Tuesday, August 20, 2013

First 250 Words Smash! #30

Fabulous and Fierce Author: Shannen
Drab and Uncool Editor: Victoria
Working Title: N/A

I can only imagine what it must feel like, waiting for news, hoping for the best.
Time slows down as you wait. Your hands are in your hair and your eyes, bloodshot and puffy from crying. You drown your blood with caffeine to stay awake, and you pace back and forth for hours, walking off the sleep. You check your watch, every few minutes or so, wondering what’s taking them so long.
Finally a nurse calls your name.
It was my first day in third grade and I was pretty happy to be back in school, even after having confirmed that Joanne did in fact change schools. Since kindergarten, every single one of my ‘best friends’ transferred schools after a year of being with me. After my second best friend left, the disappearance of the third was no surprise.
I took my seat by the window, and I waited for classes to start. The sooner we start, the sooner I get to go home. Familiar faces made their way to their seats in front of me, behind me; away from me. It’s alright.. I’ll have more space for myself this way. My annual mantra.
Nobody liked me; it was obvious, and I wasn’t really keen on finding out the reason. Maybe I’m breathing wrongly, or writing wrongly, or eating wrongly, or walking wrongly. Maybe they don’t like me because Mommy always looks bad, but I’m not allowed to tell them what happened, or Daddy will hit me again...

Strong Points-
 The third grader's worries very nicely set up some questions for us without outright telling us what is different about your character. We just see that it looks like your MC has worries that they're not like everyone else, and that it seems they've been taught to act like a human being. Are they not human? Is that why they had to be coached? Why do they always lose their best friends?

These are really awesome questions! I really like the set up and I'm super intrigued by what your MC actually is! What happened to mom? I want to knowwwww.

Some Tips-
Your best description is in the first part, and it definitely set the mood and put some pretty nice pictures in my head. I didn't put it in your strong areas though because I'm going to suggest you cut the whole first part. It's jarring to move from the intro into the story, and it distracts from the more important plot points you have going on in the very beginning of your story. You don't need that extra bit. Your story is plenty interesting without it, and I'd much rather read about what's happening with your MC.

So, that said, I'd rather you take more description and inject it into the scene you're left with. There really is nothing but some exposition going on there. It's important exposition, but I want visuals to go with it. How vividly does your MC recall being in third grade? How much do they remember about their class room? Does it bring back nostalgia? Or does the memory conjure up bad feelings? Simply telling us 'I was happy' doesn't give me much. It's almost sort of sterile. Now, if you describe what happiness feels like to your MC, I have a much better idea of what kind of person they are, even when they were a little person.

Also, consider reading others and look at how they weave exposition into the story. You did some of this, and that's awesome, because no one wants an info dump at the very beginning of their story. That bogs it down, makes people feel like they're trudging through all of the details they need to understand what they're reading. But readers are smart. They can figure stuff out if you give it to them in hints and teaspoons as you go.

Another suggestion is that you don't have to worry about italicizing your MC's thoughts. It draws more attention to those words than may be wholly necessary, and it might end up being distracting. Since you're writing this passage in first person, everything is their thought. This is all one story told in their thoughts. You are permanently in their head, so you don't need to separate or signal out what they're thinking.

Would I keep reading?
Not just yet. But I am really curious to see what's going on with your MC and, after how much description you put into the first part, I know you can do some really good things with your writing! So please resubmit, I'm dying to revise this once polish it up some more! <3 <3 <3 Thank you so much for letting us see your writing!

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