TITLE: Ruby, Ruby
GENRE: YA Historical, Thriller
The visions have stopped, for now. Not having to see a corpse in over a year I’m free to perform again.
Jonathan doesn’t think I’m ready, but I’m ready to show our professors what jazz music could do, like the Swingjugend in Germany, dancers my age, who defy the Nazi crackdown that calls swing the music of the enemy.
If I pass the final grade tonight, I can join the swing circuit with my band. Proving to my brother, he didn’t have to watch me so carefully.
Taking a deep breath, I fix an alabaster shield with a puff of powder and straighten up, even as my stomach wretched with preshow giddiness.
The door flies open and Samantha steps inside, flouncing her blue tulle dress she sits next to me. “Jonathan let me pass.”
Not surprising. Samantha could convince a rock to roll over. “How is it out there?”
“Swoony! Everyone’s dancing and I think the parents are finally leaving,” she says, smearing rouge on her cheek. “Your brother’s waiting, cute as a bug’s ear.” Her eyes hold mine in the mirror. “Too bad.”
I smile politely and stand up. “Alas, Harold’s his new flame.” Turning, I align the back of my dress appropriately. “I do hope he’s careful this time.”
“I have one favor to ask you,” Samantha asks, curling her lips into a bass clef. “Do you think, tomorrow, you could help my little brother? He’s dying to play piano again, and he loved your company so much."
There's a lot to like here. "Samantha could convince a rock to roll over" made me snort--in a good way. But it also feels loose, in need of tightening. For instance, "The door flies open and Samantha steps inside, flouncing her blue tulle dress she sits next to me." I want this tightened. Maybe just "The door flies open, and Samantha flounces in, her blue tulle dress filling the room." "Steps inside" and "sits next to me" can be easily whacked.ReplyDelete
Also, the second sentence is important and holds a nice hook, but I find the wording awkward. Maybe, "Having not seen a corpse in over year, I feel free to perform again."
Mainly, I think you need to tighten, tighten, and then tighten some more.
I like a lot of what you have here. I'm a fan of the period and swing music so I'm drawn into the idea. But the sentence structures feel loose. I think as a whole everything can be tightened. Get rid of unneeded words. Read the story aloud. Otherwise I think it's great. I'd love to read more.ReplyDelete
I like how you've set up the scene and immediately put us in a certain time and place. The dialogue is nice too (feels realistic for this era). However, there were a few places where I think you could improve upon this intro. One is the 2nd sentence: " Not having to see a corpse in over a year I’m free to perform again." It reads awkwardly. I'd also like to see these two sentence joined or worded differently: "If I pass the final grade tonight, I can join the swing circuit with my band. Proving to my brother, he didn’t have to watch me so carefully." They feel a little disjointed. Like someone above said, just tighten up a few things and I think this will be great!ReplyDelete
I like the subject matter and how it moves quickly, but the sentences have a similar cadence. It did take me a minute to find the setting, but any first page all alone is going to have that issue. Good Luck!ReplyDelete
There’s a nice sense of place here, but I found myself a little confused. “Not having seen a corpse…” is a grabby sentence to be sure, but without more of an explanation it just leaves a lot of questions. I think we need a little more clarity on what is happening with this character to really ground the reader with them.ReplyDelete