Monday, March 7, 2011

first impressions #3

The last entry, Life on the Highwire, comes from not the girl.

"Mary stood on the platform in front of the tightrope. (I'd link these two sentences with a comma; I think it flows a little better) Her mind buzzing with the fight she had with Albert last night. She called him all kinds of crazy names; names that he deserved. They were (were or were supposed to be?) getting married in a few weeks. She thought (she?) loved him, but when he caught Julian in her dressing room. (I'd separate these twoo sentence with an ellipsis)Well, that hadn’t gone over well. She tried to explain to Albert that it wasn’t what it looked like, and that she really (I read somewhere we should try to "use definite, concrete, specific language.") loved him, not Julian. The bastard Julian forced her to do it. Had forced her. (I like this repetition)Albert wouldn’t believe her. He saw what he wanted, and instead of seeing a woman raped, Albert saw his soon-to-be wife cheating on him with his best friend. (She seems a little too calm for someone who has just been raped and whose fiancĂ© thinks she was cheating on him. But there may be a reason for that you haven't revealed yet...)

Mary couldn’t bring herself to forgive him. She understood why he thought what he did. She was the star of the traveling circus, and lots of men looked at her. She could tell that made Albert jealous. But Mary never realized just how jealous a man he could be.

She tensed. The crowd waited, but the images of last night played in her mind, and she momentarily forgot where she stood. Uh oh. Not a good idea.


Last night, after her performance on the tightrope as Mary undressed in her dressing room, she heard the door open. “I’m getting dressed! I’ll be out in a minute!” she called to whomever had opened the door. She assumed that Albert had gotten tired of waiting on her. He always told her that she took too long in the dressing room, but she always countered by saying that after a great routine in the air, she needed some alone time to decompress before going back into the world. Reality hovered too close to a tightrope performance for her.

First let me reiterate that everything I say and suggest is my opinion only, what I would or should do, like the using specific, concrete language. That said, I think I would prefer two separate scenes here rather than the back and forth. I do like the idea of starting on the wire (and what a precarious place to be), the crowd below, while everything that has happened is buzzing in her head ‘and she momentarily forgot where she stood.’ Then I’d launch into the flash back, ‘Last night when Mary undressed…’ Then you could reveal how she was forced. Was it physically or mentally? Unless that’s still a secret, in which case you could allude to it. I do find myself interested in this person. Maybe the fact that can walk a wire so far above the ground gives her 'nerves of steel.' Or maybe it's her past. Definitely curious as to where this is going!


  1. Me too! curious about the story. I really appreciate this series too. The way you and Dianne critique the same piece comes from very similar places with different styles. I love how much I learn from your responses.

  2. I'm from Searsport, originally, near Belfast.
    I use to live in Brunswick. I am married a sailor.
    We made it back home three times, Winter Harbor, twice and Brunswick, once. I didn't want to leave...loved it there!~

    I'm learning, like you...what about show don't tell in some of your sentences. Show some of the fight last night, or the closet scene. It will stand out and be more memorable. Just a thought~ We need to some some of the images that play in her mind, to make it stand out in ours. It is intriguing...good start!

  3. thank you Tina and Ella. I really enjoy critiquing because it helps me be better at spotting those potholes in my own work, plus, I just love to read :)

  4. Marcy, thanks for the critique. I dearly needed some fresh eyes to read this for me, and help me take it in the right direction. I appreciate it. Ella, thanks for articulating "show don't tell." It makes perfect sense and I think it might have been a concept that was right there in front of me, but I still wasn't seeing it. I'm glad I could share this beginning with everyone. Thanks for taking the time to read it. :)

  5. ntg, I really appreciate you submitting your first page. I really enjoyed reading it.

  6. Oh, very cool idea for blog posts. I always liked reading other people's crits. I seem to learn something new every time.

  7. Is this the first chapter? I agree with you, Marcy, it should be two different scenes. I couldn't imagine any reason why I would want to think about such stressful things before walking on a high-wire. The stressful fight and rape would prevent me from even thinking about getting up there. However, perhaps she's a strong woman. Great critique.


If you're interested in my blog I'm interested in your comments.