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Tuesday, October 23, 2012


To save them.

The Enclosure stood alone as if the other buildings were afraid of catching its disease. Hell, I was afraid of catching its disease. Waving grass went on forever, broken only by the long road connecting the Enclosure to the rest of the world. And the two of us. Crouching so our borrowed white uniforms wouldn’t be seen. Watching and waiting.
“Rebbsie. (I think there should be a comma here instead of a period: “Rebbsie, look.”) Look.” Tass pointed, indicating a box truck puttering down the road. The food shipment. Monitoring the Department’s records had paid off. Boarding the truck far enough away  from the building would keep the eye level cameras that bordered the road from seeing us. It was our way in.  Our first step in saving the last living members of our species, the Controllers. Their name for us. We preferred Trols. I don’t think you need what I crossed out here and removing it makes this move along a little faster, which I think is what you want.
My body reacted instantly, knowing the plan before I did. Ground flew under my feet as I ran. My legs stretched, the muscles pulling taut. It felt wonderful after squatting in the grass for so long. Strands of my dark hair flew in my face and I shook my head, trying to clear my field of vision. The pouch that hung from my neck thumped against my chest. Without looking, I knew Tass was behind me just as, without me telling her, she knew what I was preparing to do. I think it reads better without but you be the judge.
We were going to hitch a ride.
The truck sped toward us. I could see the driver’s face. He was a few years younger than me, bobbing his head to the music blaring from his speakers, his eyes hooded. He hadn’t noticed us yet, but he could (could or would? Just curious…) at any moment. After all, we were running right at him, our path forming a forty-five degree angle with the back of the vehicle. If he spotted us, hiding was out of the question; neither one of us had was a senses Trol with the ability to control what he saw, and the nearest shelter was the Enclosure. So, he needed to feel it was okay for us to be there. Though, for all he knew, it was. Still. He had to relate us to something normal. Easy. When you can manipulate thoughts. I wonder if instead of saying what Rebbsie and Tass can’t do, say what they CAN do, like this: “If he spotted us, hiding was out of the question; neither one of us had the ability to control what he saw. But we could control how he felt, make him see us as normal, like we were supposed to be there. Easy. When you can manipulate thoughts.”
I motioned for Tass to get behind me. The rhythm of her footsteps changed as she slowed, falling back.  I waited until their beat again lined up with mine before shooting a wave at him, the pulse of it gathering at the base of my skull, the pressure lifting at my right temple. [Check out that jogger. Man, she’s hot. Maybe I should take up jogging. Bet it’s a nice view from the back.] Not exactly my style, but the thought had to match the mind “thinking” it. In this case, his. Yes, I agree that you didn’t need the last line here. And I think you can remove the brackets, too. I get that she’s projecting what she wants him to feel/think. And yes! This is so much better than the first draft – which was pretty darn good to begin with.

Nice work, Brooke.
Does anyone else have any thoughts? Care to submit a page from your work in progress? It doesn't have to be a first page. I'll take a page from anywhere. Do it!


Liza said...

I struggled with "My body reacted instantly, knowing the plan before I did." I had a hard time with the body and the mind being described as two separate beings. Perhaps this has to do with the mind control piece, but if not, I'd rather see something like: "For three months we'd rehearsed our plan, twenty times a day until our muscles memorized our actions. At the sound of the truck grinding up the hill, my body knew what to do."

In the same paragraph, he/she says: "I knew Tass was right behind me." Delete "I knew." I knew, he heard, she saw...all of these things pull the reader away from the story. "Tass was right behind me" works just as well...though I'd rather an active verb like "Tass loped right behind me."

Later, the narrator motions Tass to get behind him/her. Unless something changed (which maybe I missed?) Tass was already behind.

These are picky comments, but might help things read smoother? Neat premise though, and I liked the way it ended.

Huntress said...

I'd turn the page in a heartbeat!

The first page is tricky, giving just the right amount of information to intrigue the reader and not overwhelm. For the most part I agree with the above crits but let your own style come through as well.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

It's an interesting passage, but for my taste, it's a bit over written. The author spends an entire paragraph describing the process of running to a truck. I would just say, "Despite cramped muscles, I leapt up and ran to the truck." But that's just me. I don't like it when people drag actions out. In this kind of narrative, I prefer inner thoughts about things to take up paragraphs than inner thoughts on how my muscles are reacting or supposed to react. That kind of thing makes my eyes glaze over.