14 January 2009

First Page Entry

After too many years to actually count, I finally found you! Slim build, long, dark hair, pouting, ruby lips, cerulean-blue eyes, face like a porcelain doll. Best of all, I KNEW we would dance, at every opportunity.

I took you in my arms, just as the music started. Initially, you were as limp as a rag doll, and clumsily followed my lead through the waltz. You were a mannequin, after all.

Then, to my surprise and utter delight, an amazing thing happened. Slowly and seeming deliberately, your limbs and joints lost their stiffness and fused together, your face became animated - your eyes, super expressive, behind those long, dark lashes. They studied me closely, as we now glided effortlessly over the old wooden floor... then, almost imperceptibly, became pitch black, with blazing reds where the irises should have been. Your arm began to tighten around my neck, your dainty hand in my callused one.

Fingernails sprouted into sharp, tapered claws, pearly white teeth morphed into cutting incisors and needle-like canines, flashing in the candlelight as those red, luscious lips parted in glee.

Despite my best efforts to resist, you practically willed my face down to where your fleshy rasp of a tongue could teasingly taunt my earlobe.

I'm going to start with yet another disclaimer. I really don't like second person, not even a little bit. I've thought about why and I decided it's because it really doesn't include the reader in any way. This writer is talking to someone who is not me, as if I'm reading a stolen letter. I have no real way, as a reader, to identify with the narrator or anyone else in the story. Another editor may feel differently, but I don't see a lot of second person in fiction these days.

Though there may be a great story in here, a mannequin (robot, droid, love doll, old doll, etc) coming to life has been done before. This might have a different angle, but I don't see it in this first page. This writer obviously has a firm hand with descriptives, and even the adverbs didn't bug me as much as usual. Plus, I love me a shallow narrator who gets his (or hers)! But the second person is such a strike, I doubt I'd read on.

Aaaand, on that happy note, I am out of candidates for the First Page Game, so it's obviously suspended until we get more. Tell all your friends and we'll hopefully play again soon. Thanks so much to everyone who has submitted their first pages so far. In fact, thanks to everyone who submits to Electric Spec! Obviously, there wouldn't be a magazine without you, and our slush seems to grow and improve with every issue.

1 comment:

David E. Hughes said...

I agree with Bet's comments. It is very hard to sucessfully pull off a 2nd person story.

Also, some of the imagry didn't work for me. At first the object is "limp as a rag doll" but then it "loses some of its stiffness." These images seemed contradictory to me.

I also think this submission would be stronger if it had fewer adverbs.

Thanks for submitting and good luck with your writing!