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katie78

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Reply with quote  #1 
This is a space to post a short excerpt of your writing and get a reader response. The goal is to remind you to get to work- not be a distraction. That’s why we keep excerpts short. Post the scene you’ve just written. It can be rough and raw. Offer other writers general impressions and encouragement. People who don’t comment on other writing tend to get fewer comments on theirs, promoting participation.


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katie78

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Reply with quote  #2 
the most recent scene for my WIP:

 

It’s a short walk to the edge of David’s neighborhood and across one major street and then I find the paved walking path along the river, though the river is barren. I hadn’t realized that when he talked about it, but of course there’s no water here. Back home, the earth is filled with the sound of water rushing or trickling through the green, even now when the leaves were dying vibrant deaths. The water wasn’t quiet until it froze.

            I’m wearing the purple leggings and tank top I purchased for the spin class my friend Leslie talked me into. She had a guest pass and I had a brief image of myself as someone who did those sort of things. Within twenty minutes, that image dissolved.

            I should call her, but what would I say?

            She never liked Marty. She was smart enough not to say so, but I could tell. We’d known each other for a decade, met when we’d both worked for Easter Seals. She’d gone back to school for her masters is social work and was surviving the cuts. I’d never done that and I ended up working at a grocery store.

            Until I lost that job too.

            I can’t call Leslie until I know how to spin it. She knows me too well, will hear it in my voice. It’s more than the stupid job. I’ll have to email her.

            David tried to convince me to take a bottle of water and I didn‘t want to argue so I nodded and put it back in the fridge when he wasn’t looking. I like my hands free. I make fun of people back home who carry water everywhere, but as my steps slow, I realize the desert really is different.

            I’d like to sit and catch my breath, but I imagine rattlesnakes in the sand beyond the pavement. Instead, I stop and stretch my arms over my head, bending to the right and left, smiling as a cyclist comes whirring toward me and passes me without so much as a nod. It’s like I’m not even there.

            And I wonder: Do you still call something a river when it lacks the very thing that made it a river in the first place?

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Lithakate

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Reply with quote  #3 
I'm immediately wanting to know where is she, and what she's doing there? Has she gone for a walk simply to go for a walk, or for a specific reason? Has this been revealed previously, or is the reason yet to come? 

"Back home, the earth is filled with the sound of water rushing or trickling through the green, even now when the leaves were dying vibrant deaths. The water wasn’t quiet until it froze."

I'm a little confused here. Is she still on Earth, or are you using "earth" in it's generic form. If it's the generic form, maybe it would be better just to say, "back home, there's always the sound of water" or "back home, the sound of water is everywhere."

"I’m wearing the purple leggings and tank top I purchased for the spin class my friend Leslie talked me into." Does it matter what she's wearing? Does it have some bearing on what is going to happen further on in the story? 

Is the bike rider significant? Is he going to come back in a later scene and attack her or will he prove to be her saviour? Remember the principle of Chekov's gun... "Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there" - Anton Chekov. 

It's difficult to critique a scene when you're not sure of the where, what or why, but I think you're extremely brave writing in first person. It's no easy task and I wouldn't want to try it [smile]



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katie78

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Reply with quote  #4 
thanks for the mini-critique! lots of great points to think about. this is from he third chapter of my WIP so some things are set up- she is still on earth!

now, it's your turn! what are you working on?

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Lithakate

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Reply with quote  #5 
My current WIP is a YA mystery/crime novel with a small side of SF for added flavour. This scene is set three months before the main body of the story. Yes, it's a prologue. And yes, I know some editors say prologues are a no-no, but in this case it's vital to the story.

Thirteen-year-old Litha turned from her view of the Dandenong Ranges as they slowly blurred into night. She nudged her twin. ‘Bryan, your phone’s beeping at you.’

‘Huh?’ He looked up from his reading, the e-reader casting strange shadows on the side of his face.

