Writing, promotion, tips, and opinion. Pour a cuppa your favorite poison and join in.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


     God, I hated that, the use of the full-name by the Adult In Rage. I looked out the window and pretended that I wasn’t nervous.
     “Bernadette Lisel,” my mom repeated. Then she got real quiet. “You of all people should know better.” See, this is why the scene need to be written out, because we don't know exactly what was said and therefore don't completely get what mom means here. Know better than what?
     That had stung. My mom was using her leverage, and she wasn’t playing around.
     She sighed, then started to back out of the space. “I’m very disappointed in you, Bernie. Can you imagine how it must have felt?” Her red curls bounced as she shook her head. “You never know what kind of impact the things you say will make on someone’s life.”
     “If she gets major depression because of what I said, then I can’t guarantee she’ll go very far in life,” I shot back. I was still pretty steamed from the argument.
     “You’re not getting it, are you?”
     I shoved in my seat belt and looked away. “I don’t really get anything nowadays, do I?” I muttered.
     For a long time, neither of us said anything. My mom focused on the road and I focused on the patch of condensation on the window from my breath.
     “I’m worried about you,” my mom said at last. Her voice was soft, as if she knew I’d started to bristle. “I don’t think this gap (what does 'gap year' mean?) year is doing  you any good. You need to get out—“
     “Do you want me to be even more of an outcast? It’ll have to be the apocalypse before I enter college two months in—“
     “That’s not what I’m saying. Bernie, listen to me.” Suddenly, she turned off the main road and drove us into a little alley, some unloading space. She cut the engine.
     “What are you doing?”
     My mom pressed her hands into her lap. “I’ve been thinking about it.”
     I waited. My stomach started to turn, which wasn’t saying that much since I’d been getting random attacks of heartburn since last month.
     She turned her eyes on me. “I think you should get a job.” I think this might have more impact if we knew what the gap year was and why it was and what's the big deal about Bernie getting a job? Lot's of parents tell their kid they need to get a job but this is said like it's a Big Thing.

So as stated before that argument needs to be in the story even if Bernie doesn't think it was a big deal. You can even write it that way but whatever happened, and whatever was said, we readers need to know about. That way the rest of the chapter will make more sense - imo. 

Now, what do you guys think?


Gina Gao said...

I think this would be really interesting to read in a book. Good job!


Patchi said...

I know what a gap year is, so that didn't bother me. And the job seems exactly what any mother would say. I didn't see it as a big deal, so I want to know why Bernie thinks it is.

After reading this scene I think that first page belongs here, after mom says she should know better. Then the reader will get why mom got so upset and you can put in Bernie's thoughts about control that you expressed in the comments of the previous post.

Just my two cents :)

cynthiarox66 said...

Thanks Gina and Patchi!

Patchi, I lied--the last part comes tomorrow, so would let me know after reading the last bit if you think that the first page fits after all of it? Because your suggestion makes perfect sense and I'd love to have some confirmation. Thank you!

Liza said...

I LOVE that first sentence. I too know what a gap year is (a year off between high school and college)so it made sense, but like the others, the job part threw me. What would she be doing during a gap year? Hopefully not hanging around doing nothing? Hopefully working or traveling or volunteering or doing something worthwhile? I think too, there are some tense issues. "That HAD stung...Mom WAS using..." How about, That stung." I do feel like this is the most active writing in the story so far. You want to continue to watch your passive verb usage though.

Huntress said...

I want to like this character but I am having a difficult time.

angst is fine. I understand angst and teenage gruffiness. But the character needs to be *likable*. I greatly enjoyed the first two parts, the humor and Voice. But Bernie's quick, nasty responses, not only to the strange girl in the changing room but now with her mother, implies that she is comfortable (and familiar!) with this attitude.

That is a major turnoff for me.

Can you show Bernie's problem and confrontation using her former humorous side instead?

My opinion is subjective. (where have I heard THAT before) Go with your own feelings on this subject.

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

No problem understanding what a gap year is. But I didn't really get what the Big Deal and Drama was with telling her she needed a job? hmmm. It's almost like the mom is a bit scared of Bernie? I know, in my experience, when I told my parents I wanted to take a gap year my mom said fine but I'd have to get a job...so back to school I went! I feel I'm missing something here with this being presented as such a HUGE deal.