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DOGGONE VOICE: SHADOWS OF DESTINY

Friday, 29 June 2012  |  Posted by Brenda

 

 

 

Title: SHADOWS OF DESTINY
Genre: YA Contemporary fantasy
Taylor took one long, deep breath before opening the door to her own personal hell.
Two dozen heads turned to look at her as she walked in, then the whispers began.
“Why doesn’t she just stay home?”
“I swear, I shiver every time I look into her eyes,” a boy whispered.
“Then don’t! I bet she’d curse you,” his friend said next to him.
 A few students laughed.
Taylor ignored the snickering, she was used to it. She walked past the staring eyes with her head held high. She wouldn’t acknowledge them. Wouldn’t show how they affected her.
Sitting at her desk she carefully pulled out an envelope, but flinched when she heard a grunt from behind her. Turning her head slowly, wary, she saw a pretty blonde girl smiling at her.
“Yes?” Taylor asked, realizing the girl was trying to get her attention.
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Go right ahead.” Taylor responded, annoyed. She hardly expected a sleep over invitation.
“What’s it like having a murderer for a father?” the girl said more loudly, her smile never leaving her face.
Taylor didn’t recognize this girl and she realized she must be new, already jumping on the bandwagon. She learns fast, Taylor thought.
Regardless, a dozen responses ran through Taylor’s mind, “What’s it like being a total…”– no, no need for another trip the office.” It’s great! He taught me how to skin a human right before he died. I really like your pigmentation, by the way.”

Filed: Misc, Workshops

6 Comments
  • Leigh Ann says:

    Wow, you have a GREAT opening line for voice!

    Just because I was reading specifically FOR voice, I was a little thrown by the other students’ dialogue being the lines that come next. If I’m going to “hear” someone right away, I want it to be your MC. Maybe move those lines to a bit later?

    I can tell that you’re a good enough writer from lines like your first to show us Taylor’s inner dialogue without writing things like, “Taylor thought” or “ran through her mind.” If you take those out, it’ll really strengthen the voice for me.

    Great work here!

  • Marieke says:

    Aw, this really makes me feel for Taylor. Poor girl.

    I think you have a good voice here, but also a lot of room for improvement. Leigh Ann already pointed out some great things here. I think it would really work for you to get things even more inside Taylor’s head.

    Right now, you’re explaining well what Taylor is thinking, but I want to feel it alongside her. In her dialogue, Taylor’s voice shines through (“I really like your pigmentation” ha!), but I’d love to get a stronger sense of that in her actions and reactions too.

    Getting rid of all the filter words (thought, realizing, etc.), like Leigh Ann said, would make that a lot stronger. But perhaps it could be a part of her observations too. Does she just notice the students talking about her? How does it make her feel to have all the eyes turned toward her? Are there details she’s become hyperaware to?

    You’re off to a great start, keep going! 🙂

  • callmebecks says:

    That last response by your MC – I just love it. Of course, it’s extremely sarcastic, and I love sarcasm, especially in MCs, so I’m pretty hooked after that! 🙂

    IN-LINE CRITS
    Taylor took one long, deep breath before opening the door to her own personal hell.

    Two dozen heads turned to look at her as she walked in. (changed to period) Then the whispers began.

    “Why doesn’t she just stay home?”

    “I swear, I shiver every time I look into her eyes,” a boy whispered.

    “Then don’t! I bet she’d curse you,” his friend said next to him.

    A few students laughed. (I’m not sure I need this verbatim dialogue of what they’re saying. I’d much rather hang out in Taylor’s head.)

    Taylor ignored the snickering, she was used to it. She walked past the staring eyes with her head held high. She wouldn’t acknowledge them. Wouldn’t show how they affected her.

    Sitting at her desk, (added comma) she carefully pulled out an envelope (deleted comma) but flinched when she heard a grunt from behind her. Turning her head slowly, wary, she saw a pretty blonde girl smiling at her.

    “Yes?” Taylor asked, realizing the girl was trying to get her attention. (This makes the description of “grunt” a little odd. Was she clearing her throat or something?)

    “Can I ask you a question?”

    “Go right ahead,” (changed to comma) Taylor responded, annoyed. She hardly expected a sleep over invitation. (I think the tone of what Taylor said – “go right ahead” in this context naturally lends a bitter undertone – is evident without having anything after “responded.” Totally my opinion.)

    “What’s it like having a murderer for a father?” the girl said more loudly, her smile never leaving her face.

    Taylor didn’t recognize this girl and realized she must be new, already jumping on the bandwagon. She learns fast, Taylor thought.

    Regardless, a dozen responses ran through Taylor’s mind. “What’s it like being a total…”– no, no need for another trip the office. “It’s great! He taught me how to skin a human right before he died. I really like your pigmentation, by the way.” (This last line is 100% pure awesome and makes me instantly love your MC. I would even say you don’t need the first sentence she starts – just go right to “It’s great!”)

  • Brenda Drake says:

    I’m totally in Taylor’s head and love her voice. You’ve gotten some great suggestions on how to make this stronger. I love this scene. I’m with Becks on that last line. I read this when I was formatting the entries and posting them. It’s the one I commented on Twitter about it making me laugh and giving me the chills at the same time. I’m hooked.

  • Here are the changes I’ve been playing with. I also thought about breaking up the students comments (I still want to keep them). Like write one line, then write some action, another line, Taylors thoughts, and then the last line. But I haven’t had a chance to play with yet, it would also make it a bit longer (the pigmentation comment would be pushed back past the 250! lol)

    Anyway, heres what I have so far. I appreciate all the comments!

    Taylor took one long, deep breath before opening the door to her own personal hell.

    Two dozen heads turned to look at her as she walked in. Then the whispers began.

    “Why doesn’t she just stay home?”

    “I swear, I shiver every time I look into her eyes,” a boy whispered.

    “Then don’t! I bet she’d curse you,” his friend said next to him.

    Taylor ignored the laughter and sat at her desk, she refused to show how much they affected her. Then, a deep sound caught her attention, like someone clearing their throat. Over the years she had become good at ignoring her ruthless classmates. But today she was curious. Turning her head slowly, wary, she saw a pretty blonde girl smiling sweetly. A girl Taylor had never seen before.

    “Yes?” Taylor asked.

    “Can I ask you a question?”

    “Go right ahead,” Taylor said. She hardly expected a sleep over invitation.

    “What’s it like having a murderer for a father?” The girl asked, her smile as big as ever.

    Even a new girl in town knew the rumors. Taylor could only imagine what she had heard.

    But this girl didn’t actually care about the answer to her question; she was just looking to get a few social ladder points for being mean to the schools verbal punching bag.

    Still, Taylor couldn’t help but consider a bitter response. “It’s great! He taught me how to skin a human right before he died. I really like your pigmentation, by the way.”

  • Brenda Drake says:

    I just love this. I’d make one more tweak. If someone cleared their voice behind you, you’d know they cleared their voice. And you’d know if it were a guy or a girl by the sound (well, most times). Maybe change this –> “Then, a deep sound caught her attention, like someone clearing their throat.” to this –> “Some girl cleared her throat behind me.”

    Great scene. Great first line. Great last line (still makes me snicker and shiver at the same time).

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