Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tell me what you think

You know what I rarely ever do? A post on Saturday. But today I thought I'd squeeze this in to my normally scheduled nonsense to get your input.

As many of you know, I've just finished writing my first novel. No, it's not the memoir one filled with all my mis-adventures. Sorry to disappoint; that one is still "in progress". This one is a suspense fiction novel. I've completed the story and done a couple of initial edits and am now awaiting real people to read it and give me feedback. So while it's sitting in drawer and out of my focus for a spell, I thought I'd begin another fictional book. A different kind of book: comedy.

Tell me what you think of this opening paragraph. Does it bring you in? Does it sound interesting? Feedback, please

As I sit here slouching in my seat, avoiding eye contact with co-workers I have nothing in common with and seriously pondering where they came from, I have to wonder if hell is really any worse than this corporate meeting. At least in hell you’ve got fire and brimstone to invoke some sensory input. Instead, I am relegated to endure that pathetic all-too-familiar stench of fear permeating the room: the fear of standing out and being labeled as a non-team player, the fear of saying what you really think and getting earmarked for the next stock-saving layoff. Today is different though. Today I have no fear, and I am about to employ my twisted sense of humor and rock this corporate behemoth in ways even I would never predict. Unbeknownst to me at this time, I am on my way to becoming the first employed corporate jester in history.

For this book, I want to meld my comedy into a fictional story about a guy that gets layed off from a big corporation but continues to keep coming to work and starts attending meetings at random, doing outlandish things in them and saying what he really thinks. This escalates into other employees feeding him their own thoughts they dare not say in hopes that he will speak those on their behalf. And so on and so forth.

Sound interesting? Let me know either way, I'm a big boy...

post update Sun, Oct 18th: After rethinking your advice, it feels like the tense problem needed to be resolved and the ending reworked. I took another look and came up with this...

As I sat slouched in my seat, avoiding eye contact with co-workers I had nothing in common with and seriously pondered what planet each of them came from, I had to wonder if hell was really any worse than this corporate meeting. At least hell has fire and brimstone to invoke some sensory input. Instead, I was relegated to endure that pathetic all-too-familiar stench of fear permeating the room: the fear of saying what you really thought and getting earmarked for the next stock-saving layoff. When the I’m-in-love-with-my-own-voice facilitator finally turned his attention toward me for my mandatory unimportant status update, he failed to recognize two critical changes to the mind numbing corporate script he was directing: I had been laid off the day before and I had no fear.

54 comments:

Uncivil said...

First again????

Uncivil said...

Now let me go back and read!

Jeff said...

First? I guess nobody does expect posts on Saturday!

I like how this begins. One thing I'd probably change though is the fact that you switched tenses in the middle of the first sentence. You're using present tense conversation and then you changed to "pondered," which should probably be "pondering."

It's a nit but you asked for feedback. Otherwise I'd say bring it on! :-)

Jeff said...

Uncivil's first doesn't count because he didn't say anything. Nana-nana-boo-boo!

Uncivil said...

I've never been a team player......well....unless you count the Republican party?

Uncivil said...

Jeff, I was first and second!!!
Nana-nana-boo-boo! to the second power!!!LOL!!!

Quirkyloon said...

Hey that was funny!

It reminds me of that Raisin Bran Crunch commercial where the guy is crunching and it is so loud that he can't hear his boss letting him go.

Was that your inspiration?

It does bring me in.

And when you get published, will you include free six pack of diet dr. pepper?

If so, you got a buyer in me! hee hee

VE said...

uncivil - Did you just admit you can read? You Republicans are getting trickier all the time! ;)

VE said...

jeff - Good catch...you can be my official editor. Sadly...what goes on my blog is the raw stuff. I rarely ever edit.

VE said...

quirkyloon - Hey, I remember that commercial now that mention it. No, that wasn't the inspiration but for millions of dollars I could add some key product placements into the story...

Nessa said...

The premise of the story is intriguing and lends itself to loads of comical situations.

Your opening paragraph makes you wonder all kinds of things, which is what it should do. I wanted to know more before I read the story blurb.

Come Visit Silly Saturday

VE said...

Jeff - I redid the paragraph to bring it out of past tense and into present tense. That took a bit more tweaking than even you suggested but you sparked the notion...and for that I thank you!

Uncivil said...

Those pesky democrats are makin' speed readers out of us Republicans at the speed they're trying to pass those thousands of pages bills on health care reform?????

VE said...

nessa - Thanks for your perspective. I thought it might be refreshing to move away from the suspense fiction I just finished and into another writing genre that I'm obviously familiar with (humor) but don't practice on a larger scale... I'll swing by your silly Saturday too. Sounds like my cup of Pepsi...

VE said...

uncivil - I'm sure right in the middle of all that health care lingo is a small statement that allows the democrats to take away all firearms! Nobody ever reads all of that documentation. Muh ha ha

AngelMay said...

VE, I liked the opening but have a nit to pick about the last two sentences. You are writing in the first person and present tense. Yet in the last two sentences you tell us things you cannot possibly know about that will happen in the future. Maybe you want to change your opening line (and subsequent lines) to "As I SAT there..." That way we know that everything already happened and you have every reason to know what's coming next because you already lived through it. Just a suggestion.

Janna said...

I like the premise.
Just make sure to hire Jeff or somebody as a proofreader (better yet, hire Jeff AND me as proofreaders).
You can pay me half in cash, half in chocolate.

I wish I had a guy like this back when I was a part of corporate office life. There are a few choice words my boss sorely needed to hear.

