Sunday, March 20, 2011

Show Me the Voice Blogfest/Contest

I haven't participated in many of these, but when I read about Brenda Drake's Show Me The Voice blogfest/Contest and who was judging, I thought AWESOME! Natalie represents Fairy Tale retellings and there aren't many agents who specifically list that, so this could be great...

Here's how it works: Sign up on the Mister Linky at Brenda Drake Writes . . . under the influence of coffee.  Post your first 250 words of a completed manuscript on March 20 and 21st, then get critiques from followers and friends. Email the polished piece to Brenda on March 22. (Get her email address from her blog.)

So here's my entry from the story I was getting ready to query back in the day before baby girl things started happening at our house.

Name: Kayeleen Hamblin
Title: Sleeping Beauty and the Beast
Genre: YA Fairy Tale Retelling

A delicious fear settled in her stomach. She put a hand against the rough, lumpy bark of one of the tall trees in front of her, letting the quiet of the old wood calm her sudden nerves. She stood that way for several moments, the tranquility working its magic on her. Trying to muster the courage to push forward, she stared hard at the shadowy undergrowth. She glanced back over her shoulder for the fifth time. He’s still asleep. I’ve got to go now. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and put one foot forward to cross the invisible line that marked the forest’s border.

A breeze wafted through the shade and chilled her bare arms. She opened her eyes, expecting to see some kind of miraculous transformation. It looked exactly as it had when she stood on the other side of the tree. Silence pounded at her ears. The crack of a branch as she stepped on it seemed deafening.

Her footsteps stirred up the musty aroma of decaying leaves on the damp ground. The hem of her skirts clung to her legs as she pushed her way further into the deepening shadows, passing bushes and roots that grabbed at her hands and feet. A skittering sound in the bushes made her stop in her tracks. A small gray squirrel broke from the cover of the undergrowth. She heaved a sigh of relief at the retreating back of the little animal and laughed at herself before setting off into the gloom again.

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And there you have it, friends. Critique away. I'm interested to see what you have to say. And remember. The contest is about voice, so if you have suggestions for helping develop the voice in this piece, lay it on me.

5 comments:

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I like the premise of the story. :) I think you need to tighten it up a bit. For example: she stared hard at the... You don't need hard, because stared covers what she did with one word. You can do the same thing with She glanced (back) over her shoulder. Do you see how that just tightens it up a bit?

Your blog is really pretty and I love the font you are using!

Steena Holmes said...

I like the idea, but I agree, if you could tighten it - it will pop. Your second sentence is a mouthful and you lose the calming. Your 4th sentence is redundant since we know the old wood calms her. Get rid of the "trying to muster the courage to push forward' sentence.
Your setting is vivid, but I know nothing about her. Give me less description and more of her and her voice and I would be sold.

Great job and good luck!

Steph said...

You have amazing descriptions and details about setting, etc.. but I don't feel like I know much about the MC. Who IS she? I know it's hard to show that in just a couple of paragraphs, and it may be coming right after this description for all I know- but I wish I knew more about her- I think it would really help the voice aspect.

The opening line made me pause a bit, I don't know if I've ever heard a surge of fear described as "delicious".

Nice start, I agree that with a little tightening, this will really shine! Best of luck to you!! :)

Diane Vallere said...

The descriptions are great, but without knowing your genre, I wouldn't know where this was going. Can you figure out a way to mention her identity, or to throw some action in there, aside from a breeze wafting? I'd love something, even if it's a tease.

And don't delete those descriptions; move them to slightly later! They're awesome!

Cheree said...

It's an interesting premise and you have some great descriptions, but I agree that it could use some tightening to make it really pop.