Thursday, February 24, 2011

Are You Hooked? #7

TITLE: This Violent Beauty
GENRE: Young Adult

Life should be simple for Anna Morrow. Black and white, right and wrong, real and imaginary. She shouldn't be seeing winged children in the woods. She shouldn't be haunted by her dead brother. She shouldn't wonder about the outside world. But she is, and nothing is simple anymore.

They were only stories. Tales to meant to thrill on a howling winter night. That's all. No more than that. At least, that's what I keep telling myself as I hurry down the road. I despise the dark, always have. The trees aren't as kind under the moon, and the world I thought I knew reaches for me with menacing fingers. The breath catches in my throat when a leaf blows across the gravel, and I falter. The heel of my boot balances precariously on a stone jutting out of the ground. I stumble. "Stories, only stories," I whisper with a tremble in my voice.

But are they only stories?

I grab the edges of my coat and bring them together, shivering there in the middle of the road. I can't bring myself to move, even though I know I need to. There's only a slight breeze tonight. Wisps of my wild hair blow into my eyes. I huddle with trembling lips and a cowering heart. Just stories. Only stories.

Isn't there a grain of truth to every story?

I drag the hair away from my face and look around. The shadows stare back and the trees stand in wait, silent, ancient predators. My breath comes faster now, creating white clouds in the air, and I lift my eyes to the moon. The glowing rock is almost full, peering down at me from its soft, safe blanket of black sky. I wish it could speak to me, tell me that there is no danger in being alone in these woods at this moment, that the tales my brother used to tell me are only fabricated.


  1. This feels a little melodramatic to me, a tad overdone, and the present tense feels clumsy in places.

    I would read on, but only because the part about her wondering about the outside world has me intrigued.

  2. Wow, talk about being tossed into a world. Great description of her feelings and surroundings. Hooked

    I enjoyed your logline contrasts, showing the conflict. I thought the last line of the logline 'nothing is simple anymore' was a throwaway. Perhaps with some more thought you could come up with something more specific, more grabbing. Maybe like: Fearing for her sanity, she needed these superstitions shot down before they stole her soul??

    Just a picky about the body: the last word fabricated seemed out of place IMO. Maybe try something like: that the tales my brother used to tell me were only his usual tease, his way of pulling pigtails. (I know, too many words). What I mean is fabricated seemed too adult, especially when she harkens back to a time when she was younger.

  3. HOOKED! Great descriptions. I can see and feel what your MC does.

  4. I agree that this is a tad overdone. Once you establish the spooky setting at the beginning, I think you should leave it to settle in the reader's mind.

    The last line also needs to be separated using semi-colons or periods so it reads more slowly.

  5. I like the feeling you've created, the atmosphere. I did want to move a little faster into the story, however. I really like the writing style, too, so I say, hooked.

  6. I'm in agreement with Holly Bodger about both the spookiness and the last line.

    Is the present tense necessary to the work overall? I think the selection above would read better in the past tenses, but that may be just me.

  7. I'm hooked.

    I agree with Vicki that maybe it could be a little faster, but I love the atmosphere and the world you've created.

  8. I thought it was a bit overdone, too. I liked the mood and tone you started out with. It has a nice, creepy feel to it, but there were too many "They were just stories," and that, I think, was what made it feel a bit much. I got your point, and saying it so often became annoying.

    I would have liked a hint of why she was out in the dark she hated so much. Was she there willingly, or had she been forced into the situation? Was she going somewhere or returning?

    And at the end, she's describing the moon and sky as a soft, safe blanket. WOuld someone who despises the dark describe it as soft and safe? You need more menacing words there, I think, to keep with her hatred and/or fear. Which is another issue. Does she hate the dark, or fear it - two separate things. Be sure to say and convey what you actually mean.

    I'd give it a few more pages.

  9. I think you did an excellent job of setting the scene, but your overuse of the words story/stories (7 times in 250 words) pulled me from the narrative.

    I agree with Barbara about choosing your words so they convey the correct meaning. For me, despise is more closely related to contempt or disgust than fear and terror, so I had a hard time shifting from her despising the dark to experiencing her fear.

    I would read a few pages more to see if you showed my why she's afraid, but I'm not quite hooked by this passage.

  10. Intrigued...but confused. There were some great descriptions in this, but the narrator's panic felt melodramatic because I didn't understand why she was reacting like that. What is she reacting *to*? She appears on the page panicking for no apparent reason. (I'm sure there is one, but reassuring herself that *something* is only stories doesn't really give me a solid idea on what we're looking at.)