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  1. #1
    Jillian Eaton

    A few short excerpts...

    I posted a short paragraph from this same piece of work a couple weeks ago and received excellent feedback which is why I'm doing the same thing again. I am open to any critique and suggestion, though I would also like to know how the overall writing reads to you -- is it dull, flat, boring? How is the voice? Where can I improve? Thank you for your time!!


    1st Excerpt

    [This is the main character's second run in with Erik, a mysterious boy around her age who plucked some papers out of a puddle the last time they met and handed them back to her bone dry]

    “How did you do that to my papers?” It was three days after Erik had approached me in the rain. Like last time, he appeared from out of no where.

    “Do what?” he asked innocently, all dimples and flashing white teeth. My heart went thump, but I didn’t let that deter me.

    “I dropped them in the puddle. They where soaking wet.” I said slowly, as if I where explaining this to a child, “And when you picked them up and gave them to me, they where dry.”

    “Oh, that.” His smile changed to a mischievous grin. “I grabbed them just before they hit the water. That’s all.”

    I stopped and faced him, my eyes narrowed. “No.” I said very clearly, “You did not.”

    Erik’s piercing blue eyes went serious. His smile faded. He took a step closer to me and I froze, hardly breathing. “No.” he said, staring at me strangely, “I did not.”


    Excerpt #2

    [ Start of chapter three, main character is interacting with her BF, the ditzy but well meaning Barbara ]

    Monday came and went. Tuesday followed. On Wednesday there was a school assembly to break up the monotony of daily class life. I gave serious consideration to leaving early, but Barbara talked me out of it.

    “We’ll go down to the mall after. It will be so much fun!” she gushed, carefully keeping my arm tucked away under hers so I couldn’t escape. She knew me so well.

    “You went to the mall last week.” I reminded her as we climbed up into the wooden bleachers and sat down. Behind the podium in the middle of the gym floor our class president was testing the microphone and mumbling something about a post graduation trip. We both turned a deaf ear.

    “I know that, Juliet.” Barbara rolled her eyes and let go of my arm when a fellow senior sat down on the other side of me, effectively pinning me in place.

    “That means it has been five days – five DAYS! – of no mall time. How are you even questioning this right now?” My friend continued, passing an agitated hand through her perfect blond hair. I wisely kept my mouth shut. “We are graduating – GRADUATING! – in less then two weeks. That’s like twelve days or something! And I only have half a wardrobe picked out for college.”

    I couldn’t help myself. “Why don’t you just bring the same clothes you’re wearing now?”

    Barbara looked like she had swallowed a golf ball. Her cheeks puffed out and her eyes went wide. I imagined little puffs of steam coming out of her ears and hid a grin behind my hand. For Barbara, shopping was no laughing matter; it was a way of life.


    Excerpt #3

    Leaving the school far behind, I walked towards the park, ignoring the ominous storm clouds that where gathering overhead. Not knowing in advance what the weather was going to be like was a foreign concept for me.

    Just as I reached the park, it started to pour.

    Swearing under my breath I shrugged my thin red jacket over my head and raced for the closet tree. It offered little protection against the rain and soon I was soaked to the bone. Miserable and furious, I kicked the trunk of the old maple tree as hard as I could.

    “Damnit!” I cried when I came away with nothing more than a pounding foot.

    “You’ll have to wear steel toed boots the next time you come to park, pretty Jules. You look like a drowning fairy.” Erik stepped through the rain and leaned against the trunk of the tree, offering his shoulder and arm for protection against the rain. Glaring at him with my lips pulled down in a mulish pout, I stepped into his half embrace anyways and sighed quietly. He was always so warm.

    “I didn’t know it was going to rain.” Even to my own ears, my voice sounded whiny. I considered kicking the tree again. Erik must have read my intentions in my eyes, because he chuckled quietly and moved to put his body between me and the trunk.

    “You’ll have your ability back soon enough.” He replied easily, his lips quirking into a half smile. My pout stayed firmly in place.

    “And if I don’t?” I muttered, looking away from him to stare intently at the ground. The rain had slowed to a trickle and water was now running in small rivers across the grass. I edged my canvas sneakers onto an exposed root, knowing they offered no protection against the puddles that where slowly forming.

    “Always the eternal optimist.” Erik said quietly, his smile fading.

  2. #2
    The Midnight Writer

    Re: A few short excerpts...

    Sorry if this offends you, but I read the first excerpt and had serious Twilight flashbacks.

  3. #3
    claire kaiser

    Re: A few short excerpts...

    I agree, very TWILIGHT like.....

    But if it works why not?


  4. #4
    Cindy Kay

    Re: A few short excerpts...


    Never read the Twilight stuff so can't help you there.

    Overall, your writing seems competent. I noticed two areas that I think you could beef up.

    One, in many places you state the obvious, wasting words. You tend to drop in little unnecessary phrases. Here are just a couple.

    Example: My heart went thump, but I didn’t let that deter me.

    “I dropped them in the puddle.

    You don't need the bit about not letting that deter because it's quite obvious when she goes on asking for an explaination.

    Another example: It offered little protection against the rain and soon I was soaked to the bone." You don't have to say "against the rain" as that's obvious.

    Readers get irritated when writers tell them something twice and it slows everything down.

    The second room-for-improvement area is your descriptions. You rely on common phrases too much -- ominous storm clouds, gathering, soaked to the bone, piercing blue eyes. These kinds of phrases are so common that they've lost their power. Readers no long see and feel these cliches. You've got a lot of this in your descriptions of facial expressions: mischievous grin, narrowing eyes. Help us see these things fresh by using fresh language or, sometimes better, unexpected language. Sometimes having a character's expression contrast with what's expected is even better.

    Hope some of this helps.

  5. #5
    Janice W-D

    Re: A few short excerpts...

    Goggle "dialogue tags". You used them incorrectly several times.


  6. #6
    mar quesa

    Re: A few short excerpts...

    I agree with Midnight. Twilight!

  7. #7
    Cammy Stevens

    Re: A few short excerpts...

    I only made it through about 1/3 of Twilight, but, I thought more of the HP scene where it rained on the playground then Dudley got lifesucked by Dementors. Anyways, I digress... here's a few points I cause just reading through quick:

    2nd excerpt:

    line 2 'we'll go down to the mall....' -- 'tucked away under' sounds like it should be 'tucked away' or 'tucked under', not both.

    line 3 -- 'we both turned a deaf ear' maybe 'we both turned to each other, giving him a deaf ear.'

    line 4 - maybe 'showing her agitation as her hand passed shakily though perfect blond hair.' - the agitated hand just sounded to me like she had a rash or something on her hand. aka, her hand was red, swollen and agitated. Not what you were looking for I don't think.

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