Thursday, March 3, 2011

Drop the Needle: REVELATION #15

TITLE: One Last Time

Tired of being stuck in a hospital bed while disease ravages her body, Bailey escapes from the hospital with the help of her friends. She avoids her parents, knowing they'll return her to the hospital because without the hospital machines she won't live long. Here, Bailey is talking to Twiddle, one of her closest friends.

My phone rings. I check, not that I'll be surprised.

Sure enough, it's Mom. Why can't she take a hint and leave me alone? I slide the phone back into my pocket. Twiddle raises his eyebrows.

"I don't want to deal with her," I say.

"Yeah, you two can always talk tomorrow," he says. For the first time today, there's no humor in his voice.

"You don't agree with what I'm doing?" I ask.

Twiddle shrugs and stares at the ground. "It's not up to me."

"But if it was?"

"I don't know. I want you to be happy. But I also like having you around." His shoe scuffs the dirt.

"You like it so much you didn't visit me for months."

His face twists like I've hacked off one of his fingers and dumped a bucket of salt on the wound.

"That's why I'm here. I know how your mom feels. If it was me calling..." he pauses, searching for words. "If someone who loves you wants to talk to you and they don't think they'll get another chance..." He licks his lips. "If it was me, I couldn't stand not having that last conversation."

Confusion bombards me. I think I know what he's saying. But there's no way. Not possible, not for me.

"What would you say?" I ask in a whisper. The butterflies cavorting in my stomach won't let the words come out any louder.

He looks up, eyes red and laden with tears, and I know. My heart double-thumps.


  1. Good job on the dialogue. It is very natural and I loved the turning point, the pauses, licking lips, etc. Very cool.

    IMHO, I would cut ‘a bucket of’. Leave ‘salt on the wound’ or use iodine if salt is too familiar. It may help the flow by cutting the bucket part. Also, in my humble opinion, butterflies work just fine without the ‘cavorting’. Again, it strikes me as a flow issue.

    Love, love, love, ‘my heart double-thumps’. Very expressive and neatly said.

    Over all, great job. I would read on.

  2. Everything really flowed naturally here (except I do agree some of the similes are a bit overdone, unnecessary). The dialog, the building of tension were great. I want to find out more about Bailey's disease, and how she plans to escape.

    If anything else stuck out at me it was the phone in the pocket thing, since I was initially envisioning her in a hospital bed wearing one of those awful gowns, and they have no pockets. Though I'm sure if I had read everything building up to this, that would be the last thing I'd notice, or care about.

    Good job!

  3. I like the tension build-up and the emotion. I find some of the dialogue a little stilted for YA, verbiage a bit too formal and meticulous. Especially in the height of emotion, language can be messy and I'd like to feel that messiness.

    Overall, it grabbed my heart. Good work.

  4. I remember this from the last SA contest. I was hooked then. This snippet just makes me want to read the whole thing even more... I'm guessing that she's escaped, is somewhere safe (although not medically, if that makes sense), and has changed clothes, so I wasn't confused. I didn't have a problem with the dialogue, but it's been a long time since I was a teenager.

  5. I liked the dialogue and pacing. It felt more natural than some published YA books I've read lately.

    This may or may not be appropriate since we're dropped into the middle of the story, but... I wanted to know a little more at the very end what the MC was thinking specifically. She refers to "I know." What does she know? Maybe I need to read the whole story. You hooked me. *Grin*

  6. Hooked for sure, though agree similes and some of the dialogue could be smoothed out. But great job creating tension.

  7. I thought the emotion here was very strong and I could feel what they were both feeling. The revelation at the end that he loves her works really well, too. Nice buil-up.

    Two small nits - His shoe scuffs the dirt. Perhaps, he scuffed his shoe in the dirt.

    And I'd cut the whole butterflies in stomach sentence. "What would you say,' I whisper is really powerful on its own, and the butterfly add-on takes away from it, I think.

    Nicely done!

  8. The only thing I'd add to the above comments is that she can't know he's searching for words. She can only know he has stopped speaking for a moment. If you want her to GUESS what he's doing, she should say "probably" or something that makes it sound like she can't read his mind.

  9. I really like how this scene starts out being about the mom, and then makes a turn so it is about them and the revelation.

    My one critique is that some of the dialogue felt a little stilted and almost too straight forward, like everyone said exactly what they were thinking, instead of talking around it the way that people - and teenagers especially - do.

    For example the line, "You don't agree with what I am doing?" could be just a more simple, "What? Just say it."

  10. Caught my interest in the Secret Agent round, and added to it in this. Why is this not published yet? I demand to be told when it is : ) Nothing useful to say, other than I love it.

  11. This is good. But I think the line "His face twists like I've hacked off one of his fingers and dumped a bucket of salt on the wound." is a little dramatic.

  12. I LOVED this! Very powerful, I was drawn into the emotions of the page right away!! Present tense was an excellent choice. Congrats and I wish you the best of luck with it!

  13. I liked how this scene flowed, overall. I liked the dialogue and agree there were a few places it might be shortened...but not too much. Not all teens are stuck in 3-word sentences ;)
    For example: "If it was me, I couldn't stand not having that last conversation."

    might flow better as:

    "If it was me, I'd want that last conversation."

    I agree that the 'bucket of salt' comparison was not the best--too cliche.

    I'd like to read the rest of this, for sure :)