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DOGGONE VOICE: STARRY KNIGHT

Friday, 29 June 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

 

 

Title: STARRY KNIGHT
Genre: YA SF
The last time I saw my dad, he whispered eleven words into my ear. Take care of your mom, Sage. She’s not strong like us. The nine-year-old me swelled with the responsibility. The sixteen-year-old me is sagging under the weight.
His words haunt me as I stand on the cracked cement of my front porch. Voices buzz through the door, growing like an approaching swarm of angry bees. Only dented steel separates me from the broiling fight inside.
My hand presses against the cool metal of the doorknob. Turn it. Open it. But my fingers won’t move. My eyes follow a spider skittering across the porch. It slips into a crack and I want to slip with it. But I’m stuck, cemented to this spot by the rippling fear inside of me. By the words in my head.
“What the hell?” Ken’s rough voice thunders through the door followed by my mother’s predictable whimper. I want to turn around, to walk away, to ignore the replay of my mother’s love life. Alcohol, losers, fighting, tears, more alcohol.
But then I hear the smack.
It rips through the air with painful screaming in its wake. My heart bounces in my chest as I push open the door, sliding my book bag from my shoulder. I cross the narrow kitchen that spills into the living room where lamps blaze and the television buzzes. Ken’s fists are raised over my mother who cowers on the floor with her face clutched in her hands.

Filed: Misc, Workshops

5 Comments
  • Leigh Ann says:

    First paragraph. NAILED IT. You made my heart twist. The memory, combined with the fact that she remembers, combined with how remembering makes her feel – great trifecta. Just awesome.

    I think this first page’s voice would do a lot better job of keeping me in that heart-twisty place if it didn’t have two full paragraphs describing setting/logistics. Condense it to one and launch me right into a conversation with Ken to keep me close to your MC here.

    I love the reflection that starts with “I want to turn around,” but just as a reader, I feel like it’s too long to keep me in the moment. Show her mother’s abuse AS she experiences it – then we’ll feel the pain too – reflect on it after we see her cowering with face in hands. That way we experience terror right along with your MC.

    So, in other words, if you can tweak the voice with a little rearrangement to fix timing, especially because this being present tense demands that we experience things with your character, we’ll be GOLDEN.

    Nice work.

  • Marieke says:

    I love this, it’s such a strong start! I’m not sure I’d immediately think sci-fi (hint: no) but I LOVE the voice here. As reader, I feel Sage’s anticipation along with her and that’s just wonderful! And so recognizable!

    I do agree with Leigh Ann that the build up is a little too long. The four paragraph felt repetitive and I think you implied a lot of it so well, you don’t need to explain it here.

    At the same time, the last paragraph didn’t feel as rushed as I would’ve liked. I don’t get the sense Sage is rushing to help, which surprised me a bit.

    Overall though, fantastic though.

  • The last time I saw my dad, he whispered eleven words into my ear. Take care of your mom, Sage. She’s not strong like us. The nine-year-old me swelled with the responsibility. The sixteen-year-old me is sagging under the weight.

    His words haunt me as I stand on the cracked cement of my front porch. Voices buzz through the door, growing like an approaching swarm of angry bees. Only dented steel separates me from the broiling fight inside.

    “What the hell?” Ken’s rough voice thunders through the door followed by my mother’s predictable whimper. I want to turn around, to walk away, to ignore the replay of my mother’s love life.

    But then I hear the smack.

    It rips through the air with painful screaming in its wake. Mom. My heart bounces violently in my chest as I push in the door, taking wide shaky steps through the house. She’s in the living room, cowering on the floor with her face clutched in her hands. I fall to my knees in front of her. Grabbing her shoulders I fight the urge to shake her. Be okay. Please, be okay.

    “Mom?” My throat squeezes, trapping my breath in my lungs. “Mom, talk to me.” She’s not speaking, not moving, so I force her face to mine. Her eyes blink, red and puffy, and mascara-laced tears coat a bloody welt across her cheek.

    “Of course she’s okay.” Ken paces behind us like a raging fall storm.

  • Brenda Drake says:

    Excellent revision. The voice is great. I’m very curious about what will happen here and how it’s going to be a Sci-fi. Wonderful start.

  • callmebecks says:

    I don’t think I have anything else I can add to this. I love the voice, the style, the writing – everything. It’s strong, yo. Super-strong. If you need eyes on more of it, hit me up. I would love to read the whole thing. 🙂

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