|Title: "Chp 1. A Surprise"
Author: Sage Blacke
Plot: Pacing is sort of slow at first, but it does pick up. Not sure what the exact plot is right now. If I had to guess, it’s a conflict of love?
Style/ Voice:First Person/ Past Tense/ Narrative
Referencing: No comment
Scene/Setting: A high school “Chorus?” class? I’d have loved to see some more depth here.
Characters:Your characters are unique and believable. Your colloquialisms assist with their punch. It’s difficult to discern who is who in some of your dialogue though.
Grammar: There were some grammatical flaws here. See line by line. Also there is a lot of adverb usage. 9 times out of 10 this contributes to a weak read.
Just my Personal Opinion: You seem to know what you’re doing with dialogue. The problem here is that is all that’s here… dialogue. This chapter needs some action and depth as far as charater development. PoV perspectives, and some setting description. You have a strong sense of speech, but you need to add the rest of the elements to this, as this is your first chapter. PUNCH YOUR READERS IN THE FACE! Lay it out, don’t reveal everything, but give a reader what they want. Action. As such I feel that it could use a substantial revision and rewrite. Don’t be discouraged, the key to good writing is a whole lot of rewriting.
Line By Line:
The bell rang furiously.
First lines are the most important of your book. This is your one chance to tell the reader “you want to read the rest of this!” This does not grab my attention. What I would suggest, is utilize it as a PoV from your character’s perspective. By doing this you could eliminate the adverb as well
The ringing of the bell was deafening to my ears.
something like that, although that’s not much of an attention grabber is it?
“Come on twin, let’s get to class.” I sighed to myself quietly and started to walk toward two green doors.
“Brittney, I don’t feel so good today.” I scratched at my blonde hair; which was in a bun.
“What do you mean?” she asked as she opened up the door,this is a comma splice… see below I walked in first. The halls smelt like cleaning stuff, the custodians had just mopped the floors.
“Just deep down inside I feel like something bad is about to happen.” I said softly. The door shut swiftly behind us.
“Did you get your monthly gift?” she asked sighing.
“No, and no it’s not that.” I replied.Since there are only two people in this conversation, you can eliminate this narrative tag.
In the above text, I underlined some adverbs that seem to hurt the flow of your descriptions. 9 times out of 10 an adverb does not assist in your showing of what is happening, rather it does the opposite, and Tells the reader what is happening. This contributes to a weak read.
Your dialogue as it is right now is a bit hard to follow. You have first person tags, and Brittney I think?
The problem is, your first person tags are included in the ends of all the lines. This contributes to my question: Whose saying what here? It’s very confusing.
You can fix the adverbs as follows:
Since sighs are usually quiet in the first place, you can completely eliminate that adverb “quietly” and the sentence would still work.
I said softly. in a soft tone. The door shut swiftly slammed behind us.
“We’ll Well, today is Monday, and nobody likes Monday.” She said. We took a right and went through a double door, and then we walked just a few feet down, and made another right, and entered through a double door again. We then stopped just a few inches from another double door.
There was a typo here that I corrected, and a misuse of a conjunction which I also corrected. There’s a lot of wordiness here, that makes it a bit hard to follow, but I get what you’re saying.
“Well maybe you’re right. Maybe it’s just Monday.”
“Exactly, now how do I look?” she asked.
“You look like me, same hairstyle, same blue eyes, same height, same hotness, and humor.” I smiled.
“Now, what about me, do I look ok?” I asked.
I like the colloquialisms here. Made your characters nice and believable.
“You look like me.” She giggled. We entered through the double doors in front of us.
“I love to act in the mornings.” Brittney said.
“Good morning girls!” A voice called to us.
“Good morning Mrs. Hackenburg.” Brittney and I said cheerfully together. I smiled and surveyed the classroom and saw my everyday classmates. But then I frowned and saw four new faces. Three looked like they were juniors and one looked like a senior.I don’t think a year’s difference in education would change someone’s looks.
