Made of Awesome Blogfest

May 28, 2011 | Writing | 12 comments

Shelley Watters is running another fabulous blog contest with an agent critique as the prize! By now, you know my love of all things contest-y so naturally, I entered. Please help me polish my first page of CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE CYBORG for the official entry on May 31! I’d love to hear what you think.

Weightlessness is a funny thing.

One moment ago, Dean and I were joking about the stupid, lime-green dress his ex-girlfriend wore to prom. His cheeks dimpled when he laughed.

Now we skid over the embankment. Our bodies are a blur of pink satin and black tuxedo. My insides lurch and jerk, like knots trying to untie themselves. Dean’s face is a blank sheet of confusion and me, well, I don’t know how I look but I’m sure it isn’t pretty.

The free fall ends when we hit the tree. All that remains is pain and panic. And noise. All kinds of noise. Screams, creaks, and cracks from all sides. I can’t feel my legs or arms, but I’m standing and screaming and tugging at the crumpled car door.

Dean’s stuck. I have to get him out.

Gas fumes sting my nose and burn my chest. I tear the door off the car and nearly tear Dean’s arm off, too. He tumbles out and I drag him toward the field. The car explodes, the flames consuming it in a burst of red and orange. The force throws us back from the road. I sit in the long grass in my tattered cocktail dress, barely aware of the hot metal in my hands or Dean unconscious at my side.

I can’t tear my eyes away from my left arm.

It’s ruined.

The skin is ripped open, gaping from wrist to elbow, but I hardly bleed.

Shock is an understatement.

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by–I’m off to critique the other entries!

12 Comments

  1. Kimberlee Turley

    The rhyming of lurch and jerk seemed odd. I’d pick one or the other.

    Dean’s face is a blank sheet of confusion and **as for mine**, well, I don’t know how I look but I’m sure it isn’t pretty. –Blank sheet sort of contradicts confusion to me. One is the absence of expression, the other might entail scrunched/raised eyebrows, mouth hanging open, jaw dropped etc… I think giving him a clever analaogy for a description will strengthen this. Maybe… “He looked like he held a poisonous snake instead of a steering wheel.”

    The free fall ends when we hit the tree.–I got a little lost between weightlessness, skidding, and free falling again. Instead of “we skid” maybe say that it’s the car skidding.

    I’m standing and screaming and tugging at the crumpled car door.–How did she get out of the car? Was she ejected?

    Gas fumes sting my nose and burn my chest. Good sensory imagery.

    The force throws us back from the **road**. –I’d say “wreck” since it seems like the skidded off the road a fair distance.

    barely aware of the hot metal in my hands or Dean unconscious at my side. –Hot metal because she’s still holding the door? Or the door handle?

    It’s ruined. –Interesting word choice here. I’d imagine her looking at her dress or something else inanimate and thinking it’s ruined. When I read this it was almost like she was de-personifying herself. Subtle foreshadowing perhaps?

    I like how the action starts immediately and the tension in the scene. I think a few more details to clarify the setting would help. : )

    Reply
  2. Charity Bradford

    Very interesting. I’m guessing she is the teenage cyborg. Did she know that before or is all this a surprise for her?

    Ok, the beginning was a bit confusing. I didn’t realize they were in a car at first, until she went to rip the door off. This could be due to you saying “Now we skid over the embankment. Our bodies are a blur of pink satin and black tuxedo.” See how that looks like they were running and fell off a cliff because we see their bodies falling not the car.

    Kimberlee mentioned my other thoughts. Especially the part where she’s standing to rip the door off and get Dean out.

    There was a spot that felt like a play by play listing of events. It was the paragraph starting with “Gas fumes sting…” Short choppy sentences are good for building tension and showing immediacy, but some of these could be combined or cut. Or better yet, try to show us by getting us inside the MC as these things happen instead of telling us what’s going on.

    All in all though, you have some good stuff to work with. And I’m interested in the story enough to read more.

