I always thought I was a good judge of character. Fakes were easy to spot. They smiled with blank looks behind the eyes, incessantly nodding in agreement, like a plastic doll mounted on the dash of an eighteen wheeler barreling down Interstate-5. Jerks were another group to discount quickly. Their M.O. was to move in like a pack of wild dogs following their alpha male. They isolated the weakest and began the ritual of circling. It didn't take long before they devoured their victim, which in high school meant embarrassing them relentlessly.
I had my concerns when Chris unloaded from the car with his buddies. His saunter with hands buried in his pockets taking in his options with a sweeping scan of all the girls huddled in cliques. When Josh introduced his friends, Chris' polite “nice to meet you” was not what I expected. A grunt, a nod, or looks at my blond friend with her cleavage bursting out of her low cut shirt were normal responses.
Paired up while our friends followed their agendas, Chris and I made the best of our situation. Sitting on the dried grass we compared concerts attended in our lifetime. Although enchanted by his music history, my attention strayed to a problem growing behind him. I couldn't take my eyes off of a lanky boy trapped in a triangle of jerks, bouncing him around while their girlfriends giggled.
I think most high schoolers could relate to this scene. I'm hooked.ReplyDelete
Good luck with SA!
I had to re-read because of the format, but that could just be how it was copied over. The scene is very relatable with good description, but nothing popped out at me. I would give it a chance to see where the story is going because I like the voice, but I would want to see something original happening in the next few pages.ReplyDelete
I have to be honest and say I'm not sure what's happening in this scene. You've portrayed some very realistic (in my opinion) teen attitudes, but I don't really know what is going on. When I got to "Chris and I made the best of our situation." I'm not sure what their situation is.ReplyDelete
The "triangle of jerks" thing is great. I just don't have a sense of setting/story.
Much to like here. Some sentences are clumsy, such as 'His saunter with hands buried in his pockets taking in his options with a sweeping scan of all the girls huddled in cliques.' It's too long to write as a fragment. But I like the POV character and that's half the battle. Good luck.ReplyDelete
I saw this earlier when it was one long paragraph -- I'm glad that turned out to be just a formatting error! I think it reads better as three paragraphs than as one. Your writing style is quite dense, which I personally am into, though I know it's not for everyone. I like how much detail you pack into this excerpt, and I can parse a lot about how the main character perceives her world from just this first page.ReplyDelete
I feel like the setting gets a bit buried, though. You might want to bring that more to the foreground so that the readers can get their bearing a little better.
I'd read on.
The sentence that grabs is the last one: "I couldn't take my eyes off a lanky boy trapped in a triangle of jerks, bouncing him around while their girlfriends giggled."ReplyDelete
I'd get to it a lot faster. Much of the rest can be trimmed or moved. And it would be nice to know the gender of the MC.
Since your readers are going to be high school kids, I would take out the "which in high school meant" line. Maybe just say "They isolated the weakest and began the ritual of circling, embarrassing their victim relentlessly" or something like that. When you specifically mention "which in high school meant" I think to myself Ah, the author's talking to the reader and the author's an adult.ReplyDelete
I think you're doing too much too soon. There's an entire scene in three paragraphs. You have good style and voice, though, so I'm on the fence here.ReplyDelete
I really liked this until the third paragraph. The wording in the first two sentences in this paragraph didn't read right to me. I'd keep reading though.ReplyDelete
Nice writing and something teens will definitely relate to. I'd like to know more who the main character is- this first page is more about observing the other kids. Introduce us to your MC so that we can relate to her immediately.ReplyDelete
I thought you needed to do a bit more scene setting. Where are they? Why are they there?ReplyDelete
Also, the piece isn't focused. You start out talking about judging character and one you get to Chris, you don't give us much about how/why the MC was wrong in her/his judgement. You immedatey go off to the lanky kid (who is far more interesting to me at this point).
Perhaps skip all the similes about jerks and fakes and set up the situation we're in. Who's the MC, where is he or she, and if the lanky boy is more important than Chris, get to him sooner.
I couldn't follow this. It felt like you jumped from one image to the next without really connecting them and I got lost in the jumble. Perhaps if you focused on one thing...ReplyDelete
I can't get a sense of your MC. Why is she here? What is she doing? Who is Josh to her? You write well so I think you could fix this on revision fairly easily.ReplyDelete
I like the first paragraph a lot, but I agree with some of the others that it's a bit hard to know exactly where they are and why they are having to be paired up, etc. As Kate said, the writing is good enough that this should be an easy fix.ReplyDelete
The title probably won't work for a while since Becca Fitzpatrick's next book is CRESCENDO. It's like trying to name your book NEW MOON - just won't fly for a while.ReplyDelete
I couldn't really grasp onto your MC. I have no idea what her purpose or personality is like, and I really need to have some type of emotional investment in the character for me to stay hooked.
This felt like a lot of telling to me. I'd prefer if you set us more in the scene, so we can see and feel it for ourselves instead of just being told everything in this somewhat rushed manner.ReplyDelete