Monday, October 8, 2012

7 1st 5 Pages October Workshop - Tribble

Author: Sara Tribble
Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Some things make you stronger while others tear you apart, destroying yourself and everything you believe in with one, big brass-knuckled punch. Life knew it didn’t have to play fair. My father always told me to pull myself back up and keep going strong. As much as I wanted to listen to his advice...I just couldn’t, especially lately.

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, leaving me with nothing but emptiness. At this point, I’d accept emptiness to escape this depression.

Thankfully, I arrived at school early and found a good parking spot so I didn’t have to walk too far from the high school in this blistering heat. I started my car’s engine 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. Without warning, my eyes wandered over to the same place on their own accord.

Immediately, I wished I’d stop looking. It didn’t matter how many times I told myself to turn away. It didn’t matter that it was something I would never have again. My stupid eyes always had to watch and remind me, that is something that would never be.

Another brick stacked onto the tower within, wobbling.

There was a loading dock, or so the teachers called it, where kids would get picked up by their parents. It was a big chunk of sidewalk with easy access to the road for a quick pick-up with little benches and scattered balcony roofs to provide some shade. A number of students, freshmen and up waited. I knew none of them, but I was jealous of every single one of them.

I watched the familiar Hispanic girl pick up her bright purple plaid backpack and hop in the back of a blue convertible. Driving the car was a man in his forties, matching her features almost perfectly. The woman next to him was where the girl got her body shape from. The two had to be her parents. The idea of a mother and father who picked their child up every day from school was simple, but yet, such a rare thing to occur.

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, following the pinch from my necklace.

The tight squeeze disappeared from the back of my neck. 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 beside me reached down and latched onto it first.

“Thanks,” I said to the girl.

She turned to face me, holding onto the black gem in the palm of her hand. Her blonde hair was pulled back from her face, showing off her very strong bone structure with a wickedly straight nose. Her eyes were blue and for some reason looked off, not quite sure why, and she looked a little older than me. The blue hue in her eyes bothered me the most. It could be because she hadn’t handed back my charm. 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, my necklace chain finally snapped on me. I been meaning to get a new one,” I said quickly, shifting my weight to the other foot.

She held it toward the sun, catching the glistening sparkles hidden beneath the deep, black color. My foot tapped on its own accord. Without knowing, my fingers rubbed against one another, wanting the gem back in my own hand. The girl was taking her sweet ass time with it and it was making me slightly agitated. Okay, really agitated.

“I’ll be taking that back now.” I reached to grab it, but she quickly snapped her hand down, with the gem enclosed in her fist.

“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.

“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 was beginning to sicken me with her dead on perfection of beauty.

She tried to turn away, but I grabbed her left shoulder and flung 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.

“Listen, that’s mine and I want it back,” 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 like 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. She could have some family in Mexico to send after me. 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 going to change. I couldn’t believe I just said that to some random chick. What 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 released 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 my next.


  1. The story leaves me wondering about the necklace and its significance and also what has gone wrong in your MC's life to warrant her despair. I'd keep reading to find out what happens with the encounter with the blonde girl and the repercussions from this.

    This confused me a bit, "....leaving me with nothing but emptiness. At this point, I’d accept emptiness to escape this depression."

  2. I was a bit confused as to what was happening re: when the necklace got snagged on something. I thought at first that the girl had undone the necklace, or something strange like that. I also was a bit confused when the MC said the girl probably had family in Mexico send after her but the girl has blonde hair and blue eyes? I think it's because I didn't associate the girl & her family with the girl who stole the necklace.


  3. Sara - you have a really interesting interaction here. I love your first line - you can tell the voice is there, which is the hardest part. After that, however, you go on a bit too long for me. Don't tell us what a crappy time she's had or how she feels, show us! Same with the descriptions of people. Is the girl in the car important? If not why go on about her and her family so long? Just comment on the parents picking her up. Watch those adverbs! They are like taking the easy way out. Why is the blond's beauty so vexing to her? Why does she keep focusing on that? Think carefully about what info is important and take your time with that, the rest tighten up. Don't tease us too much either, get right to the meat of it so we can click with your MC. You obviously have a good grasp on her so great job! Like I said all this stuff is mechanics. You can do it. :D

  4. This is really interesting. I love the part about the heat from the car, I grew up in Texas, so I love that part!

    I'm curious what is so special about the necklace. Is there more significance to it that we just don't know about now?

    Also with the necklace as the reader I felt like the "mean" girl was the one to break it. I've had clasps break and never had a pinching sensation.

    Watch the passive voice. I noticed it a bit, maybe because that's what I'm currently editing out of my own WIP.

  5. Overall, this is in an intriguing story. The girl who steals the necklace is intriguing. I can’t wait to find out who she is. The writing is clean and enjoyable to read!

    A couple things I want to point out.
    First, it feels like many of the paragraphs are disjointed. The 1st and 3rd paragraphs do not feel like they belong together. Ditto the 6th paragraphs. I love the 2nd paragraph and think you many want to consider making it your opening. However you rearrange them (or cut them), make sure each paragraph belongs with the one before it and the one after, that they all fit together to drive the story forward. Our story doesn’t seem to get started here until about the AC sputters. Trim what you can before here.
    A second thing to think about is the character. It takes us a while before we know anything about the main character, even the gender. Help us get to know her as early as possible.
    Watch vague and generic descriptions (“I was jealous of every single one,” “not quite sure why” – if she isn’t sure why the girls eyes look off, we can’t be sure either). Each description should us our overall image of the world.
    This is a minor nit, but if she is looking at another girl’s parents in the car, she is not going to have such great detail for them. Unless her mom stands up, how can she see they have the same shape? Same with the father and his matching features. If you are trying to draw a comparison between our main character (who is maybe adopted or does not look like her parents) to other kids, possibly consider another method.

    Since I’m a huge sci-fi fan, I’m excited to see what you do with this! The strange girl is creepy and would totally make me want to read on!

  6. Overall this intrigues me. It unravel just a bit for me with the necklace entangling, etc. Keep the story moving.

    The end was terrific ... great conflict. I felt her anger and I had a clear vision of the other girl. I agree about the Mexican remark about the girl's her family coming her. I don't believe it's necessary.

    On the last sentence. " I waited for her next move while I contemplated (mine) my next." I would use "mine" instead of "my next". To me it would flow better because it's such an important line.

  7. The gem is fascinating, and the interaction between the mc and the girl who takes the charm is riveting. I'd love to get to that much, much sooner and have you weave anything else that we need to know directly into the action -- preferably by showing us in deep POV rather than telling us. Voice, and you do have one that shines through here, can only do so much to intrigue us. In the end, readers always believe what we see more than what we are told.

    Am I right in thinking that the charm somehow helps your mc stay in control? That without it she is somehow dangerous? I adore the idea of that. But if so, I'd love to see more of that within these crucial first five pages.

    Looking forward to reading more!



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