Thursday, November 16, 2017

Drop the Needle #6

GENRE: YA Science Fiction

Only two days until the (flying) motorcycle race in Tokyo, a group of racers spend the evening doing karaoke. Hiroki doesn’t know that Aya is a thief and has stolen from him.

Cushioned seats lined the perimeter of the private room and a large screen displayed the song options. Minutes later Ji-ho was doing an amazing impression of a Korean singer. She handed the remote to me next, but I passed. I didn’t know any of the songs, nor did I need the added embarrassment of singing in public. Then Yumi Sasakawa sang a Disney song I vaguely knew, complete with hand motions.

Hiroki volunteered, as Waku was very occupied devouring a sushi roll. He grabbed the remote, a small smile played at the corner of his mouth. I forced myself to look away from him.

Hiroki started singing.

I tried not to look at him. I felt embarrassed for him, as if everyone would be looking at how I was taking his song choice, which was a romantic song about finding true love among the stars. His voice wasn’t great, but it was soothing and he belted out the song with an enthusiasm none of the previous singers had attempted. I kept my eyes glued on the food and tried to remember how much I looked at Li Min while she was singing so I could look at Hiroki the exact same number of times.

Finally, with a low warble he finished the song. Yumi, Li Min and Waku cheered and clapped as Hiroki took a dramatic bow. Then I glanced at him. As he stood back up our eyes met and I couldn’t breathe. He gave me a small smile before going to sit down and I realized with a start that I was in love with him.

 Wow, Aya, bad timing.


  1. Can I just say how much I *really* love the way that she's trying to remember how much she looked at Li Min and calculating that she'll also look at Hiroki the same about of times? That's very much what young love is like!! (Omg, did he look at me? I'd better not look at him. Wait, did he smile at me? Or was that just because I smiled at him? Shoot. Now I need to absolutely, positively ensure that I don't act any different toward him than I do to everyone else.) It's adorable.

    It's clear from her thoughts that she definitely has a crush on him, but it's nice to see his smile as their eyes meet that confirms that he feels the same way. Nicely done!

  2. The first two paragraphs were important but not easy to read through. You need to convey the idea that people are taking turns, she doesn't want a turn and after watching a few people, he gets up. In its current form it's not easy reading.

    However, it's a great set up for the 2nd half which is good. Forcing herself to only look at him a set number of times tells the reader a lot about how she is feeling, I think more effectively than trying to tell us.

  3. I agree with everything Kirsten said.

  4. For me, there were a lot names and I had to read back to make sure I understood who was doing what. But, I understand that likely by this point in the story I'll know who each of these characters are, so the all the names won't be so alarming. I liked the setting and the imagery of what each character was doing, but I agree that the second half is where the tension starts to build. I also get that subtlety is part of the culture and also the story - and I think you wrote that well. I'm not sure what follows the last line 'Wow, Aya, bad timing'....but it pulled me out! The previous line was so powerful! '....his small smile...i realized with a start I was in love with him.' It's delicious and real! Thank you!

  5. I really like what you have here! I got a very good feel for the main character and the voice definitely stands out in a good way.

    The one thing I would look at is cutting out as many names as you possibly can in this scene. I know they're in a group setting, so that's difficult, but it took me half the scene to figure out who the important people were.

    I really like the conflict and attempt at calculation you have set up with the number of glances. That's an excellent detail!

  6. I agree with the others. The first half of this is too long and says almost nothing. Perhaps cut all the turn taking to a sentence or two that says everyone took a turn, and then they passed the microphone to me.

    At this stage, the reader will know who these people are and won't need to be reintroduced to them.

    And perhaps instead of explaining how she acted when they pass her the mic, show it. Give her some dialogue. And what is Hiroki doing? Does he notice her embarrassment, and how does she react to that. Get the tension started here. Then Hiroki can take the mic from her, and go into those last two pargs.

    And I agree with Vanessa about the I was in love with him line. Very powerful. I'd make it the last line in a chapter. If this happens to be the end of a chapter, perhaps throw out that great timing line. If there's a lot more after this, maybe find a way to rearrange things so this can be your end of chapter line.

  7. I think most of the first two paragraphs could be condensed... understanding that I know nothing else about the story, the only thing that felt important before "Hiroki started singing" was the fact that Aya is embarrassed about singing in public.

    The rest is quite decent, and in particular I really like the detail about Aya counting how many times she looked at Li Min. I'd consider this romantic rather than sexual tension, but it's nicely handled and a lot is conveyed in two short paragraphs.