Wednesday, December 14, 2011

First Pages Would You Read On? hosted by Diana Flegal

As we approach Christmas, I pray your chores are done and you are freed up to enjoy all of the wonderful things offered this joyous season. Please leave your comments and let us know if you would read on.
"What kind of person voluntarily dives into thirty-three degree water in the middle of winter?" Aleni plunged the syringe into the warm IV line and rolled her eyes. "A hot one." Christie smiled at the blue-lipped patient sprawled across the bed as she checked his vitals once again. “Guess he should have been even hotter.” She giggled. The pathetic stab at humor brought another eye roll from Aleni, who didn’t have time to play nice when people intentionally put themselves in jeopardy.
“Yeah, well this hottie almost died. Not exactly my idea of the smartest holiday adventure. My time and yours is better spent taking care of real patients: heart attacks, kidney stones, gunshots, and this guy adds to our schedule because he walked into danger on purpose. So here I am, pulling another double and the hospital insists I personally hold his hand. If he wanted attention, he should have signed on for the holiday production of I'm an Idiot at Christmastime." 
 "S-sorry if I...inconve-n,,,"
 Aleni sighed and shook her head. Not her most professional moment, or personal one, for that matter. Benzodiazepine usually kicked in quicker. An apology was in order. “Don’t try and talk. I’m rambling here. Been a long day.”

Last week’s entry was offered by author Cliff Keller. Cliff and his wife Marcia live in Jerusalem. He appreciates all of your comments and found them very helpful. Visit Cliff at his blog, Standing at the Gate, where he writes about life in Jerusalem.


Timothy Fish said...

No, I would not. I think the big thing is that it comes across as preachy. It seems like the author is on a soapbox about people putting themselves in danger. Rather than attempting to persuade us, the author rails on people who put themselves in harm’s way.

In addition, it isn’t a particularly interesting scene. It is essentially two women shooting the breeze at work. Go to any workplace and you’ll find people doing that.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Yes, I would. I want to discover what happens to the guy, and how he and the nurse get together in the end, which I assume is how the story will finish.

The one thing I'd change is narrating via dialogue. The other nurese already knows everything the first nurse is telling her, so this kind of narration comes across as a bit contrived.

But I like the story and characters so far, and it's a good opening hook. Keep writing, whomever you are!

Jeanette Levellie said...

Oops--I mean nurse, not nurse.

Kathryn Elliott said...

Yes - but I agree with Jeanette. Little less narrating.

Sharon A. Lavy said...

Giggle. I have already read the book, so obviously I would read on. =)

Katherine Hyde said...

I'm not crazy about jumping into dialogue like this. I probably wouldn't read on.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Aren't we funny in our preferences? I like dialogue in the first paragraph; it pulls me into the MC's outlook.

Perhaps becuase I'm a talker? Don't answer that.

Anonymous said...

For me- I can see the movie rolling...

Terry Burns said...

I prefer dialogue too. If you think of it as a play narration is an off stage announcer talking to the audience while the actors wait to deliver their lines. I like for the actors to get me involved immediately, then let the narrator fill in as it goes.

Anonymous said...

I would definitely read on. Like Aleni, I want to know why this guy would do such a thing. Someone evil run him off the road? Rescuing someone? If it's a suicide attempt, I probably wouldn't read on once I found that out.

I think it would be very natural for the nurses to talk with each like this, speculate, joke, etc.

However, you could make Aleni more concerned. She would need to know exactly what happened so the MD could treat him properly (call the psych, call the police, find out why he suddenly went dizzy, etc.) You could add a touch of backstory to ensure that that she doesn't come across as heartless. Maybe something like this:

"She didn't have time to play nice when someone intentionally put themselves in jeopardy. Her mind suddenly filled with thoughts of her husband, but she pushed them back."


"The pathetic stab at humor brought another eye roll from Aleni, who didn’t have time to play nice when people intentionally put themselves in jeopardy." This sentence is in the second nurse's POV. Since Aleni is the scene's POV character, it should read, "Aleni again rolled her eyes at the pathetic stab at humor. She didn't have time to play nice when people intentionally put themselves in jeopardy."


Timothy Fish said...

I've got no problem with a book beginning with dialog. But here, the dialog seems like it is coming from the narrator rather than one of the visible characters. "What kind of person voluntarily dive iving thirty-three degree water in the middle of winter?" is a mouthful that seems better suited for written English than spoken English. It is a stretch to read that line aloud without pausing to take a breath.

Millie Samuelson said...

If the paragraphing were corrected, I might read on. If not, if left as is, it's difficult to follow the dialog. Plus, I personally prefer stories that don't abruptly open with dialog. I like knowing where "I am" as the story begins. Some good editing advice above. . . Christmas Advent blessings! :-)

Linda Glaz said...

Have to agree with Timothy, that paragraph reads like a laundry list of ER emergencies. But I love openings with dialogue as long as they jump right into what's happening.