So we're about to change that.
In this newest edition of 250 Words, I will be smashing up Sarah's opening!
That's right, this is the first 250 words to Sarah's project Dance in Shadow and Whisper. This is tough, I'll have to pretend I haven't already read five different incarnations of this book and that I don't already have very personal relationships with all of the characters, so personal that I speak to them on a daily basis and have nicknames for them.
Oh god, this is tough. I don't know if I can do it.
Yes I can.
Author/Not an Editor this time: Sarah
My chest tightened with one final deep breath. I stared at the door handle, simple brass and weathered from its once gossamer brilliance. This whole mission was a joke. I was the joke. There were so many others much more capable than me, others who could handle the foreign outside world. Damn it, I was lucky if I could handle silencing an incoming call on my brother’s cellular telephone gadget.
The doorbell chimed. A disarming melody lulled throughout the house and echoed shrilly in my brain.
It was too late now.
My arm lifted, but my moist palm stopped just short of the sweep of the handle when I saw how my fingers quivered. I hadn’t noticed until then.
There was no reason to be afraid—concerned, perhaps, for my personal wellbeing, but afraid?
If I had to, I could hole-punch this guy through the chest with my fist.
For now, I settled with clamping my fingers around the cool handle and very deliberately twisting. The door popped open. The fresh, crisp light of early morning flooded the hallway.
There he stood, the embodiment of my fear and apprehension and sweaty palms. He stood nearly half a foot over me, tall for something that had once been human, but his skin was so white that he could pass more for a glowstick than any human I’d ever seen.
(She gave me another version that stopped with the door opening, but I chose this one
Strong Points --
You've done what you love best, and that's starting us with one hell of a hook. All of these questions, little tidbits of background information woven into Kali's thoughts so seamlessly, they're very natural. I'm not being pounded over the head with all this background information, I'm put right into the story.
Also, we have a great idea of Kali's voice and how she speaks. We already know some about her just from these first words, we know she's super strong, we know she isn't very comfortable with the world outside of her comfy little home, we know she has at least one brother. You've fed us just enough information to keep us wanting more, like WTH is this mission thang? And why'd she answer the door for a human glowstick that's no longer human?
I may be biased, but I also believe you've done a wonderful job with making Kali likable right off the bat. I mean, I'm already endeared to her, just from hearing her silly Kali thoughts. But perhaps this is a question for the readers instead.
I know it's not the action-packed opening you're used to, but I think you began this story just where it needs to begin.
Some Tips -- You did a whole lot emphasizing just how nervous Kali is, you could probably pull back on that or disperse it some. I see her sweaty palms mentioned twice just within this short passage. I get that she is positively freaking out, you do a wonderful job already in communicating such through the little gestures of her shivering fingers and her self doubt, and I know for a fact you can get a little more creative with describing her terror than just a double mention of sweaty palms.
Also, why is she standing at the door before it's rang. I know. I know Kali might have heard him approaching--then again, she might not have. Either way, it seems silly to start with her ready for action at the door before the action has entirely begun.
After that, my problems are nitpicking problems, things like "lulled" and "shrilly" contrasting each other too much to make sense (and, in all honesty, Kali's family might have a doorbell that's more friendly on their ears).
Would I keep reading?