Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Smashing of the Words! #8

Brave and Heroic Author: Jeremy Levine
Villainous Editor: Victoria
Working Title: N/A

I am writing this account because it helps me keep track of things that are true about this story. It all began on a boat. A ship, actually. I called it a boat once and some crew member with an intimidating hairdo told me off for demeaning the majesty of the vessel.
So it all began on a ship. We were spending the week doing goofy vacation stuff: sandcastles, beach volleyball, smoothies, all that. Melissa and I had a real great time of it, being young and goofy and all of that. It was pretty perfect.
Then, this one night, they were having a big party in one of the main rooms, and it was great. There was a live band playing all of this groovy jazz, some fancy finger foods with names that I can’t pronounce, and a lot of hilariously overdressed older folks. A great party indeed.
And the music was righteous. Melissa and I were right there in the middle of the floor, dancing and twirling around, keeping up with the best of ‘em. The tunes filled every part of us. Melissa’s smile would light up her face and work all the way up to her eyes until they got all squinty, but you could still sort of see how beautiful and green they were. The music sounded just like we felt, the trumpets rocketing into these elaborate solos and the drums pounding out a beat we could have danced to if only we had the time.

Strong Points--

Very characteristic voice. It dates this story without outright stating it, because, let’s face it, “groovy” is very time-specific. “Tunes” and “goofy” sort of contribute to this too.

“Intimidating hairdo” I love this. I laughed, and I got to picture whatever I wanted to.
“…if only we had the time.” OMG. What happened? You just got a huge question mark out of me and that’s the best part, because now I want to know why they didn’t have the time, and what cut this sweet lover’s vacation short.

I love that last paragraph all together, because the narrator’s description of Melissa is so heartfelt and so much in the little detail of her eyes and her smile. This is great showing. It’s not overly lengthy, but it’s just enough instead of just writing off the moment or the woman herself as “beautiful”.

Some Tips--

“There was a live band playing…” This sentence and others with similar structure can be made so much more powerful with just a little rearranging of the words. “A live band played.” Less words, more of an impact. You can also strengthen your verbs. You already have with things such as "the drums pounded", now apply that elsewhere, and get rid of all of the "could" and "sort of" and "kind of". I understand that people talk like that, and it sounds very natural, but we don't want to read it over and over.

Also, no "you".

There’s a bit of telling in here. “It was pretty perfect” and “It was great”. That doesn’t paint as vivid of a picture as the character’s description of Melissa in the last paragraph. I want to feel how great the moment is from our narrator’s eyes, not just have it told to me. Those moments will really contribute to his (or her?) characterization! Try to avoid “great” and words like that, since they’re so vague in meaning.

But the only part of the first paragraph I would keep is the line where the intimidating hairdo guy corrects him. Otherwise, I think your opening lines may need redone. They’re sort of falling into cliché territory, and no one wants that. They’re equivalent to telling us “I’m beginning a story” which we don’t need to be told. We just want you to start the story.

Would I keep reading?

That last line was a killer! It took a little while to get there, but you've done a good job at setting up our stage and god, that last line! That hooked me, and I would keep reading just to find out WHY.

Great job, don't ever feel shy about resubmissions either!

<3 <3 <3 

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