Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February Test Run #6

TITLE: Cadence
GENRE: YA Speculative

I’m at dinner when they come for me. I can hear my heartbeat in my ears, and feel the adrenaline rushing in my feet, my hands. I’m sitting at a table by the windows in the dining hall of the Cartwright Institute for Young Women, eating bad dorm food while my friends discuss the chemistry test we took today, which Mira swears she failed even though I stayed up half the night to prepare her for it. And I know that they’ve come for me.

There’s an uncomfortable squirming in my gut that has nothing to do with Cartwright’s signature meatloaf mush and its proximity to my mouth. There’s a whispering in my ears, memories of voices and people who I have tried desperately hard to forget.

Mira taps me on the shoulder and I jump, sending my knees into the bottom of the long rectangular table. Chocolate milk splashes out of my glass and splatters all across my blouse, leaving the pristine white cotton pocked with brown freckles. The other girls around us laugh and Mira sheepishly offers me a napkin. “Sorry,” she says. I take it with burning cheeks.

“No worries.” I dab at the stains and try to swallow down the rising panic in my throat, making me want to cry or scream or choke. “What is it, Mira?”

“I was wondering what you got for the first question,” she says, her thin, dark eyebrows scrunching low over her wide brown eyes in concern. 


  1. Your writing is really clear and immediate but I have to say, I was not grabbed at all by this. Nothing exciting, unique, or unusual is's all build-up with no pay off yet. If you don't feel like you can skip to whatever's going to happen when they actually come to take our narrator, maybe you could add in some more description of the school or introduce us to our narrator a bit more. For me, this is falling flat otherwise, which is a shame because it's obvious you're a good writer.

  2. lorileaann:

    I have to disagree with Yellow Post-it. I was very grabbed by this. In your first 250 lines you don't have reveal the big secret...not yet. As long as you hint at it...which you did and I thought you did it very well. I like your opening line,"I'm at dinner when they come for me." And your last line in the 1st paragraph, "And now I know they've come for me." It is repetitive, but I like the emphasis. I took out the "that". You don't need it.

    For "sheepishly" can you show me that instead of tell?

    Overall, I enjoyed this piece and got a clear visual of what was going on.

    I like the hint that someone is coming for her...which I assume is key to the story. Make sure you give the reader some pay off before the end of Chapter 1 and sprinkle hints through out what is going on.

    I want to keep reading to find out more... so I think that is a good use of 250 words. Nice job! :)

  3. Overall I agree with the second comment - can't give away the whole story in the first 250. I have some nit picky thoughts that are just my opinion and food for thought. I thought the second sentence in the first paragraph was a bit of mouth full. Maybe split it up?

    I really like the second paragraph, but would remove the word "hard" (found toward the end of the sentence).

    In the :" “No worries.” I dab..."" paragraph, I would remove "making me want to cry or scream or choke." It read a bit awkwardly to me.

    WIth that said, I think you have a nice opening here and I would definitely keep reading. Congrats!

  4. I like the second paragraph a lot. And maybe that is all the premonition you need on this page. The repetitiveness of the vague "they are coming for me" is what disengaged me from the story.

  5. I like the first paragraph, it instantly grabbed me and told me that there's something to look out for. The only thing that I can point out, which I found very difficult myself in writing in first person, was when the narrator says:
    'I’m sitting at a table by the windows in the dining hall of the Cartwright Institute for Young Women.....'

    That actually takes me out of the story, as it feels more like 'telling', so perhaps incorporating that elsewhere in the story would make the flow better...

    Other than that, I enjoyed it and would read on to see where you're taking us!

    Good luck!

  6. I'm going to disagree with the first poster too. I was totally caught up by this. So much so that I was APPALLED that there was not more on the page when I came to the end! Where is the rest please??


    (Loved it. Every little bit.)

  7. Thanks for the feedback, everybody! I'm implementing your advice as we speak. :)