Thursday, November 16, 2017

Drop the Needle #7

TITLE: Sugar Bea
GENRE: YA Contemporary

Though my mouth gets the Sahara dry feeling again, I push past it and the fear of an Amy Shumacker moment. “Would you like to eat with me?”

She looks around the mostly empty restaurant. “Aren’t you closed?”

I stare down at my boots and then force myself to look back at her. “Yes. But I meant like on a date?”
Is that even a thing? Going on a date?

“When?” She taps the top of her cello case.

But she doesn’t seem to care one way or the other if I call it a date. “Now. How about now?”

“Where’re we going? It’s pretty late.”

“I could make you something…” I swallow. No. This isn’t really how I want our first date to go. “Wait. Can I start over? What are you doing next Sunday?”

She smiles.



“Good. I’d like to take you on a date.”

She slides one finger over the top of the case. “There’s nothing wrong with a Sunday date, but couldn’t we do something Saturday night?”

Ugh. “Yes and no. I kinda have to work, but maybe we could go somewhere after I get off?”

Holland pushes the cello back and forth. “Well I kind of thought maybe you’d cook some of those mac and cheese balls for me.”

It’d be so much better if I could cook for her at my house. But Momma prevents that from happening. I step closer to her, catching her scent when she leans against her case.


  1. This is super cute and I really like the way we are in his thoughts as he's (she's? Not sure as there's no definite context!) thinking about how to respond and how to ask her out. The nervousness is adorable!

    I love the comment about Momma preventing it from happening as it instantly adds a taboo to a blossoming relationship. The use of "Momma," though, makes me wonder how old these teens are. I'm sure you probably have that info in another portion of your manuscript, but it does seem as though they are young. 16 maybe? But if this takes place in the south, I suppose "Momma" is pretty common, so maybe just ignore me entirely. Musing out loud to! (I do that a lot!)

  2. I like the reference to the Sahara. I didn't understand the melting. I assume he was in response to her smile but it didn't work (at least not for me). He says "kinda have to" and in the next sentence she says "kind of thought."

    Beyond those few comments, it's believable. I can picture it and feel it.

  3. Oops, I didn't add where we were in the story. But I am happy to know the Southernness comes through on its own. And my protagonist is a girl. Thanks, y'all!

  4. You do a really good job with showing the awkwardness that goes hand in hand with teenage crushes. I don't get a sense of sexual tension necessarily, but it seems like there might be some starting toward the very end of this piece. Maybe a tad more sensory reactions to Holland by your protagonist, more than just the one word 'melting'.

  5. The dialogue is really snappy in this scene. Good job!

    I would focus on filtering in more depth to the main character's POV around the dialogue. It won't slow your pace too much, but as it stands now, I was filing away lots of questions instead of focusing entirely on the scene (Where are they? What does this girl look like? etc). Take a look at bringing in more of the 5 senses and maybe a tiny bit of history to really ground us in the scene and get us entirely emotionally invested in whether she says yes or no.

  6. This is a fun scene with good dialog and pacing. It's charming and engaging. There's not much sensual or intmate tension in it.

    The strongest line is the last in this selection for this kind of tension and I'm tempted to read on to see if the tension builds a bit further.

    The line: "Melting." is a nice moment of deep POV that made me smile and drew me closer to the POV character. I suggest feathering in a touch more deep POV and sensory input linked to how it triggers strong feelings for the POV character to gather more tension in this scene.

    For example:

    "She slides one finger over the top of the case."
    - why is this catching the POV character's attention? What is the fascination with this motion? Does it incite any sort of response? Perhaps the POV character was watching her play earlier and was fascinated by her fingers on the fingerboard of the cello, the way they hold her bow.

    There's a lot of observations in here but not a lot of hints as to how this makes the POV character feel. There could be a physical reaction like nervous sweats or clammy palms. There could be a moment of panic because she didn't seem to care. There could be a moment of elation when she counters with Saturday night before the Ugh.

    I'm not hooked yet but this is a good foundation for a strong moment between these characters.

  7. I'm going to be completely unoriginal, and use the "c" word... This is really cute, and I'm already rooting for them. :) I do have just a couple of little things I stumbled on... I *assume* the rhetorical question about going on dates is because they're both girls, but it might be good to clarify that. "Is that even a lesbian thing? Do girls go on dates?"

    And, just the word "melting" on its own kind of stuck out for me; I had to think about it for a second. "She smiles. I melt." (Just a thought)

    I AM wondering, though, if the sexual tension doesn't actually start after Amy smells her? Scent can be a powerful aphrodisiac.