The first time I saw the man with no face was on the 6th Avenue Express. It was just a fleeting glance, more of an impression than anything, a guy on the platform with smooth blank skin where eyes, nose, mouth should have been. But at the same time, he seemed to be looking at something – for something. His head craned around on a skinny neck, as if he were searching for someone. For me. “Did you see that?” I asked, not sure if I was creeped out or not. “Quinn, what was it?” said Mina. “See what?” She leaned her forehead against the plexiglass window, straining to see what it was that had upset me. In the reflection from the window, her bright blue eyes were dark and huge.
Nice opening. My only hitch came pretty late - where I figured (already! this is funny) that Mina would be more self-absorbed than this, and have to be pulled away from whatever she was looking at/thinking about. Know what I mean? Particularly the phrase "what it was that had upset me..." seemed a bit of a tell. Is this really where Mina's head is at? Maybe she's that tuned-in with the MC, or...is she?
I love that your opening led me to these deep questions about a secondary character's motivations. It means you're doing everything right. Keep at it, girl!
I agree that you probably need to decide on a reaction for the MC to express, or find a way to describe it as ambiguous (if he maybe shouldn't be creeped out, why is this faceless man normal enough not to be creepy?)
I did like the juxtaposition of those big eyes reflected in the glass, vs the faceless eyeless man. THAT was creepy.
Thanks for the feedback! Quinn's been 'ill' and Mina is quite worried about everything to do with her, but I may have the cart before the horse a little on that one. Hi, Kayti!
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Two little things: 1) I agree that your character should know if he's creeped out or not. It's too strong, too specific a term to be unsure about. 2) When Mina says, "Quinn, what is it?", the "Quinn" feels artificial. We don't actually say each others' names in conversation like that. Not much anyway. I think you're putting it in there to get the narrator MC's name out of the way, but it's pretty transparent. If someone's trying to get his attention, or maybe very angry, it's more natural. Otherwise figure out another way to introduce us to his name.
Otherwise, GREAT opening. Very intriguing and creepy. And of course I immediately wonder if he's the only one who sees this faceless guy, and when he's going to appear again.
Posts: 32 | Registered: Jan 2011
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hmm. I think the problem goes a little deeper than that. Quinn's a girl and I want that out before readers get a chance to picture the MC as a guy.
The first time I saw the man with no face was on the 6th Avenue Express. It was just a fleeting glance, more of an impression than anything, a guy on the platform with smooth blank skin where eyes, nose, mouth should have been. But at the same time, he seemed to be looking at something – for something. His head craned around on a skinny neck, as if he were searching for someone. For me. “Did you see that?” I burst out, feeling a chill run up my spine. “Quinn, what is it?” said Mina. She wasn't my best friend for nothing. She could read the fear in my voice. She leaned her forehead against the plexiglass window, trying to see what I was looking at.
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited January 31, 2011).]