Tuesday, July 13, 2010

3 #50 Traci Van Wagoner

My hand hovered over the latch, my stomach churning. What I did today, I had never done before, and boy was I gonna get it!

Pa’s work clothes lay in a pile outside the door waiting for one of my sisters to beat the coal dust out of them. Inside the house was silent. No laughter, no singing, no happy chatter.


  1. This sounds like a setting either back in time, or set in the Ozarks or back country (cuz of the "Pa" reference. Probably back in time, if coal mining is going on (?). It does set up a nice mystery here right off, wondering what in the world this character has done to deserve his/her punishment. I'm a little confused as to why Pa wouldn't be in the house, however, esp if his clothes are outside. Unless he's already dressed in alternate clothing and is off somewhere else. OH, unless he's in the house but he's silent; I kinda assumed (and your readers might also) that if the house was silent, that meant no one was in there. Anyway, good flavor of a start.

  2. I think you've got some really great tension here! We know the MC is in big trouble but we don't know why. I wonder, though, is there a reason you're not telling us what the MC has done? I couldn't help but feel a little cheated that the MC tells us what they'd done they'd never done before - but they don't tell us what they've done.
    The next bit is just a personal pet peeve of mine so take it with a grain of salt, but I've never been a fan of author telling us what someone is not doing. I'd rather know what they ARE doing. So, instead of "No laughter, no singing, no happy chatter," because your reader doesn't know if these are the typical sounds or if silence is the typical sound, I'd rather hear your MC's impression of the silence.

    For example, "Inside the house was silent. It was as if everyone was holding their breath, waiting for me to walk through the door." Or something to that effect.

    Just keep in mind these are my humble opinions. I think you're going in the right direction here because I'd definitely read on :)

  3. Thanks so much for the comments Carol and Cole. You've given me some good things to think about for this story as well as others in the works. Ideas are springing to mind already of how to make this one even stronger.

    Just so you know: Pa is in the house--angry as a bee stung bull because Mitch, the MC, got a job at the mine against Pa's express wishes.

    Thanks again. This was a great contest!


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