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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Submission #3--In the Time of the Green Stone

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Title: In the Time of the Green Stone
Genre:YA Fantasy

My footsteps echoed through the empty lobby. An uneasy feeling that I was being watched held on like a limpet to a rock. I quickly pressed the up button on the elevator and tapped my foot impatiently as I waited for it to get there.

“Ten, Nine,Eight,” I said aloud.

Stop talking to yourself, Mia. You’ve already got quite the reputation around town. Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One. And then I took two deep breaths. I was amazed that it still worked.

It’s weird the kinds of things that stay with you. When I was five, my Grandpa taught me this little trick when I couldn’t sleep because I was convinced there were creatures out to get me anytime the light was shut off in my room.

This wasn’t exactly monsters in my closet, but it was being afraid of something that wasn’t there. The distinct ding of the elevator arriving made me jump. As soon as the doors opened I scuttled in, glad that I would soon be in my familiar doctor’s office. Just as the door was about to shut completely, a hand jutted into the small opening. I recoiled. I imagined a serial killing maniac with a butcher knife on the other side of the hand and backed up into the corner of elevator.

In the moments that it took for the elevator door to open again, my mind went into full argument mode. Part of me was telling me I was being absurd. This was an elevator ride I had taken many times before. But the other part of me was almost sure I wasn’t imagining that someone was following me. I stuck my hand into my purse wishing that I had listened to my Grandpa and carried the pepper spray he had given me as “my little girl is now in high school” gift. Instead I found my wallet, lip gloss, and a pen. I grabbed the pen, not sure what I would do with it, and held it in my purse as the door finally opened completely. Peering out of the door, I saw no one there.

This I was not imagining. Even if I wasn’t in danger, this was a bizarre situation. I could feel my entire body tense up, ready to run out of the elevator toward the front door of the lobby. At that moment,a figure came from the left of the door and entered the elevator. The girl quickly hit the door shut button and I stood there staring. She looked back at me smiling. I looked away from her and then turned back to her.

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6 comments:

Huntress said...

I'd cut the unnecessary words. Edit phrases like: 'I stood there staring. She looked back at me smiling. I looked away from her and then turned back to her' down to only what is needed. Kill 'there' for example and the pronouns.

L. Blankenship said...

>An uneasy feeling that I was being watched held on like a limpet to a rock.
>You’ve already got quite the reputation around town.
>This wasn’t exactly monsters in my closet, but it was being afraid of something that wasn’t there.
>Even if I wasn’t in danger, this was a bizarre situation.

Given that we have full access to Mia's head, I think you could show me how she believes all these things on a visceral level, rather than just telling me them.

You want me to see that Mia's scared in a mundane situation. Put that fear into every word... take a look at how many "was"s are in this snippet, either by itself or piled onto another verb. "Was" slows things down and doesn't communicate much. You do need it, sometimes, but don't let it spread like a weed. It chokes out the fear.

Also: so far, I have no reason to think the Mia's anything but a mild paranoiac visiting her psychiatrist. That could be a hook in a contemporary fic, but since this is labeled fantasy... well, compare to the other submission that started with "don't set the bed on fire!"

Julia K said...

Thanks for the advice and the time you took Huntress :) Those sound like wonderful changes to implement!

Julia K said...

Thanks for telling me how to show things L Blankenship :) I keep trying to show and wasn't quite sure how to do it in this situation. I like the idea of taking out was.
And I wish I could have added the next paragraph. You would see why it was a fantasy then :)

Amber said...

I've had to work on phrasing as the above comments suggest as well. But I have to say as far as plot goes- I'm hooked. I thought there was good tension and I would gladly read ahead!! Great voice also. Just a tad bit of tightening like the above suggestions, but this is a great opening (imo).

Julia K said...

Thanks Amber!! Definitely still revising and am so grateful for any and all critique :)