Monday, October 3, 2011

first impressions - Unveiled

Our first submission - YA paranormal - comes from Gabbi, who was also the winner of The Clockwork Angel. You can also find her here, where she reviews books, both old and new. My comments will be in purple and you can read Dianne's comments on her blog, In High Spirits.

I was the first person in the class to finish my test, but that wasn't necessarily a good thing. Especially considering I guessed on all but three of the twenty-seven questions. Perhaps (I love this word, too, but I might try to get rid of it here if this a contemporary tale. imho.) I should have studied the previous night, or, you know, did done one of the three billion worksheets that Mrs. Gonzalez handed out that week.

But I was a notoriously excellent guesser, so I figured I'd at least make a C. 

Yawning, I leaned back in the uncomfortable and hard plastic chair. I rested my feet on the little metal basket that was attached to the bottom of the seat in front of me. Its intended purpose was to hold text books, but I believed that my feet were much more worthy of its support. 

The second my sandals landed atop of the metal, Mrs. Gonzalez cut me a sharp look and pursed her lips. Oh no, I might break the new desks. I grinned at her, hoping it came across innocent, and tossed one of my shoulders into a shrug. If I wasn't going to get paid for attending school, I was sure as hell going to make myself as comfortable as I wanted. Mrs. Gonzalez rolled her eyes, irritated, but I was pretty sure she expected nothing less from me. 

Time slowly ticked away as I squirmed in my seat, trying to find a position that didn't make my ass numb. Seconds turned to a minute. Five minutes. Ten freaking minutes. Really? Only eight of my delightful peers had turned in their tests. That left twelve more. And I repeat: Really? The test was focused on denitrification (I had to look this word up, which is good, because I like to learn the meaning of new words) You either knew the answer or you didn't, and for the answers you didn't know, you guessed. It wasn't that complex of a concept. 

I sighed out loud. Jude didn't turn her head, but her eyes swiveled to me, peering at me through her dark red bangs. She was still working on her test. I gave her what I hoped was an encouraging smile, and her focus returned to the paper in front of her. 

Oh god, the boredom was slowly seeping into my brain. I was certain I was just going to keel over at any moment. Or fall asleep. Actually, sleep didn't sound like such an awful idea. I hadn't gotten much the night before, with the nightmare-slash-dream weirdfest that ocurred (occurred) every time I fell asleep. But maybe in the daylight it would be different. Like maybe the twisted part of my subconcious (subconscious) was nocturnal and didn't come out during daylight. I might shorten the previous 3 paragraphs (but definitely keep this one in its entirety and maybe add just a tiny bit more about these strange dreams, especially if, as I suspect, they are part of the paranormal part of this story) to one or two shorter ones. I don't think it's necessary to belabor how bored she is or how time seems to be passing ever so slowly. Plus shortening this bit will get us to the last part quicker - assuming Asher is going to be a player in this tale.

Unfortunately, I wasn't granted the oppurtunity (opportunity) to test that logical theory. The guy who was sitting in front of me whipped his head around and glared at me. Any snappy comment I was going to make refused to surface. 

Asher Eaton. Since when did he sit in front of me? 

His eyes were a stunning emerald green color. (this is a fairly common comparison. I wonder if something new might not make this pop more.)  I wanted to look away, wanted to avert my mind from even thinking about his eyes and where else I had seen them. But I couldn't. I didn't cower away from anyone's stare. Especially Asher Eaton's. His gaze dipped, but I knew it wasn't to break the eye contact. My legs, which I didn't even realize I was jiggling, were shaking his desk. If it were anyone else I would have mumbled out an apology. Instead, I just dropped my feet from the basket under his seat and raised my eyebrows in a happy now? way. 

Here's what I learned about this character from the above: that she's satisfied with C work, which either means she's lazy, doesn't care, or the work isn't challenging enough. Her comfort is more important than what her teacher thinks of her or the desk, or the person sitting in front of her. She has a friend named Jude and she's got an attitude that tells me she doesn't much care what anyone else thinks of her, including Asher. I'm only mentioning this because maybe this isn't entirely the impression the author wants to give, or, maybe it's exactly the impression the author wants to give. I do wonder why Asher has changed seats and why she's challenging him - does she like him? dislike him? interested? And I would read on to find out...

Excellent writing overall and remember, this is just one person's opinion (mine) and Dianne will probably have something completely different to say; she usually does :)


  1. Excellent critique, Marcy! I don't mind if a character is a bit of an ass at first. I mean sometimes there is a journey of personal growth that can be entertaining to see. So I don't have to love an MC, they just have to be interesting. The one thing I won't read is a boring character.

    Not that that's going on here. I like the attitude.

  2. agreed - this is definitely an interesting character!

  3. The sub was quite good and your questions excellent.

  4. Oops! Meant to say that I popped over from the Write Campaign to say hi and join your lovely blog.

  5. I saw your brave step toward query critique over at QQQE (is that enough Q's?). I look forward to the analyzation but I have to say I rather LOVE the premise for your story.

    I also enjoyed your critique here. Now a happy follower and wondering if I can just muster the gumption to go for this? Hmmm...

  6. Angela - Yes! You can! Go, go, go for it!
    We have open spots for November! :D


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