Oh Yeah! It’s the Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop!
In this hop, participants post 250 words of their work in progress to be critiqued. Then everyone hops around to critique others. Don’t have a post of your own? We’d love a critique anyway! And next time you can sign up yourself (see below)
Okay… Here’s mine. This is the extremely newly revised first 250-ish words of my Young Adult Urban Fantasy “Fire in the Woods.” My goal is to start submitting this to publishers within the next month, so I need these page to really shine!
The bed rumbled beneath me as the shrill scream of jet engines ruined a perfectly good daydream. “Dad! The stinking Air Force is flying over the houses again!” I turned up the volume on my MP3 player, closed my eyes and lost myself in musical bliss—until my pink earphones popped out of my ears.
“I said, what do you expect me to do about it.” Dad dropped the earbuds on my lap and folded his way-too muscular arms.
“I don’t know. You’re the Army, aren’t you? Go invade them or something.”
His lips set as his eyebrows rose, twitching the spikey hairs where a normal person’s bangs would be. “Invade them?”
“I don’t know. Do something. It’s annoying.”
A smile crossed his lips. “How about we…”
The room rattled around us as the engines of another plane throttled overhead, followed by another. Dad crouched as if ducking, his six-foot body instantly folding with military precision.
I pulled my pillow tightly to my thin frame. “What…”
“Shhh.” His hand shot out, silencing me instantly as a rattling resonance echoed through my open window. “That sounds like…” His eyes widened. “Jess, get down!”
A huge boom throttled my ears, barraging my mind with an infestation of sound. Dad’s hand gripped my arm, pulling me to the floor before he shielded my body with his own.
The ground shook, and a soda can shimmied off my dresser, smashing to the floor and fizzling all over the carpet. I slammed my palms over my ears, cringing as the explosion quaked the walls around us.
The Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop is on!
Want to join up? Click here for the rules, and leave a comment to have your name added to the list. The more the merrier!
Click on over to these great writers to check out and critique what they’ve posted!
- Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop (mandyevebarnett.com)
- Entry the First, In Which Proust’s Playlist is Born, Sunday Snipets Critique Blog Hop (mermaidssinging.wordpress.com)
Well, there’s a lot of action, and dialogue, and lots more show than tell, but, I think that there are too many adjectives and overly aware verbs and lots of phrases I’ve heard many other places already. sounds to e like you ran out of time.
The bed rumbled beneath me as the shrill scream SHRILL DESCRIBES A SOUND, NOT A MOTION, AND HOW CAN SHE HEAR THE SCREAM THROUGH HER EARBUDS UNLES THE RUMBLING KNOCKS OUT THE EARBUDS FIRST – BUT THEY DON’T BECAUSE HER EARBUDS HAVEN’T POPPED OUT YET. of jet engines ruined a perfectly good daydream “A PERFECTLY GOOD DAYDREAM” ABOUT WHAT? OF COURSE A TEENAGE GIRL WITH OINK EARBUDS WILL SAY PERFECTLY GOOD DAYDREAM. SEEMS A BIT EMPTY. “Dad! The stinking Air Force is flying over the houses again!” I turned up the volume on my MP3 player, closed my eyes and lost myself in musical bliss mUSICAL BLISS? SEEMS A LITTLE THICK, KINDA SPOILED, A BIT CHILDISH, AND ITS A PHRASE THATS BEEN USED A THOUSAND TIMES, WHY NOT TELL US WHAT SHES LISTENING TO, IS SHE TAPPING HER FOOT, SINGING ALONG? WHY DOES SHE CARE ABOUT MUSIC?—until my pink earphones popped out of my ears. AGAIN, PINK EARBUDS? ITS A LITTLE PREDICTABLE AND OBVIOUS.
I KNOW YOU CAN DO BETTER, OH YODA OF SHOW NOT TELL. WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU GOT? 😉
Ha! Too funny. I’ve had at least four people who loved how I used pink earbuds to let them know she was a girl. :-). Can’t make everyone happy.
I’ll check for superfluous adjectives.
It’s really true – not everyone is going to agree with everything we write. I got lots of comments yesterday that convinced me that, yeah, it’s a draft that needs work, but it’s also being critiqued by people who probably wouldn’t want to read the kind of novel I’m writing. So, you know, take everything into consideration, and ignore the rest. It’s your story, not mine. 🙂
That’s definitely something to take I to account. However I have a critique partner who just HATES my stuff and thrashes it. He would never in a million years read a high action chase novel– which makes him a great critiquer because he doesn’t get lost in the story and he doesn’t miss much.
Isn’t that so true?
Even when I think, “Hmm, you probably don’t like the genre I’m trying to work with,” the comments still make me look critically at my draft again for things that might have slipped through.
