Monday, September 10, 2012

Entry #8

Name: Robin Hall
Genre: YA Magical Realism
TAGLINE: For seventeen-year-old Rae and her unusual gift of “lovesense,” love literally stinks, that is, until she smells her own match in an unidentified baby picture.

1ST 250 WORDS:
I often regret my part-time job as the ice cream/photo counter girl at Alfred’s Drug Store. But in a town as small as Sparrow, a seventeen-year-old doesn’t have a lot of options.

No more reading relationships at work, I remind myself as I tap my cross-trainers in time with the photo processor’s whir, whir, flip.  It spews three hundred prints of the same two smiling faces but I’m not looking. Never again, especially after last week’s debacle with Mom’s friend Barb. Trust me, being the first to know that your mom’s best friend’s husband is leaving her for their pool boy sucks the big one.

Craning my neck I see the “Alfred’s has the Answer” digital clock: forty-seven minutes to bride time. The whir is louder than our cheesy elevator music, and my nose, even though I’m telling it no, is taking in bigger and bigger breaths. I pop another Altoid into my already crammed mouth. I don’t want to know! Think about Barb. But I’m like a crack addict needing my next hit. And there isn’t an addiction recovery program to save me.

I pull a photo off the top of the stack. Even with the wonderful aroma of fresh ink, it doesn’t begin to cover the stench of this couple. It’s more than that rotten-egg sulfur smell I made in chem lab yesterday. It’s also rotting meat and moldy, squishy potatoes. A good dinner gone wrong.

As I squint at the picture, the formally clad couple separates, not mere millimeters like I usually see, but to opposite sides of the photo.


  1. That tagline is very unusual indeed. I'm Very curious. This is a quite an original idea for a story. I want to understand how she can smell photographs and why?? Yeah. Nice work.

  2. I like the premise, but does she only smell bad relationships? If not, I'd modify the tag to "sometimes love literally stinks." I liked the first sentence until I read the rest, then I felt like it was wasted. I'd start with the fourth paragraph.

  3. Sorry, that above comment was me, Judy Mintz.

  4. Hmmm... Tagline is awesome. I was really hooked. Quite an interesting premise.

    But I didn't quite connect with the MC. The voice is there, but there is a lot of other "noise" that seems to be weighing down the amazing premise here. I might snip the first paragraph and get right to it. The second paragraph is where the action starts for me. Then the third paragraph slows down for me again (I didn't really understand the expression "bride time". Is this quitting time?). Bu then it picks up again with the altoid sentence. I loved this. I'd skip the first part of the paragraph and start with the altoids because it really shows the inner tension of your MC and her trying to show restraint.

    Then paragraph 3 and 4 are great. You had me hooked on these. I'd read more after this. I'd just focus on cleaning up the preceding paragraphs. Well done!
    I really enjoyed this!

  5. This entry caught my attention when I read the tagline. I love the idea- so creative! I really liked the opening. The only question I had was about smelling the relationships- how does that work? I love character development (I'm not so needy about action in the first paragraph), so a few more descriptions of other relationships she might have smelled would have helped me understand. (Or maybe if I read more, I'd my comment may not even be necessary!)

    Good luck. Love this :)
    Leslie (#2)

  6. I'd work on the tagline a little:

    For seventeen-year-old Rae and her unusual gift of “lovesense,” love stinks...literally. That is,until she smells her own match in an unidentified baby picture.

    I'm interested in her power, though, and am interested to see where this goes.

  7. Yay, an unusual premise! That caught my eye immediately. You've got a great teen voice.

    I agree with Judy's take on your tagline.

    You write really well, so consider these stylistic nits. I thought the line about the pool boy funny, but had to read twice to work out all the relationships. Can you simplify this somehow? I'm feeling out of it, but I'm pretty sure I didn't get what the bride time line was all about. Why the specificity for the type of clock? And is "bride time" slang? What is whirring? The clock? Or is it the copy machine?

    I think the crack references might be overdoing it. If it is really that dire, I can't believe she'd hold down this particular job even if finding another would be hard. It also saps the humor from the scene - something I'm sure you don't want to do. Also - if the mc's mouth is crammed with altoids, I have difficulty believing she'd put in another. Maybe just say she hadn't finished with the last one or how her tongue is getting sore from popping one after the other or some such.

    I love how you show her perceptions of the photo. I want to read more!

  8. Love love love the tagline. And the voice is magic my dear. :)

  9. The tagline is interesting and I like the voice a lot. It's a really interesting concept, too. I'd never think of someone being able to smell bad relationship. I would totally read on.

    But I do have to agree about the "crack" addict comment. I'm sure there's a better comparison that can be made. It broke me from the flow of the story.

  10. Thank you everyone for all your input!!! I've quirked the 1st page already. But welcome any more advise:)

  11. Love the concept! What a great story idea. I wonder what is going to develop next (wink).

    I think your opening paragraph is great. Although I don't know the name of the mc based on this excerpt. The first sentence in the second paragraph confused me. Maybe something like this? I remind myself, as I tap my cross-trainers in time with the photo processor’s whir, whir, flip, that I must not read relationships anymore.