Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Comments From Would You Read On

A week ago, some of my work was on another site and today is the day that people should find out that it was my work and they may be clicking through to this site, so I thought I’d use this space to respond to some of their comments.

The general response seems to be that it piqued their interest, but they thought it drug on too much without going anywhere. I thought it was interesting that one person said it was realistic and another person thought I should do more research to find out how a security guard would actually respond in this situation. I have worked for more than one large company that has had guards posted at the front gate. I even did a small amount of work for the security department of the company I worked for in college. I cannot with any certainty say that this is the response you would get if you tried this at any one of the companies I’ve worked for, but I see this response as plausible at some company.

The problem may be that the scene is too realistic. Most security guards are nice people. They have a job to do, but they’d rather not ruin someone’s day. As one person noted, the guy approaching the guard is not a mastermind. It is more likely that he is a few bricks short of a load. He must be denied entry, obviously, but he might not be a threat, just someone so focused on getting inside that he isn’t thinking about how the guard might see it. But one person suggested that a bomb should go off inside. Sometimes, I think people watch way too much television. That is plausible, but it really doesn’t happen all that often.

While it may have fallen apart a little at the end, I think the comments show that I accomplished what I set out to accomplish. What I hoped to show was that a person could drop the reader into a simple everyday scene and with a slight increase in conflict turn it into something that interests the reader. What I expect the reader to be asking at this point is “what’s wrong with this guy?”

There are so many books these days that begin with something catastrophic. I’ve seen books begin with a tornado. Several books I’ve read begin with an automobile accident. But when I think of my favorite books, so many of them begin without gimmicks. Cynthia Voigt’s Homecoming begins with a woman asking her kids to stay in the car while she goes into the mall. Nothing is more ordinary than that. Parents do it all the time, once their kids are old enough. The only thing that adds conflict to this scene is that the kids don’t know why they stopped. It takes us several pages to realize that this is the last time these kids will see their mother. A car wreck simply cannot match the power of a scene like that.