Saturday, June 11, 2011

5 1st 5 Pages Workshop - June Entry #4, Rev 1

Suzanne Lucero -- Young Adult

I walked onto the college campus with my two best friends. It looked just like I remembered it. The campus was full of graduating seniors from all of the area high schools, eating free food on the quad, visiting booths set up with games, or just chilling to some great music.

"I think I'd like to go swimming," Lani said. She snagged a beach towel from a pile by the college entrance. It was paid for by local businesses and covered with advertising, but hey, it was free, so why not?

"OK, you and Aggie go ahead," I said. "I'll meet you there in a few minutes." I walked purposely to where I'd seen the one person I was here for.

In reality, I had gone with my friends to the college pool and spent several hours there, but right now I was dreaming and I was going to do something I'd never do in my waking life. I was going to make Brandon kiss me.

I walked up to the bench where my prey was holding court. The big man on campus and athletic demi-god had his arm casually draped around Regina, his latest flavor-of-the-month, and he was laughing uproariously over some joke that one of his lackeys had told. I tapped him on the shoulder.

"Excuse me, Brandon. Can I see you for a minute? Over there, by the corner of the building?" Brandon looked up.

"Oh, hi, uh..."

Say "Hello Ally. I'm glad to see you," I thought.

"Hello, Ally. I'm glad to see you."

Now get up and say "Sure. Whatever you want." Brandon took his arm from around Regina and began to rise.

"Sure, whatever you want,"

"Hey, what are you doing?" Regina demanded. She stuck her lower lip out and teased, "I thought you were here with me." She put her hands on Brandon's arm and tried to pull him back down. I thought about using my mind to send Regina flying over the back of the bench but I reminded myself I wanted this encounter to be as lifelike as possible.

"Shut it, sister. He wants to be with me." Well, that wasn't really lifelike; I'd never say anything like that in reality. But I gave herself a little leeway. Just because I'd never say it didn't mean I'd never think it.

I took Brandon's hand and began walking toward the corner of the Admin building where an old pine tree stood. I'd decided that this would be the perfect place for our first--and probably only--kiss. The boughs of the massive tree swept down to near the ground, but if you parted them and walked toward the trunk, letting the branches close behind you, there was a lovely alcove where a couple could be undetected while they kissed. I walked through the branches, the scratch of the pine needles against my skin muted, as pain is in dreams, and Brandon followed. Turning toward the high school sports hero who wouldn't give me more that an absent-minded "hello" in the school hallway, I began my carefully choreographed and long anticipated conquest.

Say how much you really like me.

"You know, Ally, I really like you."

Tell me you think smart girls are sexy.

"I like how smart you are. Personally, I think smart is sexy. I'm surprised no-one has tried to ravish you."

Oh, I like that. Ravish is good. Now tell me that you think you'd prefer me to Regina any day.

"I do believe," Brandon said, as he put one arm around my back and pulled me close, "that I'd prefer you to Regina any day. There's so much more to you. Regina's pretty but she's about as smart as a two year old, you know?" He put his other hand behind my head and brought his mouth close to mine. "But we could have such stimulating conversations..." I could sense his desire, feel his heart hammering under his shirt, and I held the moment in my mind, savoring the anticipation of feeling his lips on mine...

The sound of screeching tires woke me. I groaned, my heart still doing a tap dance in my chest. Damn. I'd come so close. I looked over at my nightstand and the clock came into view. Five AM, only two hours since I'd gotten to sleep. I drug myself out of bed and went to the window, which faced the street in front of our house. I looked left and right but couldn’t see anything. I opened the window, thinking I might be able to at least hear something but all was quiet. The few houses on our street, all colonials set behind large front lawns, were dark. No light shone out from a front door or window, which would indicate that an equally inquisitive neighbor was looking for a car accident. I closed the window and went back to bed.

The noise of the accident bothered me; it had been too loud to have been a part of my dream, and believe me, I know my dreams. I am what the psychological community calls a “lucid dreamer.”


  1. Okay, now you're talking! :D Much better. Just stay immediate. Don't pull us out of the story with references to the dream versus reality -- let the fact that it's a dream come as a suprise or a gradual revelation, because by that time we are interested in her power.

    Also, the "I am what the phsychological community calls a "lucid dreamer" line completely stops me. Drop it. You've demonstrated that she's a lucid dreamer. That's all we need for now.

    As a next step, get into her head. Give us more of her personality and voice. Give us attitude and viewpoint. How does she plan to kiss Brandon? How much does she want to throw Regina over the back of the bench? Don't tell us she'd like to. Show us. And why does she? What does her real life interaction with Regina tell us about her actual personality and real-life experience?

    Watch out for words like "ravished" and "stimulating conversations" -- these are not authentic. If you are using them deliberately, you'd better have a stack of romance novels beside the bed and you'd better pull them into the dream in some way. And even then I'm not sure it's going to work. Give us something reallly original here to match the colorful concept you've got going.

    And when it comes to the accident? Bring us in closer. You're in first person. Instead of "The sound of screeching tires woke me," go with something more immediate: "Tires screeched in the street. I woke, my heart still doing a tap dance in my chest." etc. etc.

    Great job! Looking forward to reading it again.


  2. Glad I tried it this way, then. I was worried it wouldn'd work because of the "don't open with a dream" thing. I'll lose the "I'm a lucid dreamer" line, too. I wanted people to know that lucid dreaming is a fact not something I dreamed up (sorry, couldn't resist).

    "Ravished" and "stimulating conversation" are Ally's subconscious desire to have a romance ala Jane Austen or the Bronte sisters. She loves the whole idea "proper" romance, not glorified rape.

    At the end of the first chapter, Ally and her family will be flying to Scotland for a funeral, where the bulk of the story takes place. She will find that she has inherited the Mackay Legacy, where some of her dreams are acttually prophecies. The screeching tires were one small part of a deadly prophecy involving Ewan Mackay, who will be the love interest in the story.

    I'll get right on the revisions. I want to get it right.

  3. Yay!!! Good job! I think this is much better. My personal favorite line? "Oh, I like that. Ravish is good." Sorry Martina!! Because that calls out the word itself and its unusual nature so I think it's fine. You could even add "Wonder where I got that one? Jane Eyre?" Or something if you're worried. But the point is, that line is Ally's VOICE. Now take that voice and inject it into everything. Easy right? :D Get in her head and keep us there because it's a really cool place to be.

    I think you can bring in the lucid dreaming, just in a more natural way. Like IDK "So and so says I'm a freak because I control my dreams that way, but if I get to kiss Brandon I'm good with that." Okay I'm sure you can do better. But you get the idea.

    You can throw something dreamish in the very beginning too, something odd that will make us wonder what's up, until we get that it's a dream. I think the whole she's controlling it thing trumps the cliche of opening with a dream. My opinion though.

  4. This is so much better! I love the way you show that's she's dreaming through the way she directs the action.

    I agree that you could introduce the lucid dreaming concept differently. We've seen how she does it, so her mentioning it when she wakes up isn't really realistic.

  5. I was so disappointed when reading the first version and getting to the just a dream thing. This is miles better! I also love the humor in this opening. I think young people are much more taken by humor than dark drama. I'm not much into paranormal, but I sure like this premise and would be interested in reading more.


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