Monday, March 21, 2011

Kick Start Monday

We have contests and challenges! Below (Sunday) is my flash fiction AW challenge. Above is coming my Brainstorms & Bylines challenge. And I'm sending out some queries this week! Oh my!

And right here is my Show me the Voice contest entry, which I got from Claire, The Word Busker. I am entering the first 250 words in my finished first couple of pages is an incident so it shows my voice but not my MC. I am supposed to ask for what do you think?

Name: Tara Tyler
Title: Pop Travel
Genre: Sci Fi Thriller

Seattle, WA. 2078.
Click, clack, click, clack. The resonance of her high heels on the sidewalk was an exaggerated cymbal clashing in her throbbing head. THWAK, CRASH, THWAK, CRASH. Background city noises that most people ignored were amplified tenfold in her ears. A casual conversation was a lion’s roar. The honk of a car, the blast of an air horn. Even her own vid phone beckoning was a rumbling train shaking her off balance. She couldn’t bear to answer it so she fumbled to turn off the ringer. She could barely see straight. She just kept putting one foot in front of the other holding a hand over her eyes to block out the glare of the overcast sky. If she could make it to a quiet booth and relax with her friends, she thought she might be ok. At least it wasn’t raining.
After walking three blocks from her doctor’s office, the valium he gave her finally kicked in. The agonizing hammering in her temples retreated to a slight, steady pulse as she reached her destination. The pain was now bearable and she was able to fix a smile to her lips as she walked into the bustling tavern. She noticed her friends and more stress was relieved as they waved her over. Their inviting smiles were a welcome sight. She joined them at their table.
“Sarah, you look terrible,” Claire teased. They all laughed.
         "Thank you. My doctor just said the same thing," she replied, trying to seem upbeat as she sat down in the cozy booth.


Jan Morrison said...

Although your protag's voice is overshadowed by the pain and discomfort she is under, I think this piece works. I do want to know why she is in such pain but mostly I want to know why women are still wearing high heels in 2078! Gawd I hope that isn't so! (just kiddding, sort of ;))
I think your writing could use a bit of tightening up. For example :
after 'Background city noises' I would take out the 'that most people ignored'. We get it or we soon enough will.
In this paragraph I'll show you a couple of suggestions:
After walking three blocks from her doctor’s office, the valium he gave her finally kicked in. The agonizing hammering in her temples retreated to a slight, steady pulse as she reached her destination. {this is awkward phrasing - how about "Walking the three blocks from her doctor's allowed the valium he'd given her to finally kick in and the hammering had retreated to a slight, steady pulse as she opened the door to the tavern. She fixed a smile to her face..." I would also watch for cliches like "inviting smiles a welcome sight." Tell us what she feels as they wave her over. "Sarah felt like she might just make it. She rode on the warmth of their welcome and collapsed into a chair at the table.
“Sarah, you look terrible,”

These are, of course, just suggestions and I think you've got an intriguing start.

Nicole M. White said...

I get a great sense of what is going on around Sarah but not so much who she is other than she is not feeling well and is teetering on the edge. Interesting that the date is so far in the future but other than the date being posted there is no sense that it is not set today or 10 years ago.

I do want to know what is going with Sarah and would keep reading.

Anonymous said...

Argh! Your blog ate my comment. Try 2 won't be nearly as eloquent as try 1 was. As a WA state resident, I had to chuckle that they still hadn't solved Seattle's weather problem in over 60 yrs.

Critique-wise, I tend to agree with my predecessors. If you're going to give us a lot of setting words, make them count, especially in a futuristic piece. Otherwise, give us more of the protagonist.

Good luck to you, Tara!

Tara Tyler said...

Can you tell I'm new at this. Thanks for the crits - I think I have some more editing to do and your advice is appreciated!

Claire - so sorry about the comment. I've had that happen on other sites. Darn computers!

Anonymous said...

Seattle piqued my interest and I read right through this piece, with nothing jumping out at me.

I'd read on :)

Christi Corbett

J.C. Martin said...

I think it's a really good description of your character's discomfort. Don't see much reference to 2078--everything still seems quite "today", if you know what I mean--but I'm sure that changes past the 250 pages.

The only sentence I stumbled a bit on:

"She noticed her friends and more stress was relieved as they waved her over. Their inviting smiles were a welcome sight."

These two lines contain two "was" or "were", making them quite passive. Consider revising them to something like "She found her friends, who waved her over. The welcome sight of her inviting smiles relieved more of her stress."

On second thought, "welcome" sight and "inviting" smiles? You probably need only one of those adjectives! :)

Ellen said...

Great setting of the scene in this opening -- I like that everything seems so normal instead of the 2078 tag at the top. That leaves me wondering what will be different, but also makes it easy to relate to the protag (everyone has had a bad headache some day!) :)

Tara Tyler said...

I love how everyone personalizes the story.

I appreciate all your words of wisdom. This round of editing I will concentrate on tightening up descriptions.

Sharon said...

Hi, Tara,

I can't believe I'm still frantically reading--there were a lot of entries! Holy Hannah! And working full-time isn't conducive to getting them all read in a timely manner.

In some place your wording could be simplified--i.e. "She noticed her friends and more stress was relieved." I know someone else has pointed this out, as well as the passive voice. As a migraine sufferer, I know that a bad headache is anything but passive, so in the interest of conveying the misery, you might want to active it up.

The debate about passive voice vs. active voice will probably rage on long after we're dead & gone. These are the rules I impose upon myself (or try to, when I can reign myself in, that is): action/tension scenes, active voice; emotional/intropspective scenes, passive voice. If that helps, I'm glad. If not, feel free to disregard. :-) One thing I do after I finish a book is do a Find/Highlight for all the "was" and "were" usages, and then I go back through the MS and rephrase sentences where I feel they need to be stronger.

Other than that small, personal-preference issue, an interesting beginning. I'd read on. ;-)

OK, Blogger is being a whiny brat & won't connect with my WordPress credentials, so I'll post under my Google account. Here's my blog, which you've already visited & commented (& thank you very much!)

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