Sunday, March 20, 2011

Show me the voice!

Brenda Drake is holding this very cool blogfest/contest where you post the first 250 words of your story for the chance to win a crit from agent Natalie Fischer! Get all the details here to check out all the participants and/or sign up yourself! The idea is that we crit each other's first 250 words and then send the polished versions in for judging.

Here are my first 250 words for the current YA mystery WIP, RECOVERING SARA:

I would never have been at a support group, on a precious Saturday no less, if my mother hadn’t pulled out every maternal threat that still worked at sixteen. Mostly, that if I did not stop sulking and get in the goddamn car so she could drive me to the Y, she would not drive me anywhere I actually wanted to go. I swear the only reason people move out to suburbs when they have children is so that they can hold them in thrall.
 “Okay guys,” Reggie said, swiping at her fangs of chin-length black hair. Reggie led the Young Adults With Ulcerative Colitis Support Group. So far, she wasn’t what I expected from a support group leader. I thought she’d be more bouncy and enthusiastic. She smiled a lot, but beneath the false cheer she seemed irritated.  Ulcerative colitis does that to us all.  “Let’s go around and do introductions. I see some new faces here tonight.”
 I gnawed on one shiny pink fingernail while I waited for the introductions to come around to me.  There was a small girl with dark hair and glasses sitting across from me. She looked like she should be across the hall at a support group for Second Graders With Ulcerative Colitis. 

I stole a glance at the boy on my right, not wanting him to catch me looking. He was red haired, the kind of tall and gawky that doesn’t seem to know quite what to do with hands and knees. He crossed his legs at the knee and then uncrossed them yet again. 


Stephanie Thornton said...

She looked like she should be across the hall at a support group for Second Graders With Ulcerative Colitis.

I definitely got a chuckle out of that one!

Kate Larkindale said...

Great voice here! I love her cynical world-view. It's perfect for a teen with a chronic medical problem.

I'm not sure about calling them 'fangs' of hair really works. It made me pull back and go whoa! And you don't want your reader jolted out of the story like that.

Old Kitty said...

Wonderful!!!! Your voice is strong and oh so worldly with hints of vulnerability!!! Lovely!!! Thanks for sharing! Take care

Ellen Brickley said...

Brilliant voice. I loved this and would definitely read on.

I do have one piece of crit, though, and it's about the first sentence. I wasn't mad about the phrase: '. . .if my mother hadn’t pulled out every maternal threat that still worked at sixteen.'

I would rephrase the 'at sixteen' part because I think it sounds a but unclear and doesn't really match the voice of the rest of the piece. I would say 'on a sixteen year old' instead.

Just one thought - otherwise loved every word! Best of luck!

Debra Ann Elliott said...

Stopping by from the blogfest. Really enjoyed your voice. I was little confused about the "fangs" part otherwise great story.

Sophia Richardson said...

I'm not sure how many sixteen year olds say 'hold them in thrall' but I love the voice and humour in the idea that the only reason parents move to the 'burbs is to withhold rides. Ditto the Second Grades With Ulcerative Colitis line. Something's gonna happen with the MC and the red haired kid, right?
- Sophia.

Kathryn said...

I like the voice here, very light-hearted! Like Debra Ann, I had to stop and reread at the "fangs" part. A great way to define it, and once I got what you meant, I thought it was a great way to describe choppy hair, but it did take me an extra read to get. Well done!

Trisha Leaver said...

Strong voice. I love the touch of sarcasm -- so appropriate for that age. Fangs of hair kind of threw me for a loop as well, but I get what you are trying to say.

Bekah said...

Great voice and I definitely laughed. I acutally like that have her staring at the awkward guy...different ya know? Good luck with it. I did think fangs was supposed to be bangs. I re-read to make sure she didn't really have fangs.

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, interesting set-up. We have ulcerative colitis in my family, so that is intriguing on a personal level, but the ideas of teens grappling with it makes for a very interesting backdrop.

eeleenlee said...

"She looked like she should be across the hall at a support group for Second Graders With Ulcerative Colitis. "

Hahhahah, that is hilarious! Wry humour and engaging protagonist. WE can feel her pain.

Janet Johnson said...

Now I need to go look up Ulcerative Colitis. You definitely have me curious!

Great beginning. :)