Writing, promotion, tips, and opinion. Pour a cuppa your favorite poison and join in.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

first chapter - Thinking of You

Today we have the first chapter of Brooke Busse's novel, THINKING OF YOU. She'd like to specifically know whether the reader is confused or wants to read more. My comments will be in purple and please add yours below. Oh, and yesterday's genre was YA - Post apocolyptic :)

Question: Are you confused or do you want to read more?

Chapter One: We’re In
The Enclosure stood solitary and alone. (solitary and alone pretty much mean the same thing. What I might say is this: The Enclosure stood alone on the plain.) Waving grass went on forever, broken only by the long road connecting the Enclosure to the rest of the world. A peaceful scene, but it left a nasty taste in my mouth.
Rebbsie. Look. Tasss voice broke through my concentration.
Her pointing finger indicated a delivery truck, the size of a small semi, puttering down the road. Most likely a food shipment. They were due for one.
My body reacted instantly, knowing the plan before I did. Ground flew under my feet as I ran. My legs stretched, the muscles pulling taut. It felt wonderful after squatting in the grass for so long. The wind felt cool and free against my skin. Strands of my dark hair flew in my face and I shook my head, trying to clear my field of vision. Without looking, I knew Tass was behind me just as, without me telling her, she knew what I was going to do. We were going to hitch a ride. And we couldn’t exactly ask for it.
The truck sped toward us. I could see the drivers face, every detail down to the zit on his chin. He was nothing but another young hot shot who took the job to have a car. His eyes hooded, he bobbed his head to the music blaring from his speakers. He hadn’t noticed me yet, but when he did, it was going to be a problem. Might as well solve it sooner rather than later. I launched a wave (a wave of what? A wave of thought? Intent? I wonder if you can define what is she's sending him?) at him, the pulse of it starting at the base of my skull. I couldnt hide myself, I wasnt a senses Trol, but I could do the next best thing. [Check out that jogger. Man, shes built. Must be from running around this huge ass field.] He peeled his eyes all the way open to stare at me. He was drooling too much to even notice Tass, the pig. My hand came up, fingers wiggling. With minds like his, it was easy to fit myself into a situation where I didnt belong.
The old engine revved, the vibrations pounding against my skin. Before the vehicle passed me and his face disappeared from sight, I caught his smile. Oh, how impressive he thought he was. I didn’t mind. He had done exactly what I wanted him to.
The surface under my feet turned hard and inflexible when I touched concrete. Breath rasped through my throat as I raced across the asphalt after the truck, waiting for my chance. It was all about timing. The vehicle slowed. Perhaps the driver thought that would help him locate me. I leaped, my trained legs propelling me beyond normal human heights.
My knees collided with the top of the metal container and I resisted the urge to curse, biting my lip. The landing was already too much noise. My neck swiveled, searching. Tass crouched beside me, her eyes shining from the adrenaline. We were so in sync, we jumped at the same time.
Reassured, I turned my attention to the cab. The music blared so loud the lyrics werent even recognizable as words. That meant nothing. The punk might have heard something. Another wave crawled forward, bouncing his thoughts back to me. [What was that? Should I pull over? Mr. Finley will kill me if Im late again.]
He would be doing all of us a favor. My teeth poked out when I smiled, the ragged edges rubbing against my lips. I suppressed a giggle. This was going to be easy. I sent him a new thought [I cant stop. It was probably just the music anyway. I dont know why I listen to this dumb shit.] and waited. We kept moving.
Splayed out against the carrier top, I watched the Enclosure grow taller. I craned my head back to see the reflective top. My tongue popped out and I wiggled it, showing the enemy that I didnt care one teensy bit. Youre a little bigger than me, so what? Okay, a lot bigger. What are you going to do about it? Nothing, because you cant move. I felt clever for a few seconds, basking in my victory. Then: Im bantering with a building. Lord, strike me from this Earth. On second thought, dont. I have things to get done.
The truck creaked to a halt and the music mercifully stopped. A guard stepped forward, gravel crunching under his boots. I could hear the murmur of voices as he spoke to the driver, but I paid no attention. I was more worried about being seen.
The world lurched beneath me and I slid sideways. I scrambled for purchase, trying to dig my nails into the unyielding metal. Tass grabbed my thigh. The truck stopped, its U-turn complete, to switch gears. The carrier maneuvered beneath me as my heart thumped away. A beeping noise split my ears as the driver switched into reverse.
Nice way to see that one coming, Tass grumbled, crawling up beside me.
“You could have made us handholds or something just as easily. Now, shh.”
I cautiously poked my head over the side. A man stood motionless beside the entrance, staring off into space. That made only two guards. I could take them both on a bad day.
The semi crawled backward inch by inch until it stopped a little shy of the Enclosures double doors. They swung open and I slunk forward, staying flat on my stomach. Tass moved alongside me like a shadow.
I stared into a huge storeroom. Shelves lined the walls from floor to ceiling. They sat packed with supplies, many for children. There were assorted junk foods and some candy, probably sugar free. There were clothes of all sizes, from newborns to fully grown adults, every garment white. I even saw a row of small teddy bears, their glass eyes dull and dusty.
That all faded into the background when I caught sight of the children. Chained together, they took materials from boxes and passed them along until they reached the end of the line, where another child scurried up and down a ladder, placing things where they went. No one looked up, their faces hid behind slumped shoulders. There were more than I was able to count in one glance. And this is only a fraction of the kids theyve taken.
Acid shot up my throat. I swallowed it back, my body quivering, disgust morphing into anger. Tass laid a light hand on my shoulder, so light we almost werent touching. I wrenched my eyes away. I needed to concentrate.
The path into the building was clear. Time to make my move. I swung my legs over the side and dropped. For two seconds I was in free fall then my feet made impact. A jolt went up to my knees, to my spine, to the roots of my teeth. It hurt, but I didn’t have time for pain, the guards stared. I quickly sent out a wave, letting my anger seep into it. [About time she got here. Just like her to try and get out of unloading.]
Their stares turned into dirty looks. I resisted flipping them off until they turned their attention back to the truck. A loud screech bounced off the storeroom’s walls as they opened the carrier. I glanced up and met Tass’s eyes. The guards were preoccupied with organizing lines to unload the new supplies. I nodded. She rose and slid one foot down onto the nearest door. Her eyes closed and she shivered. The metal expanded outward. It had always been a specialty of hers. She walked across her makeshift balance beam with the eloquence of a ballerina. When she reached the end, Tass returned the metal to its proper width with another shiver as the wave passed through her body. Then she carefully rose up on her toes and turned. Barely applying any pressure, she jumped, landing next to me, the door forming a barrier between her and the Enclosure’s workers. None of them noticed. A pleased smile split her face.
I huffed. “You’re such a Control freak.”
“Only when it comes to raw materials,” she said.
One of the children turned at the sound of our voices. A sort of dampness hung around him as if he had been rained on earlier in the day. Either an element or a weather Trol. He stood at the front of the line, a leader. His gaze swept over me, a spark of curiosity on his face. Then a strange look of recognition crossed his features and he grinned, his lip slipping up to reveal his top teeth. He took his box and turned back to the shelves, other children following him. His eyes stuck to me like glue, that smallest of smiles still in place. I smiled back. This is why Im here. They are why I’m here.
I strode through that room like I owned it. Confidence is key. If you dont act guilty, people wont think you are.
A door hid in the back. The doorknob was cold when I grabbed it. Cold and heartless like that place and the people who ran it. I turned and the door swung open. Dun, da da daa.
I stepped forward, Tass right behind me. We were in.