Try to avoid starting a sentence with a conjunction. By eliminating it, it feels less like a ramble, and it still makes sense.
As I mentioned above, I don’t understand how a person can “look” like a senior. Show us how they do. Are they wearing a letterman jacket? A Varsity Uniform? Things like that suggest seniority in schools.
“Are you freaking kidding me?” I cried softly.
“What’s wrong twin?”
“Brittney, I think I know why I’m feeling so down today,”
“Why?” she asked.
I’d consider replacing the adverb usage with a stronger verb such as “whimpered.”
“We have new students.” A boy, who looked like a junior, looked at me. He was so beautiful and young; he had luscious chestnut hair with deep ocean blue eyes. They looked sad, yet they were beautiful. He wore a black solid V neck shirt with dark blue jeans. His face was stern and unpleasant, so were the other three.
I like the thoughts here, the descriptions are nice. But as I underlined, show us how he looked like a junior, don’t tell us “he looked like a junior.”
“Hey, he looks kind of cute.” Brittney pointed to a one of the two people who looked like juniors. There were 3 guys and one girl.
“You’re already taken.” I said softly. separate these two sections of dialogue. They are spoken from two different people.“I know, but I can state my opinion” she pointed back at me. “Who do you think is cute?” she asked. I was quiet and cautious. separate this as well. “The one that looks like a junior, the chestnut haired one,” I replied. The boy suddenly smiled at me. The other three grimaced at each other.
I’ve bold faced the “looked like juniors” because it’s getting repetitive. Perhaps earlier in this, you can describe their features. This would work with discerning who is who.
The adverb usage can be replaced with whispered
As mentioned above, anytime you have dialogue spoken from two different people, it should be separated in different paragraphs. This make keeping track of who is speaking, much easier for the reader.
“ELIZABETH!” I turned my face to the left.
“Why do you look so down?!”
“Alyssa,” I rolled my eyes at twin. She smiled and walked to her seat. Finally realizing why I was so distressed, I decided to just be normal and calm down.
“Oh you know how it is Alyssa, it’s Monday, and nobody likes Monday.” I lied and hollered across the room. Then I winked at twin and laughed.
Other than the strange grammatical style you have here with the “?!” I understand the dialogue. Normally I would advise against something like this, but it works here.
“Yep, yep that is true” she said. “Oh! Oh! Dane don’t you look lovely today?!” Alyssa continued to holler. Dane was wearing a favorite t-shirt of mine. Her t-shirt came from the book “Twilight.” The shirt was white, on the front add a comma and the conjunction “and” it has two blue cool designs on the top, below it don’t understand this , and it said eliminate AND and replace it with a period to avoid a run-on ‘stupid lamb.’ I remember reading that passage, where Bella and Edward were talking in the woods, and how Bella finally realize that Edward was a vampire.
In the underlined, you switched tenses. So far this narrative is being told in past tense. “has” is a present tense verb. Replace with “had”
There’s a few grammatical errors here that I mentioned above.
“And so the lion fell in love with the lamb…” he murmured who is he? Dane?. I looked away, hiding my eyes as I thrilled to the word.
“What a stupid lamb” I sighed.
“What a sick, masochistic lion.” is this dane speaking? So beautiful it was. I walked to my seat, sat down, and took off my coat. The tardy bell rang and everyone immediately settled and quieted down. I crossed my right leg over my left and crossed my arms across my chest, but I didn’t stay in that position too long. We stood up and said the ‘pledge of allegiance’ when the announcements came on. I glanced behind me; the four new people stood up, but didn't say anything. The junior chestnut haired boy didn't look at me at all anymore. As soon as we finished saying the ‘pledge of allegiance’ comma here the announcements came. We sat quietly and listened. I watch Mrs. Hackenburg stood close by the double doors listening, for the speaker for the announcements were above the doors, and were very soft. very wordy consider breaking up into smaller sentences I chuckled every time she did this. When the announcements came and went, the classroom was ultimately quiet, I’m pretty sure if someone dropped a pin, you could hear it.
