Wednesday, August 6, 2014

First Impressions - Out of Touch


 Our last First Impression of the month comes from Robin at Your Daily Dose. OUT OF TOUCH is the first in a paranormal mystery/romance series. Author Dianne Salerni is also critiquing this first page so head over to her place for a second opinion.




Chapter One

After college, I ran through jobs faster than a line of cars in a McDonalds drive-through at noon. 
I currently work for Brown and Bell, a small PR firm in Rockdale. As an Assistant Publicist, I've learned the ins and outs of marketing and am in the running for a promotion. I've been here almost six months, which is the longest I have worked anywhere, and I like it. Not incidentally, when I hit my six month employment goal I will finally move out of my mother's house and into an apartment of my own.
I looked up and Roger Brown was standing over my desk. My boss. "Gigi, can I see you in my office please?"
It wasn't a question.
I followed him in and he closed the door. He settled into his chair, cleared his throat, while his eyes darted around the room, not quite knowing where to settle. His obvious discomfort set off my internal alarm. I grasped the arms of my chair braced for what was to come. The sun bounced off a diamond cufflink on the floor. Without considering the consequences,  I picked it up. 
I was swamped with a feeling of desperation and lust. The vision unfolded revealing  my co-worker, and biggest competition for the Publicist position, Bambi, half naked. Roger tore off his clothes in an effort to catch up. When he dropped the cufflink, the connection was severed.
"....understand that Bambi is more qualified for the promotion," he said.
Bile rose in my throat. Bambi stooped lower than I dreamed possible to beat me out of a promotion. And Roger... it disgusted me that he fell for Bambi's obvious move to pull herself up the ladder. I shook my head in an effort to erase the picture of them together.
"I realize that this is a tough break," Roger said, "but refusing to accept it doesn't change anything."
"What?"
" I know this is a disappointment. "
This was more than a disappointment. This changed how I felt about Roger as a boss. As a man. As a human being. "You and Bambi get naked and I lose out on a promotion. Unbelievable."
I didn't realize I spoke the words aloud until  his eyes opened wide and then narrowed to slits.
 "Oh, crack." I muttered to myself. When I was a kid, and things went sideways, I said, "Holy firecracker." Over the years it became just crack.
I desperately needed time to think this through and had none. Roger Brown stared daggers at me, waiting for an explanation. I could try to laugh this off. In the past, that sometimes worked.  But, I would still have to work here. For him. With her.
He finally spoke. "Do you have proof?" (Would he even admit to it? Or would he say, "Excuse me?" in surprise, because, well, how did she know? How could she possibly know? That will give her an out and she'll answer/mutter,"Nothing."- just a thought...)
Have any of my visions ever been wrong? No. But, I had no reasonable explanation.
"No."
He shrunk into the chair like a Lay Flat To Dry blouse run through the dryer. I watched him mentally calculate the risk of keeping me around. I knew that look. I'd seen it on the faces of most of my previous bosses.
           The whisper of the ax cleaving the air preceded his verdict. "You're fired."

*** 

My first thought is that I'm not wild about the beginning. The story starts when the boss calls Gigi into his office. Gigi is thinking she's going to get promoted and about finally moving out of mom's and having a place of her own. Maybe she's been marking the days on a calender in her cubby or office. Then Roger shows up. Make it brief and work in all the rest later. Otherwise, I love it, and I definitely want to know more about Gigi and her 'gift,' and what is she going to do now that she's been fired?! You've put her in a great place, making the reader both curious and concerned. Nice job.

16 comments:

  1. I thought it had a great voice. The first line was hilarious.

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  2. Marcy makes a really good point. I'd like to have Gigi dwelling on how uncomfortable that vision would make a person.

    I like that first line too. :)

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  3. I'm not wild about it either.

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  4. I think it's a question of audience. I liked the beginning and said as much at Dianne's place. You feel like you're sitting on a couch getting to know the MC--at least, that's how it was for me.

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  5. Nice voice. It does draw me in. Maybe she could move things around at the beginning and keep all she has.

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. Thank you Marcy - and everyone who commented - for the input!

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  8. Taking into account what you and Dianne said, I tweaked a bit. Do you like this better?

    After college, I ran through jobs faster than a line of cars in a McDonalds drive-through at noon.

    Roger Brown was standing over my desk. My boss. “Gigi, can I see you in my office please?”

