Monday, October 15, 2012

7 1st 5 Pages October Workshop - Tribble Rev 1

Author: Sara Tribble
Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Things haven’t been good for me for the last six months. Hell, things haven’t been remotely modest for me, either. All of my negativity stacked inside me, begging to find some freedom so it could tumble and topple to the ground. I started my beater Volkswagen Beetle (I know, totally a girl car) and stepped outside of it, waiting for the air conditioning to kick in. Standing outside in the Texas sun beat suffocating in a car full of hot air, trust me on this. I pulled back my thick hair so it would stop my neck from sweating.

My AC sputtered loudly, dragging my daze back to my car. My hand checked the vent and the cold air flew past my fingers. I threw my book bag to the other seat and right when I tried to hop in, something caught me by the neck.

“Hey,” I said aloud, following the pressure of my necklace chain that wrapped around me like a noose.

The tight squeeze disappeared. My charm drifted down toward my bra. I grabbed the necklace chain and dug out the charm, but it slipped down from my shirt and onto the ground. A person behind me reached down and latched onto it first.

“Thanks,” I said to the girl who was helping me out.

She stood to her feet and faced me, holding onto the black gem in the palm of her hand. Her blonde hair pulled back tightly from her face, showing off her very strong bone structure with a wicked straight nose. She looked a little older than me, but her blue eyes bothered me the most. It could be because she hadn’t handed back my charm and only stared at me. It was already getting on my nerves.

“Is this yours?” she asked me nicely.

Of course, she had to have a sweet voice to go along with her gorgeous appeal. I hated how some people have it all. I tried to recall a name, but she was unknown to me from the other hundreds of faces I saw every day. She might be a new student, but it was a little late to accept transfer students.

“Yeah, it’s mine. It’s so weird, almost like you ripped it from my neck,” I said quickly then tried to smile. I expected her to chuckle, but she didn’t. In fact, she didn’t respond at all. I shifted my weight to the other foot to counter the awkward silence occurring. It was a common reaction I received from a lot of people.

“Probably felt that way because I did,” she replied after a moment. “I needed a closer look.”
I couldn’t believe she just said that! I didn’t know how to retaliate. My foot tapped on its own accord. Without knowing, my fingers rubbed against one another, wanting the gem back in my own hand. This girl was taking her sweet ass time with it and it made me slightly agitated. Okay, really agitated. She held it toward the sun, catching the glistening sparkles hidden beneath the deep, black color.

“I’ll be taking that back now.” I reached to take it from her, but she quickly snapped her hand down, with the gem enclosed in her fist. Unless I wanted to pry her fingers off, I wasn’t taking it anywhere.

“I rather like it,” she replied. “How much do you want for it?”

“It’s not for sale,” I told her firmly. And it wasn’t. It was completely out of the question. My father had given it to me.

“That’s a shame. I thought it’d be fair if I offered you money, but now I’ll just have to keep it.” She smiled, showing off a row of whitened teeth. She began to sicken me with her dead on perfection of beauty.

She tried to turn away, but I grabbed her left shoulder flinging her back to look at me. Her mouth dropped open slightly, but she composed herself right away. I ravished the thought of catching her off guard. Someone who probably had every aspect of their life planned out on some girly pink calendar. It was time to take back what was mine.

“Give it back to me now,” I said it with a hint of anger in my voice.

She cocked her head sideways and grinned. “Don’t you know the saying? Finders keepers.”

“If you don’t give it back to me now, you’ll be the one weeping,” I promised, clenching my left fist. My eyes darted down to my hand. I didn’t tell my hand to do that. Was it simply a reaction? I didn’t usually get worked up like this. I released my fist. In a weird way, it kind of hurt. The best way to describe it was having your hand squeezed together for hours then finally moving it for the first time, a very odd sense of pain. A tingling passed through me like a thunderbolt. “What the fuck are you waiting for? Give it back!”