 ‘No, that was my phone.’ Their mother pulled over to the side of the road. ‘That’s odd, it’s your dad, he says the plane’s been delayed and he’ll be leaving Honolulu in the morning.’

‘How can he still be in Honolulu if he caught an earlier flight?’ Bryan leaned forward as far as his seatbelt would allow.

‘That’s what he says.’ She handed Bryan the phone.

‘Your phones has been doing weird things lately, Mum, maybe it’s an old message. Want me to text him?’

‘Yes, do that while I move closer to the lookout. We’re too near the edge of the gully here and I don’t like the way this wind is gusting. And ask him if…’ She broke off as approaching headlights lit up the interior of their car. The vehicle slowed and stopped on the opposite side of the road.

‘Hummer,’ said Bryan craning his neck. ‘H2 I think.’

Litha looked at the vehicle and shivered. It was big – big and black – and she didn’t like the way it just sat there. It looks like a…

The Hummer’s floodlights came on, lighting up the area and turning the overhanging trees into grotesque monsters. It accelerated towards them.

Litha screamed and heard her brother’s echoing cry of fear as their car shuddered when the Hummer hit.   

‘Stop!’ their mother yelled and waved frantically. ‘Stop!’

The Hummer continued to push their Yaris sideways towards the gully where it teetered on the edge for a moment before it began to tip. It rolled, and rolled, and rolled again. Only coming to a stop when the car landed against a ghost gum. Cockatoos sleeping in the tree squawked noisily and flapped in confusion above the car before flying further down into the gully.  

Litha shook her head groggily as she fumbled to release her seatbelt and fell against her brother. She shook him gently, ‘Bryan, Bryan.’ There was no response.

 There was a faint light coming from under the front passenger seat. It had to be Bryan’s e-reader—if she could just reach it. Litha lowered herself painfully onto the floor of the car and reached under the passenger seat ignoring the pain it brought to her shoulder and ribs. Her fingertips touched the e-reader only to push it further away. She screwed up her eyes, ignored the pain and stretched again—just a little more.

Sweat beaded her forehead and ran into her eyes. Yes! She eased her arm free. The e-reader still worked. She scrambled up and activated the torch app and checked her brother—he had a deep cut on his forehead and although his breathing was shallow, it was steady.

Litha shone the light towards her mother and breathed a sigh of relief. She was conscious. ‘It’ll be okay Mum, I think I can climb up and get help.’ When her mother didn’t reply, she leant over the front seat and shone the light onto her face. Her mother’s eyes stared back lifelessly. Litha collapsed back against her brother, rocking back and forth ‘No! No! Please no!’

The light suddenly flickered and went out, leaving her in complete darkness. Her heart beat wildly. ‘What do I do? What do I do?’ 

Voices and the sound of someone scrambling down the slope towards them broke through her fear. She was about to call out when a terrifying thought struck her. What if it’s the people from the black car?  

She slumped against her brother and closed her eyes. If they’d push their car off the road for no reason, she didn’t want to meet them. Grateful for the darkness, she opened one eye a fraction and saw a gloved hand reach through the shattered window and pick up her mother’s courier bag. The last thing Litha remembered before losing consciousness was an impatient, ‘Bystro, bystro!’

 

 

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katie78

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Reply with quote  #6 

this passage is really visual and does a great job building tension. i would look at you opening three paragraphs and set the scene more immediately. i was disoriented when the mother speaks, putting it together slowly that they're in a car.

"Litha shone the light towards her mother and breathed a sigh of relief. She was conscious. "

 instead of writing 'she's conscious', i think it might work better to be relieved that her eyes are open, which is why she makes the false assumption.

good stuff!


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Lithakate

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Reply with quote  #7 
Thanks Katie, I hadn't thought of that - about the car I mean. I think it was a case of "I knew they were in a car, so the reader will know too." LOL writer's knowledge doesn't always mean reader knowledge :/  That's a good point about her Mum's eyes too [smile] Thanks so much for reading and commenting, I really appreciate it.
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