12.21.2006

HH Com 299

Marsha Faolm fidgeted in her chair. She sat on one of those ugly, slippery, salmon colored vinyl chairs in the corner of the hospital room. The room looked as if it had once been cream colored, but now it just resembled the grey of a rainy day sky. It was chilly for November and she shivered in her hospital gown, it barely reaching her knees.

"Don't you even want to look at her? Don't you want to see our child?" asked the man standing in the doorway. He wore old faded jeans and a brown leather jacket. It looked as if he hadn't slept or showered for days. He stood leaning against the door frame, looking over at Marsha. "She is your baby too. Just face it, it was both our faults. Now we have a little baby girl." He said, pausing. "We should be in there adoring her, making plans, getting married…" He paused, looking up hopefully at the chair, but Marsh was off it in an instant. She stood on the cold floor fists clenched glaring at him.

At that moment the nurse walked in. "Oh hello." She said brightly, "You must be the father I presume?" She asked, turning to have it confirmed with Marsha. When she saw Marsha's expression she stopped and confusedly looked from one angry person to the other. The pure hatred was clear in Marsh's, yet under the anger on Roy's there was a sad pathetic look, like he hadn't given up yet.

This isn't a hook; it's a first page.
It's not hooking me, but I'm not much on this kind of story. I'd be happier if a cattle prod materialized in someone's hands and they all chased each other around the office...but that's just me.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Eve if it were to hook me, the problems with the writing are serous enough to turn me off. Is the MC Marsha or Marsh? "'...too.' He said,..." is not correct dialogue form.

Get thee to a critique group, and read more books. You may have an interesting story here, but I can't believe Miss S didn't point out that this writing is not ready for representation.

Bernita said...

Huh?
She's presumeably just given birth and she's sitting in a chair in some sort of waiting room?

nut said...

Miss Snark, that's a great idea!!!

See why people beg you to write?

Anonymous said...

Instead of being hooked I'm given a description of a hospital room, which is dull.

The hook, such as it is, is when the man (a faceless cypher, but dang, we know what clothes he's in) asks a leading question which requires a response. Instead of a response, you duck the problem by having the nurse interrupt. Not the most subtle device. Play the scene out with just the two people.

Dear writer, books are about people, not their environment or what they bought at the Gap.

Besides, nurses are too smart to look confusedly at anything. Lose the -ly endings.

Get Elements of Style, stat!

Hypergraphia said...

Too bad I didn't send my cattle prod story in....the one about the wimpy vampire who stuns his victims so he doesn't have to hear them scream....okay, not...

Anonymous said...

How can you tell that a gray wall was once cream colored? I stopped to scratch my head right there.

Anonymous said...

I assumed that the woman had *just* given birth, but her behavior doesn't tally with that. I expected some form of extreme: exhausted, or hyper-emtional, or something. Anger could work too--and certainly would stand out as unusual--but it would have to be emotional anger. Not "I'm glaring at you, you twit" kind of anger. What you have is just not jiving with post-partum. But, maybe she's much farther past the birth than that. If so, that would need clarification.

xiqay said...

I didn't like the first paragraph. I was bothered by too many colors (salmon, cream, grey). When I hear of someone fidgeting in their chair, I think child. Then I think daft old person. (Sorry for thinking in cliches, but this kind of writing invites that thinking.) And I disliked "...hospital gown, it barely reaching her knees." Just clunky, imho.

The dialogue in the second paragraph isn't terrible, but it's got some "as you know, bob" stuff in it.
"Don't you even want to look at her?" That's a good sentence.
"Don't you want to see our child?" That's as you know Bob.

"She's your baby, too." No go for me.
"Just face it, it was both our faults." Awkward.
"Now we have a little baby girl." As you know, Bob.
"We should be in there adoring her, making plans, getting married." Love this sentence.

Leaving out the awkward, aykb, and other stuff (like clothes descriptions), this paragraph comes to:

"Don't you even want to look at her?" said the man standing in the doorway [give him a name]. "We should be in there adoring her, making plans, getting married."

Ah, much better.

You've got some conflict and that's interesting. Everything else is boring.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Last anon (at least last anon showing as I post this).

Different women respond to birth in very different ways. When my friend gave birth to her second child, it took all of 45 minutes in the hospital. As soon as the baby was born, she jumped up from the bed, took a shower and in less than 10 minutes was out in the hallway chatting with anyone who came by and smoking a cigarette (which she'd given up during her pregnancy). No weakness, no exhaustion, no hyper-emotionalism.

Anonymous said...

The grammar mistakes are somewhat astounding, especially toward the end when the nurse comes in.

I agree--despite what Miss Snark says about grammar being fixable--that this author needs to study style and grammar before proceeding.