Friday, November 28, 2014

(6) Women's Fiction: THE WILDFLOWER SEASON

TITLE: The Wildflower Season
GENRE: Women's Fiction

Julie Portland believes that, ten years ago, she killed her best friend. When she learns of a missing diary that may tell a different story, she knows she has to get her hands on that book--even if it means returning to a Southern town she despises, uncovering scandalous secrets about the friend she thought she knew, and finally accepting her own guilt...or innocence.

She only has lovers in wintertime.

In summer, the days stretch long like lazy animals and the sun's rays reach like warm fingers down between buildings and slide across her face and arms, gentle. It's harder, then, to think of dark things. But winter in New York is suffocating, and it is all she can do to breathe, to take in the icy air through her nose and mouth, to taste the cold on her tongue as it slides in and leaves her insides frostbitten and numb. It is all she can do to survive. Even Beck must feel it, or something similar, because those sweet smiles grow smaller and fade faster.

Maybe it is the skin in summertime. She can see it everywhere when warm weather finally arrives. The skirts swishing and swaying around bare legs like a tribe of dancers, the bright exposed toes peeking, jubilant, from beneath stylish sandals. Even the almost-always covered arm muscles and elbows of businessmen in the Financial District when they wear short-sleeved Polo shirts on Fridays. Light cottons, a subtle breeze teasing ears, calves, shoulders. In summer months, skin finds freedom from the confines of layers. Walking to the subway, how easy it might be to brush, light as a kiss, a hand against the unsuspecting arm of another. A common electric accident, when so much skin is on parade.

It can't happen in the cold. Bundled tightly in her scarf and parka, she is alone, insulated from the warmth of another.

21 comments:

  1. I love the first line.

    The language of this entry is evocative and paints a luscious scene. I am intrigued and will keep reading, but right now I'm wondering at the disconnect between the first line and the rest of the entry. The last paragraph seems to argue against a winter lover..."It can't happen in the cold."She is alone. I'm left wanting to know how she bridges this seeming isolation with a lover. I'd like to see a clue seeded in as early as possible.

    Good luck!

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  2. Really gorgeous, lyrical writing. I'd give this another few pages to see where it goes, but I have to say that for me, this kind of abstract description gets old quickly. I would hope this transitions into a scene very soon.

    I'm also left with questions I hope would be answered in the next page or so. Who is Beck? (A child, maybe?) And as the previous commenter noted, how is it that the MC only has lovers in winter, when she says it can't happen in the cold?

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  3. The writing here is beautiful. And you know what? That's it for me. That would keep me reading, no matter what the logline said (and the logline is quite good!)

    Best of luck

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  4. I got the intention that a couple commenters appeared to miss, that "it" (meaning the touching of skin) can't happen in the wintertime, and so she takes lovers then to make up for that. Perhaps it's the unattributed "it" that is throwing other readers. If you clarified the antecedent, I think it would solve the problem. This is beautiful writing, but I agree we need to see an action in almost the next paragraph to keep our interest. Lovely prose and an engaging opening sentence. Good job and luck!

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  5. I thoroughly enjoyed this. I adore lyrical writing with subtext and similes, it's why I read fiction. The emotional engagement in this is intoxicating.

    I can see how the brush of warm skin against skin can't happen in winter and having a lover might be Julie's only way to get it. She's craving the connection with another human being. This is honest writing and I want to read more. :)

    The only thing I'd change is the last sentence that says "insulated from the warm of another." I think you meath "warmth" of another.

    Good luck!

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  6. The writing is indeed lyrical, almost poetic. The first few sentences even read as a poem and I'd be happy to read it on a poetry blog. However, I quickly got the feeling of words for words' sake, and my interest definitely flagged. It is just a little to ethereal for fiction, IMHO.

    Best of luck!

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  7. Additional comment: This is the second time I've seen an entry that had a typo, then someone mentioned it and it disappeared from the post. The "warmth" typo has disappeared here, but I see another one in the last sentence in case someone is editing these: "tighty" should be "tightly"

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  8. This writing is beautiful. I can't believe we only get one page! Having lived through such winters, I truly appreciate the line starting with "But winter in New York is suffocating..." It reads like poetry.
    Agree with previous posters re getting into the scene soon, but I would definitely turn another few pages to get there.
    Good luck in the auction!

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  9. Gorgeous imagery and this captured New York City (even the unattractive parts) beautifully. I get the impression of a woman who needs just the right conditions in order to connect with people. I did wonder who Beck was, but not enough to take me out of the story. Good luck!

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  10. I'll agree with what everyone else has said about the beauty of the writing and the appeal of the premise. I'll also second (or third, or whatever) the desire to see some sort of action develop in the next page or so. I'll lose myself in beautiful words for a while, but I also like a nicely paced plot mixed in with the lyricism. I hate that we only get to see the first 250.

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  11. This was a lovely surprise. So few people (at least among those who are active in online forums and contests like this!) are writing anything with this kind of literary style and heightened lyricism.

    There are, however, a number of places where the wording could be tightened up or rearranged to make it even stronger and, as several others have pointed out, the connection between the first line and the supporting details that follow could be made clearer to the reader; it would probably only take some minor rephrasing to bring that out.

    A couple of the spots where I found the order just a little awkward include the first sentence, which I think would read better as "the sun's rays reach down between buildings like warm fingers", and the line near the end of the third paragraph, where I believe it would improve the flow to move "light as a kiss" to the end of the sentence. And I would suggest cutting, "or something similar" from the last line in the second paragraph, as it reduces the impact of the sentence without really adding meaningful information.

    Also, I don't think you would lose anything by starting with the character's name instead of 'she', and although it's less glaring in this context, in general I strongly dislike seeing an opening with a 'disembodied' pronoun. Another small detail is that I think it would sound better to use contractions, i.e. "it's all she can do" and "Maybe it's the skin", because those lines sound a bit stilted without them.

    This has certainly piqued my interest, and I'd love to see how the story develops while maintaining this voice; it takes more skill to weave this kind of language through a narrative that maintains both the tension and the clarity necessary to carry a solid plot through a novel.

    Good luck! :)

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  12. You can no has, Danielle. 85 pages.

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  13. I think we're going to have a few showdowns today, Carlie.

    100!

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  14. P.S. Maddie is me. A weird email glitch. Sorry about that!

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  15. CLOSED! Full goes to Carly Webber.

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  16. Literary, smart, well written and I'm a sucker for troubled southern girls far from home! Good luck. I can see this on a book shelf in two years.

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