Sunday, May 27, 2012

May Test Run #7

Title: The Changeling
Genre: YA Paranormal
I came home from the hospital on the anniversary of my sister’s death. Mom kept chatting away with nervous energy, fingers tapping on the wheel of the car as she drove. I didn’t recognize the way she took. Then again, this would be the first time I saw the new house, bought 3 years ago.

“I got you registered for school last week,” she said bringing me out of my thoughts.


“I got you registered for school. Eleventh grade.”

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” I asked.

“You have another week before school starts, so you’ll have time to prepare.” She cast a quick glance my way. “Besides, Dr. Morris said you should get used to a normal routine and what’s more normal for a sixteen year old than high school?”

I shook my head and turned to look out of the window again. Normal for me was very different than most teenagers my age. I knew as soon as I stepped foot in the school everyone would know me as the crazy girl who spent four and a half years in the nut house.

“So you talked to Dr. Morris about this?”

“Of course I did, honey,” she said to me, not a little exasperated. “I’m not going to do anything that would-”

“Send me to Nutsville again,” I finished for her.

“Hey, Dr. Morris has said time and time again that the emotional trauma you went through would have left it’s mark on any young girl.”


  1. I like this. All I got say is that some of it could be tightened by deleting things like 'I got' and 'has'. Just using the past tense verbs might make the flow better. Good job!

  2. i like the opening line and i really think that should be more of the focus of the first page. the intensity of the feelings the character would have being "out in the real world" after 4 1/2 years and seeing how much has changed, noticing the nervousness of her mom, already feeling that she's going to freak out again. is mom even acknowledging the anniversary? is it off-limits to mention the sister? Is there a significance to the new house bought three years ago? Seems important.

    the first paragraph could be tightened a bit if you cut the second sentence about mom and then maybe add some of her nervousness into the tag of second paragraph.

    repeating the line "i got you registered for school" feels like a throw away line and stating the actual grade feels like you are speaking directly to the reader. i'd cut it and go straight to main character's reaction.

    how would your main character really feel about returning to high school? her only response here seems to be a noncommittal head shake.

    there's a lot of repetition of "did you talk to dr. morris" and "dr. morris said..." I'd maybe revise and compress them into one exchange. as it is, they read a little clunky.

    i know it's early but i'd really like to get a feel for the paranormal part of the story. even if it's just a hint.

    i know it's hard to give more educated guidance with only the first 250 words, but i hope these suggestions help! good luck with your story!

  3. I found this interesting. I wanted to know more about what had happened. I suspect the protagonist saw her sister killed. But I felt like this was lacking an 'anchor'. I didn't have a clear picture of where they were, what kind of people they were, what environment they were in (except a car). Just a few very small details could have given me that information without slowing the pace (clothing, interior of car, seasonal queues from exterior, etc).

    The conflict is definitely here. If I'd had the chance, I would have turned the page to see if it really grabbed me.

  4. I agree with the last commenter that I felt there wasn't much of an anchor. I think you ought to put in some sensory elements (what does the car smell like? Are the window's down? Is it cool/hot?) to spice things up a bit.

    It definitely does call attention because I'm wondering why she went in the nuthouse in the first place. I think the emotions should be a bit more intense though; the mom's anxiety is clear, but I didn't feel the protags.