Sunday, March 20, 2011

Show Me The Voice Blogfest/Contest

Writer, Brenda Drake, is hosting an awesome contest on her blog. And the top three winners will win critiques from agent Natalie Fischer from the Bradford Literary Agency. Agent Natalie is looking for strong voice.

I've decided to participate, so here are the first 250 words from my young adult fantasy Trifecta.

I have went back and made changes that you wonderful readers have suggested. (3/21/11 9:27am)

Michael hands my luggage to the taxi driver waiting at the curb. The driver throws my stuff in with Mom’s suitcases and slams the trunk with a finality that signifies, to me at least, the end of my life as I know it.
“Thanks,” I mutter.
The driver gets in the car and slams the door.
“You're welcome,” Michael says with a grin.
I respond with a goofy smile, hook my thumbs in the back pockets of my jeans, and rock back and forth on my heels.
His lips part, and I wonder if he’s finally going to declare his love for me, or tell me that he doesn’t know how he’s going to make it through the summer without me. Instead, he calls out to my best friend, who’s running across the front lawn.
“Hey! Rachel!” His eyes gleam at the mere sight of her, and something dies inside me.
            “I’m going to miss you sooo much Maya beans,” Rachel cries as she tackles me with a hug. I hug her back, because despite everything, I love the girl. I mean, she’s my best friend and neighbor. She can’t help it that she’s prettier than me and all the boys are attracted to her super human pheromones. She doesn’t know that Michael is in love with her or that I’ve had a crush on Michael since the seventh grade. I pull away from her grasp and see tears pooling in her caramel brown eyes. And of course, my eyes start smarting too.


  1. I like your beginning. I'd like to know where Maya is going for the summer. You did a good job on getting Maya's name in the beginning and hints of potential problems to come. Nice job!

  2. Thanks for the feedback Sharon. Maya is going to England. Alas, that information shows up in the next paragraph and not in the first 250 words. =)

  3. Ah, the age-old conundrum of I-love-him-but-he-loves-her! So many ways this can be done, I'd love to see how your take plays out.

  4. Cute! After the rocking on her heels, I wished you have put something like "God he's so cute" or something.

  5. Thanks for the suggestion Steena and thank you for stopping by Angelica!

  6. The driver throws my stuff in with Mom’s suitcases and slams the trunk with a finality that signifies, to me at least, the end of my life, as I know it.

    Great line!

    Just a nitpick- Michael's line should read "you're" instead of "your."

    Good angsty beginning- great for YA!

  7. Great start. Good writing for sure.

  8. Great opening! The voice really shines through. You've done a great job here!!

  9. Great voice. I felt her pain. I only wondered why her best friend wouldn't know she's had a crush on Micheal since the eighth grade??? Isn't that what best friends are for at that age? Otherwise, great start.

  10. 1. no comma before "as I know it"
    2. your welcome should be you're welcome
    3. "Hey Rachel!" is indented too far

    Had to correct the typos because your beginning is amazing!!! Best one I've read so far!! I LOVE when you say "superhuman pheromones". It makes me laugh yet at the same time I can relate. Damn all those pretty girls we want to hate but they're just too nice. :) Very, very good start!!

  11. Okay, well I already care about Maya, the MC, so I think you're off to an awesome start! There are so many times when I have to force myself to care about a character--not here!

    xoxo -- Hilary

  12. It really is amazing how blind we are to our mistakes. I must have read over this a million times and never picked up on the your needing to be you're. Thank you for the encouraging comments and picking up my typos.

  13. I like how going away for the summer feels like the end of the world. You perfectly capture that feeling in the first line. cute!

  14. Interesting start! Just saw a couple things:
    "with a finality that signifies, to me at least, the end of my life, as I know it." <-- the end of this sentence had one too many clauses I think, maybe cut it shorter?

    "But, instead he calls" <-- but and instead both imply the same thing here, so I'd only use one. "Instead, he calls out to..." etc.

    "something dies a little inside me." <-- sentence is stronger without "a little"

    "she’s my best friend and neighbor." <-- not sue that "neighbor" is necessary here? I don't know how that makes the MC more attached to her, or why we need to know they live right by each other

    "She doesn’t know that Michael is in love with her or that I’ve had a crush on Michael since the seventh grade." <-- I'm wondering why the MC hasn't told her best friend who she's had a crush on for ages... usually it's the first thing friends tell each other! Guessing there's a reason for this though?

    I like it so far! :)

  15. Very fun! I don't really have any criticisms that others haven't beaten me too, but its a very strong opening, and given the genre I'm honestly mostly just sitting here wondering if her friend's pheromones actually ARE superhuman!

  16. This is a nice start full of voice. It's great to get the reader to care for the character right from the start, good going.

    Thanks for sharing.

  17. Oh I love this. You've found a great way to introduce these three characters. Conflict already! Nice job. Love the voice too ;o)

  18. Good opening. I get her voice right away. I would like a reason why her bf doesn't know about her crush - could be just a line. As in:

    She doesn’t know that Michael is in love with her or that I’ve had a crush on Michael since the seventh grade. [She might do something goofy if she knew and I couldn't stand that.] I pull away from her grasp

    Way to go!

  19. I think you did a great job - I love the 'finality of her life ending' that comes with the boot slamming.

    I don't really have any crits to give, I think it's great! :)

  20. Ellen- Thank you for the edits!
    Everyone else thank you for the encouraging comments!
    And as far as why Maya never told Rachel that she's in love with Michael, it's complicated, and has a lot to do with Maya's complete lack of self esteem. I just don't know if I can do it justice by squeezing an explanation in the first 250 words. But, I'm so glad that everyone has pointed it out and I will definitely try addressing it better in the first chapter.

  21. Great tension in this excerpt. A lot is said with economy.

  22. Your first line grabs the reader's attention. Your voice shines through. Well done.


  23. Fantastic opening! Love that you caught it mid-action. There's a sense of finality and beginning, and the knowledge that she's probably about to lose Michael to this other girl. And it's almost painful--you can't be sad about it, because Rachel is so kind and loving. Great job with characterization. Lots of emotional impact.