TITLE: Cold Summer
GENRE: Young Adult
For me, there are no seasons.
There is only present or past.
Nobody but me knows what it feels like when summer turns to winter in an instant. When one minute I’m in my bed and the next I’m staring up at snow covered trees, wondering what year I’m in.
Even now I feel it coming.
I sit on the back steps, gripping the wood with one hand like it’s possible to anchor myself here, in the present. No matter how hard I try, it never works. And the thing is, I don’t know why I do. I’m trying to delay something I want and hate at the same time.
I stare across the field behind the house, where we once played baseball in the summers after dinner. Swatting at bugs and shielding our eyes with our gloves from the sun’s glare.
The grass was kept short then, always ready for us to spend the last hours of the day throwing ball and hoping the day wouldn’t end. Mom would watch us from the back porch, a few feet from where I’m sitting now. Cheering us on and never taking sides.
Now the field is overgrown.
Just a memory of the family who used to live here.
I hear Bryce through the screen door behind me, coming down the stairs fast and hard. The jingle of car keys and his audible sigh—the only evidence he’s seen me. And because of that, I’m surprised to hear him walk across the kitchen.
This passage has nice and clean language. I do feel like the beginning two lines are cliche. I think the following paragraph, "Nobody but me knows...", would be a good opener for this story.ReplyDelete
I like the nostalgic tone of the narrator's voice, and it makes me wonder how things are now: are they better or worse?
I'm curious on the subgenre here.ReplyDelete
I really like the first line. I almost think the second line could be cut and it's stronger, going right into the description of the seasons. We get the past/present thing from the last line in that paragraph about wondering what year he/she is in.
The paragraph beginning with "the grass" can probably cut since it's just extra back story; enough is shown in the previous paragraph for the set up. That way the scene becomes more active sooner with Bryce.
Time travel story? I was hooked. I liked your voice. I feel like the first two sentences could probably merged or dropped. It really kicked off after that and I would read on.ReplyDelete
I'd read on after the first page, but you might consider some edits. You use 'I' too many times in the 5th paragraph. Also, you might consider deleting "feels" and "feel." Instead of "I feel it coming" say whatever the sensation is that hits her just before she's transported or whatever happens. Who is "we" and "us?" Bryce? And is Bryce her brother or who? And was this her house? You could clarify these issues easily on the first page.ReplyDelete
I am definitely intrigued by this and I would read on. You have the genre listed as YA, but it didn't really feel like that. I'm sure this opening will benefit from a query letter or book blurb to explain the world a little more, but I would definitely keep reading.ReplyDelete
I loved the tone and mood you created, and it was that, more than anything, that drew me in. You had me up until - "I stare across the field." The first four pargs promise me something strange and unusual, and then it goes off into reminiscing and I just don't care about his or her past. I want to know what's happening now. I want you to get on with the story, and you don't.ReplyDelete
In parg 4, he says he doesn't know why he tries to stay in the present by gripping the wood, and then he proceeds to tell us why, so that seems a contradiction.
My suggestion would be to save the back story for later and, for at least the first few pages, keep us in the world of the moment. After we're firmly settled in your character's world, then you can go into back story.
I'm wondering why he/she goes to the past and the present and not the future. If that's true then he has a present, where he was when he first jumped back. And he would keep coming to that present. So I can't quite understand why he's sitting on a porch remembering the family that used to live there, as if he's in a future place.ReplyDelete
The voice is nice, though, so I'd read on to see why he's on the porch.
When you say:
I sit on the back steps, gripping the wood with one hand like it’s possible to anchor myself here, in the present. No matter how hard I try, it never works. And the thing is, I don’t know why I do.
I think it should read:
I sit on the back steps, gripping the wood with one hand like it’s possible to anchor myself here, in the present. THAT never works. And the thing is, I don’t know why I TRY.
because the way you have it now, it kind of sounds like you're saying "It never works and I don't know why I do [work]"
I’m trying to delay something I want and hate at the same time.
I THNK IT SHOULD BE
I’m trying to delay something I LOVE and hate at the same time.
I’m trying to delay something I want and SOMETHING I hate at the same time.
I think this because "want" and "hate" are not equally weighted items. Love and hate are balanced. And "something I want" and "something I hate" are balanced.
The way you have it now isn't wrong. But I think it's a little more pleasing to the ear if you balance it a bit more. This is just a matter of preference, though. Take it or leave it.