Paranormal YA first chapter

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Christy_H
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Paranormal YA first chapter

Post by Christy_H » August 18th, 2010, 11:05 am

Chapter one
Dawn Buchanen

The halls were empty. I rushed to class. Just past the classroom door, my friend, Stana Hayden, leaned against her locker, waiting for me.

She smiled, obviously not the least bit concerned about being tardy, unlike me. I was practically sweating. I didn’t have time to ask what the grin was for since, Ms. Roland, our English teacher, stepped out to wave us in.

“Good morning Miss Hayden. Miss Buchanen, I’m surprised to see you still in the hall.” Did she just tsk at me?

With heated cheeks I hurried past the rest of the class to take my place in the front row. Once seated next to me, Stana leaned my way, impatient to relay some tidbit of information, but I just shrugged apologetically as I opened the text I’d pored over the night before.

When the bell rang, we all gathered our things without waiting for our teacher who was ineffectively shouting final directions over the din of exiting students.

“Dawn…finally!” Stana grabbed my wrist and gushed in my ear. “You never responded to my texts last night and where were you this morning?”

At 5’6”, she was a couple of inches taller than me, as most people older than eight were, so I had to move my legs in double time to keep up with her as she rushed me down the hall toward my second hour History class.

“Isn’t your class on the other side of the building?” I asked, knowing she didn’t care. She tended to become overly excited by trivial gossip, so I waited for her upcoming revelation with a humored smile on my face. We had been friends since we were three, when her family moved next door to mine, so I never questioned the differences in our personalities or priorities in life. I accepted her like I accepted the beat of my heart, without question or thought. “You could have just come over. What’s going on?”

She tucked her straight auburn hair behind her ear and ducked her head low to relay her secret. “I was out late, but never mind that. I think Jordyn’s got a crush she’s not sharing with us. She was flirting like crazy with a kid named Lawrence in our 8th hour class yesterday.”

Our friend, Jordyn Givens, was even more studious and less interested in social dilemmas than I was. I smiled at the thought of her coming out of her shell to flirt with a boy, but then the name of the boy registered. And for no reason at all, my heartbeats quickened.

I actually felt the warmth creep out of my hands. My tongue felt prickly and swollen. The smile remained plastered on my face, hiding my irrational reaction. Stana’s lips continued to move and she gestured wildly. I stared at her, but heard none of what she said. I let her babble until the bell rang. When we reached the door of my classroom, she waved and turned to head back the way we came, not waiting for me to comment. I stared after her with my lips slightly parted, the smile having faded.

I tried to get a grip on my emotions.

Krista G.
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Re: Paranormal YA first chapter

Post by Krista G. » August 18th, 2010, 11:36 pm

Christy_H wrote:Chapter one
Dawn Buchanen

The halls were empty. I rushed to class. Just past the classroom door, my friend, Stana Hayden, leaned against her locker, waiting for me. I realize you're trying to tell us an important character name, but this isn't the most natural way to introduce it. Most people don't think to themselves, "Oh, look, it's my friend, Stana Hayden."

She smiled, obviously not the least bit concerned about being tardy, unlike me. I was practically sweating. I didn’t have time to ask what the grin was for, since, Ms. Roland, our English teacher, stepped out to wave us in.

“Good morning, Miss Hayden. Miss Buchanen, I’m surprised to see you still in the hall.” Did she just tsk at me?

Did she just tsk at me? With heated cheeks I hurried past the rest of the class to take my place in the front row. Can't really hurry past the rest of the class if your seat's in the front row... Once seated next to me, Stana leaned my way, impatient to relay some tidbit of information, but I just shrugged apologetically as I opened the text I’d pored over the night before.

When the bell rang, we all gathered our things without waiting for our teacher, who was ineffectively shouting final directions over the din of exiting students. What's the point of starting at the beginning of the class if we're just skipping to the end now?

“Dawn…finally!” Stana grabbed my wrist and gushed in my ear. “You never responded to my texts last night, and where were you this morning?”

At 5’6”, she was a couple of inches taller than me, as most people older than eight were, so I had to move my legs in double time to keep up with her as she rushed me down the hall toward my second hour History class. :)

“Isn’t your class on the other side of the building?” I asked, knowing she didn’t care. She tended to become overly excited by trivial gossip, so I waited for her upcoming revelation with a humored smile on my face. We had been friends since we were three, when her family moved next door to mine, so I never questioned the differences in our personalities or priorities in life. I accepted her like I accepted the beat of my heart, without question or thought. “You could have just come over. What’s going on?”

She tucked her straight auburn hair behind her ear and ducked her head low to relay her secret. Again, you're trying to give us information in this sentence that doesn't flow naturally out of the story itself. Dawn would probably notice Stana tucking her hair behind her ear, but she probably wouldn't stop to remark on the color or type. “I was out late, but never mind that. I think Jordyn’s got a crush she’s not sharing with us. She was flirting like crazy with a kid named Lawrence in our 8th hour class yesterday.”

Our friend, Jordyn Givens, was even more studious and less interested in social dilemmas than I was. I smiled at the thought of her coming out of her shell to flirt with a boy, but then the name of the boy registered. And for no reason at all, my heartbeats quickened.

I actually felt the warmth creep Warmth crept out of my hands. Although I'm not sure how warmth can creep out of one's hands... My tongue felt prickly and swollen. The smile remained plastered on my face, hiding my irrational reaction. Stana’s lips continued to move and she gestured wildly. I stared at her, but heard none of what she said. I let her babble until the bell rang. When we reached the door of my classroom, she waved and turned to head back the way we came, not waiting for me to comment. I stared after her with my lips slightly parted, the smile having faded.

I tried to get a grip on my emotions.
Your story seems to start when Stana dishes about Jordyn and Lawrence. If you cut the paragraphs leading up to that and just put us right there in the hallway outside second period, we'll get to the hook a lot faster.

I am interested in finding out more about this Lawrence fellow and his relationship to Dawn. I hope it's something unexpected.

Good luck with this.
Author of THE REGENERATED MAN (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Winter 2015)
Represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary
www.motherwrite.blogspot.com

Erica75
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Re: Paranormal YA first chapter

Post by Erica75 » August 20th, 2010, 5:45 pm

*Note - I critiqued a different version of a beginning for this book on another forum*

Christy - I think you're getting closer to the true beginning of this book, but maybe you lost a little in the cutting process that's confusing. I agree with Krista G. that you could cut to when Dawn is leaving class - maybe have Stana waiting for her in the hall when the bell rings and go from there? I like the few things you've added to the dialogue and think you could spice it up even a little more to show us Dawn's personality. Good luck.
we blog - erica and christy - http://lynneawest.blogspot.com/

Christy_H
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Re: Paranormal YA first chapter

Post by Christy_H » August 21st, 2010, 11:36 pm

Thank you both very much! Krista, your comments help me to pinpoint my problems with voice even more than I was aware. I spent today reading and think I understand better now how to handle first person. Erica, thanks for the encouragement (and previous feedback)! I definitely need to rethink my beginning (again) probably beyond what you even see here! Best of luck to you both in your writing too!!!

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