Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First Kiss #11

GENRE: YA Mystery

With Bea Pearl’s brother, Jim, presumed dead, Colin presumed responsible for Jim’s disappearance, and herself reputed crazy, Bea Pearl braces herself for The Lets-Be-Friends speech.

Can I accept that we’ll never be more than friends? It’ll be incredibly hard, but as Colin doesn’t live here, once he’s gone it’ll be easier. Maybe.

Probably not. But he’s the only one who can help me find Jim. And so for Jim, I will swallow my pride and pretend I’m okay with just being friends with the guy who is more than likely the love of my life.

“Um, Bea? Are you okay?”

I sigh, fidgeting with his leather cuff around my wrist. “No, I’m waiting for that ‘clear the air’ talk we were going to have before Momma and Daddy bust in at the hospital.”

He frowns.

“You know, the one where you tell me you think of me as a friend, etc, etc.”

Confusion knits his brow. “I do think of you as a friend.”

Jeez, he’s making this hard. I exasperatedly push my hair back from my face. “ Just a friend,” I whisper.

I’m completely shocked by what happens next. I expect an awkward pat on the shoulder, a glad-you-understand smile.

Instead, I’m scooped up faster than I can think and crushed to him. He kisses me with such intensity I honestly melt into Bea stock. His lips are soft and just the tiniest bit salty. He tastes of boat rides on breezy days. The hint of stubble scratches my skin in the best way possible. If I thought dancing with him was magical, I have nothing to compare to this first kiss.

He backs away enough to murmur against my cheek, “Is that a just-a-friend kiss?”

I shiver though my lips burn as if I just ate spicy crawfish. “I hope not. I don’t think I can stand up. My legs are all wobbly.”


  1. There's some repetition in the first half that seems bulky to me. First, Bea thinks about how she's going to get the "just friends" speech, and then she expresses the same thing to Colin. I think you could go with either one or the other there -- the interior monologue or the dialogue about it. That, or the dialogue should build on the interior monologue in some way, rather than just restating the same thing.

    I'm completely shocked by what happens next. This comes off awkward in present tense. I think you could skip straight to "Instead, I'm scooped up..." so as to show us Bea's shock.

    I really like the language you use during the kiss itself. "boat rides on breezy days" -- love it! I like both these characters and I'd be interested to read their story.

  2. Ok,

    I loved everything after "He frowns". Everything before could use some tightening. The first half is just not as fluid and concise as the second half. The second paragraph was the main offender for me. I agree with the previous commenter about the "I'm completely shocked by what happens next line". It slows everything down. You dont have to tell us she'll be shocked.

  3. As stated, I agree that the narrative tells us what is later shown in the scene. I would nix the first few paragraphs where she ponders and just show the scene unfold.

    "Exasperatedly" is a bit of a mouthful. Take it out and maybe use a stronger verb than "push" for her hair, and you show the exasperation without tell us.

    I don't know what writing rule this is, or if it is one, but phrases like: "I’m completely shocked by what happens next." are usually not needed. What follows shows us instead of adding a neon sign pointing "Hey, look what happens next!"

    Love the line that he tastes of boat rides on breezy days. And the line that follows tying back an earlier moment of dancing with what happens now. I love those connecting threads in books.

  4. Love the name Bea! "Bea Pearl" and "spicy crawfish" evoke a definite setting.

    Maybe say "In exasperation" instead of exasperatedly, or use a stronger verb.

    Did you mean to say "busted" in the 4th paragraph, or is that Bea's dialect?

    Agree about deleting: "I’m completely shocked by what happens next."

    Maybe: "I’m scooped up faster than I can think and I find my my body crushed to his."

    What is "Bea stock"? (I'm sure it's explained previously, and that case, probably works well.)

    Maybe: "...but it doesn't begin to compare to this first kiss."

    "as if I just ate spicy crawfish" gave me a jolt. Not very romantic! But it might work if the crawfish is from some restaurant already mentioned in the story. "... as if I'd just eaten some of Mama Boudreau's spicy crawfish." Especially if Colin has fed them to her very seductively! ;)

    The last two sentences might work better as her thought.

  5. You give a strong sense of a likable but vulnerable character in Bea. I like her. The prose is simple and strong with vivid, sensory images that have more impact as a result. Is there a typo in "Bea stock?" Do you mean "Bea shock?"

  6. Thank ya'll for the suggestions! They're very much appreciated.

  7. I thought you did a great job with voice here. I get a sense that Bea probably isn't very high up on the socioeconomic ladder, and that she probably comes from a rural area as opposed to a large city.

    Perhaps keep the first sentence of Parg 1, and cut the rest, then join it with parg 2.

    Cut exasperatedly.

    Cut the - I'm completely shocked parg - You're announcing that something is going to happen, and then you show it. You only need the showing. and then say Suddenly I'm scooped etc, instead of 'Instead.'

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