Tuesday, May 7, 2013

First Kiss #39

TITLE: Sparkles
GENRE: YA Contemporary

In the car on their way home, Taylor turns to Dawson, the one person she trusts with her incriminating secret.

“My best friend, Kim, can’t keep a secret. I can’t tell Malorie because of her dad. I can’t talk to my mother. I can’t believe I’m telling you everything.”

“I can’t believe you’re in the middle of this mess.”

“Me neither. But my secret’s safe with you, right? You promised.”

“Before I agree to anything else, I need you to return what you took from Mr. Baldwin’s office. He’ll go looking for the agreement after I talk to him. Can you replace the papers without getting caught?”

“No. You can’t.” My voice went flat. “I don’t want you to say anything.”

“Why not?”

“I’m dead if you say something to Mr. Baldwin. My parents will find out, and I’ll be grounded for life. Then I’ll never find Mrs. Kline’s daughter. You can tell Mr. Baldwin whatever you want, after I find Laura Kline.” I barely smiled—the way a girl smiles when she first gets braces.

“That’s a good look on you.” Dawson’s single nod translated into, “your secret is safe.”

I picked up my backpack. “I better go.” I reached for the door handle, and when I turned back to say good-bye, Dawson was running around the jeep. The next thing I knew, he opened my car door and helped me out.

“What are you doing?” I wasn’t looking for an argument, but I didn’t want him to think I was a high-maintenance-kind-of-girl.

“I’m walking you to your door.”

I stood next to him, with nervous energy and pursed lips.

And that’s when it happened. Dawson leaned in and planted a kiss that was full of sparks and fiery passion, directly on my puckered up with my what-the-heck’s-happening lips. My very first official kiss went horribly right, and I didn’t see it coming.


  1. Great job! Dialogue here flows well. Love the unexpected kiss! Descriptions are fresh and work well with what I think the character's voice is.

  2. I absolutely LOVE the final line. That alone is fantabulous. Great job.

    This scene felt, to me, like two heads just floating, talking to each other. I think a little bit of character movement would really push this over the top. Is she tugging her hair? Is he rubbing his knuckles?

    Also this line: I barely smiled—the way a girl smiles when she first gets braces.

    While i like it, pulled me out of the narrative because it seemed like too much authorial intrusion. Like, i wondered if the MC would actually think that about her smile, or if it was you, the author, trying to explain it.

    Otherwise, though, i really liked this scene. Great job!

  3. Hey

    This is a sweet first kiss.

    I did get a bit lost in the dialogue, try adding some actions to it.

    And I agree with Sarah about the line: I barely smiled—the way a girl smiles when she first gets braces.
    It seems a bit out of place and pulled me back from the character's head as I watched her from the outside.
    It's hard to describe those things from a first POV... maybe... hmm... "I barely smiled, wearing the bracers shied me away from strecthing my lips into a real smile." Or something like that... give us that from her perspective.

    Other than that, it's the awkward but sweet first kiss :)

  4. The kiss, coming as it does right at the end, is a bit of a surprise to us, but since it's a surprise to her, too, it works.

    You may want to put a few more actions in the earlier dialogue sea.

  5. This read great up until the end. I thought the last two paragraphs depended a little too much on telling and not enough on showing. Also, I had to reread the 2nd sentence in the last paragraph several times to make sense of it.

    The line "That's a good look on you." confused me. Is he talking about the way she smiled? I didn't get it, but maybe that's because this is only an excerpt and not the whole story.

    Your writing is very smooth and polished!

  6. I liked the line "my very first official kiss went horribly right." That's a nice twist on the usual.

    However, there were some issues before that, for me. I couldn't follow what was going on in the dialogue, but I'll let that pass, because it would probably make sense if I had read the rest of the book.

    It wasn't clear to me what the relationship between Taylor and Dawson is. His tone, when he says "I need you to return..." sounds like an adult, but the rest of their interaction suggests classmates.

    Why does she purse her lips when he says he's walking her to the door? Has something before this scene led her to expect a kiss?

    "Sparks and fiery passion" and "what-the-heck's-happening lips" were both telling. I think you could slow this down and use more internal monologue and sensory description to show how amazing this kiss is.

    Good luck!

  7. I thought you did a good job with this. I actually liked the braces line because I can totally picture that smile.
    I agree about putting some action, something besides the "talking heads" in the dialogue.
    I also wondered why she was pursing her lips.
    I liked the "horribly right" line, but I wanted to know more of what her feelings were, not as someone else said, just telling us.
    Good job, though!

  8. I think you have a chance to show more with the actual kiss. This sounds like a big moment and you lose impact by stating it was full of sparks and passion without showing it. How does she feel beyond the physical actions of what's happening? Is she numb, hot, cold, shivering? Adding in visceral, sensory responses will bring more impact.

  9. This is a fun, sweet scene! As others have mentioned, these characters don't come to life as much as they could, nor does their relationship (except until the kiss at the end, of course).

    You can increase the tension and element of surprise by describing how they're sitting in the car. Is he tapping the steering wheel nervously as he's thinking about whether to kiss her or not? Are they sitting close together? Does she feel comfortable enough around him to fully smiie (even though I like your braces line)?

    How do they walk to the door? Do they march awkwardly? Does he carry her books? Does she look up at him, wondering why he's doing this for the first time ever?

    Let us anticipate the kiss along with her, even when it comes as a surprise, so we can appreciate the importance of it.

    Good stuff!

  10. I agree with the above comments. The dialog is good, but it would be nice to have some more description in there so I can better picture what's going on. Love your "horribly right" line! :)

  11. I throughly enjoyed this from start to finish, and I am so curious to know the details. I like the line about the braces, and I am even a fan of the abruptness of the kiss. As a reader, I felt just as flustered as her. good job.

  12. Cute and though I didn't know what was going on, I got the gist of it. And I liked the line about the smile and first getting braces. And the last few lines were awesome! So cute!

  13. Okay, that last line is a thing of greatness.

    The dialogue felt a little awkward at parts - I think reading it out loud would help iron out a few parts here and there that don't flow as well.

    As for the kiss, I would like a few more details that show me how it was full of sparks instead of telling me.

  14. I agree—great last line!! Authentic-sounding dialogue, too. But I’d break up the longer bits with an action tag here and there.

    I agree with Sarah Ahiers about the braces line: Could she say “…the way I smiled when I first got braces”? You’d have to go back and make sure you mention that she did have braces, but putting it in first person wouldn’t take you out of the moment like third person does.

    Another suggested change: “I better go.” I picked up my backpack and reached for the door handle. But when I turned back to say good-bye, Dawson was running around the jeep.

    Loved this: “ … directly on my puckered up with my what-the-heck’s-happening lips”, but didn’t care for “full of sparks and fiery passion”. Maybe delete and describe how she felt after this line and before the wonderful last line.