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My humorous thoughts about life.

"My Humorous and Helpful Thoughts About Teaching / Educational Resources for Your Classroom / Music and Random Fun"

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Weekend Writing Warriors - 8/24/14

   Weekend Writing Warriors

Come join the hop to read an awesome eight from published and unpublished authors at: http://www.wewriwa.

I know I'd already posted my first eight lines of my manuscript, but I decided on a rewrite as a result of a critiquer's advice. Hopefully this new beginning will jump the reader, agent, or editor into the story sooner.

       I tried to focus on Ms. Link’s daily review, but it was pointless once I’d spotted the fat guy outside. He had hung under a tree for the past half hour with his bug eyes aimed straight at me, or at least it seemed that way. I rubbed my hand over my stiff neck and noticed that my shoulders had inched upwards. Knowing I had to stop this stalker, I got out of my chair and headed toward the window. Maybe if I closed it, he wouldn’t be able to see inside.
       “Ben, what are you doing?” Ms. Link asked.
       “Sorry, m’am. I was cold. Thought I’d close the window.”

       “I don’t think so,” she sang. “You can’t do that to a menopausal women. I’ll be burning like the steel under Carnegie’s furnaces.”



Martha Jane Orlando said...

Hope so, too, Joyce!

Memphis said...

See, this is the sort of writing I expect to come out of Memphis. I mean, mine contains more fart gags, but otherwise I think we're similar.

messymimi said...

The main voices labels the man a stalker immediately, making me wonder if he's used to being stalked. Is he some sort of celebrity? Yes, the idea draws me in.

Unknown said...

Interesting. Makes the reader wonder about Ben and why he's been stalked... intriguing!

Meka James said...

Interesting opening. His use of the word stalker has me wondering if this has happened before, or if he knew the man outside from some previous encounter.

My only question would be if a teacher would really make the menopausal comment to a class full of students or not.

Chelle Cordero said...

Makes me wonder why Ben believes he is being stalked - previous experience or an idea planted in his head? Whatever the man's presence by the tree is creepy.
The line "hung out under the tree" coupled with "bug eyes" first had me wondering if the guy was hanging (as in a noose around his neck) - not sure how to change that.
Very intriguing set-up.

FCEtier said...

I missed the first draft. Rather than being drawn in, I find it's confusing.
I'm with Chelle on the "hanging" semantics.
Also, how do we know Ben is in a classroom?What is the setting?
Here's my publisher/editor's suggestion: A good opening hook comes from a crisis that leads to a decision, or a decision that leads to a crisis. Not sure how easy that is to do in 8 to 10 sentences.
Sounds like you've got the makings of a great story.
Good luck!

LA Botchar said...

I'm intrigued.
And I believe, that's the most crucial thing, right?
so, you hooked me. :)

Teresa Cypher said...

Hi Joyce. :-) First, for what it's worth, I was entertained and intrigued. I especially liked the menopausal woman comment. I thought it was visual. I didn't get caught up with a weird visual like Chelle did, but if you're worried about that, could you change it to: "He'd parked himself under a tree a half hour ago, and had been staring at me with his bug eyes since."?

Good 8 :-)

Unknown said...

I'm with the others...the hung under a tree and his bug eyes...I thought he was swinging from a rope. Otherwise, you've gotten me questioning what's so special about this boy and who is the guy under the tree?

Catch My Words said...

Thanks all! That's why we post these things. We just can't see it in our own writing.

I've already changed the text.

I tried to focus on Ms. Link’s daily history review, but it was pointless once I’d spotted the fat guy outside my classroom window. He had stood under a tree for the past half hour with his bug eyes aimed straight at me, or at least it seemed that way.

Hung and bug eyes. LOL! I'd never thought of that!

Anonymous said...

This is a big improvement from last week! It definitely hooked me whereas the one last week didn't. I just reread it to see what had changed. There's more suspense here. It reminds me kind of about this horror game that takes place in a school, White Day. It was pretty scary. The teacher's response about the Carnegie furnaces was amusing, lol.

I was confused about the windows. Are the windows tinted? If they are clear then I'm not sure why closing them would prevent the stalker from looking in? You're a teacher so I imagine I'm missing something here. . . Maybe there are some cloth coverings or blinds over the windows?

This part sounded a bit awkward to me, "I tried to focus on Ms. Link’s daily review, but it was pointless once I’d spotted the fat guy outside. He had hung under a tree for the past half hour with his bug eyes aimed straight at me, or at least it seemed that way." I know what you mean when you say, hanging under a tree, but it sounds a bit odd here. I prefer "sitting." And this phrase, "or at least it seemed that way." That downplays the suspense here. It seems to tell the reader that maybe the protagonist is imagining it.

I would rephrase it like, "I tried to focus on Ms. Link's daily review, but it was pointless with that man outside, sitting under a tree and staring into the classroom. For the past half hour, he glared at me with those bug-eyes, as if. . . "

To be honest, my sentence isn't that great XD But I'm sure if you tweaked it a bit more it would come out perfect :) Everything else was great! This gives me hope. I'm going through the second revision of a short story and right now it's kind of a mess :$ I'm a bit scared I'll never get it right, but I'll just keep trying :P

Anonymous said...

LOL I liked the teacher's response. It's icky that the main character has a stalker. Now, I see why Ben is concerned with the fat guy. I enjoyed your changes.

Keep smiling,

Cara Bristol said...

I like your writing "voice." It's so jaunty.