VE said...

angelmay - The last sentence is more of a hook than anything and I've been fretting over it for awhile now. I started the paragraph in past tense but wanted to try present tense and ended up mistakingly mixing them. Jeff pointed it out and I changed the post to be entirely present tense...except those last two lines.

So...the question is...should I pull those or go back to past tense and leave "the hook" there and bring the reader up to that moment and then beyond it?

VE said...

janna - Are you a good editor? I have a manuscript for my first book ready for those willing to give me feedback. It's a first manuscript with only two edits by me so far. That means it might be rough. But I'm looking for opinions and feedback nonetheless.

ryan field said...

I absolutely love it. I love the storyline, too.

I know corporate America. I've seen these lay-offs. And I'm already cheering for this guy.

VE said...

ryan - Thanks. I'm all messed up with my tenses right now. Nothing on here is polished by any means. I usually serve up original thoughts or musings and let it roll. As for corporate America... I've sold my soul there before. I'll have to see how this project transpires.

ryan field said...

It's good. I'd read more.

It's difficult to write in the first person. I rarely ever do it. But I love books that are written in the first person.

VE said...

ryan - Thanks. I typically write in the third person (well, I just write on this blog but when I actually write) and I typically write more naturally usining past tense. I think, though, that I'm going to look at doing this project as first person but I'm not sure on the tense yet.

Baino said...

Well if resonance is the way to bring your readers in, that could be me sitting in that meeting feeling the fear! I dread going to work! Yep, sounds like you have a plan! Also sounds liked it would make a fun script!

ryan field said...

You just keep doing what you're doing. It's good :)

Beth said...

I love the concept! So original and in-your-face to the corporate world!
And while the first paragraph is excellent, you do know you’ll change it once you’re either half-way through or finished the book, right? That seems to be the way it works with writing. At least, for me.

VE said...

baino - I thought that might resonate with a lot of people and allow me to give voice to so many of the things we dare not say in such a setting.

VE said...

ryan - Thanks.

VE said...

beth - Oh yes, I've already played around with it. But this time I'm going to play with a more traditional storyboarding approach to the book before writing. My last experience I just started writing.

Mandie Reed said...

can you believe a girl is reading about fantasy football. lol


my mandie reed

VE said...

mandie - Ha! No, I cannot! Even I can't read read about it. Like I said, I've had many fantasies and football hasn't been in any one of them! ;)

ReformingGeek said...

It's engaging and makes me want to read more.

My personal preference would be to simply lose the last sentence.

Good Luck!

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

Will it be published in pretty blue lettering like it is on your blog?

I wanted to read further. That's a good sign.

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

Oh! AND CAN SOME OF YOU PEOPLE PLEASE GO OVER TO KURT'S BLOG AT http://otherpeopleexist.blogspot.com/ AND TALK SOME SENSE INTO HIM! HE WANTS TO QUIT BLOGGING.

THANK YOU

VE said...

reforminggeek - Thanks for your opinion on that. I was wondering about that.

VE said...

perpetual - Kurt better be bluffing! You can't replace good humor...

Elizabeth said...

It's interesting and did make me want to read more. I loved the line "At least in hell you’ve got fire and brimstone to invoke some sensory input" Ha, I've been in meetings like that.

Megan said...

Laid off. Not layed. (Sorry, but if you're asking, you're asking!)

I think it will come down to how long you can string it out...and how many ancillary characters you can develop and how well you can develop them...

nursemyra said...

Stop slouching in your seat and sit up straight!

VE said...

elizabeth - I think anyone that has to do meetings can relate...

VE said...

megan - Ha! You crack me up editing my Nonsensical portion. You're right, of course. Now at least I looked at the paragraph somewhat. But the other text, oops.

You are right though, this one will have to be a strong character piece with wisely chosen scenes since it mimicks so closely to the everyday world; a dangerous place to be for a fiction book.

VE said...

nursemyra - Yes, maam! ;)

Collette said...

I like it, especially the part that he had already been laid off. Can't wait to hear his comments!

VE said...

collette - Thanks. I'm working on character development and the comedy pieces right now.

Mrsupole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrsupole said...

I do like the premise that you want to write about and I get a funny feeling that the jester will just be mirroring things in your life, I think it will be a fantastic book.

God bless.

Sorry, I deleted the previous comment cause it was so long. This is the shortened version.

Jacki said...

Sounds great! I agree with Megan about the character development. You will have to develop the characters of those that will begin telling him things, and have an antagonist or two.

I imagine this being like the Office or that other movie about an office that I can't remember the name of right now.

Gladys said...

I like it. Good lead. Curious though is this going to be an Office Space type read?

VE said...

mrsupole - It will be loosly based on my life and comedy.

VE said...

jacki - Yes, those office ones (your thinking of Office Space) are the other ones in that genre...but I think I've got enough different material and things to stay away from those; they have their own spins

mama-face said...

I do my best to stay current on my reading as you can see.

But, you totally stole that idea from my husband's interminable meetings which he loves so much. At least that's how he describes them; although his interpretation is no where near as interesting and funny. Maybe that's because you are an actual writer?
I need to show him this; although he cannot grasp the whole blogging thing for the life of him. I love him in spite of this. Lucky him.

VE said...

mama-face - Blogging does make sense. I wrote a novel because of my blogging. If I hadn't been writing this blog for over 3 years I wouldn't have the skill to have done so. Now...I'm going to attempt and take this concept and turn it into an original TV pilot script and see if Hollywood is interested...

Jaime said...

i like it - though the feeling of the board room makes me cringe. it's how i feel every other wednesday when i walk into an attorney meeting.

VE said...

jaime - I feel that way whenever I see attorneys...