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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » Melissa- First 13 lines want feedback

   
Author Topic: Melissa- First 13 lines want feedback
tj5to1
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English Literature 101 Homework Assignment: Essay-
If you could go back in time and meet your younger self,
a) What age would choose?
b) What advice would you give to yourself?
c) Why?
Melissa Patrick looked over her assignment and started debating how she was going to answer this question. Would she tell herself not to go out with Mark for more than two dates? No, she would go back further and tell herself not to date Allen. No, wait. She would tell herself not to kiss Sam.
NO. Even better she would go back to right before she met Sam and tell herself everything that would happen between then and now.

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Osiris
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Hello,

I'm not sure I'm sold on the format with starting this as a multiple choice question, but I am always in favor of people experimenting with writing, so this is just my opinion and as my father always told me "one experiment is worth 100 expert opinions."

The benefit of it is it puts you immediately in the MCs shoes. However, I think its a little jarring and interrupts the flow of the paragraph.

Here are some things to think about. If the essay in itself is only a device used to pose the question of time travel, then I might scrap it and perhaps make this a conversation between Melissa and a friend.

If the essay mechanic is integral to the story, consider formatting this section more like a paragraph, and fewer words to it. Perhaps something like:

"English Literature 101 Essay Assignment; If you could go back in time to meet your younger self, what age would you choose, what advice would you give to yourself, and why?"

You could then go into the part where Melissa looks over the assignment.

Also, its always good to be efficient and non-passive in your prose:

quote:
Melissa Patrick looked over her assignment and started debating how she was going to answer this question.

is more efficient and less passive as:
"Melissa Patrick looked over her assignment and debated how she was going to answer this question."

or even"

"Melissa Patrick perused her assignment and debated how she was going to answer this question.

[This message has been edited by Osiris (edited August 09, 2010).]


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DRaney
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tj5to1
I was not really hooked into reading further. This immediately put me into a teenage feel-good drama TV show. I would not likely see anything Sci-Fi coming from just these 13 lines. If I had the finished book in my hands and had a synopsis to give me a clue or two, then maybe.
Good luck,
Doug

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shimiqua
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I like it. I think this opening feels fresh and really funny. It is obviously geared towards a female type market, and the opening promises some good love drama will be ahead. Is this LDS Fiction, too?

If it is,(or even if it isn't) you should email me and/or chaulkdustfairy, we have kind of a LDS Fiction emailing club, and you're welcome to join with us.

I personally prefer Melissa's opening to Kim's. This one has a less teenage angst filled voice which reads better, at least to me.

I would read on,
~Sheena


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JSchuler
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I think you could lose the entire question and go right into "Melissa Patrick looked over..." Assuming that time travel is actually important to your plot (mentioned in the first 13, it probably should be) it will give it more immediacy and make it feel like less of an academic question.
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Twiggy
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I quite like the opening style. Maybe that's a female thing, but the story only starts when she's working out her answer. What market are you aiming this at? I think it will work better for women than men.

"What age would choose?"
I'm sure you picked this up, but I think it is important to avoid errors in what is supposed to be an English assignment.

For me, there was one NO too many when she was deciding how far to go back.

I would read on a short way because I see this as only four lines of story, but I need a hook soon.

Hope it helps
Good Luck

Amanda


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chalkdustfairy
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I like the essay assignment (because girls find a way to make EVERYTHING relevant to what's going on with them at the moment, just our make-up!)I would just say that the answer to the question, "What advice...?" is really what we are interested in.

What would her answer be, right off the top of her head and in one sentence? You could set up the story with that.

I don't know the story but you might say, "My advice to you, Miss Melissa Patrick, is to turn around and walk the other way!".

I do think the list of situations she wished she would have avoided with the various boys is pretty funny.


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Crank
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Put me in the category of those who liked the intro. I was never a teenaged girl , but I most definitely played with the idea of going back and giving myself advice. In fact, don’t be surprised if a few of your readers zone out for a moment and answer those questions for themselves before they ever find out what Melissa chooses. Not entirely sure if that’s good or bad…!

The rest, unfortunately, is not very interesting to me, probably because I was never a teenaged girl If I’m not your intended target audience, so be it. But, if you don’t mind widening your net, you might consider slipping in why she shouldn’t go out with Mark for more than two dates, or why she shouldn’t date Allen at all, etc.

BTW…I feel you captured the teenaged girl “changing-my-mind-and-topic-every-five-seconds” mentality fairly well. I have two daughters at home, so I hear this all the time.

S!
S!


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Kimlin
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I also struggled with the start but I am neither American nor a teen lol so may have an impact.

For me reading it the intro may have felt better if it had started with Melissa considered her assignment, then the assignment followed by How do I answer this? or something similar.

However reading the other responses probably has more to do with me being English and middle aged I am guessing I am not your intended audience. Outside of that though I would continue reading had someone lent me the book or my daughter had suggested I read it.


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