Sunday, March 20, 2011

Show Me the Voice Blogfest

The awesome Brenda Drake is hosting an amazing contest. The amazing Natalie Fischer, who is now agenting at The Bradford Literary Agency, has agreed to be the judge for her Show Me the Voice contest.
Natalie is all about the voice and wants you to show it in your first 250 words of your finished manuscript. When critiquing each others' entries, look for voice and please keep your comments nice and helpful, not snarky.  

Click Here for more details
So without further ado, here are my first 250 words. Anny comments/suggestions/critiques would be greatly appreciated!
Name: Nicole Zoltack
Title: Riona's Pen
Genre: YA Fantasy

Mr. McMichaels hated me ever since he confiscated a story I wrote during class last week. A story about an evil goblin warlord. Named McMichaels.

I guess I can't blame him for that but wouldn't you think most English teachers would love students who wanted to be authors?

The crowded hallway slowly thinned out as kids entered their classrooms. I passed by a few students retrieving books from their hideous pale puke green lockers on my way to English class.

"Riona?" someone called.

I turned and watched Artex approach, a piece of paper in his hand. Despite being a recent transfer student, he was already popular. "Hi." I smiled, noting how white his perfect teeth were, unsure why he was talking to me. After all, I was decidedly unpopular. Plus, good-looking boys always made me nervous.

"I think this is yours." He handed me the paper.

I skimmed it. Yes it was mine, a story I had started in Spanish class. "Thank you. I didn't realize it was missing."

"Poor Roderick. You really wrote him into a tight spot. Those bloody pirates are more than he can handle." He fell into step beside me.

My cheeks grew hot. "You read it?" Even though I dreamed of seeing my name, Riona Streaming, on the spine of a book, I didn't have the courage to allow someone else to read my writing.

He laughed and brushed back a lock of his dark hair from his forehead. "How else did I know it was yours?"


Katy said...

I love your opening. "A story about an evil goblin warlord. Named McMichaels." This is brilliant!

I know this is fantazy, but Artex is an odd name. If it's normal in this world, then I say leave everything as is, but if not, perhaps Riona might have some inner dialogue about the exotic nature of his name when she's thinking about how popular he is. Also, I think you've got a typo: "charm and good lucks" should be "good looks," right?

I love "After all, I was decidedly unpopular." So perfectly YA!

I think you've got a wonderful start here. I love that Riona wants to be a writer, and I'd definitely read on. :)

Elaine AM Smith said...

Good luck with the competition. You have captured some great images here. You can cut a lot of the back story if you want to... a-little-like

The crowds thinned out as kids entered their classrooms. Students retrieving books from their hideous lockers reflected the puke green.

"Riona?" someone called.

Artex (*like ceilings?), the transfer student held out a piece of paper.
"Hi." I smiled, at his shoes/teeshirt/the well-shaped lips. Good-looking boys always made me nervous.

Anonymous said...

I love that the villian in the story is named after the dreaded teacher. Nice touch!

I wonder what class it was that he confiscated the paper in? You wrote just "class" and I'm thinking that you could specify.

Also, at the end, you wrote that he "brushed back some of his dark hair" and I'm thinking you could take out "some" and replace with a more specific word?

I'd read on :)

Christi Corbett

Kate Larkindale said...

Great voice here. You get a good sense of who Riona is in a very short space of time.

The line about the green lockers bugged me though. It didn't really work,

You might want to mention up front that the teacher confiscating her story is the English teacher. It gives a different weight to it than if he's the math teacher.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I love it Nicole! Great voice. My only comment is that after warlock there should be a comma not a period.

I would read on for sure!

Margo Berendsen said...

Brilliant opening! I can't find a thing wrong! This is the kind of writing we all LONNNNGGGGG to see - bravo!!!!

Great voice for Riona and for Artex too! Bloody pirates :)

L'Aussie said...

I love this Nicole all except 'decidedly unpopular.' I think you can say it better. Great voice, great entry.


L'Aussie's entry in Show Me The Voice Blogfest Contest

Chersti Nieveen said...

I really liked what I read here. Yor character felt fresh and I immediatly connected with her (but hey, I'm a writer;-)

So my thing is that the first bit about the teacher taking away her story and hating her disconnected with the rest. Maybe if I read this all together, I could see where it went. But I don't get why that's the most important thing at the start, and it really feels like it could come later when we actually reach the English class. But when I have that opening and we're not in the English class, I was completely thrown off.

But great job and good luck!

Stephanie Thornton said...

I LOVE that first paragraph- it's fantastic!

The second person reference in the next paragraph threw me off a little- it's a bit jarring to address the reader, but that's my only nitpick.

This was great!

Jolene Perry said...

Yep, love "bloody pirates" and that last line made me smile.
I'd totally keep reading.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Great opening and voice. My only complaint was with the lockers. If you are going to keep the description in, then cut "hideous". The pale puke color says it all. :)

Good luck! :D

Jemi Fraser said...

Nice intro! :) We've got a great feel for the characters and her desire already.

You could probably tighten up a bit here & there to make it a bit more smooth. Just eliminating a few words like...

Mr. McMichaels hated me since he confiscated that story I wrote during class. About an evil goblin warlord. Named McMichaels.

Cheree said...

I love your opening. It shows plenty of voice. I agree you could probably tighten a bit, but it still captures my attention and keeps me wanting more.

Susan Oloier said...

Nicole, I remember reading this in an earlier version. What an improvement! I also have to say I felt the huge disconnect between the fabulous opening paragraph and the abrupt transition to the school hallways. I wanted to remain in the classroom to see what unfolds. I actually think you could cut the second paragraph, and it wouldn't make a difference.
Also, the last sentence didn't make sense to me. I mean, how did he know it was hers? Did I totally miss that three times through? Maybe so.
Aside from the nitpicky-ness, I really enjoyed it and want to read more!

erica m. chapman said...

This is great. I love the exchange between them. It comes of totally natural, which is hard to do ;o) I like the voice as well. You add some details about the surroundings. Great Job ;o)

ali said...

Ha! This is great Nicole! I loved the last line AND her name. I want an author name like that!

Margie said...

While I love your opening, it doesn't seem connected to what follows. She's talking about how her English teacher hates her and then suddenly she's in a bustling hallway?? Smooth out that transition and you've got a winner. Really enjoyed the voice.

Jenn said...

I loved this excerpt! Although no much has happened yet, the voice you have is perfect and it makes me want to continue reading. You definitely nailed her voice really well. I especially loved the first paragraph. It made me laugh :)

Good Luck!