Wednesday, May 6, 2009

31 Drop the Needle

TITLE: Life was cool until you got popular

Kaley (MC) is hiding in the bathroom because her life has gone to hell since starting at a new school. With no explanation, her best friend Jules defected to the popular group - including Meg, their arch nemesis from primary school.

Kaley has been doing anything she can to get Jules to talk to her, explain to her what happened. She'll get Kaley's attention any way she can and it doesn't matter if it's humiliating to her or the popular group - actually, the more humiliating to Meg the better. And Meg doesn't like it.

Meg whirled around. ‘You think we have a problem?’ she asked. ‘Well yeah. You’re right.’ She let out a banshee like scream – seriously, it came from deep down within her black, gooey, evil filled core – and lunged at me. Arms, and nails outstretched.

I screamed too, but mine was more with shock and fear. She looked pretty scary. She smacked me in the face and I grabbed her by the hair. Pixie scurried backwards and slipped on a wet patch on the floor and went down hard on her arse. Meg grabbed me by the shoulders and shoved me against the wall, and I too fell over. While I was down, Meg rubbed her cheek, and looked at herself in the mirror, rotating her jaw. She thought it was over. She thought she’d won. Like hell. I hauled myself up again and, screaming, I jumped on her back. She swung around and she was screaming too as we did a 360. I nearly fell off but I caught my balance by grabbing at the wall, and when I was there I managed to smack her head against it.

‘Get off me!’ She screamed and then thunk as her head hit the wall again. Her hands scrabbled behind her at me, trying desperately to connect with something. One hand gripped my jumper and the other, nails outstretched as deadly weapons ripped into my cheek.


  1. There is a clarity problem right away in your description paragraph:

    "With no explanation, her best friend Jules defected to the popular group - including Meg, their arch nemesis from primary school."

    Does it mean that Meg is in the popular group or defected with Jules?

    Notice in the second intro we start with Kaley and then second sentence starts with she'll but who is "she" when it refers to her trying to get Kaley's attention.

    This may be keeping readers away from your actual example.

    Last paragraph needs real quotation marks. Next few sentences are unclear too.
    "One hand gripped my jumper and and the other..." other what? jumper, hand.
    Some great description that needs some clarity.

  2. Yes there are some clarity problems as noted previously. What I liked best was: "Meg rubbed her cheek and looked at herself in the mirror....Like hell."
    That passage worked for me. I kindly suggest different words for "screaming". Banshee like shriek; I hauled myself up roaring; you get the idea. 5 screams in 250 words drains the tension and pitch of the fight.

    When the character grabs at the wall, what is there to grab on to? There needs to be something there so she can get sufficient leverage to slam Meg into the wall while she is spinning around.

    Does anybody get a concussion out of this? It is down and dirty. Read it aloud to make sure the dialog works the way you want it to. Block out the action like choreography to see how the pieces fit together.

    Keep going. You have some strong women here.

  3. Good fight scene. Could use clarifying on parts and more descriptions. But not a bad start.
    Your sequence of events needs fixing. have the one scream "Get off me!" before the MC says she managed to smack her head.
    Give us some feelings and reactions, too. It feels a bit impersonal. Of course the screaming and fighting is basically telling us they're pretty upset, isn't it.

  4. I felt a little bogged down with the fight scene. It sort of read like a list of things happening in a fight and not quite showing the fight. Does that make any sense?

    Some of it sounds a bit proper for fighting as well ". . . I too fell over." But maybe that's a language thing (this isn't American right--"arse")

    With a little showing it will be a great fight scene.

  5. This sounds like a good read. I liked it, but it needs a little tightening though.

    You need full quotation marks in the first sentence. Too many uses of the word ‘screamed’ and ‘grabbed’. Maybe change a few. Also, describe how she looked scary. Maybe she set her teeth.

    Instead of ‘I too fell over.’ >>I fell over, twisting my leg beneath me.

    Here’s a couple of suggestion to tighten up sentences:

    Screeching, I hauled myself up and leaped onto her back, but she swung around, crushing me against the door. I slipped off and caught my balance by grabbing her hair and smacking her head against the wall.

    “Get off me,” she screamed, pulling at my jumper.

    I ignored the pain when her long sharp nails ripped into my arm. I growled like a dog and bounced her head on the wall again.

  6. Your first sentence lost me. I found myself wondering what tense it is written in. "-seriously, it came from deep down within her black, gooey, evil filled core-"
    To fit with the rest of your entry, the MC wouldn't know where the scream came from.
    If you stated this instead "it seemed to come from deep" then it would have made more sense to me.
    If you are going to say ass, just say it. Teens will get ticked if you are trying to swear but don't. If you do not want to say ass then say butt or something else.
    I agree with the other entries and won’t go over them again.
    I totally understand how difficult it is to take your scene and cut them to 250 words! Good job, you have me wanting more!

  7. I found myself feeling detached from this. Lots of screams that started to sound redundant. Some of the sentences weren't clear to me. Too much telling. This needs some strong editing.

  8. Whoa, there are some pretty intense emotions in here. I think that 'I too fell over' sounds a bit formal considering they're beating the cr*p out of each other. I'd read more.

  9. I don't know if the author is supposed to reply to any of these, but I'm gonna. :)
    At first I was a little hurt cos I couldn't find much positive feedback in there, and you were all harping on about the screaming. But I had to remind myself that this is halfway through the book, you don't really get the context and it's your job to criticise SOMETHING. :) But you are also totally right. I clearly didn't do a thorough pencil between the teeth, eyebrows furrowed edit of this passage. And yeah. New words for screaming are being added.
    The "I too" thing, I think is cos it's sort of how I talk. Yes, this is NOT American, therefor I spelt ass ARSE, the Australian way (also how it's pronounced).
    Yeah, it's an intense scene. But she wanted overreactions and I reckon I sure as hell had one to submit! :) Thanks again everyone.

  10. GAH...upon re-reading your comments, I take back the above. :) I guess the first time I was only seeing the negative, but there were also lots of positives in there.
    Forget I said ANYthing...

  11. Well done Sarah for being brave enough to seek feedback, must be terrifying.]
    I loved the bit when she was looking in the mirror. And I love the combination of fumour and violence. A little bit of tightening up, that's all it needs.

  12. Sarah, Sorry about the Arse comment. From a Christian upbringing, I have seen some of the craziest twists on swearing. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

  13. Hey Andrea,
    Sorry if it came across as rude, the whole arse not ass thing, wasn't meant to, I was just clarifying for you.