WIPs, I need opinions!!!!

I am having a writer’s dilemma:  I have two works in progress and I have decided if I am to get either one of them finished in a timely manner, I am going to have to choose which one to deeply dedicate myself to.  The first one is a mystery murder/drama which may actually evolve into a series.  It is told by the Governor’s lover, a gay man who despises the Governor’s wife.  This one is very serious with little humor.

The second one is a sort of autobiography; the names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty.  It is told in the first person.  It is the life of an orphan who has matured into adulthood.  My life has not been a mundane one and it has some very exciting characters and events. While it has some very serious moments there is ultimately more humor in this second one

Read, if you will, the two opening few paragraphs and tell me in comments which one peaks your interest most.  Which one, if either, makes you want to read more right away?  They are very different.  The first one is set in Orlando, Fl., a bit in Chicago and quite a bit in Washington, DC.  The second one is set in New York City initially, but progresses back to GA and then to Florida.

 

One:

 

Delgado was not a name former Florida Governor Timothy Harrison would have chosen for his only son, had that choice been his exclusively. It was merely a Democratic political device of the times, and a Latin family name of his late and only wife, Maria E. Bohling-Harrison, chosen and insisted upon by her at their son’s birth, 33 years ago.

Maria was of mixed decent, with a Puerto Rican mother and an Irish father, but her Hispanic phenotype was unquestionable.  She was a dark and richly radiant beauty.

No red hair, but her fighting Irish spirit as well as her peppery Latina voice were clearly recognizable genotypes.  Although calm and composed in general public appearances, privately she most often displayed fiery temperament.

Living vicariously close as observer in those early years of Governor Tim’s second career, I was a young and impressionable man in awe of it all, the splendor of idealistic illusion.

Tim’s first career had been one of engineering, until that time, when he had been promoted to the point of actually ceasing to engineer anything but managing, instead, those in Civil Engineering who continued to work in the field.  The frustrations of such management were met with savvy political skill and relatively easily quelled despite the presenting problems of a population explosion in the new millennium of Central Florida.  Law, as a career choice, and the politics thereof, had initially been no more than hobby on the heels of his aging parents healing processes and the dealings with various condescending doctors during those processes.

It was during our last year in Law School at Barry University, and with all of the turbulent successes of that year and the years that followed, that Gov. Tim and myself were drawn together as friends and colleagues.  He was a young man then, at 43 years.  Not that I realized such at the time, being a younger man still at 23.

Two:

In one smooth motion, I clicked off the safety and pulled the hammer back on the little pearl handled Saturday night special and fired.  The bullet grazed the shoulder of the Wolfman Jack “wanna be” and hit the headboard just beside his friend, Johnny’s, head.  I could have hit his heart if I had wanted too.  I had not hesitated to use the gun.  On my grandmother’s back porch back in Georgia when I was four years old, I was shooting squirrels out of the pecan trees and skinning them for breakfast at the age of four.  I knew how to use a gun.

The gunshot brought a scurry of people up the stairs.  From the inside of the locked room I could hear people screaming for the key.  I was standing on top of a table, in my stilettos and evening gown, where the Wolfman Jack like character and his friend, the greasy long haired near toothless  Johnny, had been telling me to dance a performance for them.  I had feigned some moves and was trying furiously to inconspicuously unlock the window so I could escape when the Wolfman Jack guy leaned forward to approach the table.  That’s when I kicked his jacket in his direction and saw the glint of the gun hanging out of its pocket.

Nick was the first person through the door.  He snatched me by my long blonde hair and jerked me down from the table by the hair of my head.  I dropped the gun and scrambled to get my footing in the high heels.  It was only a matter of seconds before I was being dragged down the stairs, through the kitchen, out of the back door, and into the yard.  At least two dozen people stood watching; roughly one third of the party, and Nick proceeded to rip the evening gown from my body.  I stood naked and bare foot in the back yard in front of God, the Devil, and everyone else.  I was bruised and scratched when he was done.  I had fought back, but at 5’5” and barely a hundred pounds soaking wet, I was no match for him.  The party was over for me, and I was glad.

28 thoughts on “WIPs, I need opinions!!!!

  1. When I read your intro I had already decided that I wanted to read the first one…however when I read the first paragraphs’ I changed my mind. I would prefer to read the second one. Don’t know if that helps at all? 🙂

  2. Thanks for your comment. Very much appreciated. That’s so funny! Hahahaha, herein lies my dilemma. I am actually having more fun with the second. I am much farther along with the first, but it is a slow and painstaking process requiring much research. It also bores me from time to time, even though it is a very good story. It is either going to be very long, or I am going to need to break it up into a series. The second requires less research because so very much is written from personal experience. There is not a boring moment in it so far, and looking back, there were some hilarious times that did not seem so funny, but are in retrospect. The second could probably be finished before the first. I started the second because everyone who knows the story of my life kept saying (and still says) “You should really write a book!”

  3. Sounds like you should go with #2 – based on the following words from your comment:
    “fun, hilarious, funny, finished”
    vs. the #1 words –
    “slow, painstaking, bores me”

    🙂

    • Its funny, my wordpress friends are leaning toward the second and my facebook friends are leaning toward the first, but the votes aren’t all in yet. The first book definitely isn’t boring, but the research require for it is.

