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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » First Thirteen of Juvel, YA Sci Fi. Thanks in advance.

   
Author Topic: First Thirteen of Juvel, YA Sci Fi. Thanks in advance.
SASpencer
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“"Keep your hoarking leg still," Jude thought at Alex.
She twisted her body and scrunched her nose at him while he reclined in the single, right hand tablet arm desk behind her in math class. They were juniors at the Amet High School for Gifted Adolescents, a private school in La Jolla, CA. He was her first real boyfriend; she’d learned it was his duty to tease her. It was her responsibility to egg him on. Her eyes trained on his; she exaggerated a leg bounce, and then turned back to face the teacher.
White haired Mrs. Schwartz displayed her broad back to the class. Her right hand, almost a blur, scribbled quadratic equations on the white board, her left clung to an eraser shampooing away black ink as if it was a carpet stain. Like math wasn’t hard enough. Alex gave up taking notes long ago and since Mrs. Schwartz’ s thick German accent

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kmsf
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Thanks for posting your excerpt.

I've written this first part more or less as I read it. A mini summary follows.

I can infer that hoarking is a mild curse, but I am not familiar with it, so it knocks me out of the story. I have to analyze the word and assign a meaning to it I know is an approximation. So, I am thinking about this rather than drawing the mental image.

The other language that pulls me out is the phrase, "thought at". That feels awkward to me.

I had a little trouble discerning who was working on whose leg and needed to refer back to the previous sentence. So, Alex is the girl and Jude is doing something to Alex's leg.

Not until the she mad an exaggerated bounce of her leg was it clear she's a nervous leg bouncer.

The POV starts as Jude then moves more to omniscient, then to Alex. I found myself groping in the dark a little.

Mini Summary:
The biggest risk to opening a novel with dialogue is that the reader will want to draw a mental picture right away in order to dive in. For myself, it is disorienting not to have some physical space, some drawn character speaking. Unless the dialogue itself helps us draw the picture very clearly. So, in a nutshell, I am trying to draw a mental picture based on this dialogue, and I thought someone was dressing a wound. Then I realized that was not the case and had to re-calibrate while reading.

I don't need the amount of exposition you give in order to keep going with the story. I think you could layer it in as Alex steps into the hall and heads to her locker, talks with friends in passing in the hall, or banters with Jude. You could let the macro scale information trickle out as Alex goes about her day, and that would work fine. You could show us that this is a school for the gifted. Maybe have a student trying to force open a door marked with a "pull" sticker by pushing - just a hackneyed joke, but you get the picture.

I also am not sure how Alex knows what Jude is thinking. If it is telepathy I wonder if working only from Alex's POV until telepathy is established would establish that for the reader.

I hope my comments are helpful to you.

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SASpencer
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KMSF,
Yes, very helpful comments. Someday I am going to find the hoarking hook for this book.
I actually like your hackneyed joke, I could have the student trying to open it using their telekinesis.

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kmsf
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Oh, man, now that would be funny. I like that hook. A fresh twist.

Glad my comments were helpful.

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