TITLE: The Collector
GENRE: YA - Southern Gothic
When I first arrived at Granny's, Crankston's Landing was in the middle of the driest summer on record. The white sedan that the social worker drove was covered in a thick red film from the Oklahoma dirt that seemed to cover everything that year. A white cat sat on the rail of the porch, and when it stretched out I could see the red-stained fur matted on its underbelly. No matter how much that cat licked and cleaned, the stain never came off.
No one answered the door when I knocked. I looked back at the social worker, sittin' in her air-conditioned car, and she motioned for me to try around back. I clutched the plastic grocery bag that held my spare socks and underwear and followed the path to a gate that was half rotten but might’ve been painted white once—now it shared the same reddish tint as the cat. The hinges squeaked when I shoved the gate open enough to slip through it.
I wish I could say that on the other side of the fence there was a lush green paradise, but there wasn't. Everything in that backyard was dead—the yellowed grass, the withered honeysuckle, the pile of rotting kitchen scraps, and the remains of a tiny kitten left near the trash cans. The smell made me throw up the apple cinnamon waffles that I ate at the Waffle Barn just off the interstate.
YES! Keep going. I love the description.ReplyDelete
Yes, I am hooked. The fact that this is gothic drew me in. Writing is descriptive and the tension grows as it goes on. I've read so many foster kid stories lately and have grown tired of them, but this roped me in. Well done.ReplyDelete
Vivid descriptions and good writing. I would love to know where this goes.ReplyDelete
This has a cool, creepy vibe going on. I would read more. I like Southern Gothic and the description here is wonderful. Nice job.ReplyDelete
I would definitely keep reading this. You explained quite a bit about the MC's situation without having to say much -- the social worker, the dingy house, the sack full of socks and underwear. I feel like I know her story already. And I love the creepy feel. Good job!ReplyDelete
Nicely done. Makes me want to see what happens next!ReplyDelete
Really nice description. I loved the repetition of red dirt; it created a strong sense of place. The reference to Waffle Barn was another nice regional touch. You did a great job of weaving in backstory and creating a sense of forward movement even though the scene was all exposition.ReplyDelete
My only nitpick was that I couldn't tell the MC's gender or age. I'd like to have a clearer sense of whose eyes I'm seeing through.
The writing hooked me right from the start. Great descriptions. I felt sucked into the scenes.ReplyDelete
A few suggestions, minor ones at that:
try to limit the use of "I". As an example, in the second paragraph, I believe you can delete "I look back at the social worker" It could read... the social worker, sittin in her air-conditioned car, motioned me around back.
Also, in the first paragraph, I believe you could delete "I could see the". It could read... a white cat sat on the rail of the porch, and when it stretched out, the red-stained fir matting its underbelly shown completely.
Just some suggestions, your choice whether to implement. I would read on
Wow! Your description is amazing! You give such great detail to the scene without being tedious. Well done! I would keep reading. My only suggestion would be to lose the last sentence. Let the reader react to the rotting remains of the tiny kitten. When you have your MC react by throwing up, it relieves the reader from reacting to it. Let the reader feel it--it builds the tension.ReplyDelete
Hooked! Well written, and I love all the little details. I'm thinking that red dust will be significant through the whole story.ReplyDelete
Parg 2 - Maybe say I knocked on the door, but no one answered, (action, then reaction) or better yet, show us that no one answers.
Parg 3, last sentence - this would be so much stronger if you showed it.
This sounds too similar to other Southern Gothics for my deep liking. A little too ordinary, if you will. The writing's on par; no major mistakes. As another mentioned, I also suggest removing the last sentence for a perfect punch. If you do decide to keep that last sentence, I'd say condense it. The good part? How about the last sentences describing the remains in her backyard. That caught my interest.ReplyDelete
Very well written but not my cuppa. Over here (Germany), the social worker would have been severely punished if she had let the kid go alone. So I can't really give any good feedback because German fostering seems to work differently.ReplyDelete
This seemed promising. I didn't have a problem with the social worker. I was waiting to see if she was really a social worker at all. Since this was first person, I anticipate an unreliable narrator.ReplyDelete
I am pulled right in with your descriptions of the drought, and I love the part about the plastic bag holding her clothes. The scene is set; we sympathize with the MC and we have to know what happens next!ReplyDelete
Love the title and the fact that you’re writing a Southern gothic. Great buildup in the opening scenes here as your character goes up to the house – I’m already creeped out and very nervous for him/her. I would like to know more about your main character – what is he/she feeling as he/she sees all these terrible things? I also wanted to know if this was a girl or boy, and some more about his/her history with social workers, foster parents etc. Is this basically the last stop for him/her after a long line of other attempts? The fact that the social worker doesn’t even get out of the car tells me that our main character has to fend for him/herself, so I would love to hear more about what he/she has gone through.ReplyDelete