There’s some hard to follow dialogue as I’ve mentioned. I don’t know who is speaking there.
There was a lack of a comma in one of the sentences as I mentioned. I don’t know if you understand the grammatical usage here, so I’ll explain it. Sorry if you already do and forgot to put one in.
When referring to a specific point in time, at the end of the statement, place a comma.
When I finish my work, I’ll give you a call. whereas, When signifies a timeframe.
For your above sentence it was: “As soon as”
I marked a couple typos with strikes. There’s two possibilities for correction in this case:
I watched as Mrs. Hackenburg stood
I watched Mrs. Hackenburg stand
In this case, both would make sense.
I bold faced a change in tenses. You said: “I’m pretty sure if someone dropped a pin, you could hear it.”
The correct tense would be
I’m pretty sure if someone dropped a pin, you could have heard it.
So,” Mrs. Hackenburg sliced the silence after checking role.
“We have some new students as some of you may know” she looked at me, replace with a period I winced.
“By Mrs. Stricklet we have Mr. Wes Dé Court, a junior, to his right, his sister, Rebecca Dé Court, a junior, to her right is her brother Robert Dé Court, also a junior, and to his left their brother, Viktor Dé Court, whom is a senior and will only see this school for one year.” Mrs. Hackenburg said sadly.
“Where did you say you all moved from?” she asked curiously.
“New York.” The one name Viktor answered. His voice was deep and soft.
“Mhh, that’s where twin use to live.” Brittney said aloud. The four looked at me curiously.
“Yes, I use to live up there.” I went along.
“What part?” The girl named Rebecca asked. Sepereate this section of Dialogue“Middle Town, New York. Kind of a small town, not really widely known.” I replied. She smiled brilliantly at me. I smiled back warm and calmly.
In the above section, the strikes are indicating wordiness to me. Eliminating these words would still make sense with your sentences.
The bold faced statement is a sentence fragment. It can be fixed by adding a simple pronoun to the beginning of the sentence such as “it’s”
The last sentence here is telling, and wordy. I’d replace it with something simple like “I returned the smile.”
“Alright, well welcome to Roanoke Rapids High School home to the yellow jackets.” Mrs. Hackenburg said happily. “Yes, welcome to Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina!” Alyssa cheered sarcastically.
“Alright,” Mrs. Hackenburg continued. “Let’s stand up and stretch. Come on guys don’t be shy” she said to the new folks. They stood up gracefully and did as they were told. Mrs. Hackenburg turned some music on and started to stretch, we mirrored her movements. After about a quick five minutes Comma is needed here she turned the music off and asked us to get in a circle around the piano. The four new students stayed together and stood opposite of me on the other side. I stood in front of the piano they stood behind it.
There’s a lot of adverbs in these couple paragraphs. I’d consider revising them for stronger reading.
“Since we have new students I want you all to clap to the beat and say anything about yourself. Get to know each other a little bit more” she said smiling. Now I always liked being the teacher’s pet and I always spoke my mind when I wanted to, I was the occasional talker and friendly person.
“Mrs. Hackenburg we already did this game” I groaned.
“Well you know what? We’re doing it again, so just deal with it.” Alyssa, the comedian junior, chimed in. Alyssa was always joking and was always funny, not one time had I ever been put down by her speech or jokes.
A nice addition of backstory here.
“We’ll start with you Brittney, you know how to play.”
“What’s the topic?” Brittney asked. “Just anything about you” Mrs. Hackenburg replied.
“What you like” I stated. “What I like, well, I like ice cream” she said confusingly.
“Wow twin” I said sarcastically.
“Shut up” she mumbled. We went around the circle, and then we got to the new people. Viktor said he liked to play sports, Rebecca said she like to paint and draw, Robert said he like liked to work on cars, and Wes, well, when I heard Wes’s voice I almost melted. His voice was so beautiful and tender.
