TITLE: TOUCHING THE SURFACE
GENRE: YA Contemporary Fantasy
My body hit the water with an impact that knocked the breath from my lungs. I gasped for air and the current rushed in, burning my throat as I clawed frantically for survival. Panic engulfed me and spots of light exploded inside my head. Just when I thought my lungs would burst, fingers wrapped around my wrist, yanking me out of the water. As my head broke the surface it all became clear. I had died...again.
* * *
I stood on the end of the dock that jutted out towards the middle of the lake, fingering the silver eagle feather charm that hung on a chain around my neck. Mel was standing next to me. It was her familiar hand that had pulled me out of the water; out of my third life. I wasn’t surprised. After all, she had greeted me on my last two arrivals at the Obmil Center for Progression. It was my home away from home.
Everything looked the same as it had on my last two visits. The dock butted up against striated grey rocks, the precursors for the cliffs that fenced in most of the lake.
“Hi Elliot,” Mel gave a little smile, feet planted on the grey weathered wood. After two visits to the Obmil, she must suspect I wasn’t excited to be here for the third time. She tilted her head to the side, “How was your trip in?”
She paused for a second, then threw back her mane of curly red hair, laughing as little tears trickled out of the corners of her eyes. She knew that everyone who came to the Obmil through a water way was dry as a bone when they exited. It was one of the perks of being dead.
Loved the first paragraph, especially the last sentence. I would read more, especially to find out why he kept dying and why Obmil was his home away from home.ReplyDelete
I too really liked the first paragraph. And the last sentence is a hit here too.ReplyDelete
My only question with the first paragraph is whether someone can claw "frantically for survival".
I didn't quite follow the last paragraph and specifically "came to the Obmil through a water way was dry as a bone when they exited".
Still, I am hooked. A new approach and a solid voice and style to compliment it.
I thought this was really interesting. There are a few things that caused me trouble, but overall it was strong enough to make me want to read more.ReplyDelete
I thought the first paragraph was good, but I was a bit lost. If Elliot died by drowning, then was transported to the lake outside of Obmil then pulled to the dock and was no longer wet, that leads me to believe that there was some kind of transformation/change that occurred between when he hit the water and then died, and when he was pulled out. I know I'm rambling but I'm trying to put my finger on it. Maybe it is the "Just when I thought my lungs would burst..." line. This makes me think he didn't die. Just seems to need a transition sentence... "Everything went dark and my body began to sink toward the deep." Then have fingers wrap around his wrist and yank him out...
Hope I am making some sense.
This is really interesting - I'm hooked for sure.ReplyDelete
I stumbled over the part that said "...striated grey rocks,..." it didn't seem to flow well with the word striated.
Otherwise, I loved it.
I'm kinda hooked. I like the premise a lot - she had died several times and is familiar with the woman who she meets after she dies. I'd read more.ReplyDelete
Great hook! I agree that it's a bit confusing, however, I'm thinking the confusion probably gets cleared up as the story moves forward. I'd definitely read more.ReplyDelete
Interesting idea and start. I'm intrigued, but I felt a bit lost and i'm not sure why. This has a lot of potential so if I were picking this up in a store i'd read on to see if I got grounded in the story.ReplyDelete
I like the concept. The writing is good. I like the dry humor. I'd read on!ReplyDelete
I would like an explanation about Obmil; I feel lost. Besides that, some nice details here.ReplyDelete
This is the type of thing where I feel like I'd probably like the whole book but I'm not totally hooked on the opening. I think it's intriguing, but confusing at the same time.ReplyDelete
I'd keep reading because this sounds like a school for life progression. It could be cool.
Best of luck with your novel - AK
The beginning part confused me... only because I didn't get the idea that the person died.ReplyDelete
The middle part intrigued me.
The last paragraph felt like a pov shift and I felt that throwing head back laughing was an OTT reaction. :P
Overall, I'm hooked<:
The overall premise seems interesting, but I was a little confused in the beginning. Some of the descriptions didn't work for me. The current "burning my throat" and clawing "frantically for survival" made me had to read the sentences again to make sure I understood what it really said.ReplyDelete
I really liked the last line of the first and last paragraphs. I would probably keep reading.
Clawed frantically for survival? What exactly was he clawing? His throat? Rocks? If I were drowning, I'd be trying to swim not claw my way through the water. Doesn't sound very productive. No wonder he drowned. ;)
Thanks for all the helpful comments. I guess I need an earlier cue, but Elliot is a girl, not a guy. I use to have some earlier indicators (like a delicate chain etc.) but they were trimmed because of wordiness. I it does become obvious pretty quickly after 250 words LOL! I guess I'll have to make it a little sooner. ;o)ReplyDelete
The clawing seems to be an across the board sticking point so I'll have to adjust my wording. I was visualizing panic as being a bit unproductive, but it sounds like it's just the wrong choice of words.
D. Robert Pease...thanks for the specific info, you've got me really thinking about that transition sentence. You make perfect sense ;o)
I definitely liked this. What an intriguing concept!ReplyDelete
My only nit would be to heighten the tension in that first paragraph by making it feel more urgent. Short sentences and lots of active words/phrases will help.
But I would definitely read on!
The last sentence of the first para is hookier than a hooky thing. Hooked.ReplyDelete
I'm intrigued and would definitely read on, at least for a bit. A couple things did make me stumble, though:ReplyDelete
I found Mel's laughter at what must be a very common quip a little forced. Elliot's comment seemed so obvious I wouldn't think it would cause explosive laughter. So that part pulled me out.
And I also thought Elliot was a boy, and I think most readers will, so think about either making that more clear or changing the name.
But nice start overall - I'd read on. :}
Really liked the premise and am definitely intrigued, but also was confused about whether he was actually dead or not in the beginning. Great Job I'd definitely keep reading!ReplyDelete
I feel mixed about this. I like the last line. I like some of the writing, although you might consider checking your punctuation of dialogue. I wonder about the tears in her eyes -- usually if you cry while laughing it is only after a real belly laugh so this didn't work for me. I would read on a bit just because I'm intrigued with the premise.ReplyDelete
Ooo, I like this. Really really. Hooked!ReplyDelete
I'd definitely want to read further -- there's a trend, if you want to call it that, for ghost stories and guardian angels, but this seems to take things in a different direction, and different is good. I'm a little put off by Mel's overreaction -- throwing back her head and laughing until she was crying -- but not enough to stop me from reading more.ReplyDelete
I like this. I want to read more.ReplyDelete
A few punctuation errors:
**the water; out of my third life.**--change ; to ,
**“Hi Elliot,” Mel gave**--change , to .
**the side, “How**--change , to .
Secret Agent-My husband is gloating, he thought Mel overreacted too LOL! You made his night ;o)ReplyDelete
I'd read further to find out why Elliot kept dying, if nothing else.ReplyDelete
I'm hooked, especially by the last sentence in the first paragraph. Well done!ReplyDelete
I like the style and found the first 250 interesting, but I'm wondering what will make it special later on. I'd keep reading for a few pages to see what happens.ReplyDelete
This story has intrigued me from the original concept on through its many revisions. I wish you all the best!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much ;o)ReplyDelete
Very nice! It's engaging, compelling and definitely makes me want to read more. I agree that it could use a transition to indicate the death, but personally I liked the "clawing through the water." It's a better description than simply swimming and one that paints a picture of panic in my mind. One thing though - I think that the last paragraph interrupts the flow that you built so well in the first part of the story. If you are going to use the outburst of laughter, maybe mention that being wet is a hilarious inside joke for the dead, or something to that effect. Otherwise, it just seems out of place. Other than that I'm hooked, great job!ReplyDelete