Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February Test Run #4

TITLE: Untitled

Our house is full of people and the neglected little place isn’t used to this sort of thing.

Clearly, it’s as uncomfortable as I am, because as scads of strangers make their way across its wooden floors, the house replies with a series of cranky moans and grunts.

I glance down at the floors, sympathizing with their discomfort…someone laughs a little too loudly and the sound brings me out of my thoughtful moment.

Wait a second- where’s Dad?

Scanning the room of mourners, I look for him and…great… he’s not in here

That means he’s hiding in his work room.

should go back there and check on him, I think with a sigh, but I hate seeing him on the floor in the fetal position … it’s freaking scary.

“Karen.” Ms. Davidson’s voice, as soft as ever, makes me jump.


For the past five years, I’ve heard Ms. Davidson’s voice nearly every day… yelling at her grandchildren to get in the house and wash up for dinner, screaming at my Dad for allowing his “robotic contraption” to, again, knock over her trash bins…but never, on any of those occasions, have I heard Ms. Davidson speak softly.

Today- she sounds like a mouse.

Attempting to recover from my shock at Ms. Davidson's uncharacteristically gentle tone of voice, I turn to the older woman, and am flabbergasted when I see that she’s crying.


  1. I think you've got a really solid base here, but could use some reformatting. Where you've done bolding, you should probably use italicizing (and where you've bolded in the middle of the italicized thought part, you should just unitalicize it and leave it as normal text). Then, based on the way your narrator is speaking in this other part, you should probably make it just a part of the narrative, rather than a thought:

    "I should go back there and check on him, I think with a sigh, but I hate seeing him on the floor in the fetal position … it’s freaking scary."

    So just make it: "I should go back there and check on him, but I have seeing him on the floor in the fetal position... it's freaking scary."

    Also: I'd try cutting down on your use of ellipses. Ellipses signify trailing off; I think you're looking more for a quick way to get from one thought to another, which would be signified better with an em-dash.

    So basically: I found some formatting stuff you might want to look into--of course, that's totally up to you--but otherwise this is really strong. I love the narrator's voice, and how much you've already set up about her life without outright saying any of it. Great job! :) I look forward to finding this book in stores someday.

  2. I like the voice and the feel of the scene. Her emotions are very clear.

    I agree with the formatting comment above. You don't need to mark thoughts if you are already in deep POV.

    I got caught on this sentence:
    >I glance down at the [pine floor boards], sympathizing with their discomfort.

  3. I also agree with the Julia's comments re: formatting.
    I liked the opening scene, you really set it up very well, we're learning a great deal about your MC in just the first 250 words. As I mentioned above, the only thing that threw me off was the formatting.

    Good luck!

  4. I immediately feel the emotion of the MC. The scene feels as though it is mounting- preparing for something explosive to happen. Even the poor little house is overwhelmed:) Revisit the formatting as stated by my fellow critiquers and I'm certain you have an interesting story!! Keep going:)

  5. I also wanted to mention that the Sci Fi genre is forever growing and expanding to include cross genres. Very excited you chose it:)

  6. I like the tension building up in this scene. I'd agree with Julia re: formatting.

    The first sentence tripped me up a bit actually. At first I wasn't sure what the neglected place was. Then I realized it was the house. Maybe the "the/our" pronouns could be switched? I don't know though, honestly, it's probably just me!

    Great voice. Really liking this!

  7. After the formatting tweak, I think you have little left to do! I loved the voice and the imagery of the house feeling the angst too. Nice.