Sam had never seen his mother so furious as when he came through the back door to the kitchen that April afternoon, about an hour after he had gone ahead and done it. One look, and the casserole dish slipped from her hands. Peas, noodles and shards of Pyrex exploded across the cheap linoleum floor.
“My God, what have you done to yourself?”
He lifted off his cap and rubbed his palm over his scalp. The fuzz was pleasantly soft. “I like it better this way.”
“Have you lost your mind?” She stripped off her potholders and threw them down like gauntlets. “Did you think at all?”
"Don’t you ‘Ma’ me. Rebellious, ungrateful child.”
Sam put his cap back on. “It’s just hair.”
Anyone willing to read the whole thing? It's 980 words. I'd be willing to trade if you have a story up for critique. Thanks.
"A teenager decides to dye his hair and his mother is furious about it." The 13 is readable but I am not captivated enough by this. This is everyday life stuff. Give the reader a reason why he or she should care about this boy's hair... ...but that's just my opinion.
Posts: 15 | Registered: Jan 2010
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Cut his hair, I think, but I agree with the above sentiment. A few other points:
1. You are withholding from the reader as your initial hook. You mention he has 'done it' and don't explain what it is until he says the line 'I like it better this way'.
2. Interesting that the previous critiquer thought the teenager had dyed their hair, whereas I think it was cut very short. I think that your 'explaination' requires the reader to put together a few nebulous clues to get the correct result. This is a dangerous road in an intro where clarity is best.becuase intros work best when what is happening (the main conflict element) is clear.
3. Sam has never seen his Mum so furious? I'm not getting that from his relaxed attitude.
4. The first dialogue line was untagged. We have to guess who says it. Not a biggie, but it makes you stop and think a moment.
5. The mother's anger feels distant and removed. Infact the whole scene feels a little distant. YOu spent time on the peas and noodles and cheap linoluem floor, but little time on the mother's angry face or the boy's age, etc.
I like it. For me it was clear that he'd cut his hair short. I feel like both of their emotional states are well captured...yes he's calm, but I personally get a strong feeling thats how he is. Despite the initial line, I get the feeling his mom has a history of getting mad, just not this mad so for me it works. The description of the falling casserole and the mess sets the tone well for me.
The only 2 negative things I'd say at all are 1) I'd like more sense of why this particular thing upsets her so and 2) there is as yet no speculative element, however I think the quality of the writing compensates for this.
Send me the whole thing and if you're willing I'll send you my revised version of "The Mystery of the Sea." Not quite even wordcount wise but I dont really write flash.
[This message has been edited by Merlion-Emrys (edited February 15, 2010).]
Thank you for the responses. Yes, this is a modern twist on Samson and Delilah. I was hoping someone would pick up on that, so thanks Sheena! The markets I'm looking at for this aren't specifically speculative, so I don't think the obvious lack of that element early on will hurt it.
I'll work on doing some clarifying and send it out to those who volunteered this afternoon. Merlion-Emrys, I'd be happy to look at your story. Send it along when you're ready.
Sam had never seen his mother so furious as when he came through the back door to the kitchen that April afternoon, about an hour after he had gone ahead and done it.
I would clip the sentence right after the word furious. I'm finding the entire segment I put in bold waters down that initial statement. She's mad. The next paragraph reveals it is about something he did. That's all you need. It being April, it being the afternoon, it being an hour after he got his hair cut, they are all distractions.
Dropping the dish seems more of a shocked reaction than an angry one. Perhaps she should slam the dish down so hard on the counter that it breaks?
I did catch that he had cut his hair and worked out the Samson reference as well. I'll give the whole thing a read if you'd like me to.
[This message has been edited by TaoArtGuy (edited February 15, 2010).]