face that seemed frozen in a permanent scowl. He looked annoyed about something, but Uncle Will always looked that way. This time though, she was pretty sure he really was annoyed. Well, that made two of them.

She stepped off the train and Will came forward to meet her. “How much luggage you got?”

No hello, no questions about her trip. How typical. “Just one trunk.”

“Did Mother put the address on it like I told her to?”

“Yes. And she used the red tag, too.”

“Good. It’ll be delivered, then. Come on.”


“I said come on. Train depot ain’t no place for a girl like you to be hanging around.” He took the heavy satchel from her shoulder. “Besides, Lauren was cooking something when I left, and we’d be rude to make her wait.”

He moved off into the crowd and Kitta followed sullenly. She wanted to at least see her trunk, make sure that it was taken off the train and that the workers knew where to deliver it. But there was never any use arguing with Uncle Will.


Meow Meow said...

Just coming over from another blog, I didn't think you'd mind.

I enjoyed the piece of writing.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Hmm. I'm intrigued, but this isn't grabbing me as much as I need it to. YET. Think you could set the scene more firmly in my brain? Just a few words of description, no paragraphs of it. Bring me into the scene, and the way to do that is with sensory images (but not too many, or you'll overdo it).

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Thanks, Susan. I've been in heavy-edit mode on my other WIP, so perhaps I'm paring too aggressively for so early on this one. :-)

Anonymous said...

The opening sentence is really good hook. Then it kind of went flat from there. I think, if you and in a bit more surrounding, smells, noises etc. It would draw the reader into the scene a lot more.

Keep writing.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Thanks, Khylan! It's taken me a long time just to start this story, but I think I finally do have the right starting point and a good handle on characters and plot.

I may be overthinking things, trying to pare down too much, too soon. I appreciate the feedback.

Bill Fullerton said...

I came drifting over from the Blogging forum at AW. By now you've probably done some rewriting on this, but for what it's worth:

I agree with Susan about the need to more firmly set the mood. The opening gives no clue about the time or place. My guess is the American west between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the century.

Just a few details would take care of the problem: her dress, the type of locomotive, etc.

Good luck with the story.


Alice Audrey said...

Interesting. I know I should be able to place this, but I'm not sure where in the Diana franchise it fits.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

@Alice: This would've been the final book, centered on Kitta, the orphan Amalia was caring for in the mountains when Diana left for Kentucky. Kitta once made a cruel remark to Will about Diana, out of childish ignorance, and Will has never forgiven her. Nevertheless, he still respects Amalia and when she tells him to take care of her so she can go to college, he complies.