Lovely description of inner emotions here.
“The velvet voice said to me,” reading an almost quote from “Twilight.” Bella always thought of Edwards’s voice as velvet. I guess you could say that Wes needs to be possessive voice was velvety. He said he liked to read in his spare time. We kept going around until we got to me and I said the unthinkable.
“I like vampires” I said.
“Why am I not surprised, reading all that “Twilight” crap” Travis laughed.
“Yes I do like vampires” the new people didn’t smile at all, but just gave me the ‘are-you-crazy?’ look.
nice flow of time and dialogue
“Fine,” I huffed.
“I’m infatuated with them and would do anything to be just like them” I said back. Join this and the previous sentence together since they are spoken from the same person.
“I still wouldn’t be surprised” Travis still laughed. I rolled my eyes and looked at Brittney, who was trying to hold her laughter back.
“Shut up” I mumbled.
“You brought it on your own self” she busted out. I rolled my eyes and smiled.
“Well hey; I wasn’t the one who say said ice cream, was I?” I barked back. She stopped laughing for a second then went right back to it.
“Aright Lindsey, go will you?” I asked to the left of me. The little game continue continued, Robert, Viktor, and Rebecca looked at the others when the rest of them spoke, but Wes every now and then looked at me. The game ended and we started improvisation or an opening quote. “Elizabeth, why don’t you and Wes go together?” asked Mrs. Hackenburg.
“Come on Wes, let’s get this show on the road.” Wes quietly stood up and walked toward me, he walked gracefully down the three steps.
“I will take an open quote that is if you don’t mind Wes?” I asked looking his way. He shook his head no. “Well then.” I put my hand into the envelope and retrieved a slip of thin paper.
nice natural action here.
“Oh wonderful,” I sighed. Wes stood before me smiling. I bawled my hands into fits and placed them on the side of my hips, and leaned toward him.
“Why do you love me?” I asked softly. Wes looked at Rebecca, Viktor, and Robert; they smirked and looked at each other slyly. Wes took a deep breath and looked at me with soft blue eyes.
“Why do you love me?” I repeated.
“I love you because you are the most beautiful, delicate creature I’ve ever seen.” Wes replied. His voice and his speech shivered down to my heart, I was caught off guard. The room became suddenly silent, Wes continued.
Excellent section of dialogue here. The bold faced is indicating a PERFECT way of “showing” and not “telling”
This is strong verbiage, this is what I’m referring to in my comments above. I’d like to see more of this.
“Your hair may be tied up in a bun, but when it’s out of its cocoon it flows and shines just like the sun and her rays. Your eyes may be small, but when you’re outside in the sunshine your blue eyes shine, just like how the sun lets her rays fall upon the ocean and the ocean shimmers brightly like heaven. So in the end I have to say the reason why I love you is because you are my little ray of sunshine, my sweet beautiful heaven, my delicate tender love.” His words were full of passion and the way he spoke them… MAN! I was quiet; I don’t even think our little audience was breathing. I opened my mouth but nothing came out. My eyes looked deep into Wes, his eyes might’ve been blue but deep in the middle of them were grey,consider ending this with a period and beginning the next sentence with “they had” something sad deep within them. He was hiding something; it looked like he was hiding… pain. I glanced at his brothers and sister, they had blank expressions of their faces, I couldn’t tell if they were blushing, mad, or just plain crazy. Not one single emotion rose from their faces. I shook my head and finally found my voice,period here
This was lovely wording here. I’ve struck out some repetition that I think hindered the flow, but overall this excellent writing.
“Mrs. Hackenburg I have no response to this reply, but I will say and admit Mr. Dé Court, you are quite the poet” I said walking back to my seat. I left it at there. that
Nice line. But where’s the ending? Where’s the hook?
J. M. Kraynak 10th Year at WDC
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