Fastball

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I began my April Fool's Day post--the one where I put forward a faux novel idea--with the admonition that I am a "don't let the fizz out of the bottle" kind of guy when it comes to story ideas.  That statement was and still is true.

I also promised to reveal details of my recently commenced WIP before week's end.  My week starts on Monday. 

*shrugs shoulders*

So this is me letting the fizz out of the bottle.  I'm not sure why this makes me so nervous; maybe it's my suspicious nature; maybe I possess a heightened fear of oversharing.  Maybe my brain is mis-firing (wouldn't be the first time!).

Regardless, I think getting a few of these preliminary thoughts out is a good idea, even if it does feel like it goes against the grain.

My WIP is called "First Man (working title)" and takes place in a fictional district of Baghdad in 2005.  Here's my elevator pitch:
It's 2005.  Staff Sergeant James Carlson and his men are losing a vicious war in the streets of Baghdad.  As summer wears on, Carlson begins to wonder how to clutch victory from the jaws of defeat.  Then Michael Sedo, a young Private with the ability to ___________________, joins the fighting.  With Sedo onboard, can Carlson turn the tide of battle, or will Sedo's strange ability tear Carlson's unit apart?
On advice of counsel, I am not at this moment going to reveal Sedo's ability.  It's sort of the special sauce, and revealing that truly does feel like giving away the keys to the kingdom.

In the interest of full disclosure, here's the beginning of the text--still rough, mind you:

First Man (working title)
(c) 2010 Jon Paul

Prologue

    RULE NUMBER ONE: If you're the first man through the door and you spot a chucklehead with a weapon: take 'em out. Shoot first, ask questions later. Literally. You may not like it, but that's the rule.

    Say you bust through that door and you find some Hajji standing there gawking at you, but there’s an assault rifle or nine-mil within reach: pull the trigger. It doesn't matter who they are--Grandma, Goldilocks, Mama Bear, or Papa Bear. The quicker you pull the trigger, the less chance they have to get a shot off and the less chance they have to take out you or your squadmate. Shoot first, ask questions later. Anything else and you're not doing your job.

*****
Any thoughts on the pitch or the prologue?  Let's have some fun with this while we're at it: any guesses on what Sedo's ability is?

10 bolts from the blue:

Elaine AM Smith said...

Jaspify? Affect the mood of others around him?

propinquity said...

I think Sedo might have the ability to become invisible. He could enter a potentially dangerous situation, scope things out, maybe even disarm the enemy to some extent. It could prove very useful.

I liked your pitch. It had a strong hook. But when I read your prologue, I wondered how it was being presented. Was he writing this to someone? Speaking it to someone? Thinking it? I felt like it needed that clarification so as to be better anchored to your story, in my opinion.

All if it was beautifully written. I wish I could have read more. But a little tease is better than nothing! ;) Thanks for sharing it!

Charmaine Clancy said...

I want to see you weave in the ability to make macramé weapons. I think that's a skill that's long due for a comeback. Good start :-)

M. Gray said...

Ooh ooh! I see you're reading The Book Thief! I love that book!

Claire Dawn said...

The prologue creeped me out. I think that's one of those books which I would really want to put down the entire time I was reading it, but not be able to...

Re Sedo's ability, I was wondering is it supernatural or not? That swings the book from war to fantasy.

Travener said...

Sedo's ability: to speak Arabic? To tell jokes in Kurdish?

Donna Hole said...

Sedo's ability: see more than 12 seconds into the future?

Love the voice here. This guy is not an optimist; almost cynical in his realism. But still retains a sense of humor, and a small grip on his sanity.

It also lets me know the MC is going to come against a serious moral issue; some personal code of honor.

Soldiers are neato. Special forces make for good reading. Special forces and paranormal abilities; well that's probably the best reading.

Interesting pitch and prologue. Can't wait to see how it turns out in the novel.

........dhole

Eric W. Trant said...

Good opening dialogue. Punchy and unapologetic. Foreshadows fast-paced action scenes without a lot of foo-fooey man-o-logues.

Another poster mentioned this: Power is super-natural or not? I assume it is battle-worthy.

SN would be extra-sensory ability to feel what is on the other side of the door. Not a visual sensation, or something Sedo can put into words, but a gut-instinct that over time proves infallible. The guys start calling him Sabe, Spanish for He knows, because they have no freaking clue how he does it, but it disturbs them when he seems to know more about not only the enemy, but about his fellow soldiers. Very believable without chunking the reader.

Non SN would be his ability to spearhead and clear with sometimes disturbing efficiency. He seems to enjoy it just a little too much.


- Eric

Jon Paul said...

Elaine--I'm intrigued: what does "jaspify" mean?

Propinquity--Ooh, invisibility. I hadn't thought of that. Good thinking, but not it. On the voice of the text, I agree. It's one of the problems with my prologue--in fact I am still trying to decide whether I even want a prologue or not. Since it passes key information needed in the first scene of Chapter One, it seems necessary, but I've been debating with myself to see if I can fit it in later. We'll see.

M.--I'm liking it so far!

Claire--Yeah, I guess the ability could be classified as SN--so I guess fantasy it is.

Travener--Speak Arabic? That's too unbelievable, although the Kurdish jokes might work.

Donna--Clairvoyance = another good choice! Thanks for the compliments! I hope it turns out well also.

Eric--It's SN but I do plan on keeping it extremely realistic and not drifting off into a lot of hyperbole. I think the realism will rely on the ability being not something huge, but something small--a slight advantage that turns the tide when used properly.

Wow! I loved all your comments and ideas. Makes me feel like this WIP is off to a good start. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment!

Lola Sharp said...

Ohhhh, SN ability, intrigue!

I look forward to reading more.

Waddaya wanna say?

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