Cheryl Klein, Talking Books: A Few Things Writers Can Learn from Harry Potter (http://www.cherylklein.com/id38.html)
These lines caught my eye. This is the kind of long-form editing I’ve been thinking about trying!
First 250 Words Smash! #47
Most Wonderful Author: Darcy Addams
Most Evil Critique Master: Rebecca
Working Title: Purple VioletsThe money’s all they need, the guys on the door know them. Arthur had picked the place out a few years ago, solely for the fact they gave you a wrist band instead of ‘one of those horrible tramp stamps’. The muffled base of the music flared out as they entered the building, the noise instantly clamped down on their ears. Bodies milled, sliding past each other, detailed silhouettes in the dim lighting. Coloured lights threw tints over the walls, faces flashed green for a split second, black lace glowed crimson.
“Do you think Mike’s got the base amped up more than usual?” Arthur whispered half jokingly as they pushed their way passed a group of girls, cyber dreads laced into their hair. He called it a whisper, but really it was a stage whisper shouted over the music thudding into their bones. Pierre shrugged, personally he liked the way the base reverberated through the floorboards, filling the room. Like a defibrillator, it jolted his heart in to wake-up mode.
So, let’s talk about flow and consistency, because sentences don’t always sound the way we think they do. Conflict is also a pretty tricky thing to drop hints of in the first couple paragraphs of your story, but it can be done. Read the rest of this intro and what we have to say about it on the bloggity blog.
Submissions are still open, but we’re down to our last few open spots. Once the last few spots are filled, we’ll be closing until we power through our new lineup.
(And if you have no idea what this word smash thingy is, read this.)
Woah guys looooook it’s my first intro critique! This is probably the most exciting bit of critique I’ve ever done. It’s so fun to get into the nitty gritty details! This is definitely an exercise I want to try with my creative writing class next year. Kudos to KSW for setting it up, and you should a) submit your intros while the submissions are still barely open!! and b) check out the other critiques by my fabulous co-critics!
He deals in dreams.
The same people ask for money, love, happiness, unsurpassed beauty,
and when she came to gamble with her head down, hair hiding a blurry face,
timid, wobbly voice inquiring about a nightmare.
She had it played once but as always, dreams run like water
through the spaces between fingers. Hold a hand underneath,
falls faster and evaporates.
“Only bad people want nightmares,” he stammers.
She had a clean record, a blank slate, a tabula rasa of a life.
“You want excitement? I can give you roller coasters, flying off a cliff,
some superhero type stuff. What is it?”
Shaking her head, she turns away. He stops her with a soiled palm.
She can’t ever remember.
He deals but never bargains.
But if there’s something humans dream hard about, it’s freedom and free stuff.
Monsters never have enough of that lying around.
Yet he covets. Her face glows like some worms underground,
her tears titillate him and he starts dreaming about her.
Oh, he gives her a nightmare.
Stalkers, night terrors, a shadow lurking in the dark corners of her room,
fears and visions, and dying courage until he comes to save her
in the nick of the moon. Doesn’t he get any credit?
Doesn’t she fall into his rancid arms?
Gaze into his drug-induced bloodshot eyes?
No more Beauty and the Beast. Fairy tales are only for human dreams.
Just as he stops fantasizing, she wilts like a flower before morning time.
One last act of monsterly love—he hopes it reads like poetry:
An incubus lost in a young
and reckless world
seeks a nightmare and
a black-haired girl.
Years and years later, a woman reads the fading wanted ad
leans on it by her forehead, and she realizes the thrill
of her first nightmare, the incubus lying on her chest,
her paralyzed breaths. When it almost happened again,
she wondered who the monster was, the incubus or the girl,
an unknowing seductress disguised as a human,
herself a lonely succubus.
Today’s Word Count: 1355
Total Word Count: 10462
Week got crappy for writing, but at least I overshot today, so I should have less than a day of November word count goals tomorrow to get back on track.
The last few days were a bunch of chapters of flashbacks that should really be better paced throughout. But on the plus side I’m getting to that backside I was so excited to write about.
So Cinda learned to build her own walls. Not to make herself stronger, but rather, to spare her mother from any more unintentional harm. And as things got worse after her grandmother finally passed away, Cinda built a wall for her mother too.
Or a bubble, rather. For a bubble could be porous enough to allow through the love that her mother so desperately needed from her, while remaining strong enough to withstand an assault from the bricks other people might throw.
In theory, at least.
I never saw Cinda eat sweets. I’m not saying she never ate them, of course, that would be inhuman. They were just always gone by the time you looked back again. Gulped up in a single bite.
when students shush other students and say “Everyone, be nice!” only because you were just complaining about how your day was so shitty
why can’t you just be nice all the time so I just don’t have any shitty days ever, that’d be cool too
Today’s Word Count: 1390
Total Word Count: 7236
So I am over 1000 words past where I need to be for my 30k goal despite taking Saturday off for fun times with friends, but nearly 3k away from a normal day 6 NaNo goal. I’m not too worried, and in fact I think I feel more inspired about writing when I’m not straining for a goal. Instead I think, “A thousand words? Easy! And let me finish this scene here while I’m at it!” It gives me some time to catch up on planning in between.
I think I discovered that while last NaNo I dreaded writing every Jaime scene, now I just look forward to teasing Jaime and making him feel uncomfortable. Poor Jaime.
Tyler poised his pencil over the notepad again and tapped it against his first question. “So you don’t actually live in the same building as Perry. Can I ask why you were there?”
"I walked over with Perry and Heather after math class on Wednesday."
"Heather, she’s that girl, right? From our sister school?" I nodded and then he added as an aside, "Are you two, you know, dating or…?"
"What? No. Hey, don’t write that down." I tried to make a grab for the notebook, but he held it out of my reach. "What is this article even on anyways?"
This is my first day off since Friday of last week and my only day off this week send help
So, for any new followers to the blog, I’ve just made some awesome changes to KSW. We held our first ever application process for the KSW Team! Your KSW Teamers are going to be critiquing the First 250 Words Smash intros with me, and then I’ll be making new KSW Writing Exercises based on these intros! I’ll also be writing little guides, or advice articles, on how to tackle these exercises with beefed up writing muscles.
After a long and super tough decision process, we finally settled on the final five KSW Teamers a couple weeks ago, and now everything’s finally put together. So, meet your new Team Members! Alrightalrightalright!
We’re all ready to dive right into work. If you submitted an intro to us when we were last open, we encourage you to revise and resubmit before we offer feedback. We’re sure you’ve gained some skills since you originally submitted! I’ll be assigning intros to our Teamers tomorrow, so make sure to get your revision in quickly.
If you’ve been looking to submit your intro for critique, I’ll probably be reopening submissions starting Sunday, so keep an eye out for that, and make sure you read the rules and prepare your intro in advance. It’s likely I’ll only accept a month’s worth of intros before closing again, and I don’t know how quickly spots will fill up (just that it will, in fact, be pretty darn quickly).
Reblogging for my writing buddies who may not be KSW fans (yet!). Also I am one of the new team members, and I’m super excited to put my critique skills to the test! *flexes editor muscles*
Also, even if you don’t plan on submitting, this is a great exercise to do on your own. What are the first 250 words of your novel, and are they the best they can be? I actually rewrote my intro for my current NaNo project with this in mind, and I think I found a more promising place to start as a result!