Tuesday, July 6, 2010

7 #88 Bonnie Staring

I stared at the smoke drifting up from Erika’s fingertips. Over the past hour, the girl beside me had ignited several small fires with her bare hands.

Sure, it was freakishly entertaining, but open flames were the last thing needed by forty sweaty, super-powered teenagers crammed into a school bus without air conditioning on a sticky July day.

Besides, it wasn’t like she was special. Our destination was Camp Awakening.

7 comments:

  1. Lighting fires with one's bare hands is a cool, intriguing thing to be able to do, and is a catchy beginning. I did wonder where the fires were, though (still in her hands? on the bus seat? on pieces of paper?) and what put them out. Otherwise, parts of the bus would be on fire. Also, I like the story idea, but I do wonder about its similarity to X-Men and Xavier's school for the mutants; your plot would need to be different enough to stand out and be different enough from that.

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  2. okay okay -- while i have some issues with technicalities in the writing, i already feel like i would love this book. it sounds FUNNY. the voice doesn't really pop for me until the 2nd/3rd sentences, but i really like where this is going. i like that this girl is lighting fires and the narrator isn't scared OR impressed. Camp Awakening sounds like it's going to be a COMPLETE DISASTER and SO MUCH FUN. he heee

    as far as the sentences themselves -- the opening line isn't as strong as you need it to be.

    instead of:

    "I stared at the smoke drifting up from Erika’s fingertips. Over the past hour, the girl beside me had ignited several small fires with her bare hands."

    maybe chop it to:

    "In less than an hour the girl beside me had managed to ignite several small fires with her bare hands. Her fingers were singed for our entertainment, but open flames were the last thing forty sweaty, super-powered teenagers needed on a sticky school bus in July."

    orrrr.. something like that. *shrug*

    but with this voice and this concept you could have SO MUCH FUN. let go and lose the formality in your voice. you have so much room to play.

    i can't wait to see what you do with this.

    best of luck!!

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  3. I like the first line exactly the way it is.

    I also like: "Sure, it was freakishly entertaing..."

    But I find the sentence that follows to be too long which almost seems to break the flow. >>> "but open flames were the last thing needed by forty sweaty, super-powered teenagers crammed into a school bus without air conditioning on a sticky july day."

    I think if you reword (or at least break up)that sentence, this will go from being a great opening to an absolutely fantastic one.

    The premise captivates me... I'd love to see more of where this story is headed.

    :-)

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  4. Bonnie -
    In 5 sentences you've managed to set a scene, introduce me to a couple of characters, establish your MC's voice, and hint at the premise for your story. I'm impressed.

    Don't touch your first 2 sentences - I like them, huzzah!

    So, where can this be improved? Mainly 2nd paragraph. First sentence - would your character really feel that this girl's abilities were freakish? I think not. Your MC in the next para says this firestarter is nothing special.

    So, what I want to know is, does your MC know why this girl is starting fires on the bus? Can your MC guess just by looking at her? Does he want her to stop? How does he react? What's his interior monologue? Is this girl important to your story, or just a preview of what's to come. As a reader, I don't need answers to all those questions, I just need more of an emotional connection to your MC, and a clue of where this relationship is going (or not).

    Also: "last thing needed" is too far removed. What could possibly happen? Does your character think that what the girl is doing is foolish, or just inconvenient?

    3rd paragraph, move 1st sentence somewhere else - probably right after her character is introduced. It doesn't belong in same paragraph as the next sentence.

    Bonnie - I like that I know your book's genre from the first page. It's right up my alley. Have fun with it!

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  5. Great premise! I'd definitely read on.

    As far at critting, I agree with the first commenter that I was wondering what, exactly, had been lit on fire or if the girl was holding the fire in her hands.

    The second paragraph is one long sentence. See if you can find a way to break that up for an easier read.

    I also agree with Leah and her comments regarding "freakishly entertaining". You might not have to change it if you take Melissa's advice about internalization. Maybe your MC acknowledges in her head that they're all freaks?

    Just some food for thought :)

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  6. Wow, thank you all for your fabulous feedback! It's cool to see how everyone interprets those five sentences -- and you've all provided me with great options to improve them (and the rest of the sentences that follow!).

    Thanks again to M&M for providing such a great opportunity for those of us who didn't make the cuts.

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