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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Submission #1 UNYIELDING

Here is our first submission. Please take a minute to answer the questions below and I'll compile the results for the author. This gives you a chance to give honest and anonymous feedback. You can still leave comments here as well.

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Genre: YA high fantasy


Glass shattered, piercing the silence of night. Gabe leapt from bed in a state of panic and his blankets tackled him to the floor. Flailing around, he wrestled the material in a chaotic display of acrobatics.

Pins and needles pricked in his palms.  Not again!  He froze and took a deep breath, trying to settle his anxiety to keep from setting his covers ablaze.His power calmed. 

He broke free and sprung up,alert. What was that?  Gabe stared at his opened door,searching for signs of movement beyond his room. 

The house slept.  Silent.

Good, it was just a dream.

No sooner had the thought entered his mind, a shadow dashed through his door. Before his eyes had time to warn his brain of potential danger, she was at his side, arms outstretched.

“Sis,” he said, exhaling a deep breath.  “Why are you out of bed?”  He bent over and picked up the frightened, little girl.

“The noise scared me,” Kyla whimpered, wrapping her legs tightly around his waist and throwing her arms about his neck.

She heard it too!  His heart quickened. What should I do?  Did Mom and Dad hear it?   

He attempted to lower the six-year-old to the ground, but she squeezed tighter, moaning.

Suddenly the house shook, booming as if a rocket had barreled through the living room. 

A scream shot up the stairs.  Gabe knew instantly who it was.  Mom!

Kyla cried out.  Gabe clasped his hand to her mouth and darted to the safety of his closet.  He pealed her from his waist, placed her on the ground and began ripping shirts from their hangers in a frantic effort to barricade her in.  “I’m going to go see what’s happening downstairs,” he whispered, swallowing hard against the lump in his throat.

“No,” she bellowed, trying to wiggle out from her shelter.

“Don’t worry. I’ll be right back.”  He hoped.  “But I need you to stay here.”

He finished packing her in then knelt.  Her deep, brown eyes streamed with tears,stabbing his heart with each droplet. He longed for words to comfort her, but what do you say to a six-year-old in a time like this?

“How about we play a game?” He forced a smile. “Let’s pretend you’re a princess.” It was her favorite game. He’d outgrown childhood make-believe when puberty crept up and had stopped playing with her, something he now realized was a mistake.

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blankenship.louise said...

>Flailing around, he wrestled the material in a chaotic display of acrobatics.

Gets the image across, but it's repetitive. I'd keep the "flailing" and add a little about how much success he had getting free.

>Pins and needles pricked in his palms. Not again! He froze and took a deep breath, trying to settle his anxiety to keep from setting his covers ablaze.His power calmed.

Hook, front and center. Good.

>He broke free and sprung up,alert.

Sprang up. "Alert" is a bit repetitive.

>opened door

Implying it wasn't open before? would that be a clue?

>Before his eyes had time to warn his brain of potential danger


>He pealed her from his waist


>I’m going to go see what’s happening downstairs,

Condense. He's scared, you've shown me that. Scared people don't say complicated things.

The last two paragraphs fall under this, too. I can see him getting emotional in the context of not knowing what's going to happen in the next few minutes, but how well can he put it in words...? I'm always a bit skeptical of characters who are so self-aware about why they do non-specific things like stop playing with their little sister.

Also, this all takes time. Is the house catching fire? more loud noises? what?

Overall, you've got a couple hooks in me. Keep it tight and let's go downstairs. :)

Amber said...

wow, thanks so much for the detailed critique. This was one of those moments where I'm slapping my forehead thinking 'duh, why didn't I see that?'

I've already made the adjustments. Although Gabe's sister tends to be his soft spot, with his parents in trouble he should be in more of a rush. I was trying to show their bond a little too soon. So I cut that parargraph down and left it at him packing her in and telling her not to move or make a sound, then he rushes downstairs, (which he did anyways following that paragraph :)

Thanks for helping me tighten it up :)

Amber said...

Oh and Charity- I'm pretty sure the surveys aren't working...unless it's just user error, but I can't get either to work for me. (only tried mine to test after the other would never go through)

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

Really liked this over all! I liked the hint of a power at the beginning. Really quick glimpses like that hook me better then long drawn out blah-de-blahs of explanation. I only feel that the dialogue needs to be tightened up a tad. (Which you may have already changed..) It's an action scene. Lots of panic. Lots of Unknowns. I just feel the dialogue gets a bit, wordy maybe? It sounds like, from previous comments, you may have already fixed it! But thought I would chime in.
Regardless. I would read on!

blankenship.louise said...

I wouldn't say it's too soon -- it's very telling (though subtle) that she ran to her brother for protection and not her father... that sort of sneakiness will win you points (with me) if it holds up later developments.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

You've got a great character in Gabe! I love the interaction with his sister. I agree with more showing, less telling. How I do this is imagine the scene as it would run in a movie and tell the reader what you are seeing and hearing.

mshatch said...

my only comment is that I've never actually heard anyone call their sibling 'sis' or 'bro' except when goofing around.

Unknown said...

I loved this :) I want to know where you're going next for sure!

Amber said...

Thanks Alicia, I do agree completely with yours and the previous comment, so I have shortened the dialogue :)

Amber said...

That's funny that you say that Elizabeth because that is how I wrote the entire book. (or at least what I try to do:) In my head I have cast the characters so that I can have a specific face with each action :) I even listened to some Muse while I wrote the action/ fighting scenes, so that I can hear the soundtrack to my 'movie' while I write :) hehe

Amber said...

@mshatch- really? I've got to ask, do you have a sibling, cause if my brother calls me anything but sis I ignore him :D haha, It's true though. When he was little he called me sissy, but at around puberty (when it was no longer 'cool') I became sis. Now that he is in his early twenties he has tried to revert me to Amber, but I will have none of it :) I'm 7 years older and have probably been more of a mom to him than a sister and our relationship is a lot of what I pulled from, except in reversal with the brother being older :) But thanks for reading this and commenting!

Amber said...

thanks Julia! :)