Over the next few weeks, some really special friends of mine are stopping by to critique participants’ love scenes. Please join us and find out what’s working and what’s not with our lucky winners’ scenes.
And here’s something about my next guest …
Heidi likes to write early in the morning and late at night. Her passion is telling stories for children, particularly kids in those middle grades: late elementary to middle school. She loves fantasy, adventure, and humor. Shes represented by the amazing Brooks Sherman of FinePrint Literary Management. Heidi is such a talented writer, and I enjoy reading her writing. She’s going to be big, so keep an eye out on her!
Her blog, Frantically Simple, is where she blathers on about family, food, books and writing, homeschooling, and general shenanigans.
Heidi‘s critiques …
TITLE: The Overlord
GENRE: MG Fantasy
He took another couple steps and sat down beside her. “It would be so much easier on me if you would just take the money and buy new clothes. Because, between you and me, flying ponies make horrible dresses. I mean, they’re never quiet or well-behaved and these old gowns of yours, well, they seem very much to be quiet and well-behaved dresses.”
“They are. I mean, they were,” Lucia said, sniffing a little. Takeshi was warm beside her.
“You never struck me as the quiet and well-behaved type.”
Lucia stiffened. “You’re right,” she said. “I’m not. I’m a disappointment to my kingdom and to you and to everyone else.” She wasn’t going to cry. She wasn’t. Quiet and well-behaved girls cried. But not Lucia. J She wasn’t going to cry. She was going to stand up and get away from him.
Halfway onto her feet, Takeshi grabbed her arm and pulled her back down. He said, “If you were quiet and well-behaved, we wouldn’t be here.”
How does she feel about this? Does she like to touch of his hand? Is she irritated? What kind of physical reaction does she have? Heart pounding, face flushed, etc. Show me how this affects her.
“You say that as if it was a good thing.”
“I, for one, am very glad that you aren’t quiet and well-behaved.” What is he doing now?
She sat very still, thinking over those words.
“I don’t believe you,” she said after a moment of consideration. “If you liked me the way I am, then why do you avoid me sometimes? Why are you nice to me and then ignore me?”
“Because you’re so nice to Omari!”
She was stunned. How does she react? Don’t tell me she is stunned—show me. “What does that have to do with anything?”
“Never mind,” he said, standing up. “I just wanted to apologize. As soon as possible, I’ll deliver the money to replace your clothes, or buy a pony, or whatever you decide to do with it. Good night, Lucia.”
He stalked back down the trail, leaving Lucia more confused than ever.
Writing in action/reactions does a lot to show the reader what your characters are feeling, without having to spell it out for them. Think about how their words affect each other—then show it.
TITLE: THE FUNERAL SINGER
GENRE: YA Contemporary
We reached the front door, and I stopped and turned toward him. “Same time tomorrow?”
“Same time, same place.” Zed took a step closer. “You sounded amazing today, you know that?” He reached up and brushed a strand of my hair off my face, his hand lingering just behind my ear. Nice detail.
I remembered the first time we’d touched, that day in the funeral home. Intriguing. [The electricity that had run through my arm on that day coursed through my entire body now. Meanwhile, one thought coursed through my mind:] Too much repetition in run through and coursed through (2). Can you find another way to tell about what her physical and mental reaction to his touch is? Please kiss me. Please kiss me. Please kiss me.
Zed’s hand moved slowly down my neck, light as a whisper against my skin. I reached up and touched the scar on his chin, the flaw that somehow made him even more beautiful. His hand made its way all the way down my spine to the small of my back, and [he pulled me toward him. And he kissed me.] I’d break these sentences this way: “…small of my back. He pulled me toward him and kissed me.” A soft, warm, slow kiss. A kiss that vibrated through me with a sensual rumble. [I was his bass, and he was playing notes I’d never known existed.] Great line.
TITLE: Crossing the Divide
GENRE: YA Fantasy
Derek rolls onto his side and runs his fingers through my hair. I close my eyes and shudder. I don’t want him to stop, but I’m not sure how far I want this to go, either. Good. This is a true response.
“Derek,” I whisper.
“Shh. Just this.”
I take a deep breath and try to relax while he strokes my hair, but my heart is pounding. When I open my eyes his dark green ones are inches away from me. [I open my lips just as he leans down and presses his lips to mine, firm but gentle.] This sentence feels a bit awkward. It uses the actual word “lips” two times and references them three (mine). Instead of having her open her lips, is there another action you can have her take to show her eagerness? His hand runs down my cheek and I close my eyes just feeling the moment. Is this a first ever kiss or a first with him kiss? Is it how she expected? How does she feel? Good? Still conflicted? Show me.
A little gasp escapes me when his lips move to my neck. “Derek.” His face is over mine again, a smile on his mouth.
“I’ve wanted to do that for a while.”
“I’m glad you finally did,” I say.
I reach my hand behind his head and pull him closer, enjoying this whole kissing experience.
Come back tomorrow for more love scene critiques!
Comments welcome! As always, be respectful and kind with your comments.