Fourth Fiction: First Paragraph

This has got to be the most sweated over 270 words in my writing career. Well worth the cathartic experience of being lost in another world this afternoon, while I tried to get lost in it amidst the screams and excited laughter of dozens of children in at an indoor playground.

Sorry in advance for the formatting – as someone who can’t help but insert dialogue – I lumped it in (against all style guidelines) into the single paragraph.

You can reacquaint yourself with my opening sentence before reading on. Comments welcome!

Round 2 Challenge: Write the opening paragraph of your novella. It should be no more than 300 words, not including your opening sentence, and should be about interactions that take place over the web.

The crone at the head of the pregnant woman pressed a finger to her thin lips and hissed through the gap where her front teeth had been. Sylvie’s cheeks burned. Placing the pinnard back in her kit, she rubbed her hands together to warm them, wishing them to stop shaking before she touched the woman. She palpitated the distended stomach to identify the position of the two babies, sitting back on her heels when the womb beneath stirred. The labouring woman was helped onto all fours, groaning and swinging her hips as the contraction crested then crashed through her. A final moan choked into a sob as she surrendered into a mountain of cushions. “There is only meant to be one,” Sylvie heard as she snatched her kit and ran from the room. Her throat burnt as she sucked in huge gulps of the frigid air. The icy bricks bit into her back as she slumped against the fortified wall of the Birthing House. She took the PDA out of the canvas bag, relieved it was fully charged. The blank screen was a dim glow in the opaque night. “It doesn’t work here either,” he said stepping out of the shadows for the second time that night as panic threatened to overwhelm her. “Just like your GPS and car. They don’t call this the Dead Zone for nothing.” “No! She would never have sent me here. Not alone.” Sylvie jabbed at the buttons defiantly, willing the device to connect to the internet. “She didn’t,” said a voice from the doorway. “We sent the message.”

7 thoughts on “Fourth Fiction: First Paragraph

  1. Thanks Dan. It seems to be something of a personal signature to toss the reader right into the centre of the drama – which doesn’t always work either. I’m glad you want to read on.

    I have a feeling I’m going to be telling the story almost backwards. It is good to be telling it though after it brewing for a very long time. I have almost posted something to do with this story several times – but it was written on paper, or I didn’t get around to writing it in time for Fiction Friday.

    Do you ever have the experience of brewing a story for so long you’re too reticient to try and committ it to the page? That is what it is like here. I’m glad I threw caution to the wind and decided to participate in Fourth Fiction.

    Will wander across and see what you have go on offer …


  2. I have a novel all planned out that I have yet to brave starting for just the reasons you say. In part it is still brewing, in part it is an idea I don’t want to mess up. Which is why I am writing my second idea for Fourth Fiction and my idea for a YA novel at the moment. Hopefully by the time those projects are complete I will have greater confidence to tackle my big idea.


  3. loved this story when it was just a wee first draft and so glad that it has been given a flogging and brought out to air again. A powerful scene and incredible story about to unfold.


  4. I had to refer back to the notes made in Trent’s class to remember her name. I decided if I didn’t give it a go novella length for Fourth Fiction then I was probably going to be too scared to ever try and write it down.

    I guess I never understood enough of the elements to make it work – I only ever had Sylvie and the bloody black mustang (who gets inspiration to write a dark urban fantasy from a car? – pah-lease!) Now I have him, and thanks to the next prompt I have how the whole Dead Zone was created.

    Glad you like it – have no idea where it is all going to go from here. Well beyond the second chapter that is. Shall just have to wait for Saturday to get the next video prompt.


  5. Pingback: Fourth Fiction: Round Seven « Writing in Black and White

  6. Pingback: Fourth Fiction: Round Nine « Writing in Black and White

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