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DOGGONE VOICE: HARVESTER

Friday, 29 June 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake
 
  
Title: HARVESTER
Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
“I told you already, I’ve never seen him before.” Catalina glanced at the closed door, wishing someone would come in and rescue her from this douchebag.
Marshal Sycamore slammed his hands on the table.
Catalina flinched in the cheap plastic chair. She shifted her weight and winced, her shoulders aching from the awkwardness of her hands cuffed behind her back. Who knew cutting line would get a person arrested? Unless…
“Now, Ms. Bramson, I know you’re lying.” A smirking smile spread on his tanned face as he leaned forward. He had a Virginia gentleman’s accent, each word drawled but articulated. “I urge you to make this easy on yourself and just come out with it.”
Catalina’s face heated. “I’m telling you the truth!”
Only she wasn’t. She’d committed a crime by telling Will about everything. A bead of sweat ran down the side of her face. Was Marshal Sycamore trying to get her to confess her secret so they could formally charge her?
The Marshal chuckled and loosened the burgundy cravat tied at his neck, pulling it out from under his black pinstriped waistcoat. “Do I strike you for a fool?”
“Not initially.” Despite the churning of her stomach, she forced a tight smile. Play it cool. Just play it cool and she’d make it out of this in one piece. He hadn’t hinted about Will and she wasn’t about to volunteer the information.
His knee-length brown duster rustled as he paced around the table toward her. “Are you trying to sass me, Ms. Bramson?”

Filed: Misc, Workshops

4 Comments
  • Leigh Ann says:

    Here’s another awesome example of how to get voicey writing done in third person. Just great. I love how her voice comes through with words like “douchebag” and thoughts like, “keep it cool.” I love how we’re introduced to plot points as she thinks them and as they’re immediately relevant to what’s going on.

    My only nitpick here is how very much we know about the appearance and sound of the Marshal. Your MC notices an awful lot about the clothes he’s wearing – details like color included – and exactly how his accent sounds. I would think that, while strapped to a chair, she’d be thinking about things a bit differently. Really imagine yourself handcuffed to that chair and think about which details you’d notice enough for them to be at the forefront of your mind. Maybe more visceral ones, even – does he spit alittle when he talks? Is he sweating? Rather than the length of his duster. Or whether he’s wearing a duster at all. 😀

    Nicely done! Great to see some more 3rd person (and a well-done one!)

  • Marieke says:

    “Are you trying to sass me” made me laugh. There is great voice here and you start of in a very intriguing situation.

    I do concur with Leigh Ann’s comments. Focusing on voice especially, there’s one other thing. Right now, as the reader, I feel a little lost in translation. You have a great opening here with high tension. But at the same time, I have not enough context to really understand what’s happening. As a result, I am so focused on trying to understand, I don’t feel I get to know Catalina enough to be completely hooked.

    Basically, I’d love to get a better sense of what’s going on right from the start, extactly to get to know Catalina better. I think that would make her voice shine!

  • callmebecks says:

    Some great hints at a strong third person voice, but some of the details bog it down. I’m getting the idea that Catalina has some sass in her, and I’d love to see more of that straight off.

    IN-LINE CRITS:
    “I told you already, I’ve never seen him before.” Catalina glanced at the closed door, wishing someone would come in and rescue her from this douchebag. (Ha! Douchebag – love it. I will say that I’m not a huge fan of starting with dialogue. I think it’d be just as strong to switch these two sentences, but that’s entirely my opinion.)

    Marshal Sycamore slammed his hands on the table.

    Catalina flinched in the cheap plastic chair. She shifted her weight and winced, her shoulders aching from the awkwardness of her hands cuffed behind her back. Who knew cutting line would get a person arrested? Unless…

    “Now, Ms. Bramson, I know you’re lying.” A smirking smile (This pulls me out – it’s redundant. Much cleaner to just say “smirk”.) spread on (suggest “across” instead of “on”) his tanned face as he leaned forward. He had a Virginia gentleman’s accent, each word drawled but articulated. “I urge you to make this easy on yourself and just come out with it.”

    Catalina’s face heated. “I’m telling you the truth!”

    Only she wasn’t. She’d committed a crime by telling Will about everything. (It’s a tough call without reading on, but I wonder if it would serve the mystery better to cut this line?) A bead of sweat ran down the side of her face. Was Marshal Sycamore trying to get her to confess her secret so they could formally charge her? (I’d suggest cutting this question. I don’t think it really adds anything to the scene. If she’s being questioned by a Marshal, then of course they’d love it if she confessed.)

    The Marshal chuckled and loosened the burgundy cravat tied at his neck, pulling it out from under his black pinstriped waistcoat. (The amount of detail about his clothes pulls me out.) “Do I strike you for a fool?”

    “Not initially.” (Hee.) Despite the churning of her stomach, she forced a tight smile. Play it cool. Just play it cool, (added comma) and she’d make it out of this in one piece. He hadn’t hinted about Will, (added comma) and she wasn’t about to volunteer the information.

    His knee-length brown duster rustled as he (Again – details about his clothing that I don’t think add enough to the scene.) paced around the table toward her. “Are you trying to sass me, Ms. Bramson?”

  • Brenda Drake says:

    I like a lot parts to this scene. I do feel like she’s too focused on the Marshall’s attire. It makes the situation less urgent. I’d like to know how she feels, her surroundings, is she wondering how to get out of this situation. That said, I hear Catalina’s voice here and I already like her. I would definitely read on to find out what happens.

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