Wednesday, December 14, 2011

First Words Workshop


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


This month's anonymous young adult paranormal excerpt:

Pete paused the football game and grabbed Chris’s arm. “You’re moving to Brooklyn Heights? Damn. The girls are hot.”


“And you can introduce us to the girls,” Neil added, rubbing his hands together.


Excitement was not the reaction Chris was looking for after telling Pete, Vinnie and Neil, about his parents’ stupid plan to move the family all the way across the borough after his junior high school graduation. Hell, Brooklyn Heights was barely Brooklyn at all. It was almost Manhattan, especially with all the rich yuppies. And, according to Pete, hot girls. Chris had to admit, if true, that was some compensation, but not enough for giving up his best friends. 


My thoughts are in Red:

Pete paused the football game and grabbed Chris’s arm. “You’re moving to Brooklyn Heights? Damn. The girls are hot.” I wanted the first line to pack more of a punch. Maybe give us more of the setting (which I know you gave in the email, so I may use it in the re-write).

“And you can introduce us to the girls,” Neil added, rubbing his hands together.

Excitement was not the reaction Chris was looking (use "hoping" instead?) for after telling Pete, Vinnie and Neil, about his parents’ stupid plan to move the family all the way across the borough after his junior high school graduation. Hell, Brooklyn Heights was barely Brooklyn at all. Gives a good idea of his voice. But I almost want more of it! It was almost Manhattan, especially with all the rich yuppies. Rich and yuppies go together, right? so I'd say use one or the other. Also, do teens use the word "yuppies"? I'd go for more teen language here. And, according to Pete, hot girls. Chris had to admit, if true, that was some compensation, but not enough for giving up his best friends.

Here's what came after the 100 word cutoff that might be incorporated in the re-write: The four of them had known each other since, well, practically forever. They’d all met back in communion class at St. Bernard’s. Except for Neil who’s Jewish.


It was a rainy and cold Saturday afternoon, 47 degrees despite being the middle of May. And as usual for such crappy weather, they were at Pete’s house playing Madden on the huge flat-screen.

 Stina's thoughts are in Blue:

I like this start. It’s intriguing. I’m assuming there’s more to the story than just hot girls and the main character leaving his best buds because you are calling it a paranormal!


You can make the first sentence more dramatic and clearer. How did he pause the game? Was he the one with the ball but he didn’t throw it? Stina, interesting you thought they were actually playing football, but now we see in later details that it's a video game. BUT, goes to your point about adding in more details! Spot on! Did he start to throw it, but then it was as if his friend’s comment finally clicked, and he lowered his throwing arm before he could release the ball. I need you to be more specific so I can visualize the scene. 


But good job on not starting with dialogue as some writers would have been tempted to do.


Love the voice!

Possible rewrite based on both sets of comments:


Pete hit pause and the quarterback's arm froze mid-throw on the flat screen. “Chris, you’re seriously moving to Brooklyn Heights?" They had known each other since, well, forever. "Damn. The girls there are smokin'.”


“Guess who's gonna introduce us to those girls?” Neil added, rubbing his hands together.


Excitement was not the reaction Chris was hoping for after telling Pete, Vinnie and Neil, about his parents’ lame plan to move the family all the way across the borough after his junior high school graduation.


 Hell, Brooklyn Heights was barely Brooklyn at all. It was almost Manhattan, especially with all the money there. And, according to Pete, hot girls. 


Chris had to admit, if true, that was some compensation, but not enough for giving up his best friends. 


They had met in second grade communion class at St. Bernard’s. Except for Neil, who was Jewish.

***********************


Two different viewpoints to take or leave. Thanks for this great entry!


Do you want YOUR first 100 words work-shopped? Email me!

10 comments:

Sarah said...

I also found myself wishing for more voice here, and also a more intriguing first line. That said, it's truly difficult in 100 words! I think the feedback here is very useful. Best of luck to the writer!

Joanne said...

I like the final version, it works much better. Just goes to show us how a little bit of polish and revision can really shine up a piece of our work.

Heidi Windmiller said...

I love the final version--the voice comes though much, much clearer.

I'm a new follower! Glad to have found you!

Christina Lee said...

True, Sarah--but those first 100 are important! Yay, Heidi!

Lourie said...

I am such a dork! LOL Okay work with me...it did say paranormal...but for a split second I thought he paused THE GAME. LOL I am totally picturing them sitting in the stands and the players frozen in mid play. And for them it is perfectly normal. Wouldn't that be cool???

Christina Lee said...

HAHAHA! I absolutely love it, Lourie!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Oooh, Lourie, I liked that suggestion. Now that would be cool. :D

Theresa Milstein said...

Great suggestions.

I can't picture this conversation during a football game. It creates action, but I don't know if it works. I like the idea of the guys just caring about the hot girls. Yes, I'd take out yuppies - that's a term from the 1990s. "All the way across the borough..." - I like that! People who live in NYC are so insular. It's true.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

My eye was caught by the repetition of "the girls" in Pete's and Neil's consecutive lines of dialogue. I'm not sure I liked the re-write of "the girls" and "those girls" either.

Can Neil say: "Guess who's gonna introduce us to them?" Would it be clear who "them" referred to? Maybe he could even say: "Guess who's gonna give us an introduction?"

Christina Lee said...

Hmm... good thought, Dianne. My eye kept going to the repetition of "hot" but there is the repetition of "girls also!