Friday, January 20, 2012

January Test Run #5

Title:  Unraveled
Genre:  YA Mystery

I found it impossible to pick a favorite, until I saw the strapless taffeta dress hanging inside Mrs. Kline’s meticulous closet. Nancy, my mother’s best friend, insisted I wear one of her original designs to my first homecoming dance. As if I’d say no.

“This is it.” I couldn’t keep the grin off my face.

Nancy ran her fingers over the dress identifying the fabric. “This material was imported from India.”

I stood in front of the mirror wearing the gown, fidgeting and pretending to admire myself.

“Taylor, is everything all right?” Nancy asked.

“I love the dress, but for sure I’ll be pulling it up all night.”

“No worries, I’ll add a little padding, make a few tucks, and no one will have to know.” Nancy maneuvered her wheelchair behind the sewing machine. Her career as a fashion designer ended after the deadly automobile accident that killed her husband, also left her paralyzed from the waist down.

“Taylor, I have some costume jewelry you might be interested in—exceptionally good imitation. In my guest room, there’s a tall dresser. I think the second drawer.” She paused. “Maybe the third. Help yourself, while I finish up here.”

“No. Really?” Hello, sparkle.

I ran into the room, opened the first drawer and sitting right on top, I found an envelope marked adoption papers. My adrenaline started pumping fast, and this little voice in my head said, ‘Do not open.’ But, the rest of me said, ‘Yes, open and read.’


  1. I'm convinced I've read this before, and if I'm right, you've done a bit of editing to this. I finished reading and was like, "open the envelope. Read!" Great job!

    My critique - "Her career as a fashion designer ended after the deadly automobile accident that killed her husband, also left her paralyzed from the waist down."

    This sentence just doesn't flow very well. I get caught up at the comma after husband and before also. Perhaps taking out the comma would smooth it over.

  2. I agree with Rebecca regarding that one sentence. It seemed to stop at "also."

    Not being young myself the Hello, sparkle line also made me stop and think.

    Otherwise, I think this is a good first page and i would certainly read on. Nice job.

  3. Only a few tiny things to pick at: I think there should be a comma before identifying. Possibly change to 'is everything all right Taylor' to avoid having two sentences start so similarly. Also, maybe something a bit more punchy (and in the character's voice) for the last line, e.g. the rest of me said 'heck yes.' And I agree with the sentence mentioned above. Otherwise, great job, and nice voice too.

  4. Excellent voice. As a writer of YA myself, this sample read youthful and fun to me. I agree with adding "heck yes" instead of "yes" on the last line. And by all means, let's open the letter and read!!

    I'm definitely diggin' on the title also...makes me think that Taylor is about to find out something that will rock her world.

    One thing though, maybe switch up Nancy saying her name read a little repetitive to me.

    Great job! Would totally read more.

  5. I'm a little late to posting and I think the 4 posts prior found the same things I did. I've read this before and liked it then too.

    Maybe the, "hello, sparkle" should be italicized since it is her thought. Otherwise I think if you fix the minor edits said above... you'll find yourself with a wonderful opener.

    Great job!

  6. Love how you start this out and get to the zinger. A couple of nits along the way:

    --don't think you need the words "identifying the fabric" it's cleaner w/out it

    --instead of "wearing the gown," how about "with the gown on" ?

    --agree with above comment—-remove the comma after husband and before also left her .....

    --move exceptionally good imitation to modify the costume jewelry

    --at the end, how about: But I didn't listen, and heard instead, "Open and read."

    Let me say again....these are nits...I raced right through it intially.

    Good job!