Friday, January 6, 2012

first impressions - Inexorable

Our third and final submission of the month comes from Heather who can be found at her blog: Book in a Month Mom. This is the first page of her YA paranormal, a nano project, and Inexorable is the name of the first chapter. My comments are in purple and if you're interested in what Dianne thinks, go here.

INEXORABLE: Unable to be persuaded by request or entreaty; relentless

   I’ve often wondered, where’s the heart of my town? (Why is this something she's wondered about?) It’s not in the mural wall, alive with  scenes of the Native Americans who first settled here.  It’s not in the charming outdoor amphitheater, snuggled up to the river, so you can riverboat-gaze at your leisure.  It’s not even the haunting memorial plaque and inscribed bricks for the victims of the Silver Bridge Collapse of 1967.  No, the heart of Point Pleasant is smack-dab in the middle of town, and it happens to be a chrome statue of a crouching alien, eyes glowing red and claws outstretched to grab stray children. Above the narrator states she wonders where the heart of the town is but here she says she knows where it is.
   Don’t ask why I grew up with a few issues. This sentence seems out of place to me here. But that's just my opinion.
   I’ve tried to persuade my parents to move away from Point Pleasant. But both my parents grew up here, in Almost-heaven West Virginia.  Who’d want to leave this slice of paradise on earth, they ask?  Well, anyone who’s mortally afraid of the Mothman.
   Yes, I said it.  The Mothman. 
   I’m not talking about the kitschy Mothman glaring from Chinese made t-shirts in the Alien Shoppe downtown.  I’m not even talking about the afore-mentioned statue, imbued with the power to make kids burst into tears on sight.
   I’m talking about something my preacher can’t explain, something that I saw outside when I was a little girl, playing on my teeter-totter with my brother. I might add the brother's name here, as in: ...with my brother, Atom.
   There I was, having a rip-snorting time, driving Atom crazy by planting myself firmly on the ground so he dangled in the air.  He was kind of shrimpy at the time, so he was kicking around and yelling things like “You booger!  I hate your octopus guts!” I might also think he'd be threatening to tell mom, since that's usually what little brothers do when big sisters lord it over them. Not that I would know anything about that :)
   I thought about letting him down gently.  I really did.  But at that moment, I noticed this grey thing, hunkered down behind our white fence.  Naturally, I had to find out what on earth it was. (To me that's not necessarily the natural thing to do. If I was a kid and there was the least hint it was something weird I'd be running. This character is obviously much braver than I ever was but I think I'd still get rid of the word 'naturally.' Plus German Shepherds are tan and black, not grey.)  I’d wanted a German Shepherd for ages, and there was an off-chance a stray had finally made its way to my house.  I threw one leg over the board and jumped off.
   The minute Atom started to scream that his nose was broken, the grey thing rose up.  I still thank the good Lord that Atom’s eyes were so squinched up with crying, he couldn’t see the ten-foot tall bat-creature standing right in front of us.  Well, maybe it wasn’t ten feet, and maybe it wasn’t a bat.  But it sure wasn’t a German Shepherd.  

I'm thinking this might work better starting with the paragraph where the narrator says she's tried to convince her parents to move away from Point Pleasant. Starting there - rather than the contradictory first paragraph - instantly makes the reader ask why? Why does she want her parents to move? Then when the narrator explains, the reader's interest is piqued. Was this just a child's fancy? Are there more incidents waiting to be revealed? And who/what is this mothman? More information about the town can be revealed later but I think setting up these questions is a better way to begin. 

But that's just my opinion. What do you think?


  1. Personally, I love this piece. Marcy does have some great suggestions, though.

  2. Maybe start with "I used to wonder?"

  3. Alex, that's an excellent idea!

    Oh, and one thing I forgot to say was that I really liked the voice in the piece.

  4. Hmmm, I really like this excerpt, but must admit, Marcy's suggestions are spot on. At any rate, I hope the writer keeps at it. Good start.

  5. I agree on starting with the line about trying to get her parents to move; though Alex makes a good point about the contradictions in the original paragraph.

  6. Shoot, I just figured out you'd commented on my piece over here! Thanks so much for the crits! It was definitely a first draft...sometimes I don't catch those inconsistencies. I was definitely trying to get this girl's voice right, since we're in her head and she's a very VERBOSE and rather precocious chick.

    Thanks so much for this opportunity! I'd love to see you all at my blog!

  7. And I should add that the novel's not titled...Inexorable was just the chapter name. Each name was going to start w/a different word and definition, for reasons that would become increasingly apparent...

  8. Hmmm...I like the piece - I would definitely read it. If anything, I would pick another name besides 'Mothman'. I mean, your chapters have nice words like 'Inexorable', but your (I don't know what the word is...I'm no writer) antagonist?...has an ordinary title like 'Mothman'. I like it though - I am definitely intrigued.

  9. A really interesting excerpt - made me want to read more. But, I agree with Alex's comment.

  10. Kittie, I thought Alex's idea was excellent, too.

  11. ...enjoyed the piece, but am curious if perhaps I was drawn to it more so because of my interest in this subject, and the Mothman story behind the Silver Bridge.

    For those of us who know the story, and for those who want to know more, they'll definitely take interest, as I did ;)



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