Monday, July 25, 2011

Gearin' up to get an agent week 4

So I've missed two weeks. Summer can be crazy. I'm submitting something that I've worked on for a while. Thanks to Deana for putting all of this together. Go here to check out the other entires.
This is a YA scifi romance titled Lingering Souls. Let me know what you think.

The little brown pill bottle that sits on the counter is the best birthday present I could ever give myself. It sits next to the bottles of my mom’s vodka. The bottles seem so sleek and elegant compared to the stumpy, pill bottle, yet they look like a compatible pair.
Sweat drips down the center of my back. The July heat wave is becoming unbearable. Since the air conditioner died, the windows are wide open. Not that it helps in air as thick as mud; in fact it’s only letting more in. I’d rather them closed so maybe I can suffocate by accident instead of a self inflicted death, but my decision is made.
            A white moth flutters around the light on the fan above me. Every time the moth hits the light, an annoying ping interrupts the silence.  My conscious has played tricks on me all day, controlling my motions and decisions. Gazing around the room everything takes on a yellow haze. I glance down through blurry tears. The edges of a picture I’ve been holding for hours seem fuzzy and worn. Just like me. Nothing’s clear and all signs point to exiting my existence.
My cell buzzes. I ignore it. Don’t want to talk to anyone.

Thanks again and have a great day!


  1. This is a powerful start. Love the last line. What a great idea for a blogging topic (the blog-o-rama).

  2. Hi Christine.

    The writing is good and it's makes you want to find out why she's doing it. However, for me personally, it's a little bleak. As a Sci fi - I would want a hint at the sci fi elemement - or even the romance side. Just a hint as to why she is considering the "pills" too.

    Plus, I can't really relate to her. Whenever I've been depressed. I would never have expressed it in such a way: "best birthday present I could ever give myself."

    Maybe more personal than anything but good luck!

  3. I would make the verbs a but more active. Agreeing with Freya when she says you need to introduce sci-fi within the first 200 words. It could be as simple as adding one word.

    This is a powerful start though. I found myself wanting to read on to find out what happens next. :)

  4. Great writing, and I'm curious about why she feels this way and what she's going to do.

  5. Great hook, I like your first line but would take out 'that' and say 'sitting.' Also, the sentence, 'I'd rather them closed . . . ' read awkwardly to me. You probably do want to hint at romance or scifi element here--maybe she's looking at the photo of the guy who dumped her?

  6. Hi there, you!!! Whoa--this makes for a powerful start!
    Take or leave my suggestions to make beginning more punchy:
    The brown pill sits on the counter next to Mom's vodka. The Vodka bottle is sleek and elegant compared to the platic pill bottle, yet they make a compatible pair.

    Good luck!!!!

  7. Wow - I love how you've described the pill bottle next to the bottle! I could really see it!

  8. My heart is breaking reading this -- so, you did a great job. I feel for her and wonder about her mother. I want to know who's in the photograph and how she got to this point. Great start.

  9. It's so sad. I felt hopeless. Though it's effective writing, I can't say it makes me want to read on.
    Watch for little redundancies and awkward comparisons. For instance: 'I’d rather them closed so maybe I can suffocate by accident instead of a self inflicted death, but my decision is made.' This sentence is a little wonky.
    Try this: 'I’d rather them closed so maybe I can suffocate by accident instead of commit suicide, but my decision is made.'
    Good luck! :)

  10. Christine, you're opening graph is perfect--compelling and filled with foreshadowing.

    I also especially love the line: "Nothing’s clear and all signs point to exiting my existence."

    I'd definitely read on. You have a great hook in the photograph as well.

  11. I liked the bleakness of it. I disagree that you need to introduce a sci-fi element, as long as you do it in the first chapter.

  12. I really enjoyed this. Very powerful start!

    Tighten wherever possible and eliminate any extra words. For example The July heat wave is becoming unbearable. becomes The July heat wave is unbearable. A little tighter and it has the same meaning.

    self inflicted death should be self-inflicted death

    My heart was so heavy reading this. It's very moving!

  13. I think this is a fabulous excerpt. I really enjoyed it.

  14. wow. Very powerful. I like the part about the moth hitting w/the ping followed by the mind playing tricks. It makes me wonder if it really happened... good stuff, Christine~ :o)

  15. Christine, I applaud you for putting your work out here for the rest of us to read and comment on. You have caught my attention, and I want to read more.
    “Sit” appears 2X in the first two sentences, so I would replace one with a synonym. Also, the word “bottle/bottles” shows up 4X in the first paragraph, so I would rework it a bit to avoid that.
    “I’d rather them closed so maybe I can suffocate by accident”: should this read “rather have them closed”? Also, self inflicted should be hyphenated. Self-inflicted.

    I like the mood and atmosphere you’ve created here. I am not a reader of SciFi, so it seems fine to me that the genre is not yet introduced. But what do I know?
    I think you paint a really wonderful word picture!

  16. With too many family members who've either tried and failed or tried and succeeded at suicide, this is too tender a topic for me to be unbiased about.

    That said, your images struck home (too well). Powerful.

  17. This is a really cool concept, and an awesome start. I really adore your first line. It hooked me in immediately.

  18. I love the last paragraph and last few lines. I almost felt like they were a lot more of a book than your first paragraphs. It'd be interesting to play around with the order of your paragraphs a bit, maybe the last one first, then the cellphone bit, and then talk about the pills and vodka. Just a suggestion :) Good luck!

  19. Intense and emotional! I didn't get the sentence starting with 'My conscious' - do you mean conscience? Or consciousness?

    Awesome start! Good luck!

  20. I like the start, but I would like to have a hint of sci fi. And I'd like to know more about who the person is so I can empathize. I'm sure you want most of it to unfold, but give a hint.

    I also love the last line. Very YA.

  21. Oh dear! I can feel the claustrophobia and heat and desperation. Well done!

  22. Goodness!! I am immediately scared for this MC -- a girl, I think. You've got my attention. I'm riveted. Excellently done!

    I have no complaints.

  23. I really like it. Powerful beginning! The first paragraph uses the word "bottle" several times - could you substitute any of them or reword it so we don't hear the word so much?

    I do think it would be a good idea to introduce the sci-fi in the first page if you can. Just to give the reader a sense of where they are.

  24. Wow, amazing. Very dark. I want to know who is calling her and why she wants to kill herself. Great writing.

  25. Great start. I think that you have some tension building. If this is taking place in our world then it works fine but as a sci-fi I want to have a better feel for the world upfront. You can describe the bottle different or the swamp cooler different. Give me more of the feel of the world. I'm interested to see what happens and why she is wanting to hurt herself.

  26. Just wanted to say congratulations on being a finalist on the GUTGAA contest and - wow. I love your writing. For some reason, I didn't read your 200 words before, but I'm so glad they've been spotlit. Really intriguing.
    Good luck!

  27. Dear,

    I can exactly know what you feel now,as it's also so hot here.

    karen millen