Wednesday, June 8, 2011

First Words Workshop

To see how the workshop began, read THIS post: An Analysis of First Pages.

Here's this week's 50-100 word (anonymous) entry:

Cruel laughter followed me out of the classroom, and echoed off the walls behind me as I stumbled down the hall. I could barely contain the screams behind my clenched teeth as another spasm of pain ripped through my brain.

My feet faltered beneath me and I slid onto the wall, leaning against it as I fought to breathe. It had been more than a week since my last episode, but this one was proving far worse than the last. The voices rose in volume until I felt sure they would tear themselves out of my
skull.

“Where’d you go, freak?”

That voice came from outside my head, but it was no less frightening.

**********
My thoughts are in red:

Cruel laughter followed me out of the classroom, and echoed off the walls behind me as I stumbled down the hall. This is a good visual. I would just tighten the phrasing a bit. I could barely contain the screams behind my clenched teeth as another spasm of pain ripped through my brain. Now I'm thinking pain?! Physical or emotional?

My feet faltered beneath me and I slid onto the wall, leaning against it as I fought to breathe. It had been more than a week since my last episode, but this one was proving far worse than the last. Again, just some tightening up, and the word last is used twice close together. Also, I'd want to move this important sentence up. The voices rose in volume until I felt sure they would tear themselves out of my skull. So, there are voices in her/his head. Definitely intriguing.

At this point, not sure if we are talking about a male or female MC, and we'd would need to know, soon.

“Where’d you go, freak?”

That voice came from outside my head, but it was no less frightening. Good! She knows this voice (right?) so I'd add the word familiar in there, so the reader is intrigued that someone in her real life terrifies her.
**********
Stina's thoughts are in blue:

This is an intriguing beginning that does a good job establishing voice and mood. I felt the description of pain and sound was strong, and I loved the last line.

Watch out for passive sentences and repetitive words (e.g you used ‘last’ twice in the forth sentence), and work on trimming the extra words that weaken the writing. For example, ‘behind me’ isn’t necessary in the first sentence.

***********

So, maybe something more like this:

Cruel laughter followed me out the classroom and echoed off the walls as I stumbled down the hall. I clenched my teeth, barely containing the screams, as another spasm of pain ripped through my brain.

My last episode had been more than a week ago, but this one was proving to be far worse than that.

The voices rose in volume, until I felt sure they would tear themselves out of my skull. I slumped against the wall and fought to breathe.

“Where’d you go, freak?”

The familiar voice came from outside my head, but it was no less frightening.

**********
Take it or leave it, but thank you for the great entry!

Readers, fell free to give your two cents, if you want!

8 comments:

Carrie said...

I like how you both picked up on some of the same things in the editing.
Very good. The writing is immediate and puts me in the action and makes me want to read more. Good job and thank you for posting this.

Allie said...

I agree that it's an intriguing beginning and based on the tightening you guys did, it now shines! Nice job to everyone involved.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Yep, Carrie, Christina and I are starting to think alike. Scary, huh? But it makes editing my own stuff so much easier. I can already anticipate what's she going to say and change it before she reads it. :D

Christina Lee said...

HA! Okay Stina, that just made me bust up laughing!! True, so true (and vice versa)!!

blueviolet said...

The criticism did make the content turn into something even better. Cool!

Sarah said...

Very good feedback, Christina. I think your suggestions took something that was already intriguing and made it a lot tighter and cleaner.

(Florida) Girl said...

This was a really interesting read for me. I am always working toward being better.

I am about 4 weeks away from querying agents with the manuscript I have been polishing for the last 6 months. (Writing for 18 months.) Confession: I am a bit terrified.

Lourie said...

The only thing I don't like about these is...I want more! :)