Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Drop the Needle #1

TITLE: Arcanum
GENRE: YA Paranormal Thriller

This Scene is at the end of Chapter Thirteen, half-way through the novel. A catastrophic event occurred, where Shawn, the protagonist was center stage. Benji, Shawn's best friend is trying to show Shawn that not everything is his fault:

"I know you're not sleeping Shawn. Wakie wakie."

Shawn, too overwhelmed, decided to play possum instead and pretended to be asleep which only lasted fifteen seconds before he felt Benji blowing in his ear.

"WHAT THE HELL BENJI" Shawn yelled opening his eyes, almost jumping off the bed, trying to figure out what Benji was up to.

"See. I knew you were faking it. Good thing you opened your eyes. You wouldn't have liked my next trick."

Annoyed, and still lost inside his turbulent thoughts, Shawn said, "Leave me alone Benji. I'm tired."

Benji got in a better position on the hospital bed, now eye level with Shawn. "No you listen up. I'm only gonna say this once. Get out of your head. I know you're blaming yourself. Thinking 'Woe is me, I've got special powers and I couldn't even save my little cousin.' Well, welcome to the real world where us lowly humans live. You are NOT God. Stop thinking you can save everyone. And, stop thinking of leaving. I know you Shawn. And right now you are thinking it's not safe for everyone around you. Well you know what. Tough Shit! If they don't like the risks they can leave. Not you. Because I want to enjoy Senior year next year and I can't do that if I'm on the run with you in some God forsaken shit hole. Now can I? Because like it or not, you and me are a team. Where you go, I go."


  1. Overall, this is pretty good. You have a few minor grammatical issues, like not putting commas before a person's name when addressing him, but that's a simple fix.

    The biggest issue I found was the telling. For example, "Annoyed, and still lost inside his turbulent thoughts..." Things like that made it hard to connect with the characters. Roni Loren has a question she always asks that I now employ in my scenes, and that is, "Are you there?" If I'm not there in the scene, then I re-work it until I am.

  2. Hmmm, these can be so hard to crit when you don't know the characters, but the tone of the whole thing seems really off for what appears to be a conversation after at least one person, the guy's cousin, died.

    Other than that there's a lot of telling that is either also shown or would be easy to show instead.

    "almost jumping off the bed, trying to figure out what Benji was up to."

    The "trying to figure out..." is a given, we don't need that explained to us.

    That's only one example, but almost every paragraph in this excerpt could lose a phrase or a sentence and be better for it.

    There are also punctuation issues that take away from the good stuff that's there.

    I love Benji, though, and the vibe of the relationship between these two. But the mechanics of this need work.

  3. You’ve got a good start here. The grammatical errors were annoying, but minor (you might want to make sure you have a reader who’s good at pointing those out for you if that’s your weakness).

    I’m a fan of deep POV and this lacks it. To dig deeper, you need more emotion and more reaction. Verbs like “felt” and “decided” kind of pull you out.

    E.g., if I were Shawn, I’d be swinging at whatever was being blown in my ear.

    Instead of saying Shawn is annoyed and lost in his turbulent thoughts, show us what he’s thinking. And those thoughts should show his annoyance.

    Just a couple of suggestions. I guess it really depends how deep into POV you want to get. Good luck!

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  5. Hi everyone,

    This was my first time ever submitting anything and I think I read the instructions literarly.

    Here is the Tagline for Arcanum and thank you all so much for the feedback. I really appreciate it.

    Also, let me if I should explain where the scene is more than the 2 second blurb.
    Thanks G.

    Fifteen-year-old Shawn Mitchell woke up from a coma, his last memory is that of the murder of his family and of his own kidnapping seven years ago. A catastrophic event propels Shawn into a quest for answers as he and his friends race against time to discover what was done to him before his special abilities take over and alert THEM of his whereabouts.