I think if you name what it is Rebbsie can do, maybe even describe it in one or two sentences, any confusion would be eliminated. And I definitely want to read on, find out why all those poor kids are chained together, what the enclosure is, and who Rebbsie and Tass are. 

What do you guys think? Were you confused? Interested?


Alicia C. said...

I really enjoyed this. I disagree though with the suggestion of describing what it is Rebbsie can do. There are many sci-fi/fantasy books where the author just throws you face first into the world they've created and you (the reader) must put two and two together, rather then have it handed to you on a plate. I, personally, enjoy that. It makes the world more real to me. As though the author just assumes you know what the reality is...because, well, doesn't EVERYBODY?
Good speed of action. Dialogue is good, I would, imho, try and give my characters more of a distinct dialect. As this is a different world (?) Certainly a different society that you've created (Awesome!) I get stuck on the perfect use of very proper English.
Overall I really enjoyed this! I would definitely read on!

mshatch said...

Good, I'm glad someone disagreed with me! Because it just goes to show why we all need more than one beta reader.

Alicia C. said...

The POWER!!! BWAHAHAH!!! heeheh...

The more the merrier.. :)

Brooke R. Busse said...

Yes, the proper English! That has been pointed out to me before. Now, I just have to learn how to go through and NOT be a perfectionist.

Alicia C. said...

Watch British tv shows, listen to how they speak. Seriously. This helped me fix this problem (I hope!). If the brits are good at something it's taking verbal shortcuts. And the hundreds of dialects alone! Whoa. But really. Close your eyes and *listen* to a British sitcom. It is HARD to understand them. But it helps to learn how to really hear how people *actually* speak to each other.

Donna Hole said...

It took me a minute to figure out what "the wave" meant, but I don't mind working a little to get to know characters, their world, and abilities. I would have liked a word like "mental wave" or something to show how she uses her ability to control another's thoughts.

The only real confusion I had was at the door that Tass opened. The got inside, saw all the chained kids unloading the carrier, went to a sealed door, Tass used her ability to open it, then close it. Now they are on the other side of the heavy door, but the can still see and be seen by the chained kids?

I liked the pacing and bits of world building. I like to get to know characters as they move through a world in the beginning and I think you did well adding all the elements of mystery, engaging characters, and introduction of an alternative world.

Sounds like an exciting novel Brooke.