5/21/12: Someone brought it to my attention, after reading the story, that I should start somewhere else...
To be honest, I really like the ending of my Old 13 lines, but I sort of understood what he was talking about after looking at the story as a whole.
Now, I am hoping that I have an equally strong beginning, if not stronger, here. Feedback would be wonderful
So here goes nothing:
NEW Version - 5/21/12
Damon tucked Lili into her crib, her blue eyes wide open and on her dad, the pacifier bobbing in and out of her mouth. He clicked on the mobile and a soothing lullaby filled the room. He kissed her forehead and backed away. The front door banged open. Damon jumped. The pacifier tumbled out of her mouth and she started to cry. Damon walked out of the room and opened the wall-closet-door, oblivious to the soothing hum and her crying. He reached in and grabbed the baseball bat and got it up in a ready position as he rounded the corner to greet his intruder. Mikayla jumped into Damon’s arms.He dropped the bat.Lili’s screams merged with the lullaby’s hum. Mikayla stuttered, mouthed incomprehensible words. His shoulder dampened with her tears.
She sat relaxed in the cool office wearing a short purple skirt and black blouse. Dr. Slater pursed his lips and tapped his pen on the blank page in his notepad. He leaned back and opened his mouth, but Mikayla lifted a hand, a silver promise ring around her finger. She said, “Can you please explain to me why I’m here? I’ve done nothing wrong.” Dr. Slater spoke calmly. He didn’t want to get her angry like last time. “Mikayla, it’s not what you’ve done.It’s what you might do.” “What I might do?” she said. “I’ve already told you we all need to find true love and live happily ever after for eternity with our soul mates—like Romeo and Juliet. They didn’t really kill themselves. They just lived again in another life. I want that. Me and my soul mate are going to kill ourselves. Together.”
I think I'd rather see a different first sentence. The coolness of the the office and her outfit are much less interesting than the fact that Mikayla is searching for eternal love through suicide.
Also - since there's not enough dialogue in just 13 lines, do you purposely have Mikayla say "Me and my soul mate" instead of "My soul mate and I?" The latter is technically correct, but Mikayla might not know or care about that.
In any case, I was intrigued and would definitely want to read the next page
Posts: 20 | Registered: May 2012
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I agree with Justin on the first line. I also agree with wanting to read more. However, I do have reservations which means the next page would have to hit it with all cylinders.
To me this feels like a pretty blunt reveal like it has the "As you know, Bob..." feel to it. Why not simply let the doctor come out and say "We can't let you and George (or whatever his name is) kill each other. Romeo and Juliet weren't real and neither are these 'different lives.'"
Posts: 759 | Registered: May 2009
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I agree with babooher. Consider opening with Mikayla and her promise friend's attempted whatever. That way her want is revealed, and apparently thwarted. That introduces a main dramatic complication, which is what starts a plot barreling down the tracks.
Opening with a suicide attempt is challenging to write. Empathy for a suicidal character is hard on readers. Suicide is the ultimate selfish act. Empathy is easier to build when a character is selflessly noble to some degree.
Posts: 3947 | Registered: Jun 2008
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@Justin - It was on purpose, but not because of the 13 line limitation. I specifically wrote it that way because Mikayla doesn't care about saying it that way.
@Babooher, you will find as you read more that there is much much more to this suicide attempt than you realize just from this. This is basically a girl that loves Romeo and Juliet to the point of actually wanting to reinact it with the one she loves--and she wants to take the people close to her, and him, with her to the afterlife so that they can all live happily ever after. Now, the kicker is, the guy that she is seeing turns out to be Dr. Slater's son... and he finds this out just a few lines down. You hardly have to wait for something major to happen in this story of mine. I will say this... as I wrote this story, and finished, it reminded me of a strange combination of Carrie and Needful Things. You won't see it in the first 13, but that's what I got out of it.
@Extrinsic, as I was just saying to Babooher, that she wants to do something for the people close to Damon (her "soul mate") and those that are close to her--which is, to her, a NON selfish act. She is psycho, messed up in the head pretty badly... Honestly, she is not really supposed to be very sympathetic, BUT that does not mean that I want her to be a confusing character. I want her to at least be understood by my reader... that's what I'm looking for. You will learn to greatly hate her throughout this story, especially seeing all she does... It's a pretty messed up story, but I feel it can be a bit more powerful and emotionally charged with a good few edits and rewrites.
It's not really about the suicide, it's about what she wants after the suicide, what she really thinks will happen in her afterlife with the people she loves, that matters.
Would any of you care for a read of my first draft?
Posts: 193 | Registered: Oct 2011
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The first line didn't work for me. I have a "she" but don't know who she is. In the third sentence, Mikayla speaks but I have to guess that she's the character from the first sentence, because I don't know yet how many people are in the room. I don't know until "He didn’t want to get her angry like last time." who my POV character is. I would suggest starting with Dr. Slater and perhaps incorporate in the first sentence that he doesn't want to get her mad, as that's a good hook. "Me and my soul mate are going to kill ourselves. Together.” is definitely a strong hook in the first 13 lines. Hope something in my comments helps.
Posts: 42 | Registered: Apr 2012
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