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Phoenix Lazarus 04-01-2017 12:39 PM

Untitled Fragment
'So, you known Mike long, then?'

The younger man spoken to looked as if he was mulling something over, as he stared past the questioner. To the left of the tall, greying man, a female couple by the large fireplace were talking animatedly over their drinks. Finally, the shorter man sipped his own wine, smacked his lips appreciatively, then answered:

'Longer than this party, but not as long as I've lived,' he declared, finally. The elder of the talking couple looked a little nonplussed.

'Four years, actually.' The addition was accompanied with a disarming smile, and the man facing the speaker seem to relax. He took a gulp from his glass of beer, and licked the neatly trimmed strip of hair above his mouth.

'We met when I came to work at the same company, doing admin-oh sorry!'. The last two words were prompted as a middle-aged lady excused herself to get by, in the crowded front room.

'Thanks, John,' said the woman, as the man moved.

There was another pause, as long as the one after the last question. Mike's workmate regarded the blazer, shirt, tie and immaculately creased cotton trousers of the facing man and reflected it was really a rather formal get-up to attend a house-warming party in. He had heard the man before he saw him, as he had approached from behind, talking to Mike. Looking at him had just confirmed the second's picture formed by the carefully-enunciated posh plummy tones.

'Lived here long yourself?'

'Thirty years-actually, no. Make that thirty-one.'. There was a burst of laughter from a group by the table, where a small buffet sat. Hilarity and answer to John seemed coincidental, not connected.

'Must be happy here, then?'

'Oh yes. Lovely little street. Kept it's character. Not like a lot of other areas I could name.' A look of faint distaste appeared upon the speaker's face, and was audible in his tone.

'Mike joked that he'd be fighting off loan sharks and bailiffs after moving here!'. John laughed.

'Oh, I'm sure the property values are high, but you know the old saying, you get what you pay for.'

In the corner, John saw a short, roundly built, man with a tight head of strawberry-blond curls chatting to a young woman. Mike seemed highly jovial and animated. His interlocutor looked bored. Neither were particularly unusual events.

moonpunter 04-01-2017 04:52 PM

OK, is this the beginning, somewhere in the middle, the end? I don't really see any grammar problems but story-wise this is just a fairly mundane conversation.

Myers 04-02-2017 08:34 AM

Hey, P.L.

There are reasons to start a story with a line of dialog, but this doesn't seem to be one of them -- I think the line needs to be somewhat compelling and say something about the characters or what's about to happen.

The P.O.V. here just seems to be very fuzzy, along with who's talking and to whom. You seem to mention people for no apparent reason, the female couple, middle aged lady etc. You also seem to be using rather superficial physical attributes to establish your characters.

Overall, I think you need to do a better job setting the scene -- and establishing who is who.

I'm not able to sort things out exactly or where you are headed -- but I'd probably start more like this:

This was the last thing John (or whoever) wanted to do on a Friday night -- go to a housewarming party for someone he barely knew. He'd planned on hitting the clubs with his new coworkers, and maybe hooking with one of the girls in customer service. But at least he could have a free drink or two before cutting out at the earliest opportunity.

He walked into the room unnoticed and tried to spot someone he recognized.

An older gentleman who looked full of himself and way overdressed for the occasion in a navy blazer and dress slacks nodded and smiled at him. John thought he recognized the man from the office, one of the c-level managers up on the sixth floor.

"So, have you known Mike long then?" the man asked in an overly posh tone.

etc. etc.

The details are probably way, way off for your story, because it's hard for me to see what's actually going on or where you are going. But maybe you can get the idea.

I've set the scene, started to build the characters and I've established some conflict -- all in the first few lines.

Yes, that's fairly boilerplate advice -- but mainly I'm suggesting you try a little harder to see your story from the perspective of the reader. Make things less ambiguous and give them some incentive to keep reading...


IanG 04-03-2017 03:09 AM

There isn't much plot as yet, but perhaps that's because its such a brief extract. Nonetheless I like the descriptive style. When the middle-aged woman struggles to get past, that's a nice, plausible detail.

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