Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Critique Party #7

Remember - I'm moderating the comments. This is meant to help one another, so be nice.

Our goal is to help each writer make their page stronger.

*A note about this page: The story is set in England and the author has used British spellings.*


Butterfly With Broken Wings, a contemporary YA novel by Laura Dunks


Time machines. If I could invent one, I’d hop in and go back to the days when things were simple. When I knew what came next.

You know when you become stuck on autopilot and the days go by so fast you don’t even stop to think? Then you wake up one day and realise that everything is about to change, but you aren’t ready? You haven’t even begun to prepare.

How was this worse than the changes every teenager must face? The truth was, I didn’t know. This time seemed different. A strange sensation nagged me every time I stopped to think. Things would never be the same.

So what did I, Amelia Jane Wright, do when life threw me so much uncertainty that I wanted to jump into bed, pull the covers over my head, and never wake up?

I relived amazing memories and dreamed of the future.

My best friend Gina and I lay on our stomachs on her bed watching our favourite old home movie - a compilation made by my dad. In the grainy video we were three-years-old, holding hands, and jumping into muddy puddles, to see who could make the biggest splash.

I rolled to face her. “You wanna like skip school tomorrow?”

She snorted. “You say that every summer.”

“Tomorrow our lives will be ruled by exams and gossip.”

She rolled her eyes. “Tell me about it.”

Although we were at the same school, Gina was fourteen and a year above me.

She beamed at the television and fiddled with her glasses. “I love this part.”

6 comments:

Holly Dodson said...

First of all I adore the title.

Okay, I'm not sure that just saying "Time machines." is a strong enough first sentence. Maybe just use the second..."if I could invent a time machine I'd hop in..."

Also, the like in "You wanna like skip school tomorrow" threw me off. It just didn't flow in that sentence to me.

The next line "You say that every summer" is too vague. It made me wonder if she wanted to skip the first day of school or the last or if it was just approaching summer or what.

Overall, I love the tone of this page. Great job!

LTM said...

Hi, Laura!

You have a nice start here. Good writing. Just a suggestion, maybe go with the time machine or the auto pilot--having both felt like overkill to me. (Personally, I'd drop "you become stuck on autopilot and" from that first 'graph and go w/the sentence like that...)

In the third 'graph, I'd go ahead and give us what the "this" is. The start of summer? The start of school?

How was moving to Amsterdam worse than the changes...?

Maybe? just my opinion, of course.

Relived amazing memories and dreamed of the future.

Maybe dreamed of a *different* future? (Isn't the future what she's dreading? That confused me.)

Every summer... So is tomorrow the first day of school? I'd make that a little clearer.

Otherwise this is good. Umm... I hope I didn't discourage you w/my comments. I DO hope they'll just make it stronger. What you've got here is really nice.

Merely tweaks~ ;o)

Susan said...

Hey, Laura! It's great to finally read some of your story. I know so much about it! ;)

I definitely agree with Holly's comments on the time machine, like, and every summer lines. Same for LTM's comments -- just tweaks. :)

In addition to that, I think the opening bogs down a bit -- we get the idea that life is going downhill almost instantly. I suggest pruning your prose at the start to reduce the redundancy and pick the pace up a tad.

For example:

***
You know when you're stuck on autopilot and the days go by so fast you can't even stop to think? Then you wake up one day and realise everything is about to change, but you aren’t ready?

How was my life worse than the changes every teenager faces? At the time, I didn't know -- life just seemed different. A strange sensation nagged me every time I stopped to think.

So what did I, Amelia Jane Wright, do when life threw me so much uncertainty? When all I wanted to do was jump into bed, pull the covers over my head, and never wake up?
***

Just suggestions of course. :)

Otherwise, it's a lovely intro. The tone really comes across, and the forlorn butterfly voice is very strong. Good job! I hope I get to read more one day. :)

Alicia Gregoire said...

I love the narrator's voice on this page. I think that's the strongest thing.

I felt a little disconnected between you're opening paragraphs and the second half of the piece like you have two openings simultaneously. You have the opening that starts off with "time machines" and then the one with "my best friend Gina and I."

I'd definitely read on.

KO said...

I would agree with what the others have said. I like the voice, and I want to see what happens next.

The way you mention time machines made me think: oh, this is a book about time machines! Then it took me a moment to realize the characters weren't about to take a trip... so I think working that bit about time machines into the first sentence may help the reader understand we are in the present and not traveling through time.

Laura Ann Dunks said...

I replied to this but my comment seems to have disappeared or not get posted at all.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to comment - they were really helpful. I am going to make the necessary changes.

I will also, when I get the chance, finish critiquing everyones work on here so do check back to see if I have commented!

Thanks again,

Laura
~X~