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The Teenaged Nitpick Critique: 3

Tuesday, 25 September 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Genre:  YA Contemporary
So I finally scored a date with Kyle Baldwin. [I like the voice!] I wiggled out of my Seven jeans and tossed my T-shirt to the floor. “It’s perfect.” And standing in front of the full-length mirror, I digged what I saw. [So I changed this sentence up; you’re welcome to rephrase it however you like, but the two sentences before it clog the flow a bit, in my opinion.] I looked better than me in the strapless couture dress.  [Awkward.] The crisscross ribbons of the strapless dress made my waist look smaller, and the feathers dangled off my thighs making me feel like an angel–minus the halo.
Me. In couture. Like I’d say no to that. “I love, love, love [Clearly I have no experience with trying on dresses (*wink*), but I can’t imagine anyone saying “love, love, love” in real life.] this dress.”
“Taylor, you look stunning.” Mrs. Kline’s dramatized tone was convincing. [This is really awkwardly phrased, so I’m also cutting it.] I smiled as my mom’s best friend, Nancy Kline, said that. Yep. The[Italics help here.] Nancy Kline. The same Nancy Kline who sold her fashion design label to Thalia. [I have no idea what ‘Thalia’ is, but I’m not even sure if I should know? Ha!]She insisted I wear one of her designs to homecoming.
But I kept fidgeting, pulling up the loose fabric under my armpits. “I’m kind of [changed from “kinda”] scared it’ll fall down.” Tell me I did not just say that out loud?  [This sticks out against the dialogue too much.]
“No worries. With fifteen minutes, a nip and tuck, we’ll push those girls right up.”
I knelt facing Nancy’s wheelchair, and she pinched the extra fabric with so many straight pins, I felt like Criss Angel trying to get out of the dress alive.
“I have the perfect necklace for you. In my guestroom, there’s a tall dresser.” Nancy turned the dress inside out. “The jewelry box is in the second drawer. Maybe the third. There’s a fabulous Swarovski choker. Help yourself, while I finish up here.”
“Squee! [Um, no one actually says “squee” in real life. Just on Twitter. :-)] Really?” My contact lenses almost popped out. [I don’t like the “pop out” image. It feels pretty overused. You can be more creative.]
I like this. A few things can be tightened, but I think it’s a solid intro. Obviously I don’t understand any of the dress references, but I don’t think I’m supposed to, either. One other suggestion I’d make is to bring the voice out more. Strong voices hook me more than anything, and while yours is there, you can make it stronger. Otherwise, good luck! 
* Comments are welcomed. Each critique comment you make on the entries’ posts, is an entry into the drawing to win one of five 500 word critiques from me (Brenda). It can be ANY 250 words — your query, the first page, or a page any where in the manuscript that you want a second pair of eyes on.

  • I liked this too.
    The squee popped out at me as a bit unrealistic too. not sure how many of the fashion refernces I was supposed to get. Just be careful not to make the reader (me LOL) feel dumb.
    Love the character though and would read on.

  • I’m a sucker for anything fashion-related. I agree about the “squee” but overall I think the voice has potential, we just need to see a bit more of it.

  • I’m gonna just add this: My niece (14) says she love love loves things when trying them on.
    So there is that.

    • As does my 17 year old daughter about any piece of clothing she loves. Even if it’s a plaid button-down shirt. “Mom, isn’t this the most beautiful shirt you’ve ever seen? I love, love, love it!”

      Me? I just roll my eyes at her and smile. She’s the only person I know who loves clothes that much. 🙂

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