Tuesday, February 7, 2012

GFW Writers Round Robin Day 1

The round robin is here. 
In order to get the creative mojos flowing and to give you the readers the opportunity to critique and tell the writer how he's doing, let the fun begin!

Here's how it works:
Jeff Bacot, the 'creator' of the idea has written the first 2 pages of our short story (below). Readers comment on and critique the two pages, then the next writer will post 1-2 pages, readers comment and critique, the next writer goes, and so on until we reach a full length short story (roughly 10,000 words).
As readers, your critique and suggestions for each posting are vital to the writers and for making this fun and a success.
So  here we go..


She stared through the thick glass at the shimmering lights and urban order of the city.  The night glow of downtown had never paid attention to her, but now reflected her silhouette through the window in the glistening hush of midnight. The stranger stood behind her, his black eyes looking out the window above her head, telegraphing his need to touch her. . He stepped forward slowly, gingerly moving closer.  The warmth of his  breath whispered across her skin and she could feel  the masculine heat of expectation. She waited, wanting. 


"The scent of good Scotch and a hint of better cologne teased her senses. He touched her shoulder, slid his finger into her long straight hair and twirled it gently.  The soft hair encircled his finger like an evening gown as he lowered it slowly downward. She trembled and closed her eyes. His finger glided down without entangling its silken glow to the small of her back and then the waistline of her jeans. Moving his index finger inside the waist of her jeans, he tucked it in gently and left it there for a moment longer than necessary.  His  finger continued around her waistline toward the side and stopped at a belt loop below the navel. 


A wisp of air escaped her lips and she felt a tingle from fear, from danger, from longing for this man's proximity. She slowly opened her eyes. The lights outside the window could not illuminate the firing of nerve endings in her spine or blood flow pulsing down through her body. She reached back and touched his leg. The pressure of his lips on her neck increased as he pulled the belt loop and moved inside the front of her jeans. The embrace became a tight clutch of two bodies…
“Hey SEVEN!”  a knuckle rapped on the plastic cubicle wall. She regained her senses and whipped her head around.

“Huh, uhh, what,” she blurted as she jerked her head around to see her co-worker,Lacey, snapping fingers in her face.

            “What the hell are you thinking about?  Must be good, whatever it is.”

            “ What’s up Lacey?”

            "Just thought I would  see if you wanna come hang out at Chaunceys. Workday’s over. Wanna  come  for a few?”

            “Oh, I don’t know..”

“You and Brad got plans tonight?”

            “No, no plans. Not with Brad anyway.”

            “Uh oh.  Problems?”

            “The usual. After dating  for three years, it happens you know. ”

            “Well, okay. Call me later if you change your mind.”

            “Alright, you guys have fun.  See you.”

            Saffron Seven Martelle turned around and put her elbows on the desk and dropped her chin into both palms. She went by Seven, the middle name her father gave her because it was his lucky number.  Her first name was her mother’s favorite spice.  The “you’re a spicey little number, aren’t you” one liner got really old.  She did not like either name, but hated being called “Daffy Saffy” enough that she chose the less embarrassing  Seven moniker, then shortened it to Sev or Sevie.
Her thoughts returned to the encounter two years ago with the man in her dizzying day dream and she felt her mouth curve into a smile. It was a networking event at a bar and a missed phone call, and a wrong number.  She looked at the ringing cell phone sitting on the bar and shook her head. He turned, still just a handsome stranger then, and looked down at  the phone,  then up at her.

“You’re boyfriend’s calling,” he said, pointing at the phone.

“It’s not my boyfriend,” she replied, an indirect invitation, meaning he was good looking enough for her not to mention she actually had one.

 They talked for 45 minutes, the chemistry of attraction mixing between them; a science experiment with plenty of adrenaline, estrogen and testosterone.
She retreated to the restroom. A  minute later, he followed. She walked out of the restroom surprised to find him leaning against the hallway wall.  She’d nearly bumped into him.

Hi,” she said

“Hi, yourself.”

The expression on his face stole her breath and she felt heat rise to her cheeks. The touch of his hands on her shoulder sent her pulse skittering  and he leaned in closer.. His languid gaze drew her near. . He stood still closer and stared longer. The unwritten rule on personal space/time was “over5/under 6”. She anticipated what was coming.  His stare under six inches away wasover 5 seconds long,. It was a question mark at first, the kiss. Then an acknowledgement.  Then an affirmation.
                The encounter and exchange lasted three hours, but the time passed without them noticing it, clinging to it, or measuring it. There were no plans or expectations in her head for the two years of  recurring daydreams and the imagined reunions that followed.  The moments spent with this man were a paradox of paradise in her memory, where nothing was wrong and nothing was lost. Mournful regret was not for the indiscretion or the guilt afterwards. It was not the wasted time or the expended affection.  There was regret in the brevity of the dalliance; it just ended too soon.
She believed the past could no longer inform her of anything relevant.  She was done with it; but it wasn’t done with her. She wanted to justify the encounter, to tear a shred of purpose from it, to make it mean something beyond what it was; a brief encounter with the emotional teeth of a T-Rex. But it was always simple and basic when boiled down to the naked truth; the heat of two bodies, and a mystical carnal longing for a stranger who had not yet been made imperfect by the past.
                Seven picked up her things and made her way to the elevator. Maybe I should go have a few drinks. She kept that thought in her head all the way through the lobby of the giant office building, out the glass doors and onto the city sidewalk. She began walking toward Chancey’s after talking herself out of it twice. She stopped at the corner, paused and stood looking in shocked bewilderment. With her hand on her mouth, she gazed down the sidewalk at him, fifty feet away. After two years, there he was. 

Now readers, it's your turn! Use that red pencil.


C. A. Szarek said...

Ohhhh, it's even better than it was at the Critter's meet! I love it. Can't wait for more, or my turn! :)

George said...

This beginning is a writerly suitcase packed with everything anyone one will need to weather the continuation. Good job, Jeff.

Thorne said...

What a great start for a romance.We're into her fantasy right away. Not sure I understood the 5/6 rule regarding distance. It sort of jerked me out the moment. Looking forward to where this story is going.

Ladson said...

Many writing books say to avoid using a cliche opening sequence. Dreams or nightmares from which the character suddenly awakens, huge storms that are frightening and foreboding, daydreaming characters, and more have all been used so many times that readers are sick of them.Cliche openings feel familiar and formulaic. Of Course, there's a book called The Secret Life of Walter Mitty that is nothing but the daydreams of a henpecked husband. All of this being said, the beginning did hook me.

J.A. Bennett said...

This was an awesome beginning Jeff, especially for what you intended. You left lots of openings for the story to go places!

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