Thursday, February 24, 2011

Are You Hooked? #4

TITLE: Punch
GENRE: YA Contemporary

Naya knows how to throw a punch. After years of fighting, she has developed a pretty thick skin. Too bad she's about to learn that it doesn't protect her heart.

I know the feel of blood. The way it drips down your face—thick and slow—reaching your mouth long after you realize it's coming. Long after you see it on your best friend's face. If you're stupid enough to look at him, that is.

I know the way it tastes. Like salt. Like satisfaction. Blood means it was a good hit. Maybe even a break. Blood means my opponent is relaxed. Sure of herself. Convinced I'm going to back down.

Back off.

But she's wrong. Blood never means I'm going to back down. Back off. Blood means I'm coming back for more. For more blood. But not mine. I've already seen mine. Many times. Dripping down my face. Pouring on the floor. Soaked into Taye's clothes as he pulls me away, lecturing me about whatever fight I've started this time. That's what he says. This time. Because there's always a last time. And there's always a next one. He knows this. We both do.

But for now—for now, there's just this one. There's just me standing here with a bloody nose. And there's her. Her standing there not knowing she's about to get one.

I step back. Retreat. Wipe my sleeve across my mouth. Glance at Taye. He's shaking his head. Telling me to walk away. Yeah, right. I'll walk away when she's flat on the floor. Or maybe—

Maybe...when I am.


  1. The very beginning of this makes me think that she's doing her fighting in a ring - then it is revealed that she's starting these fights, and I'm left wondering about her motivations. Is she a bully?

    The imagery is good and there's plenty of action. The tense conveys immediacy, yet I don't feel drawn into the middle of the fight. The only feeling the narrator expresses is the desire to keep fighting until one person is left standing, but I don't know why she wants to have this fight in the first place.

    The writing is good. I want to be hooked. I'm not quite, yet.

  2. Not sure what to make of this. The writing is very descriptive, which I like, but I felt jarred with the placement of the line "Back off." in its own paragraph.

    And I'm not sure what to think about Naya. I guess I'd read on, if only to see why she's fighting. But she'll need to win me over soon, or I don't think I can go the distance with her.

  3. Very powerful. I can see the smirk she's hiding as she plans where and how to get at her opponent. My only negative is the choppiness of the paragraph after the lone Back off.

    Nice job.

  4. I like this. My only comment relates to the phrase "Back Off." I'm not sure whether this is an internal thought directed at the friend, Taye, or at the opponent. Maybe it's both, but I did find it jarring, since the rest of the words flow well for me.

  5. I also had an internal pause hit on the 'Back off' and the following paragraph. For a moment I was confused as to the gender of the MC but that might just be me. I love the writing, just not sure I'm hooked...though I am curious about Naya which is a good thing.

  6. Oh, I was so hooked by this. It has that kind of Fight Club feel I like. It makes me really want to keep reading. The only thing that threw me was the "back off".

  7. There's some non-sequitors here (like walking away after I'm flat on the floor), but I attributed that to the way the heroine speaks and thinks.

    I see that she'll change but don't know if whats going to happen in this opening scene incites the change. I guess it's hard to put what's probably on the next page on page one, so I'd read on. I'm hooked and I like her pukish and pugnacious attitude.

    Just one thing, you imply everytime she fights he's there, which then implies she's either in complete control of her anger or she does this for show in front of him.

  8. The writing is strong and evocative, but it's all description. Perhaps start with the fight at hand, then we can see her tasting the salty taste, feel her being hit, feel her enjoyment as she breaks her opponent's nose, hear the crush. It would be so much stronger feeling and seeing it first hand than as a lot of talk.

    The subject matter would keep me from reading on. It's not a strong enough premise to hold me for a whole novel. I see this girl getting into a fight, then another and another then she learns her lesson. Are there subplots involved? Perhaps tell us about them in the logline or hint at them in the text? What's behind her need to fight? (that, I think, would be far more interesting than the fights themselves.)

  9. I like the immediacy of the images, but I'm unclear on what's going on. There's a lot of repetition and short phrases that make it choppy. Have you read it out loud? I'd like to know more about the story, for sure, so I'm hooked, but I wouldn't read much more if it's in this style.


  10. I'm not hooked because I'm not entirely sure where and when this is taking place. If this is a street fight, it's happening too slowly and elegantly. If it's happening in today's world, I'm wondering where the group egging them on is - and where's the threat of weapons? The guesswork pushes me away from wanting to read more.

  11. To me, the action and story started here: Blood means my opponent is relaxed.

    Blood never means I'm going to back down. (Back off. No need to repeat this part, I think.) Blood means I'm coming back for more (. For more) blood.

    And there's her. (Who is her and what did she do to make the MC fight?)

    The MC is angry and makes me wonder what made her that way. I would read more.

  12. Not hooked, I'm afraid. Mostly confused. I don't understand the motivations, and I don't feel grounded into what's going on.

    Though I really liked the discussion of blood and what it's about, I just didn't *get* this one.