      • My vote was cast completely from the angle of what you seemed to be enjoying the most at this point in time – Life’s too Short to engage in drudgery on purpose and often, what is seen as drudgery today may be just what we need for joy sometime down the road – 🙂

        • Thanks for your comments and point of view. I am rather enjoying writing both of them. The problem is that I don’t multi-task all that well. I have so very many prep papers for both books that this start getting lost on my desk and in the computer if I try to do too much at the same time, and my mind can’t juggle these very different stories at once. One is deep and requires reflective thought while the other is on the surface and is more action than thought. I know that I definitely have to put one aside until the other is at least first drafted. I am in the process of cleaning off my desk right now and this could take half the day.

  4. I’ll throw my vote in for the 2nd one, too, although I admit, I have a difficult time reading about rape, or what sounds like a setting for rape. It’s the immediacy of the voice in the 2nd one that got me. The 1st sounds interesting, but also like a more distant, slower story. I also agree that life is short, thus, work on the story you feel the most engaged with now 😉

    • I think now maybe I can change the tempo of the first one getting out of the gate. I agree that it starts off dry. I like reading in the the first person, like my writing is in the second example. It is also easier for me to write in the first person. I am curious to see how writing from the perspective of a gay man comes out though. I joke with my husband that I am a gay man trapped in a woman’s body. He laughs because he says I am assuming that he is gay, but that’s not it…he’s just sensitive. My former husband is gay. He is a very nice person, and I knew him intimately. See the example of the first opening rewritten in comments and see if that garbs you better for a murder mystery.

    • That’s good. I could finish it first and that’s what my blogger friends seem to be leaning toward. I thought about my facebook friends and why they are leaning toward the other one…I think it may be because they might be some of the innocent or guilty mentioned in the book! HA!

  5. I usually work on the thing that is speaking to me the loudest, but sometimes it’s not that obvious. If you think the first one can become a series, that might be a practical choice to concentrate on, since series are always potentially popular. That opening is pure exposition, though, so you could rewrite it to catch the reader’s attention (as you do in the second one), then fit the exposition in as you go.

    • Thanks. From strictly a business point of view, I am thinking the first might be the way to go. Which means setting aside all this personal stuff which is fresh in my mind and getting back to the deep and reflective thought the other requires.

    • Rewrite of opening for number one: It was a vulgar crime. The children lay sleeping on the back seat while the criminals abducted, murdered, then urinated on their prey, leaving her dead body on the front seat of her Mercedes in a pool of blood. Torn grocery bag, busted gallon of milk, loaf of bread, doughnuts, cereal box scattered between the dumpster and the car. It appeared that she had fought them off furiously. Apparently, abducted before actually reaching the supposed safety of her vehicle, she had attempted to find refuge there in escape. The perpetrators of this crime were brutal, far more hostile in their display of enmity than I could have been. Though, there were tormenting times when I thought myself to have conjured them, to have called them up from deep sub consciousness.
      Eerie it was, to see the photos of her sprawled there on the car seat looking so helplessly frail. She was stabbed seven times in the chest. Dread locks lay loosely in a right hand that was once so tightly clinched in fight that her own nails marked her palm. Her wedding ring was missing from the left hand. Her purse and cell phone were gone. The cross she wore around her neck had been taken.
      There was some talk among authorities that she had been sexually assaulted as well, but it was such a difficult scene to imagine in the side parking lot of a 7-11 at near midnight. DNA from hair and urine samples taken at the scene matched, but did not match the semen samples, giving rise to the notion of at least two, or more, abductors. None of them were either one of us.

      Would this work better as an opening? To get right to the grit of the murder and then explain relationships later?

        • Thanks for the input. This is the first one I started writing a few years ago and then put aside. I really would like to finish it. I think I can shift some things around and get a handle on this thing now.

      • Wow, yeah, this is so different from the first opening 🙂 Right away I want to know, who is “I” and why would “I” be considered as one of the abductors, what the hell is going on? Why would “I” have access to the crime scene photos? Well, now I think you have to do this one 🙂

        • It is amazing how much interest in a book can come from either the book description or the first page. Thank you so very much for your input. It has really made a difference in confidence about this piece. I shelved it because I wasn’t sure I really carried the credentials that so many good writers have for crime/mystery murder. Lawyers, psychologists, detectives and former law enforcement authorities…then I got to reading some bios and I thought…you know what, I can do this, maybe better, ER nursing is no walk in the park!.

          • ER nursing? What stories you must have! A friend of mine is a respiratory therapist at a local hospital which might at first sound boring, but he has had to assist with murder victims and the like. And since this is a relatively small city, he knows most people that come through the hospital. You might want to pick up a book on forensics though to make sure you get the details just right :). I’ve been corrected on my description of suicide by gunshot. I thought it was a minor detail, but actually it was enough to put the plausibility of my whole story into question.

          • That is one of the things I like most about the career of nursing, whenever I would get burned out…I would just move on to another area of the field. I have done about everything except OR, Labor and delivery, and orthopedics.

            • Good for you! I admire people who can work in the medical field. Unfortunately for me, I get light-headed at the sight of blood and I hate needles 😉

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