Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February Test Run #5

TITLE: Obliterated

I didn’t know there was a camera there. If I had, it probably wouldn’t
have made a difference. I would have still dropped to my knees in the
swirling dust and gouged bloody scrapes on my tear-stained cheeks. I
would have still screamed silently, the sound choked back by the
fragments of my former life clogging the air.

The shutter clicked. The worst moment of my life was translated into
millions of colored pixels that were underneath news headlines all
over the world the next day. The captions were even worse. Putting
that moment into a collection of trivial words felt like an insult:
“Afton Blake, 16, kneels at the site of the Morehead meteor strike.” I
have no idea how they found out my name – that silent scream was the
last time I opened my mouth for a week.

Until that day, I had imagined I would become famous another reason.
The headlines were supposed to read: “Afton Blake nominated for
Academy Award in both lead and supporting actress categories.” “Afton
Blake buys million-dollar home in Hollywood Hills.” “Starlet Blake
steals hearts and wallets at charity ball supporting Global Women’s
Rights.” Nowhere on my IMDB page was there supposed to be a reference
to the tragic destruction of my hometown.

But there I was, looking over the edge of a crater that could have
been the set of a blockbuster science fiction movie, but was horribly
real. The National Guard trucks appeared right after that.


  1. I love this--fantastic voice and emotion. The only thing that threw me off a bit was not knowing whether or not she was already pursuing acting--which, to be honest, really isn't important in the least; I don't know why that stuck out to me. It just did.

    Good luck with this! I'm dying to read the rest of it.

  2. Over all - I love the idea of this story! It sounds intriguing. In an effort to be helpful or least provide some actual critiquing, I would think about word choice for clarity.

    In the first paragraph, I think knowing about a camera wouldn’t have made a difference at all. So for the second sentence I might have chosen to say: “However, it wouldn’t have made a difference.”

    Love the second paragraph!

    In the third paragraph, you use the word suppose twice. By replacing the first instance with: “The headlines might have read...”

    Maybe that would help with the question of whether or not she is already an actress? I don’t know, just brainstorming.

    In the last paragraph, as a reader I felt that the “but was horribly real” statement read a bit awkwardly. Maybe because the word ‘but’ is used twice in the sentence. Maybe something to play with?

    Great writing – great story idea!! Keep up the good work.

  3. I love your voice too and I'd definitely keep reading! A few things threw me off:

    The line, "I would have still screamed silently, the sound choked back by the fragments of my former life clogging the air." It is vague and I wonder why someone would have "still" screamed silently (when they can scream out loud) and "fragments of my former life clogging the air", I don't know what this means and so it is confusing. Perhaps if you are more specific here. What former life? Who was he/she before? One or 2 words could clarify that.

    Also, the line, "Afton Blake, 16, kneels at the site of the Morehead meteor strike.” When I read this I was thinking, wouldn't a headline be more dramatic? And as I continued reading, I get the sense that Afton caused this, especially since he didn't want to be famous in this way and the mention of a former life (perhaps before he/she had abilities?). The headline might say "Afton Blake, 16, Sends a Meteor to Planet Earth" or what not. I just don't think a newspaper headline would care if someone is kneeling. And if the focus in not Afton, but the meteor, then why would Afton be in the article?

    So those were some things that confused me and a little clearer explanation would help my understanding of what is going on.

    Otherwise, I like this! I'm hoping it is Afton that caused the meteor. That would be cool :) Your writing and voice shine through and that's the hard part! Great job.

  4. I really liked this page and the voice. My only problem was that I'm not sure where she is.

    Here are some places to add detail that might help with setup (I just made these up, so fix appropriately):

    >I didn’t know there was a camera [in the school bathroom].

    >“[Drama student] Afton Blake, 16, kneels at the site of the Morehead meteor strike.”

  5. Really strong opening! The one thing that comes to mind is that I'm not sure if the MC is male or female? The name Afton is not clear to me one way or another.
    The other thing that comes to mind is in paragraph 3, when you mention Starlett Blake...this name stopped me because I wondered who it was and why he/she was mentioned here in the middle of all the other newspaper captions..upon rereading I noticed that that must be her/his real name?

    Other than I really enjoyed this and would definitely read on!

    Good luck!

  6. I like this concept! And nicely executed!

    The only thing I would say is that the first paragraph does seem a little over-written to me. It's totally personal preference but I think it can be hard for a reader to empathize with such strong emotions when they haven't met the character yet.

    To that end, I almost wonder if you might try starting with the third paragraph because it helps build up the tension and orients the reader tot he character before the emotional response. But that's just a thought.

    As is I would totally read on!

  7. Thanks so much for all the feedback, guys! It's so helpful to get a fresh perspective on things.