As nice as it is to get compliments, we don’t need “yes-men” as critics. Sometimes they are right, and when they aren’t we need to be able to justify why we disagree. It has to be a deliberate choice, not a mistake or overlooking. It’s really helpful.
I think it’s a great opening, very much invokes a “what’s gonna happen next” level of anticipation. I only take issue with two things. This sentence, “spikey hairs where a normal person’s bangs would be” pulled me from the story because there are plenty of normal people WITHOUT bangs and why would a grown man have bangs anyway? Bangs are more of chick thing, no? And I also take issue with the infamous word “infestation” that everyone above me is clamoring about. Other than that, very good.
Ok – infestation has to go. Got it. But I love that bangs line! Grrrrrrrrr
My own rule is that I don’t read the other critiques before giving my own, so apologies if there is any repetition.
‘until my pink earphones popped out of my ears.’ I had an image of them just spontaneously pinging out of her ears. I’m glad you explain in the next line what actually happened as that has the potential to confuse.
‘Go invade them or something.’ Love it, in fact the dialogue throughout this piece chimes really well with me.
‘Dad crouched as if ducking,’ Surely Dad would just crouch, OR duck? To do both seems to overload the sentence and feels a little awkward.
You have an ‘instantly folding’ and a ‘silencing me instantly’ quite close together. Perhaps another word choice would avoid the repetition, particularly is such short, punchy sentences.
‘…huge boom throttled my ears, barraging my mind with an infestation of sound.’ The whole sentence jarred with me. ‘Throttled’ doesn’t feel like the best word here, the imagery isn’t right. Similarly, ‘barraging’ her mind didn’t work either. Though I think I may understand what you were intending with the militaristic word choices, giving the nature of her dad’s work. ‘Infestation’ made me think she may soon need a bug bomb or something.
I like the shimmying soda can and the whole of that paragraph is filled with powerful words that gives a wonderful sense of what is going on. Great Work!
No shortage of action here.
I about this line: “A huge boom throttled my ears, barraging my mind with an infestation of sound.” Not sure about barraging and infestation in this case. Otherwise, I love the ACTION.
Definitely a great hook to get readers immersed in the action from the start. I really liked the whole piece, it flowed very nicely. The only thing that caught me was this line: “A huge boom throttled my ears, barraging my mind with an infestation of sound. ”
Infestation doesn’t sound quite right to me, for some reason. I think of bugs squirming around when I think of an infestation. In my opinion, you need a more powerful word here since you go from a really strong word like “barrage.” Perhaps ‘onslaught’ or ‘assault’?
Overall though, wonderful work! The teen readers will definitely be hooked.
Wow, exciting start! It won’t take much to polish this to a shiny, shiny gem, I’m sure. 🙂
I know the dad’s repeating himself, I felt like “what do you expect me to do about it” was missing a question mark. Unless he’s not making it a question anymore because he’s said it a few times, and is exasperated enough to need an exclamation mark.
This sentence confused me: “His lips set as his eyebrows rose, twitching the spikey hairs where a normal person’s bangs would be.” Are his eyebrows spikey? Or is she referring to the usual military buzz cut?
The phrase “barraging my mind with an infestation of sound” felt a little off to me. No good reason, except I don’t usually link infestations and barrages. Maybe stick with the warlike terms? Like ‘assault of sound’ or ‘explosion of sound.’
That’s so like a teenager–to say something and then disengage. Her poor dad!
I love the detail of the soda can–it’s an excellent reminder of how physical a loud sound can be. It makes me feel the nail-biting danger the characters are in. Definitely want to read more!
I liked this very much. I’m not sure I would change anything. I only hesitate with the tone the girl takes with her father. However, I think that’s me. I don’t read YA fiction exactly because all the teenagers are so (or seem so) self-centered. Just a comment on the genre, not the writing. I think that opening sets up a lot of story questions: are they being bombed? Is there something larger going on near the base? Will her father be able to protect her? And it is well written to boot! 🙂
Forgive me, but I can’t participate this time. I’m revising “Curse of the Dark Elf,” my entry in last week’s Blog Hop! I’ll return, though.
Hi Jennifer, What can I say? Great start to a story!
“…Air Force is flying over the houses again!” How many houses do they live in? Or are responsible for? She’s a teenager so I guess she’s typically self-centred and would only care about the house she’s actually in.
That’s my only gripe. Otherwise, where and when can I get that book?
love the set up- I wonder what happens next? Why did it happen?
here is mine- http://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/sunday-snippets-critique-blog-hop/
I’m confused about the lists. I picked up a list with a bikini in it and now it’s gone. 🙂
Ah, it would have been the list from week 1 which seemed to have a few new entries – or it was rearranged.
Sorry, I updated it last night with a few late entries