Word Smash is back! With a vengeance! Did you guys miss this? No? But we missed you!
Brave Author: Ambar Fernandez
Blarghblargh Editor: Victoria
You guys'll remember Miss Ambar's first submission here. I won't repost all of the love and terrible things I did to her, but at the very least I will give you the original first 250 words she gave us, so that your memories may be refreshed.
So, here it is, the original.
Rudolf James Bach, or my birth name Rudolf James Lin. After my mother and supposed “father” died in that accident the truth came out and it just so happened my mother had an affair with her first husband, thus I came into the picture. Very complicated, but that’s how it is.
The man I grew up with was called Henry Lin. He was of Chinese descent and well if you haven’t noticed; my mom is of German descent. My father never knew about me not being his kid, what he thought till the end of his days was that my mom’s genes must have been super strong for me not to have had any Chinese traits.
Enough about that let me tell you how I got here, to live in this house with Melody. I was five when my mother’s best friend I guess I could say “inherited”me. My mom had no family, the only family she had died the year before of old age, my grandmother. And since my real father, Ansgar Bach, didn’t know I existed, well I had nowhere to go; to top it off Henry’s family hated me because I was “half” German. Two weeks in foster care, I was finally handed over to Jennifer, she has been a great substitute mother, and to be honest a better mother than mine ever was. You see, my mother was always working, the only time I ever saw her was during the weekends.
Well, Ambar took out advice and resubmitted, as any of you are welcome to do, so here's round two!
I should have known something bad was going to happen that day. What should have made it snap was when my dad called, Ansgar Bach. Being his illegitimate child from his first marriage and all he doesn’t speak to me, due to his appearance, but here I am sitting in the waiting room of his stupid company. Why am I here again? Oh right Jennifer, the woman who has raised me since the accident, told me to come. The things I do to make her smile, honestly.
The secretary looked up at me and smiled her, I’m innocent, smile. When we all know she is more than likely sleeping with my father, but whatever I don’t care it’s his life not mine. She picked up the phone and spoke for a bit, giggled then hung up and stood. “Rudolf.”
I stood from my seat and smiled, trying not to seem like such a jack ass. “Yes?”
“Mr. Bach, will see you now.” She opened the door and nodded for me to go in.
I took my backpack and walked in and turned to see the door shut behind me. I turned over to my father who finished talking on the phone, something about a new line, and he hung up. He leaned back into his chair and smiled.
His hair has gotten a bit more platinum since the last time I saw him, also his physique was still built for his age. My father, the owner of Bach Industries.
Strong Points: Already so much better! Now we're in a scene. Already we're right into what's happening, which is a huge improvement over last time. And you've woven background information into the action fairly seamlessly. So much better than outright telling us. Now you can play with that way of delivering exposition, instead of dropping it on us like a heavy anvil all at once.
Also we get a much bigger sense of Rudolf's voice. Putting him in this situation has allowed him to flourish, and allowed us to see that he sort of is an ass.
Which is cool. I like asses. Sarah's aptly used Jason is an ass. So don't ever think characters who aren't very nice won't be liked, because that's not true
That aside, more of his voice is better in the beginning. It gives us a quick dive into his character and we know who we're dealing with sooner. Now, does he have a reason to be such an ass toward dad? Is he just feeling neglected? Rejected? Did dad do something to him? This raises all sorts of questions! And questions will keep me reading!
I also like the bit of description in there at the end with regards to dad, but I want more of Rudolf's voice in it. If he dislikes dad so much, I want to feel just a little bit of that when he looks at him. As it is, though, I do get a pretty clear picture of dad.
Some Tips: On that note, perhaps some more details. What does the secretary look like? What does the office and the waiting room look like? Is it swanky? Or is it a dump? I don't know, and that alone would give us a huge clue as to what kind of company Bach Industries is, and what kind of guy dad really is, both through Rudolf's biased goggles and without them.
You have some tense issues with verbs, but that's mere grammar and nothing some polishing and further editing can't fix. Just try to keep track of whether or not this is present or past.
You could probably just make the secretary smile an innocent smile, instead of the 'I'm innocent' in there. It's less wordy, more to the point and therefore it packs a more powerful punch to your reader, and it's less awkward to read. You can still make it snarky on Rudy's part, just not like that.
Try livening this up with some more powerful verbs. Instead of 'walked' in, let us know just how he walked in, or how he 'took' his backpack or exactly what Rudy is doing to 'try' and not seem like a jackass. These paint better pictures for your readers and help us understand your character more without you outright telling us.
Would I keep reading?
I am happy to say I would! You really, really improved, and I'm so glad you took the critique like a champ instead of sobbing about it in a closet
You've made me proud, Ambar! I look forward to another Word Smash from you!
And you still get hearts, of course.
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3