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  1. #1
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    Band-aids ~ Hollar Dollar Chapter 2

    This is the opening scene to my second chapter. I would like to know if the characters are somewhat interesting and if the voice is consistent. Any other comments are welcome. Thank you in advance.
    Amy

    "Donna Jo, you need to vacuum the stairs better this week."

    Momma and I barely get through the door before Mrs. Whitehead starts. Both of us is froze like statues. I'm holding a bucket of cleaning supplies, damn metal handle digging in my fingers. Gonna leave one of them black lines, I just know it.

    "Uh, yes ma'am."

    She's fussing at Momma, pointing her finger towards the staircase. I hate that old bag, but I love how that diamond ring catches sunlight light, sometimes showing rainbows.

    "And the tub upstairs," Mrs. Whitehead continues. "the one in my room. Last week, I put a band-aid in the corner as a test. I wanted to see how well you were cleaning. It's still there."

    ****, I remember seeing that thing, all wet and soggy. Blood seeping under that plastic patch, turning brown. The way the top layer separates from the cotton under it. My legs feel like jello and my cheeks are tingling, a cold sweat is coming on. If I don't stop thinking, I'll be laid out on this marble floor.

    "Just so we're on the same page, a lot of people need work these days, if you can't handle this much house, I'll find someone who can." Mrs. Whitehead continues.

    Been cleaning for her two months now, and it seems like every week she gets crazier. Last week it was the stove. Week before that, it was the baseboards. Too dusty she says.

    And her eyes are always watching me. She must know why I ain't in school, and thinks I might steal. With a smile, I've tried to reassure her I ain't ever thought of such things, and don't do no drugs. That I got dreams, and want a life like the one she's got, but she ain't buying it. Her evil eye makes me feel guilty, and I ain't even done nothing.

    I seen houses like this on TV. Grand foyers, and staircases that turn, wooden floors and smooth ceilings. Them hollow doors in my trailer feel different than the wooden ones here. Tommy put his fist clear through the one to the bathroom, but that was before I came along. It's patched with tape so you can't see in. And the trailer has low tile ceilings like the ones they got in school. I think about the shag carpet and that fvcking stench lingering. I can't seem to get rid of it.

    Momma clears her throat. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Whitehead. It won't happen again." Her apology echoes.

    "Well, let's hope not, or you'll be looking for a new house to clean, and I guarantee no one else tips." Mrs. Whitehead folds her arms across her deflated chest, ain't got no tits, poor Mr. Whitehead. I giggle.

    "Tips?" Momma asks.

    "All those designer clothes I give you, consider that your tip." I think of Tommy calling them clothes granny ****. "So, if I were you, Donna Jo, I'd make sure this house is up to my standards before you leave today. Do you understand?"

    I hate the way she's talking to Momma.

    "I cleaned that bathroom." I confess.

    "Did you see the," Momma pauses, knowing she better not say it.

    "No ma’am, I didn't. I'm real sorry, Mrs. Whitehead, it was my fault, not Mommas. I'll pay more attention.

    Mrs. Whitehead don't like knowing I'm the one who failed her test.

    "You can hardly be blamed, can't pay enough attention to stay in school, much less keep a clean house. I suggest you get your act together if you hope to amount to anything."

    "Yes, Ma am."

    "She's going down to the community college in Plymouth. Gonna get her GED. Aren't you, Cheyenne?"

    Now Momma was supportive of my plans.

    "Yes, that's right."

    "A GED is not the same as a diploma, colleges won't look at it the same. But I don't suppose that will be an issue for you."

    At that moment, if there were any doubt, I knew Mrs. Whitehead was the devil.

    "I'm going to college. I got goals."

    “You HAVE goals. Now, Donna Jo, if you're going to have her helping out around here, you'll need to go behind and check everything."

    "Yes, of course. I'll be sure to."

    Mrs. Whitehead is satisfied with Momma's answer and leaves us to cleaning. I never feel much like cleaning, but today I really don't. Not after the way she treats us. I suppose we're white trash to her, never thought of myself that a way. But do you every really know if your trash? Sort a like, does a momma know if her baby is ugly. No. But I seen in Mrs. Whitehead's beady eyes, she thinks me and Momma are trash.
    Last edited by Amylou; 02-23-2012 at 09:50 AM.



  2. #2
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    Nicely done, Amylou. I would keep reading. I don't know where Chapter 1 left off, but I'm assuming that it establishes a central conflict—that's the only thing missing from this, so I assume it's my ignorance.

    One thing made me stumble a few times: You've got Donna Jo's speech patterns down pat, but Momma's comes across as too precise, too correct. Being mother/daughter, wouldn't they sound more alike? Just a thought.

    Overall, good job.

  3. #3
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    JUST MY OPINION, FEEL FREE TO IGNORE:

    But do you every really know if your trash

    Intentional? Maybe it's supposed to be in keeping with the character sounding uneducated.

    With a smile, I've tried to reassure her

    You don't need, "with a smile."

    I put a band-aid in the corner

    Band-Aid is a brand name. You have to use caps each of the words, including in the title. Any editor is going to cap that, because they don't want to hear from Johnson & Johnson.

    "Just so we're on the same page, a lot of people need work these days, if you can't handle this much house, I'll find someone who can." Mrs. Whitehead continues.

    It would be a comma, not a period, after Whitehead.

    "And the tub upstairs," Mrs. Whitehead continues.

    She continues a lot, doesn't she?

