Friday, August 30, 2013

First 250 Words Smash! #33

Most Courageous Author: Megan || Novels @ Wordpress
Evil and Slimy Editor: Victoria
Working Title: The Nightlings

The grave had changed in the last month: like Monday's life, it had acquired an air of abandonment around it. The January snow had already begun to cover the hill of dirt that once told Monday where to find her friend, but Monday had visited the grave so often that she knew its location by heart. As she stood in front of the grave, surrounded by the dead, she marveled at the fresh headstone and envied the dead girl. The headstone was a shock. Until this morning, Monday had felt like she was in a fog, that the death wasn't real, but the arrival the marker this morning had made it surreal. Monday realized, in her weakened hungry state, with no home to go back to, that for the first time in her seventeen years she longed for her own headstone and to join her friend six feet under.

But then who would look after the dead?

Every morning since arriving in Syringa, Monday woke up in one of the abandoned mausoleums. The snow had made the graveyard cold and isolating. To pass the time, Monday started to tend to the dead; she would clean the leaves off the graves, push away snow, and polish the head stones. The Syringa cemetery was beautiful, with snow covered lilacs cascading over the hills of tombstones, the trees blocked the sun letting in only slivers of light. This was the perfect place for Monday to hide; but it also made her lonely.

Strong Points-
First of all, let me commend you for doing an excellent job at describing the cemetery. I really love how you've mentioned the canopy of trees, the lilies left on the graves with the snow settled onto them, and how you make sure to mention that Monday is very conscious of the fact that she is surrounded by the dead. It's a very chilling and grim atmosphere, but it puts us right into what kind of story we will be reading from the very beginning.

Also, instead of dumping a whole slew of information or background story or world facts on us, you've slipped it in here and there, giving us just enough to want more as you begin where the story should begin. That's really hard to learn how to do, so this is awesome!

Some Tips-
Mostly what I'm going to knock you on is a lot of telling. You tell us things like Monday is lonely, that the snow is isolating, and that Monday is hungry and weak. I want to know these things, but I want to know what they feel like to Monday and not how I imagine they feel. For example, does her hunger make her dizzy? Do her hands shake or do they just feel like they're too heavy to lift? Hungry is just a word. I can put some feelings to it, but they won't be nearly as vivid as what you choose to describe.

Just as well, lonely is just a word. If you describe the hollow feeling caused by loneliness, or how long it's been since she's spoken aloud or how much she wants to see someone, even just a few words will give me something more to put to Monday and how it resonates in her. Not only that, but it gives me a better idea of what kind of person Monday is without you having to outright tell me.

Also, I think you would benefit greatly from taking a better look into dominant impression. You've already started doing this with the headstone and the graveyard, but sharpening those budding skills would really, really help this out. Essentially this is how the character interacts with and interprets their surroundings. What they do with it, what they feel about it, and the details they notice that others perhaps might not pick up on.

For some help on dominant impression, Sarah just posted a writing exercise on the KSW tumblr, so this is pretty perfect timing! Check it out, I really think you could benefit from it.

Would I keep reading?
Yes, I believe so! I really like the dark and dreary thing you have going on with Monday, and I'm curious about her situation. And, turns out I can keep reading! So any others who are just as intrigued with Monday as I am, head on over to Megan's Novels where she posts the chapters of her story to keep her motivated. Great idea! But don't be shy, if you ever want to resubmit, we'd be glad to take another look at your intro!

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