Wednesday, May 6, 2009

36 Drop the Needle

TITLE: Sketch McGee
GENRE: Seeing Clearly

The main character, Sketch (16 year old band geek) has the ability to see the future with her drawings. During math, she draws her father laying face down in a pool of blood. She's just called her mom to come up to the school and take a look at it.

Mom examines the picture for what seems like a month. I keep expecting her to say something, but she just sits there. Her hands run over each part several times. First she looks at the man, then the painting that hangs on the walls in the unknown building. Her fingers linger a long time on the window and the trees outside.

Ugh. Say something Mom. This is getting ridiculous.

“Sorry babe. I just got caught up looking at it.” She answers my thoughts. “Do you think you can draw it again? This time in color?” Her hopeful eyes break my heart. I should at least try, no matter how pointless it is.

“I don’t know Mom,” I’m such a complete disappointment. “I can give it a shot, but I haven’t been very successful recreating them so far. Ya know?”

She sighs and hands me the drawing. It feels heavy in my hands, and I don’t even bother to look at it as I shove it down in my notebook. Turning the keys in the ignition, she backs out of the space and drives toward home.

“You’ll figure that out,” She assures me. “It just takes time to control your power.”

Time we apparently don’t have.

“Don’t think like that.” She says. “We’ve been in worse situations in the past and the McGee’s always come out on top.” Her lips curl in an unconvincing smile as we pull into the driveway.

I wish I had her powers. Then, I would know what she was really thinking.


  1. I was intrigued and confused. Sketch's wish not to disappoint her mother, and doubts about what she's thinking, are clear and interesting. I wonder if the request for her to draw it again is so she can see the surrounding circumstances more clearly and avoid them, or so that he's actually more likely to end up in a pool of blood...I made the latter assumption at first.

  2. I found it intriguing - got the impression the mother wanted bad things to happen to the father.

  3. I too wondered about the situation. They don't seem that worried about the dad. I was wondering if the mom was planning to murder him. And why is the girl so down on herself? Its hard to know of couse when were dropped in, but overall the scene flowed well.

    I find the premise intriguing. A mom who can read your thoughts- sounds like a nightmare for a teenage girl.

  4. I like this. My only small issue is the dialogue feels slightly stiff to me, but not much. I'd keep reading.

  5. I like the idea of her being able to sketch the future, although it's been done in Heroes (I do understand that you could have been writing this well before then - just saying that people will have now seen it before.)

    I think the writing is very good, but it needs a little editing. Just minor things. In the second-last paragraph, I think you need to lose the apostrophe in McGee's, and the capital letters after the dialogue tags are throwing me. eg. '"You'll figure that out," She assures me.' I wouldn't put those in capitals, although I could be wrong.

    Overall very good though.

  6. I liked this entry.

    I take it the mom can read minds?

    It is so hard to take a scene and cut it to 250 words! You did a great job though.

    It was easy to follow and I really want to know what else is going to happen.

    One suggestion, I had to read the part first paragraph a few times to understand it.

    You say that the mom is touching the picture then looks at...

    Just a bit confusing. When you set it up I pictured them at the school building and the mother looked away from the painting to look at the man then hangings then was running her hands over the window.

    I wonder if the editing for this contest cut out some of the info needed for clarity?

    Also when you mention the man, it's her father right?

    Thanks for submitting this piece. Good luck!

  7. Good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

    I wanted more sensory information. We get that the painting is black and white later on. Is it possible to have the tip of her finger pick up some of the lead pencil or charcoal used to draw it? Can we get more specifics? For example: "each part" is vague. Actually, I think that entire sentence could probably be cut, since you SHOW this in the last sentence. Speaking of specifics, maybe the species of tree in the picture can be mentioned: Her fingers linger on the window and the sycamore tree outside. I took out "a long time" since linger implies this.

    "She answers my thoughts" is TELLing what you've SHOWn in the dialogue. You could delete the beat without affecting the meaning, IMO.

    "I'm such a complete disappointement" is not a proper attribution, but "She says" is. The first one needs a period prior to it and the second one needs a comma (also prior to it). "She assures me" also isn't a proper attribution. Period before. It's also TELLing what you've SHOWn in the dialogue.

    I'm not sure you need the word "toward" here.

    I like how you handled Sketch's internal conflict. Great job. I'd recommend just tightening this baby a bit and adding a little more reaction from the mother. I think this would benefit the scene.

    Good luck.

  8. The story line is intriguing. I have a little trouble at the end of this excerpt wondering how to know when her thoughts are no longer being heard by her mother, particularly the last line. Did her mother hear that too?
    As stated previously- the first paragraph is a little confusing, but maybe because it was taken out of context.

  9. I fear that I've completely mis-understood the Drop the Needle assignment. Plenty to have emotional outpouring, but...

    Why would the mother want to see her husband in color laying in blood? Where is the emotion of seeing a fore-shadowing of his death?

    Lots of opportunity here to make this dramatic and emotional, but it's all at arm's length for me.