I didn’t know what I was doing. The words coming out of my mouth weren’t like me, maybe in my personal thoughts, but I would never voice my feelings so openly without great reason or stress. For one, I was not a fighter. Plus, I didn’t even know this girl. Besides, was I seriously going to lay a hand on her? This wasn’t me. It was nothing remotely close to me. I’d never fought anyone in my entire life and here I was acting like that was about to change. I couldn’t believe I just said that to some random chick. What the hell was going on?

She looked like she was weighing her options. Her hand unraveled and showed what I wanted in the palm of her hand. Slowly, it moved toward me then she dropped it into her purse. She laughed a little, a mean kind. It taunted me, daring me to step up and make something happen. Today was already shitty. I had nothing to lose. I waited for her next move while I contemplated mine.
“What are you going to do about it?” She smiled devilishly.
Fury boiled up inside of me. It was my necklace. People couldn’t just come up and take something that belonged to you. That was stealing and totally illegal for a reason, which I finally understood why today. It meant nothing to her. She only wanted it because she thought it’d look good with some shirt or something just as dumb. I wouldn’t have it. That was mine, not hers and I was ready to have it back. No, fighting never solves anything. It only causes more issues. I needed to chill out.
That was the idea—until she made the most obnoxious humph noise.
Screw it.

7 comments:

  1. Are you hooked? Why or why not? Not yet. I'm not caring too much about the character and what her issues are.
    Do you love the voice? Why or why not? I like it.
    Do you love the characters. Why or why not? I like the MC more than the girl that shows up.
    Is the action clear? Yes.
    Does the action move quickly enough? Too quickly? I think it has a nice feel.
    Does this feel like the writer is starting in the right place? Yes.
    Based on what you are reading, what do you expect will happen in the story? She is going to hit the girl who took the necklace and get into trouble.
    What kind of a story do you think this will be? Unsure.
    Do you feel like you know what you need to know or are you confused? Have you been told too much? I feel like I want to know more about the MC's background.
    Is there enough foreshadowing? Too much? I think it has pretty good foreshadowing.
    Is there too much backstory? No.
    Is the primary action shown or told, and is the balance of showing vs. telling okay in general? I think it's a combination.
    What is the tone? Angst.
    The mood? Depressed.
    Do you have any ideas about theme? -
    Does the setting come through clearly enough? Yes.
    Is there enough dialogue? Yes, right amount I thought with back story interspersed.
    Is the POV clear and consistent, or does it jump around? Yes, one POV.

    Just some q's answered from the main page. I like your story with the edits and see a big progression. I want to feel more for your MC and make a connection.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Two quick nitpicks: "almost like you ripped it from my neck" & "I couldn’t believe she just said that!" - These pulled me out of the story. They seem more telling and unrealistic compared to the rest. With the almost ripped it from my neck--that one, especially, because I don't know if I'd say that to someone even if I suspected that was what happened. I know the MC begins to act strangely after the necklace is gone, but since that's the start of the MC not acting like herself, it still comes off a little strange to me.

    Also, I'm still confused by what happens. Did the girl squeeze the MC's neck? Did she pull on the necklace until the MC could feel it choking her? Is the squeezing sensation some sort of power being used? (The ripped line especially contrasts against the picture I form in my mind with a "squeezing" sensation.)

    Otherwise, great revision!

    -Helene

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good revision! It moves a lot faster now and kept my attention better. I think you still have a little way to go though. Go through and do a pass for telling vs. showing. Do you state the way she feels? Would it make more sense to show us through her behavior? If you're going to stick to the opening paragraph then can you give us a taste of why it's been so rough lately? I'm finding the other character far more interesting in this version btw. Nice. And I love where you cut it off! Also do a pass for tense, I think you might have slipped once or twice.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great revision. I like the tone and voice, and the plot is showing through much better now. My only thing is what Lisa mentioned with the telling vs. showing. Otherwise, great revision! I'm definitely intrigued and want to find out more about the gem and it's obvious affect on her behavior. Nice!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Sara,

    Really good revision. You've improved the clarity and the pacing, and there's a better overall feel to the story. That said, I think you could still improve on both of those for the next revision, but I would also suggest using a deeper point of view to get us more firmly into your mc's head and help avoid the sense that she is telling us a story as opposed to letting us live it with her. At the same time, I think you've misinterpreted that kind of advice and taken it to mean "show us what she is doing step by step." The deeper point of view will let you cut the "walking the dog" syndrome stuff and let you shortcut from:

    "I started my beater Volkswagen Beetle (I know, totally a girl car) and stepped outside of it, waiting for the air conditioning to kick in. Standing outside in the Texas sun beat suffocating in a car full of hot air, trust me on this. I pulled back my thick hair so it would stop my neck from sweating.

