Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Drop the Needle #2

TITLE: Beyond Fair Street
GENRE: Contemporary Young Adult

Kandee competed in the fair queen contest hoping to win and earn money for a trip to Paris. She tripped, didn’t win and on the stage afterwards sees Mama (Crystal), Laralie (sister), Winona (neighbor), Zeke (coworker) but not her boyfriend.

There are so many people hugging contestants, exclaiming about how wonderful they were. They’re thrusting bouquets of flowers into manicured hands all around me while I stand empty and alone. I reach down and pulled off one shoe then the other. At least I don’t have to bother with them ever again. It feels so good to put my soles flat on the stage floor.

Arms encircle my waist. It’s Laralie. “You should have won. You were the prettiest one,” she says.

Sometimes she does come through for me.

Mama stands in front of me with Winona behind her. “Maybe if you hadn’t tripped up you might have been the queen,” Crystal says.

It’s hard to believe she has to criticize me here, now.

Winona steps around Crystal and puts a friendly arm around me, gently guiding me toward the stage exit. “I don’t think you should have done a thing differently. I’ve never been so proud.”

I appreciate the sentiment but if I had won, of course Winona would be more proud.

Looking past the women, I search for Troy. Maybe he’ll congratulate me, bring me flowers like Marissa’s boyfriend did. There are still a few people entering the stage but not him. There’s no one else for me, not even Dad.

Then I hear someone clearing his throat. I turn and see Zeke. He hands me one yellow rose with a pink ribbon tied to it. What’s just as surprising is that he also has a black eye.


  1. I love this. The voice, the writing, the small touches--all of it brings us into the scene and into your character's thoughts and emotions.

  2. Nice! I'd want to find out about the black eye. I felt the protagonist's yearning to have just the right kind of comfort, and I got the impression that the simple flower was just what she needed.

    One tense issue I noticed - if you're writing in the present, then it should be "I reach down and pull off one shoe" rather than pulled. Good luck!

  3. I like the bit about the black eye, that sounds interesting.

    Other than the break in tense that someone else already pointed out, I have little to complain about other than feeling kinda blah about this.

    Obviously I'm coming into it cold, but it seems like you could use this as a pretty dramatic moment both with the protagonist's disappointment and in her interactions with the others. As is, the things everyone says and does are pretty much exactly what you'd expect, they give no particular insight into any of the characters, and add little to the narrative.

    It feels like you're missing an opportunity here, or maybe you just need to gloss over the predictable responses of the others and focus on the protag's emotions and on the bit with the coworker and the rose. As is I have a feeling this bit just drags down the pace and intensity of an important moment.

  4. It's a good start but I'm missing some more emotions.

  5. I really like the rose, the ribbon, the black eye. I agree with KG that emotion is the missing ingredient.