Friday, November 4, 2011

first impressions - The Fairy Tale Trap

Emily sent us this YA Fantasy. She can be reached via twitter @EmilyCaseysMuse. If you want to to know what Dianne thought of this piece, check out her blog In High Spirits. My comments are in purple.

Mom lied. This isn’t anything like home. Great opening line.
My old room wasn’t crowded with packing boxes, or ribbons of peeled-off tape. Here A full-length mirror leans against the back wall, still wrapped in brown paper. I’ll never unwrap it. Mom knows I hate mirrors. The bare mattress, with its smug little machine-sewn squiggles, mocks me from the corner. I’m unlivable, it says. You’ll never get to sleep. 
It looks like a packing store puked (great visual) all over somebody else’s bedroom. No teenage girl should have to live like this.
I shove another half-unpacked box to the wall, leaving a path in the new carpet. Frustration gets the better of me. I lie flat on my back and press the inside of my elbow over my eyes. I can’t look at this place any more. It’s not a bedroom. It’s a storage closet. Complete with the stinging fumes of fresh paint. Nice touch adding scent here.
“Mom, I need help!”
I shout as pathetically as I can. Even without looking, I know as soon as Mom steps into the room. My whole body tenses up and the same thought keeps shooting across the room at her: You did this.
“What’s wrong, Ivy?” Mom’s voice sounds run-down. Moving always makes her tired. You’d think she’d learn.
“I can’t find my pictures,” I say without uncovering my eyes. Mom can always tell how upset I am by looking at my eyes, and I really don’t want to talk about it.
“You mean the one of Dad?”
I hate it when she reads my mind.
“It’s probably in one of these boxes.”
My trophies from track and cross-country click together as she rifles through the box labeled ‘MISC’. The box I’ve searched through eight times already.
 “I already looked there.” I can’t keep the anger out of my voice. Does she think I haven’t checked it yet? I almost snap at her again, but I manage to keep my mouth shut. I really don’t want to yell at her. I just want my picture.
The shuffling of random objects stops. Mom wipes her hands on her jeans, making a light zipping sound. “He’ll be back in three weeks.”
            “Three and a half.” And that’s if he’s not killed or captured. The nightmares can get bad sometimes.

Excellent dialogue. I want to know why they've moved - again - and how come the dad could be killed or captured? By who? Where? Is that what the nightmares are about? And what does the title mean? I really like how the author has captured this moment and managed to tell us so much about Ivy's character. We can see how she manipulates her mother, holds her temper, acts younger than years and older than her years and all this in a single page. This definitely makes me want to know what happens next. 


  1. Great excerpt and feedback! I definitely want to know what happens next, too!

  2. Thank you so much for the critique! You and Dianne have been very helpful.

    This story is about a teenage girl (Ivy) who gets trapped in a fairy tale (Beauty and the Beast). The first 2 pages set up Ivy's life before everything gets turned on its ear and sets up the book's theme. I have the first few chapters posted here, for anyone who'd like to read them:

    Thanks again!

  3. Yeah, she did a good job with the intrigue.

  4. Very good! Makes you want to know so much more.


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