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Author Topic: Silverware
Yufae
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Semi-literary short story-in-progress. 3000 words. I'd appreciate any advice on which beginning is better and on how to improve it.

Option #1:

I have just put Rainy down for a nap when the door slams and I know they’ve come home. I make sure her socks are still on her feet and place Señor Elephant in reach of her tiny fingers. I smooth her hair while our mother laughs like an afternoon drunk from the living room.

Option #2:

I met Rui in third grade when we did a group project on Calvin Coolidge. He was new that year, and I had just started reading the first of our library’s fifty-one Nancy Drew mysteries, so until Mr. Coolidge brought us together, I didn’t notice Rui at all. But that day at lunch, Rui traded his burrito for my peanut butter sandwich, and I fell instantly in love.


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jayazman
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Are these two for the same story? I couldn't see any commonality between them. You might want to post the first 13 lines of both of them so we can see a little bit more of the delvelopement.
From what's there, I liked the second one better. Present tense in the first one was a little bit strange at first. I don't have any specific comments on it though.

Keep writing!


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MrsBrown
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I like the voice in both options. They sound like two separate stories. In both cases the setting is sketchy, but you haven’t provided many lines yet. Option 1 provides a hint of tension; option 2 has that great line about falling in love. I want more of both options.

Option 1: Present tense is off-putting, so I “read” it in past tense; I liked it better that way. All the sentences start with “I” – you need sentence variation.

Option 2: You say the group project is how they met, but then you say they met at lunch. Which one is it? I’d suggest start with how they met – your line about trading food and falling in love is great – and then bring in the group project. And I thought Mr. Coolidge was a teacher on the first and second reads, perhaps the lunch monitor. The 2nd sentence is too long, but it’s easily solved if you remove the reference to Mr. Coolidge bringing them together. It would also allow changing the second “Rui” to “him”.


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Yufae
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How's this?

I met Rui in third grade when we did a group project on Calvin Coolidge. He was new that year, and I had just started reading the first of our library’s fifty-one Nancy Drew mysteries, so I hadn’t noticed him at all. He colored the president’s head with my crayons. That day at lunch, Rui sat with me. He traded his burrito for my peanut butter sandwich, and I fell instantly in love.

Rui met my mother when I dragged her to our class presentation of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the year the school board fired Mrs. Henderson. I warbled the refrain in “Hard Candy Christmas” to a muttering audience and tried not to smear my red lipstick.

Mother stood talking to the other parents after the show. I


[This message has been edited by Yufae (edited December 03, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited December 03, 2008).]


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jayazman
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OK, here's my take.

I met Rui in third grade when we did a group project on Calvin Coolidge. He was new that year, and I had just started reading the first of our library’s fifty-one Nancy Drew mysteries, so I hadn’t noticed him at all. He colored the president’s head with my crayons. You need something else here, this sentence comes out of nowhere. Like "The first day we worked together he colored the presiden's head with my crayons" That day at lunch, Rui sat with me. He traded his burrito for my peanut butter sandwich, and I fell instantly in love.

Rui met my mother when I dragged her to our class presentation of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. I warbled the refrain in “Hard Candy Christmas” to a muttering audience and tried not to smear my red lipstick. For some reason the school board fired Mrs. Henderson that same year.
Mother stood talking to the other parents after the show. I


Just my idea, take it for what it's worth (about 1.5 cents)


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TheOnceandFutureMe
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An elementary school performing "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" is an amazing hook. I want to read this. If you're looking for readers, send it my way.
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C L Lynn
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I love the specifics you give, especially the "burrito" sentence. They help paint an endearing picture. The flow of the sentences sounds a bit rough, but that may just be your writing style.

I would certainly keep reading to learn about the kids' relationship. Looking for readers? Sign me up.


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Yufae
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Thanks, everybody! C L Lynn and TheOnceandFutureMe, I'm sending it to you now. You're angels.
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ArachneWeave
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I thought the first line had more of a hook, but the second had more detail to pull me in, to see more of the story's milieu.

I'm not going to offer to read it, as I'm pretty sure it's a kind I don't enjoy--but I would, if I did. Good luck!


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