Mark Terry

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tell Me What You Think

December 5, 2006
Over on PJ Parrish's Cabbages & Kings blog she's been doing BookyNoise for a while, letting us folks toss out our openers for readers to comment upon. As I mentioned earlier, I'm working on the 4th Derek Stillwater novel and I'm playing with another novel, THE-NOVEL-TO-BE-NAMED-LATER. It's taking on a life of its own and I'm getting kind of geeked about it, so I thought I'd do my own BookyNoise and toss out the opener and you guys can tell me what you think. Would you want to read on?

* * *
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The traitor ran and Monaco Grace went after him. She had been hunting him for a week, watching him as he moved from his apartment to the government offices of the Jabatan Riskan Persekutuan, the Federal Intelligence Department of the Malaysian government.

Monaco didn’t think the JRP trusted Christopher Augustine. It had taken her two full days to figure out their surveillance routines, mostly because they were so damned sloppy she couldn’t believe it. Somebody kept an eye on him at all times, but most
of the time it was a single person in a vehicle outside whatever building he was in. Either they didn’t think he was in much danger or they didn’t much care.

The truth was, he was in grave danger. From her.

The United States government had made a formal appeal to the Malaysian government for Christopher Augustine’s return to the states for trial, along with the prototype computer chip he had stolen from a National Security Agency facility where he had been employed as a computer engineer.

The Malaysian government had responded by indicating they knew nothing about Christopher Augustine.

When it became clear that the Malaysian government was protecting Augustine and had every intention of utilizing the chip for their own uses, Alex Bright, Monaco’s boss in the CIA's Special Operations Division, had slapped a TOP SECRET folder on her desk and said, “You’re going to KL and you’re teaching the fucking Malaysians a thing or two about screwing with us.”



Well?

Best,
Mark Terry

9 Comments:

Anonymous gregory huffstutter said...

I think this is an effective opening, but could use some minor tweaking.

The strongest paragraphs are #3 and #6. By the time you hit the end of #6 you’ve built up a sense of purpose and momentum.

I liked the opening sentence, but you didn’t quite pay it off in the rest of the paragraph. When you say the traitor ‘ran’, you’re expecting Monaco to be mid-pursuit, jumping over fences, sprinting across a parking lot… not sitting in a car as the traitor ‘moved’ between his home and government office.

Secondly, I was briefly confused between paragraphs #1 and #2 as to Christopher Augustine being the traitor. I think it was because I was digesting several names in succession: Monaco Grace, Jabatan Riskan Persekutuan, Federal Intelligence Department of the Malaysian government. How about if you were to move up his identity slightly and move down the description of the JRP?

“The traitor ran and Monaco Grace went after him. She had been hunting Christopher Augustine for a week, watching as he high-tailed it between his shabby apartment to the government offices of the Jabatan Riskan Persekutuan.

Monaco didn’t think the JRP -- the Federal Intelligence Department of the Malaysian government -- trusted Augustine.”


Or… what if you were to make it a more immediate scene… with Monaco actively watching Christopher?

“The traitor ran and Monaco Grace went after him.

Christopher Augustine ducked around a rickshaw, side-stepped a pair of goats, and waved down a passing taxi – paying the 3 riggit fare to drop him at a satellite office of the Jabatan Riskan Persekutuan.

Monaco never let Augustine get more than 2 blocks ahead, weaving her 50cc scooter thru pedestrian traffic when necessary. She had been hunting Augustine for a week, and didn’t think the JRP -- the Federal Intelligence Department of the Malaysian government -- trusted him.

It had taken her two full days to figure out their surveillance routines, mostly because they were so damned sloppy she couldn’t believe it…”

Hope this helps!

11:10 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

It does Greg, and that's why I asked. I wasn't following my own advice and promptly jumped backwards when I should have jumped forward.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

Seemed effective to me in hinting at a lot mystery and conflict but I have to pass trying to give advice. I just don't analyze writing enough -- either while reading or writing -- to really say anything much helpful. I will say, I did have the same thought Greg mentioned of putting some action in there before the explanation, but it sounds intriguing.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

It's entirely possible I--and Greg--are thinking too much. I totally rewrote it and I'll have to give it some time to see if I could have just added a couple sentences after the first one to make it work without rewriting it. Or, I could be happy enough with the re-write.

My only issue with the first version is essentially what Greg said, that it's a nice opening line, but I promptly start explaining.

So I changed the hit from the Hard Rock Cafe Kuala Lumpur (yep, it's there) to the KL Chinatown which is a big tourist area with markets and vendors of all sorts.

And just FYI, both involve Monaco's problem with the fact the traitor has his 8-year-old daughter with him (in either location) and her refusal to kill him in front of his daughter, although she has no compunction about killing him otherwise.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous spyscribbler said...

And just FYI, both involve Monaco's problem with the fact the traitor has his 8-year-old daughter with him (in either location) and her refusal to kill him in front of his daughter, although she has no compunction about killing him otherwise.

Wow! I love that! Can you start with that scene? That's just full of gut-grabbing emotional and physical conflict, action, and intrigue.

I have to admit, I have the attention span of a flea. I just can't follow all those names at once. Are you still working out the plot and stuff in your head? Maybe that's why you're including all the explaining, 'cause you're explaining to yourself?

I read the beginning of Devil's Pitchfork (would you believe someone not only took it off my table while I got a coffee, but then had the audacity to buy it out from under me???) and over-explaining isn't like you! Don't worry, I asked my whole family for Border's giftcards. Hehehehehe ...

3:41 PM  
Blogger Aimless Writer said...

Love the opening line as I want to see more. Lots of names thrown in at first so I really have to pay attention. I'd like more "show" and less "tell" to pull me along.
Otherwise great beginning!

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