    My AC sputtered loudly, dragging my daze back to my car. My hand checked the vent and the cold air flew past my fingers. I threw my book bag to the other seat and right when I tried to hop in, something caught me by the neck.

    “Hey,” I said aloud, following the pressure of my necklace chain that wrapped around me like a noose.

    The tight squeeze disappeared. My charm drifted down toward my bra. I grabbed the necklace chain and dug out the charm, but it slipped down from my shirt and onto the ground. A person behind me reached down and latched onto it first.

    “Thanks,” I said to the girl who was helping me out."

    To something as short as:

    "I started my beater Volkswagen Beetle, and then climbed out back out with the engine running to wait until the air conditioning kick-in. The Texas sun (something here to show us where she is -- created a haze over the school parking lot, etc)

    I pulled back my thick hair to let the back of my neck dry off. (Note that I rephrased to clarify the "it" in your original sentence, because the distance from "sun" was too far to be clear but too close to allow for repetition of the noun itself. Also why does she have her hair down if it's this hot -- is it her one vanity, the only claim she has to beauty, or is it too short to wear up, or is she not allowed to wear it up? A sentence here could give us a lot more insight into here character.)


    End part one. Continued below.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Part two:


    Condense the physical actions in the next paragraph--reduce the number of physical actions you show us about getting into the car and checking the air conditioner--and give us some of her thoughts instead so we have more insight into who she is. Could she afford to repair the car if the air conditioner went out? What else was she planning on spending that money on? What's running through her head? All we really need to know about the physical action is that she tossed her bookbag in the back of the car but the chain of her necklace caught on something as she started to lower herself into the seat. The chain tightened like a noose, then snapped as she spun around. She needs to react to this -- there wasn't anything behind her for the necklace to catch on. And wouldn't she have heard someone approaching? But now, maybe, there is a pair of shoes beside hers on the asphalt or something. What is she thinking? Show us how smart she is and how unusual this situation is.

    To that same end, I would really, really suggest cutting the first sentences in your opening paragraph. They make her sound whiny and not particularly likeable, and there are no specifics to back up her statements. Jump straight into the action instead, and then apply the same techniques throughout the rest of the pages to reduce the number of mundane physcial actions and introduce a throught process that shows us an active, interesting mind responding to the puzzle of something unusual happening. It's okay for her to be negative if that's her character arc, but show us that negativity in her thoughts and reactions, don't tell us about them. And shorten some of that even further. Right now, there's a bit of a conflict between how nice your character seems interpreting what's happened initially to believe the girl is helping her and assuming that it was some kind of mistake or coincidence and how she sees herself as such a negative person. I wouldn't dwell quite so much on the anger either. Swell of fury that surprised me, or something like that, is sufficient. Why was my fist clenched? I tried to open it, but it almost hurt to straighten my fingers. That kind of thing. In and out quickly and move on so that the reader is getting to the meat of the story faster. Pick up the overall pace.

    Clear as mud? Hope this helps! You did such a great job on this revision, I can't wait to see where the story goes. I think you could cut this section down by a page and let us see what happens next!

    Best regards,

    Martina

    ReplyDelete
  7. IT does flow better on the revision. But I must admit, I did enjoy the build up a bit better on the first. Not having the MC blatantly accuse the girl. But that is just my personal opinion.

    The girl seems nastier now too, I did prefer her sweeter and that would grind on the MC's nerves even more.

    ReplyDelete

Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)