An unselfish wish made on the horn of a unicorn will come true. Our wish? To support the writing community by giving constructive tips and criticism through submissions. Check out the submissions tab for more information. We can survive the crucible of fire together.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

First Chapter - Deadly Arts


Here are the next two pages of Shella's manuscript...



Mr. Stock had been there ever since she started working here. He was the one who hired her. In the past three years, she watched his belly grow pressing his suit jacket open to where he could not even button it now. But the change in his looks this year was his mustache. Stock was the kind of guy who tried hard to be in style, but he was always just shy of the bullseye. Never quite hitting the trend. (this is an example of a great fragment used to effect) This mustache was waxed at the tips, and it liked to jump like a kid on a trampoline when he talked.
“Let's get this meeting done so you can all get your rooms ready.” Mr. Stock smiled and looked at each and everyone one of us, “I know you females here love that part.”
All the girl teachers giggled. That was one of the things we all looked forward to. Picking a theme to decorate the room in. Perusing catalogs; both paper and online; (I think commas instead of semi-colons here) trying to find just the right one to inspire all the minds that would be surrounded by it. To be honest, I enjoyed it as well. It would be the only bright part of this day.
Mr. Stock continued, ”In front of each of you is your information folder. Everything is pretty standard except for a couple of things. First, there is a form you guys need to fill out about yourselves. The district wants to put everyone's picture and bio onto the website.”
Great, I thought, (you need punctuation here) what is mine going to say? I wake up. Get a coffee. Go to work. Eat. Paint. Go to sleep. That was all there was to my life. (Does she want more? If so, what does she want?)
“Don’t over think the bio, we only need a paragraph and there are some tips on the form to guide you.” Mr. Stock looked down at his folder and flipped through some pages, “The other thing that is new...”
Screech. My hamster took this moment to start using his wheel. After he realized it was the hamster he continued on, “As I was saying, the other thing that is new is a personal goal worksheet. I went to a conference, and one of the talks was about focus.” He stopped and looked at the hamster again because the screeching was relentless. His eyebrows drew together, and he said, “Mary, can you please stop the hamster from making that noise?”
Everyone turned in their seats to look at me so I quickly opened the cage and yanked the wheel out. He nodded and continued on, “If the teacher's personal life is in focus it will transfer to their work lives. So this year we will give it a try.”
One of the teachers said out loud, “I’m not happy with sharing my personal goals.”
As I looked around, there were a couple of other teachers that were nodding their heads. I had to agree. I did not have any goals but if I did, I would not want to share it with my coworkers. 
“Sorry, I should have said you get to keep the worksheet all to yourself,” Mr. Stock answered. “This is something for you to work personally on. The joy you get out of making your life better rubs off on your work. You will become a better teacher if you are happier.” He looked around the room again nodding his head. “This is not required but I feel it might play a positive role on the staff. Please indulge me in this endeavor.” He tweaked his mustache.

*** 

My thoughts: Interestingly, the more I'm getting to know this character the less comments I seem to have, except...maybe that this has a sort of dreamy feel to it, like Twin Peaks, if that makes any sense. It feels like there's something going on beneath the surface, a mystery that's about to be revealed...

2 comments:

Huntress said...

My crits are encased in --

Mr. Stock had been there ever since she started working here. He was the one who hired her. In the past three years, she watched his belly grow pressing his suit jacket open to where he could not even button it now. –uh, wait. POV shift here that is very wrong. You’ve changed I and me to she and her. Do we have a person with a personality disorder here?-- But the change in his looks this year was his mustache. Stock was the kind of guy who tried hard to be in style, but he was always just shy of the bullseye. Never quite hitting the trend. (this is an example of a great fragment used to effect) This mustache was waxed at the tips, and it liked to jump like a kid on a trampoline when he talked.

“Let's get this meeting done so you can all get your rooms ready.” Mr. Stock smiled and looked at each and everyone one of us, --incorrect punctuation. Use commas after ‘ready’ and ‘us’. Or make them both periods. Can’t mix them-- “I know you females here love that part.”

All the girl teachers giggled. That was one of the things we all looked forward to. Picking a theme to decorate the room in. Perusing catalogs; both paper and online; (I think commas instead of semi-colons here) –agreed-- trying to find just the right one to inspire all the minds that would be surrounded by it. To be honest, I enjoyed it as well. It would be the only bright part of this day.

Mr. Stock continued, --period rather than a comma. And your quotation marks are backword.--”In front of each of you is your information folder. Everything is pretty standard except for a couple of things. First, there is a form you guys need to fill out about yourselves. The district wants to put everyone's picture and bio onto the website.”

Great, I thought, (you need punctuation here) what is mine going to say? I wake up. Get a coffee. Go to work. Eat. Paint. Go to sleep. That was all there was to my life. (Does she want more? If so, what does she want?)

Huntress said...

“Don’t over think the bio, we only need a paragraph and there are some tips on the form to guide you.” Mr. Stock looked down at his folder and flipped through some pages, --period, not comma-- “The other thing that is new...”

Screech. My hamster took this moment to start using his wheel. After he realized it was the hamster he continued –cut ‘on’ and the comma. Add a period-- “As I was saying, the other thing that is new is a personal goal worksheet. I went to a conference, and one of the talks was about focus.” He stopped and looked at the hamster again because the screeching was relentless. His eyebrows drew together, and he said, “Mary, can you please stop the hamster from making that noise?”

Everyone turned in their seats to look at me so I quickly opened the cage and yanked the wheel out. He nodded and continued on, “If the teacher's personal life is in focus it will transfer to their work lives. So this year we will give it a try.”

One of the teachers said out loud, “I’m not happy with sharing my personal goals.”

As I looked around, there were a couple of other teachers that were nodding their heads. I had to agree. I did not have any goals but if I did, I would not want to share it with my coworkers.

“Sorry, I should have said you get to keep the worksheet all to yourself,” Mr. Stock answered. “This is something for you to work personally on. The joy you get out of making your life better rubs off on your work. You will become a better teacher if you are happier.” He looked around the room again nodding his head. “This is not required but I feel it might play a positive role on the staff. Please indulge me in this endeavor.” He tweaked his mustache.