Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What Do You Think: The Interactive Novel

I'm hijacking the blog for my literary endeavors. Without permission.

Sunday's New York Times had an article on the unpredictability of the publishing industry:
The Greatest Mystery: Making A Bestseller. The jist of the article is that publishers aren't good at guessing in advance what will sell, and the industry has surprisingly little feedback and interactive responses from its market.

So I thought, what if I try to see if I can get some feedback on Double Billing, my novel-of-the-moment, either use the feedback, or let prospective agents know that 50 million people read the first few pages and now want more? So here goes, the first chapter, the set up for the rest of the novel. If you want to make suggestions on how it would be better, please feel free to comment. If you're not a regular commenter, just click on "post a comment" at the end of the piece. If you're not a blogger, sign in under "other" so you can give yourself a name, real or fictional. If you must be anonymous, please end your post with a distinguishing signature (i.e. "Anon-1") I will also stick a Poll below. Please, please, vote on the poll. If it helps the cause, the protagonist is a psychiatrist.

After this, I'll be back with a case of SSRI withdrawl, after I find out the answer, and get permission.

Double Billing: Chapter 1 (it's only 2 pages):

She emerged from the subway to an assault on all her senses. Cars, buses and taxicabs honked their horns, black exhaust puffed in her face, pedestrians rushed by with to-go coffee cups still steaming, the wind blew cold, and she had no idea which way to go. She studied the streets signs, glanced at a map and unable to get her bearings, finally just picked a direction and started walking.
Emily Mason came to New York City that day, in part, to see The Gates in Central Park—the display by Christo and Jeanne-Claude of monuments lining the footpaths of the park. Each one was a huge metal portal topped with an orange curtain flap that billowed in the wind, looking a bit like a giant puppet theatre. There were thousands of them, literally 7,503 Gates, each standing 16 feet tall, lining 23 miles of walkways.
Emily made her way to Central Park and once there, she walked for hours, stopping only once to buy sugar-coated nuts from a vendor. The Gates were the oddest of sights, magical and magnificent, and Emily felt compelled to follow their trail. Was it art, she asked? What did it mean? Here and there, in the northern, quieter parts of the park, Emily would leave the paths, climb a boulder to look out over the landscape, and find herself giggling out loud at the bewildering sight of the orange fluttering canvases.
Eventually, the sun set and the temperature dropped; after all, it was February. It was suddenly quite dark and a stranger to New York City, Emily found herself a bit disoriented and unsure of how to get where she wanted to be. Chilled, tired, and no longer able to appreciate anything but her own discomfort, she left Central Park on the East Side by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and walked over to Third Avenue. She wanted hot soup or coffee, or both, and ducked into a diner.
“Emily,” A man said. She glanced at the stranger reflexively; she didn’t know him and Emily is such a common name-- obviously he was talking to some other Emily. He was sitting alone, though his table remained set for two and he’d been careful not to let his belongings— his black leather gloves, house keys, an unopened envelope-- spill onto the other half.
There was no hostess and Emily searched for a clean table—the ones closest to the door had dirty dishes on them.
“Emily!” The man’s voice was more insistent. She spotted a table for four; the restaurant was nearly empty and she was certain it would be okay to sit there alone. She’d have room to give her bag its own seat and spread out with a street map. Emily settled her coat onto the chair beside her though, still chilled, she left her scarf draped around her shoulders.
The man was suddenly there, having gotten up from his own seat to approach her. She could have been frightened but he had a gentle face, a cultured presence, and nothing about him was threatening.
“What are you doing?” he asked. “I got us a table over there. I ordered a drink for you.” She was confused. I’m sorry, sir, she wanted to say, but you have the wrong Emily. Before she could speak, his expression changed. His eyes grew wide, maybe his skin blanched a shade.
“Emily, what did you do to your hair? And where did you get those clothes?”
And so my identical twin met Jules, my husband-- her brother-in-law-- just moments before I, also an Emily, arrived.

End of Chapter One.
Please Vote Below-- you may need to scroll down a bit to the poll.

If you'd like to keep reading, I'll be posting in segments at:
Double Billing: The Interactive Novel Project
Come visit. Read another version of Chapter One. Comment! Vote!
Thank You all for your input, I love reading everyone's opinions.

Thanks everyone!