    You don't need tags all the time. You've got people continuing, echoing, asking and confessing, all in this short amount of text. When a writer includes so many tags, it appears that the writer is insecure in the writing and doesn't think the reader will understand who is speaking. I don't think you need so many of them. Better to use, "said," if you need something, because it blends into the work and does not stick out to the reader.
    Last edited by leslee; 02-23-2012 at 11:44 AM.

  4. #4
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    Jayce and Leslee- Wow, thank you both!

    Just so you know, this is an excerpt from a NY Times Best Seller.

    OMG I'm totally joking! I couldnt resist, Lol With all those mistakes, of course it's my work. I'd like to respond with a proper thanks when I can get back to my computer. Out running around. I really do appreciate the time!
    Amylou

  5. #5
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    It's a good story, Amylou. It definitely kept my attention.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Susan B's Avatar
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    Aha! This is the story I liked. I really like your voice in this one, and I would definitely keep reading. The only thing I tripped over was the second 'Mrs Whitehead continues'. Otherwise, I completely forgot I was reading, enjoyed the story and wanted it to continue.

  7. #7
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    Jayce~Your comments always mean a lot, thank you for the time spent reading something of mine. I'm very happy you enjoyed this. Yes, the first chapter, I feel, sets up the story well. Introducing conflict and the trouble surrounding my girl Cheyenne. We meet her mother, Donna Jo, and understand their relationship. We also meet Cheyenne's slightly possessive boyfriend Tommy. So there's plenty of conflict swirling around her. I wanted a slight difference between Donna jo and her daughter Cheyenne, as far as speech. Mrs. Whitehead is meant to be polished. Wow, sorry, that was more than you asked for! Thanks again!! Your encouragement pushes me forward on my little rocket ship!

    Leslee~ Thank you so much for commenting on my work. It means a lot, it's rare that you tackle something of mine. I appreciate it. I've developed a very tough skin, thank goodness. Not that your comments are harsh, I've learned a lot from them. Every should be ever, and you can see I threw in a your/you're just for you! It's like a seek and find! LOL thanks for catching that. I promise I read it over 3x before posting. I understand what you're saying "with a smile" and will be sure to capitalize Band-Aid. Johnson and Johnson will kick my ass with baby powder for sure! Yep, I see the "continues" now that you mention it. Thank you for the advice on tagging dialogue. I will go back through my work. Again, I appreciate the time, your comments were exactly what I was looking for. I won't ignore them like your disclaimer offers!

    Lea~Hi Neighbor! Beautiful weather today! But I hear it's turning cold again tomorrow. Thank you so much for the time in reading something of mine. Your encouragement pushes me forward to write the next scene, Cheyenne makes deviled eggs to take to her momma's house... sounds boring, but it turns out to be quite the backyard cookout! LOL Thanks again!

    Susan B.~ Yes, this is the one! Happy you like it and the voice connects with you. Thank you for reading and for your comment on "continues". Funny how you just don't see something no matter how many times you go over it. Your encouragement also pushes me forward at record speed! I think I can write this novel.

    I'll be interested to know if any of you feel Cheyenne should escape her life and make something of herself, or if she should try, only to end up just like Momma...... Hint: Mrs. Whithead has a son named Benjamin, away at college, who walks in on Cheyenne dusting his baseball trophies.... there's a connection.... Thanks again!
    Last edited by Amylou; 02-23-2012 at 05:29 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Herman Munster's Avatar
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    fvcking
    Amy, if you can't say **** or ****ing or ****en then don't say ****ing or **** or ****en.
    That smacks of something but I am not sure what. Initially it occurred to me as your young age coming thru but it maybe your social standing or something that is not prim and proper.
    I am just not ****en sure.

    Now to my pet hate in this sub forum. No target market at the top. I see a number of people liked it and liked it well. It just didn't sustain me. I know that formatting drops when you come here but something that I was told was that actual thorts, especially by the narrator should be in italics. That marks them instantly as from inside the narrator's head and I think that is important. I do first person POV and I know how tricky it can be at times, especially if others are 'thinking' as well.

    I can't crit it, just not my cup o tea.
    Last edited by Herman Munster; 02-23-2012 at 07:32 PM. Reason: Bloody hell, the stupid forum is ****en moderating me and makes the damned point, pointless!

  9. #9
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    I can't crit it, just not my cup o tea.

    Your post isn't a critique? Looks like a critique to me.

    I agree that the censorship is a drag.
    Last edited by leslee; 02-23-2012 at 07:49 PM.

  10. #10
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    Amy. Hi. First off, I liked it. I agree with Leslee on the tags, particularly the following one:

    Quote Originally Posted by Amylou View Post

    "Donna Jo, you need to vacuum the stairs better this week."

    Momma and I barely get through the door before Mrs. Whitehead starts. Both of us is froze like statues. I'm holding a bucket of cleaning supplies, damn metal handle digging in my fingers. Gonna leave one of them black lines, I just know it.

    "Uh, yes ma'am."

    She's fussing at Momma, pointing her finger towards the staircase. I hate that old bag, but I love how that diamond ring catches sunlight light, sometimes showing rainbows.

    "And the tub upstairs," Mrs. Whitehead continues. "the one in my room. Last week, I put a band-aid in the corner as a test. I wanted to see how well you were cleaning. It's still there."

    The dialogue in this final sentence is obviously from Mrs. Whitehead. "And the tub upstairs in my room . . ." That part further tells who is speaking so there can be no confusion at all.

    Good Luck. Hope to see some more.

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