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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Shadow of Time...(part four)

SHADOW OF TIME...my crit
After Hannah tapped out a text message to her old friend, she and Ben walked down to the beach and sat down at a table on the deck of ‘The Winking Shrimp’. (this an abrupt switch from their cottage to the restaurant. How long of a walk was it? I want a better picture of the walk and might actually use some of what you've got from when they're at the restaurant.) Hannah let her gaze wander over the calm water of Lake Powell, where people were swimming, riding paddle-boats or walking along the shoreline. She took in the red rocks of Antelope Island across the water, their almost luminescent shapes like ancient castles in the setting sun. The nameless small island just off the coast looked like a dark, blood-red stain on the water.
“We have new neighbors, by the way,” Ben told her. “The cabin to our right was bought by a couple with two daughters our age. Ivy and Amber.”
“Oh, really? That’s great! Let’s organize a barbecue and invite them sometime.”
“Good idea. I took the old barbecue from the shed yesterday and cleaned it. I was in one of those moods again.”
“A cleaning mood? What do you mean, ‘again’?”
Ben smirked. “As friendly as ever. Come on, pick something from the menu. I want to order.”
She quickly decided to get the trout before reading the text Emily had sent her back. Ben put in their orders.
Hannah put her phone down. “We’re going to have lunch at a vegetarian restaurant opposite the pharmacy tomorrow. I’m eager to find out how she’s doing! Do you think I’ll still recognize her?”
“Sure you will. I recognized her too. She hasn’t changed that much in four years.”
Hannah nodded. “You have a point. I haven’t changed much either.”
“Of course you have, Han. You look so much smarter, and prettier, and more grown-up…” Ben summed up in faux admiration.
Hannah raised her eyebrows. “You’re beginning to scare me. What do you need from me? Forgot your money?”
Ben opened his mouth to say something, then fell silent. His eyes widened. “Oh,” he mumbled, patting his pockets. “Oh, damn.”
“Yeah, right. Drop the act.”
“Look, I’m really sorry. I think I left my wallet in my car.”
She laughed. “No worries. I am used to your chaotic lifestyle by now.”
“What do you mean, chaotic? I’m getting better at planning my life all the time. Don’t tell me you didn’t notice I brought my textbooks.”
“I saw a pile of something in the living room, yes.”
“Well, that pile means I’m going to catch up on stuff from last year,” Ben said, a self-satisfied look on his face.
“Do you have exams straight after summer?”
Ben didn’t reply. He was staring at the water. “Oh, I think Josh is on the beach.” He got up from his chair. “Hold on, I’ll tell him we’re sitting over here.” He walked off the deck toward the water. Hannah tried to see where he was going, but the beach was still quite crowded and soon she’d lost sight of him.
In one corner of the deck, a band of three guitarists and one saxophone player had set up. They started playing soft music, giving the perfect backdrop to a slow and warm summer night.
Hannah put her handbag on the floor and turned in her chair to see whether Ben was coming back yet. His glass of beer had been on the table for a while, and her brother hated lukewarm beer – with a passion. (Do we care about this? Just asking...) She spotted him down by the jetty with the small rowing boats, enthusiastically waving his arms and telling a tall guy next to him some elaborate story.
Hannah swallowed hard and squinted against the sunlight. That guy next to Ben – but that couldn’t be. She couldn’t believe her eyes. That was the Navajo guy. The guy who’d laughed at her poor attempt at singing. The guy who’d playfully said hello and given her this intense look, while she was gaping at him like a dumbstruck idiot. So Ben knew him?
Her heart skipped a beat when she suddenly realized why the local native hunk with the divine body was walking next to her brother.
That was Josh.

I think in this part there's a lot of seemingly unnecessary conversation and details that don't seem important. I'm not talking about description. Seeing where we are is a good thing but knowing that Ben doesn't like warm beer doesn't give me any great insight into his character.  I think this chapter could be much shorter and tighter, which would increase the pace for a YA book. But my best idea for this chapter (in my ever so humble opinion) is to have Hannah realize the cute guy on the bike is Josh as soon as he leaves the gas station. That way her embarrassment over the incident will be even greater and the reader will be dying for the moment when Josh and Hannah meet again, which creates tension, which ups the pace.

Now, what do you guys think? Am I right, or what?  


Patchi said...

This is the description I was missing earlier. I would suggest skipping the chat on the porch and just heading out to dinner as soon as she drops her stuff at the cabin. She can text Em on the way.

I'm a bit confused with everyone's ages. Hannah and Ben are over 21, but I'm not sure how old. And Josh just graduated from High School. So he's 17/18?

Charity Bradford said...

I'm with Patchi. How old are these people? It almost reads like you changed their ages a couple of times while trying to settle into their characters and backgrounds. I'm not saying a 24 something woman wouldn't crush on a hot 18 year old, but I think it might be risky for a YA novel.

Not sure about that though.

Donna Hole said...

I agree, it was a bit chatty. I read through the last set of crits too and this is a bit slow; I'm not getting a sense of a plot, unless its just all about the hot guy. She seems to be on a trip, or vacation, and there are a lot of people she is seeing or intends to see.

The setting is colorful. Lots of vivid imagery.

I did like the detail about Ben not liking warm beer :) And the guitarists.


mshatch said...

Charity makes a good point about ages. And Donna makes another good point which shows why we all need multiple crit partners. If five people say they don't like the warm beer bit then it might need to go. But if only one does, then maybe it stays. In other words, my crit is just a single opinion and shouldn't be taken as law.

Huntress said...

Good images but I'm with Charity. This doesn't read natural. You are 'telling' us he hates warm beer (with a passion) and it doesn't read true.

Show us:
Ben swallowed the beer and made a face. He set the mug down. "You know I hate warm beer."
"Why'd you drink it then. Think it would cool itself after sitting out here for an hour?"
He made a rude sound.
"Back atcha, honeybun," she said.

Donna Hole said...

LOL; I like your changes Huntress.