Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Would You Read On? hosted by Diana Flegal

Welcome once more to our weekly column: Would You Read On?
Please let us know if you are willing to read on by leaving a thoughtful comment for this courageous contributing author. At the close of this page you will find a reveal of last weeks contributor.

Prologue (Bangladesh, current day)

            Neena shrank back but Shazari stood firm. “Get away from us,” she hissed.
            Ahmad continued toward them, laughing off Shazari’s fury. “Your husband is dead. You have no income. Soon you will have no food.”
            His grin was sly, evil. “You know you have no other choice.”
            Neena backed against a large tree, trembling. “I will never marry you!” she shrieked. She flung an arm up to shield her face from his sight. “How could you even think I would want to marry you?”
            “Want to?”Ahmad shoved Shazari aside. She pummeled him with uselessly small fists as he drew closer to Neena, close enough for Neena to feel his hot breath against her.
            “It is completely unimportant to me what you want.”
            Neena was shaking violently. Her voice came out in a desperate whisper. “Then . . . why?”
            He gripped a handful of her long, silky hair. “I want to own you,” he said. His chest heaved. “I want your husband’s daughter to know that I won.”
            His voice rose. “I will exact my vengeance on her by destroying your future.”
            Neena slumped down against the tree. Where had Shazari gone? Where had God gone?
            “Let her go.”
            Neena’s head shot up. Rashid stood behind Ahmad, feet planted, a weapon in his hand.
            Shazari stood directly behind him. Her chin was up. Her eyes shot sparks. “We are not as helpless as you think.”
           Ahmad burst into laughter. “You think my weak little brother, who has never stood up for anything in his life, is going to help you?”
            Rashid pointed the gun at his brother. “Let her go, Ahmad. You have made my life miserable since I was a boy, but I will not let you do that to them. I’ve had enough.”
            Ahmad’s eyes blazed, but his gaze failed to force Rashid’s submission.
           Very slowly,Ahmad’s hand released Neena. She rushed around him to Shazari’s side. Both women huddled behind Rashid, taking small steps backward toward the path that led away from the village.
            Rashid backed away with them. “I will take you away from here,” he said. “I will stay with you until I am certain you are safe.”
            Neena, Shazari and Rashid fled the village. “We’ll go to Asha,” Shazari whispered to Neena.“She rescues women in danger. She will have a place for us.”
            “You will never be safe,” Ahmad called after them. “Do you hear me, Rashid? I will find you!”
            He slammed his palm into the tree, shouting words raw with hate. “No matter where you go, or how far, you will never get away from me.”
            Ahmad clenched his hand into a fist, closing fingers around a piece of bark and crumbling it into dust.  “I will have my revenge.”

Would you read on?

Last weeks contributor was Lisa Fowler. Be watching for more about Lisa as she develops her 'Platform'.


Timothy Fish said...

This one seems forced. Unfortunately, this page is one to which the "show, don't tell" admonition actually applies. Notice how Ahmad tells us the situation with his statement, "Your husband is dead. You have no income. Soon you will have no food."

Also, Ahmad seems fake. What villain stands around and discusses the merits of his villainy with his victims? True villains believe their actions are either justified or forced upon them. And if their actions are justified, they don't have to explain their actions. If their actions are forced on them, they are apologetic, but they do it anyway.

So, no, I would not continue reading.

Anonymous said...

No, I would not. It feels like we're opening in the middle of the story instead of in the beginning. Obviously there's been a lot of action happening, with the husband's death and with a daughter already opposing the villain. Then we have the villain's little brother who apparently knows the victims well enough to finally stand up for something. All of this leaves me wondering why the characters are behaving as they are in this scene. Why is Ahmad so bent on destroying the women's lives? Are the women courageous heroines or mere victims? Who is the little brother?

All-in-all, I feel too out of the loop to be interested in what happens next.

Lisa Fowler said...

Unlike the previous comments, I would probably read on - at least through the first chapter to see where the author goes with this.
I like the conflict however I do feel there is too much background contained within the first page. Perhaps holding back a bit on the "history" of the conflict would be helpful. Making your reader wonder "why" keeps them moving forward.

sally apokedak said...

I need to have a little more intro into these characters' lives to care about them before they are threatened. I can see there is conflict but I don't know the characters so it's kind of like watching a wreck on the freeway--I always hope no one is hurt, but I don't really care like I would if as I was driving by I noticed that one of the smashed cars was my neighbor's.

Who is the pov character? (There are two pov characters in this segment--Neena and Ahmad.) Maybe if the writer put this in Neena's pov and started with her packing to flee. Or doing some mundane task, but worrying and wondering how long she'll be able to stay when the food runs out...those kinds of things would be plenty of tension, I think.

It should also get rid of the need for the characters to tell each other things they already know, in an attempt to bring the readers up to speed.

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

I was confused at the beginning with the names of three people. I didn't know who Shazari was. I assumed this was the person Neena shrank from, but then Ahmad appeared. So I assumed she was a friend or daughter. Later it seemed apparent she was Neena's daughter, but not being clear who was who I found it harder to connect with the characters and care about their predicament.

I'd like to know a little more about them before this critical incident takes place. I want to have a reason to care for them.

Would I keep reading? Initially, I would have said no. But I went back to figure out who was who, and when I realized the dynamics, I thought the conflict was interesting. But they've escaped for now, so the tension isn't as high, so I could easily put it down and not feel like I was missing anything.


Michelle H. said...

I probably wouldn't read on. There was too much telling in the dialogue and in the descriptions. It also felt like the author was trying to give backstory without giving backstory in that the information dump came in the dialogue which just served to confuse me.

I was also thoroughly confused with keeping the characters straight. I'm still not sure what was meant by "your husband's daughter." Wouldn't that be her daughter as well?

With a little more development and this part perhaps moved to the middle or not right at the beginning, there could be hope for this...but it would take a lot of rework.

Cindy Sproles said...

I'd probably read through the chapter to find out what is going on. So in that sense, it would be yes. However, I'm a little lost. I'd like to know the characters, kinda have an idea why they're in this situation. But the conflict is good. Intense. Not bad, and nothing a little tweaking couldn't fix.

Caroline said...

I really liked the conflict and would read on a bit more; however, it does need some work and as Cindy says, some tweaking and a few good critique partners would help. You have talent, writer, so don't give up. Dig in, and you'll get there.