Friday, March 29, 2013

March Test Run #1

TITLE: The Bridge Maker
GENRE: MG Fantasy

While her mother rambled about staying home alone, followed by something weird about working late, Linh imagined herself laughing with fairies.

“Are you listening to me?” asked her mom.

Linh bit her lip. Both she and her mother were sitting on a couch in the living room, still in their nightgowns. Linh looked around. No fairies. Oops.

Linh panicked and could only say, “Uhhh…”

“You’ve been daydreaming again.” Her mother shook her head. “I have to leave for work now.”

Linh grabbed her mom’s arm. “No, don’t leave!”

Her mother sighed. “I’ll be back from the restaurant in a few hours. I put pho on the dining table for you to heat up in the microwave for dinner.”

She kissed Linh on her forehead and soon left the house. The front door clicked shut. Linh swallowed and looked at her feet. She was tired of being home alone all the time.

Eeek! Eeek! Strange sounds came from the walls.

Probably mice. No surprise there. Linh had grown used to hearing those horrible little rodents scuttling inside the clogged drainpipes at school.

Maybe they had come here. Her house had a clogged drain. She shrugged and fiddled with the phoenix talisman on a golden chain around her neck, given to her by her father. That was eight years ago when she was three.

It was the only thing she had left of him. Other memories had left her.

Bam, bam, bam. Thumps echoed through the same walls.

She jerked upright. 


  1. I'm intrigued!

    Is there something symbolic or magical about the mice in the walls? Esp since the loud noises 'interrupt' them - are they connected somehow?

    I'm most interested in the phoenix talisman from her father...maybe you could fit more about that in here?

    Some streamlining suggestions...

    I would start with this line: Linh imagined herself laughing with fairies.

    I don't think you need this line: She was tired of being home alone all the time.

  2. Great start! I certainly get a sense of of Linh's home life and her main worries.

    My biggest recommendation is that you tighten the first sentence and include a hint of the necklace (I suspect that it will be important to the story). Something like "Linh fiddled with her talisman and imaged herself laughing with fairies."

    Also, can you add a little more sensory description in addition to the squeaking of the mice? The rough feel of the worn couch? The smell of the pho? Maybe something about the light so we have a hint about the time of day?

    Simplifying suggestions:

    In the 4th sentence, "Both she and her mother sat..."

    Eliminate the word soon in "...and soon left the house."

    "Strange sounds came from the walls." Can you use a stronger adjective than "strange" here since Linh seems to suspect mice right away? Maybe choose a word that links to Linh's emotion?

    Thanks for sharing and best of luck!

  3. I felt the thoughts were a bit choppy in this. We go from daydreaming to mom leaving to mice in the walls to mice in the drains at school to her necklace to her dad leaving. Also, the dialog wasn't quite working for me, but I think that's because of how quickly things changed. Jean Giardina's suggestions are good, especially for the first sentence.

    Best wishes on your journey to publication!

  4. I agree that this is a bit disjointed. The first sentence is good, but structured a bit choppily. Why just laughing with faeries? Why not adventuring or dining? Build up this place with some description and fill our senses with it. That will describe the world to us and give us grounding. I think going over this to find and replace weak words will give it that extra oomph a first page needs.
    Good job and cheers on the rest of this journey!