I use a frame on this one, so the first 13 lacks any fantasy element. I'm looking more for readers than comments, but anything is appreciated.
“She was ready to run away with me, once.” The small man in the overcoat sat at the bar sipping almost pure grenadine. Bernie slid a mug to one of the regulars. Tonight was the first he had seen the small man. “You sure you don’t want something harder than that?” “This is fine, thank you.” His shoulders twitched under his coat. Bernie glanced at the clock. Getting near closing, and rain kept the crowds away. The tip jar held only a few ones. Charlotte would have to wait until after their anniversary for him to scrounge enough for those pearls. He pushed the jar to the small man. “What’s your name?” “Mahny.”
“She was ready to run away with me, once.” The small man in the overcoat sat at the bar sipping almost pure grenadine. I'd reverse the order of these two sentences. Put the action first, followed by the dialogue, and lose the "almost pure". The small man in the overcoat sat at the bar sipping grenadine. I think that's a great opening line.
Charlotte would have to wait until after their anniversary for him to scrounge enough for those pearls. Changing this to Charlotte would have to wait until after their anniversary for those pearls. would make it easier to read.
Otherwise, I think it's a good balance of enough information to set the scene without overloading the reader.
Grenadine is the red cherry (pomegranate) syrup used for Shirley Temples, Tequila Sunrises and a thousand other terrible tasting drinks. It is a very common ingredient for mixed drinks; right up there with orange juice, 7-up, and triple sec.
I'm not sure how common the word is, I know just about everyone around me knows the term. Then again we are all heavy drinkers.
quote:sipping almost pure grenadine
This got a little lost on me. Is he having a Shirley Temple (soda and grenadine) or is he having a really watered down drink? The phrase didn't give me a good perspective on the guy's current state. I couldn't tell if he was really drunk, really frugal, or just weird.
This wasn't a stopping issue for me, just something that perked my attention. As a reader I would be expecting some sort of explanation later.
quote:He pushed the jar to the small man.
This lost me. I've never seen a bartender pressure someone to tip. Is that what is happening? Is this a custom in some places? Or is the bartender being rude?
[This message has been edited by halogen (edited March 07, 2008).]
Looks like you had plenty of reading volunteers, but I thought I'd just weigh in with this: in my opinion you've got enough colorful detail here that since people usually come to a story with a bit of background (even if it's an agent who's just read a pitch or the cover art) I'd hold out for the fantastic elements. Though I read urban fantasy betimes and generally you have very familiar settings that weird out in those novels. ^_^
I didn't know what grenadine was, but I assume I'd have other character developing details to fill that in. Lossa people have recognized it, too. I'd say, no worries. People who do know will get the right picture.