Thursday, February 26, 2009

67 Drop the Needle: Chapter Endings

Title: Just Maybe
Genre: YA Fiction

Lisa is sitting in her best friend Sam's brother's truck as he drives her home. She is listening to him talk. Tony is taking Lisa up on her offer to listen if he needed to talk. He talks about his sister for a while and how grateful he is that Lisa's been around. Then he brings up the night a week ago when he and Lisa had kissed. They haven't spoken since then until tonight, but it is something she doesn't really want to talk about because Tony could never really understand. He wouldn't understand the culture she comes from, the expectations her family has or the rules they have in place. He reaches out to touch her face, but she pulls away.

Tony didn't react for a moment, his hand still stretched toward me. I watched his reflection in the window. There was something in his eyes that I didn't know, something that made me feel bad for my words and my actions. But I couldn't change the situation. I wanted to explain to him that it wasn't that I didn't want to spend more time with him, or see him as something more than my best friend's brother, but I couldn't. I didn't know how to explain to him that none of this would be fair to him.

"I'll see you tomorrow, I guess," I said quietly as I climbed out of the truck.

"Yeah, sure," Tony answered, his voice distant now.

I walked quietly into the house, slipping off my shoes beside the front door. It was just after ten, but it felt so much later. We had been sitting in the parking lot talking for only twenty minutes, maybe, but it felt like hours. I was glad it hadn't been, but at the same time, I wished it had.

I wished that was something I could do, that I could let myself do. I wanted to, but I knew what my rules were, the expectations I had to live up to. I had lived all my life knowing what was expected of me. School first. Family second. That was all that was allowed in my life. So where was I suppose to fit Tony in?


  1. Dripping with emotion. Nice job. I can feel her sadness, the pressures she feels of being torn between what's expected and what she wants. Good job. I'd read on.

  2. Not my genre, but I agree with Charlie. Definitely felt the emotion. Well done.

  3. I agree with Charlie as well. Nice job. I'd love to see more.

  4. This pulled me in--very sympathetic MC and clear, strong conflict not overstated. I wish I wrote this cleanly.

  5. Nicely done. I don't think you have to have the sentence "I had lived all my life..." seem kinda redunant to me considering the sentence before it. But that just personal taste.

    The two 'wishes' so close together seemed a little repetitive. Again, it's probably just me.

    You've also proven that you don't need some dramatic cliffhanging ending to entice your readers to keep turning the page. Great job!

  6. I liked this okay. But I hate to see people hurt, and the emotion here is palpable.

    My problem comes with the word "that." You use it a lot. In the first paragraph, you use it six times. You could tighten up the writing without it in some places. Like this: "Something I didn't recognize shone in his eyes, something that condemned me for my words and actions. But I couldn't change the situation. I needed to explain that I did want to spend more time with him, or see him as something more than my best friend's brother. But I couldn't. I didn't know how. None of this would be fair to him."

    Or something. Hopefully, you see what I mean.

    I liked it. Good job.

  7. Fantastic, emotional moment here.

    I felt that the last sentence of the second-to-last paragraph and the first two of the last paragraph were a little vague, and could probably be simplified for more impact.

    Other than that, great job!

  8. The voice feels right for YA, but that last part felt a little heavy on the angst for my tastes. I’d probably read on a bit farther, just to see where you go with this.

  9. I always love these kinds of emotional moments and it's even more fun to write them. Just my preference, of course. I'm sure lots would disagree! Anyway, I *do* have a few problems here and there with yours...

    I get that his hand is outstretched towards her because he reached out to touch her face, but how can she see this in the window? Did she turn her head and look the other way? I'd think she would pull away but still look at him, at least for a brief second or so. If she did turn her head, I'm not so sure she'd be able to see his reflection TOO well in the mirror.

    I agree with use "that" way too many times in the first paragraph, which makes the paragraph hard to read. Most of the time, you can omit "that" in any sentence. 9 times out of 10, the sentence will sound perfectly fine without it. Plus, it annoys editors to no end. ;-)

    Also, you're a little repetitive with "wish" in the last two paragraphs. When you use that particular word, it comes off as telling rather than showing as well. I'd get rid of the over usage of phrases like "I wish" and "I want" and "I know/knew" and find more colorful and unique ways to say the same thing.

    Second to the last sentence should be written more like "Those were the only things allowed in my life" in order to omit "that."

    I'm curious to know what the overall premise of this story is. Does Lisa like Tony? Does she like his brother Sam? Does she like anyone? Can she like no one because of her culture and religion? Have her parents arranged a marriage? And since this is YA, I wonder if she wouldn't act on her feelings anyway if she has some for one of the two guys. Chances are, she'd hate having things arranged for her, but then I guess that would depend on her other personality traits. Hmm....

    I'd read more so these questions would be answered.

  10. I loved Lisa already and I fell easily into her emotional turmoil. The one thing I didn't feel was Tony as something she really really wanted. It seemed more to me that he was more of someone she cared about because of circumstance than her own gut feelings. I would love to read more of this. Good job.

  11. I agree with the above comments. Really well done, but clean up the "thats" and rework the last paragraph. I'd read on.

  12. Your pronouns need clarity. Give 'it and 'that concrete names.

    Otherwise very clear and tender writing.