    I followed him in and he closed the door. He settled into his chair, cleared his throat, while his eyes darted around the room, not quite knowing where to settle. His obvious discomfort set off my internal alarm. I sat down and braced for what was to come. The pain in my thigh was unbearable. I groped for the offending object and was assaulted by a vision when my fingers made contact.

    I was swamped with a feeling of desperation and lust. I saw my co-worker, and biggest competition for the Publicist position, Bambi, half naked. Roger tore off his clothes in an effort to catch up. When he dropped the cufflink, the connection was severed. (in italics)

    I stared at the cufflink in my hand in horror. I wanted to take a bath in rubbing alcohol.

    “….understand that Bambi is more qualified for the promotion,” he said.

    Bile rose in my throat. Bambi stooped lower than I dreamed possible to beat me out of a promotion. And Roger… it disgusted me that he fell for Bambi’s obvious move to pull herself up the ladder. I shook my head in an effort to erase the picture of them together.

    “I realize that this is a tough break,” Roger said, “but refusing to accept it doesn’t change anything.”

    “What?”

    ” I know this is a disappointment. ”

    This was more than a disappointment. This changed how I felt about Roger as a boss. As a man. As a human being. “You and Bambi get naked and I lose out on a promotion. Unbelievable.”

    I didn’t realize I spoke the words aloud until his eyes opened wide and then narrowed to slits. He morphed from an easygoing guy who made his living writing witty ads about golf balls to every boss I’d ever had.

    “Oh, crack.” I muttered to myself. When I was a kid, and things went sideways, I said, “Holy firecracker.” Over the years it became just crack.

    I desperately needed time to think this through and had none. Roger Brown stared daggers at me, waiting for an explanation. I could try to laugh this off. In the past, that sometimes worked. But, I would still have to work here. For him. With her.

    He shrunk into the chair like a Lay Flat To Dry blouse run through the dryer. I watched him mentally calculate the risk of keeping me around.

    The whisper of the ax cleaving the air preceded his verdict. “You’re fired.”

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  9. Yea, Robin! So glad to see this. First off, I love the premise. Love it. That said, I agree with a lot of the other comments. While that McDonald's line is a hoot, I'd rather see you start with Roger. That's the real action.

    My boss Roger Brown stood over my desk. . "Gigi, can I see you in my office please?"

    It wasn't a question.

    After college, I ran through jobs faster than a line of cars in a McDonalds drive-through. But after six months at Brown and Belson, I was up for promotion. As I followed Roger's custom-tailored back into his office, I mentally moved out of my mother's house and into my own place.

    Keep an eye on extra language...his eyes darting around the room is enough. We don't need his obvious discomfort. You have showed us. Try taking out the sentence that starts with "I desperately needed time..." and you'll find you don't need it.

    Once thing more I'll suggest. Make sure you write with your senses. She sits in the chair. How does it feel? Is the room warm or cold. Is the office dark, bright, glass walled, mahogany? Does it smell like lemon, or stale cigars?

    This is a cool start and I so want to know what happens next. I mean, she could get canned...or she could blackmail him. Awesome!

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    1. Good suggestions, Liza. I have already rewritten this several times since posting the "rewritten version" and one of the things I removed was "obvious discomfort" and the rest. Several sentences GONE and it doesn't change a thing! Well, it gets rid of unnecessary words making way for better ones!

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  10. The first line is throwing me. I've read it several times and it just doesn't really make sense. Ran through jobs faster than a line of cars at McDonald's? I think the analogy is off somehow.

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    1. I think it is a great line, but maybe not the best FIRST line.

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  11. Robin, I think you can use that first line, but maybe not as the first line, maybe when she's sitting in Roger's office thinking how fast she ran through jobs and now she's been somewhere a whole six months and is hopefully going to get a promotion and finally move out of mom's - then she discovers the cufflink and speaks before thinking and wham, she's fired. But, was she going to get fired anyway? Or did her slip of the tongue get her fired?

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    1. I agree about that first line, Marcy. Did you see Liza's suggestion? That is an excellent place to insert it.

      I will continue to work on it. Next month on Unicorn Bell you can have another shot at improving it after I tweak it some more;)

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  12. Both Marcy and Dianne have done an awesome job with the crit. I left my thoughts at Dianne's. Good luck, Robin!

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