    Reply
  3. Mary Kate Leahy

    I love it! The description is fantastic. I can’t wait to see what happens next! (Based on the title I am guessing she gets a sweet new left arm an becomes a cyborg.) I would definitely keep reading.

    Reply
  4. douglas esper

    being an old man i couldn’t help but recall that 80’s sitcom about the girl robot…but that is neither here nor there 🙂

    as with the others i was confused as we went from weightlessness to falling (wondering if they were in outer space) but just as quickly any reader above a second grade reading level will realize the situation, so if you don’t change it i think its fine.

    good work
    douglas esper

    Reply
  5. Jamie

    It’s great, only one spot made me stop and say,huh?
    All that remains is pain and panic. And noise.
    Perhaps try a little different with
    All that remains is pain and panic, until the noise.
    or
    All that remains is pain and panic, broken throughout by the noise.
    My two bits.
    Good luck in the contest!

    Reply
  6. Melora Bell

    I really like your writing style; you have a lovely mix of literary and action prose. Normally, I love diving into action as soon as possible, but this was just a bit too quick. I would think the shock of an accident, the rolling car, the pain, shattering glass, etc., would take more time. The idea of the crash is exciting to begin with, I don’t think you need to squeeze in the rescue and her injuries so soon.

    I have to admit, people have the same comment about mine (slow it down), and I haven’t been able to do it, so take my views with a pound of salt.

    Good luck!

    Reply
  7. Kaleen Harding

    Whoa, is the MC in the car when it crashes? If she is in the car when it crashes, how is there enough time for her to look at the expression on Dean’s face and wonder what her own face looks like? “our bodies are a blur of pink satin and black tux…” is she seeing them from outside herself; this sounds like an outside observers view of what’s going on inside the vehicle. How did she suddenly get standing and rip the car door off, and how did she almost rip Dean’s arm off when opening the door- is she on his side of the car and is he gripping the door even though it seems like he’s unconscious? Sorry to be so harsh, but with all this great action I was confused.

    Reply
  8. Lissa

    As I was reading this, I was chanting in my head over and over again, “This is awesome, this is awesome.” You open with an intriguing first line, dive right into some characterisation, and right on paragraph three we’re hit with some action. This is wonderfully written as well. I love that it’s in first person. I’m also confused (in a good way!) during the car crash. I think it was written very well, as I’m sure the MC is disoriented and that passes on to the reader as well. I honestly can’t think of anything to improve this piece.
    (I have a cyborg MC in one of my novels as well, so I’m instantly a fan!)

    Reply
    • admin

      Lissa: As I was reading this, I was chanting in my head over and over again, “This is awesome, this is awesome.”

      This is response I was aiming for! LOL Thanks so much for commenting!

      Reply
  9. jsc

    i kinda found the present tense strange. i also feel like you could’ve rendered this with a lot more emotion (unless she doesn’t have emotion?), started sooner so we liked the boyfriend before he died and felt she was human before we find out she isn’t. i couldn’t feel the mc’s pain at all because i never had a chance to connect with her.

    but good writing over all. it was pretty in a good way.

    Reply
  10. Jody Lamb

    Hi, MarcyKate,
    I was quite hooked with this beginning.

    As others have noted, there were a couple of lines that seemed out of place. “It’s ruined” seemed far too emotionless for her situation. Was she referring to the destroyed car? Her life? “Shock is an understatement” also seems a bit flat. Rather than tell us this maybe you can show us by having her question if it’s reality. I’ve often read that traumatic events like this make people disbelieve what’s happening is real..like it’s a nightmare or something. Since she can’t feel her limbs, is there something she feels/hears that confirms it’s happening? What happened to the noises? Are there people approaching?

    Beyond that, I think it’s great. I would certainly keep reading. Awesome!

    Thanks for sharing. Good luck!

    Reply
  11. admin

    Thank you all so much for your comments! This is incredibly helpful! For those who I didn’t get to comment on in return, please accept my apologies – our internet was out for most of the weekend which handicapped me in that respect 🙁 You all have some awesome pages for the contest, too and I wish you the best of luck!

    Reply

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