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It’s Not Me
Again with the yelling.
My sister seriously doesn’t get the idea of sleeping in. Or how mornings should be enjoyed in peace and—
“You said you’d drive today!”
Glancing at the clock I’m annoyed to find I could have slept in twenty more minutes. Georgie was up hours ago, I’m sure. She loves the mirror and as hard as the truth is to me, that stupid piece of glass–and boys–love her.
I didn’t sleep well. I dreamed about Norma. My shrink told me to write down any memories that come to me, including dreams. But this sounds so cliché, like the heroine in a book who has an epiphany from a strange dream full of symbolism. It’s not me.
I put the scissors and newspaper away from last night. The obituaries can wait. My stomach grumbles, and I decide I’m okay to get up now, Dad’s making pancakes. Only in my dreams.
Dad’s already at work and Mom’s long gone.
I slither on the cleanest jeans from off the floor. One quick check in the mirror tells me my brown hair is a mess. I flip my head over, rub my hands through and straighten up. That’s how I roll.
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I like the voice a lot. I’m already intrigued by the clues– the dreams, the obituary. Where are these two supposed to be going? Who is Norma and why is she seeing a shrink? I already have questions that need to be answered.
A few tidbits of nitpicking.
I feel like ‘Again with the yelling’ and ‘My sister seriously…’ could be in the same paragraph. The subject doesn’t change so there is no need for sentence two to be on a whole new line.
I’d suggest ‘ I glanced at the clock, annoyed to find that…’ and ‘I could have slept for twenty more minutes’. More succinct and eliminates starting a sentence with an ‘ing word.
These two sentences:
‘My shrink told me to write down any memories that come to me, including dreams. But this sounds so cliché, like the heroine in a book who has an epiphany from a strange dream full of symbolism.’
Should either be one sentence, or lose the word ‘But’ at the beginning of the 2nd sentence. You have also used the word dream three to four times in this one short piece.
‘My stomach grumbles, and I decide I’m okay to get up now, Dad’s making pancakes.’
No comma before ‘and’. I think this is at least two sentences, depending on where you decide you want the thought to stop:
My stomach grumbles. I decide I’m okay to get up now, because Dad’s making pancakes.
My stomach grumbles and I decide I am okay to get up now. Dad’s making pancakes.
I slither on the cleanest jeans from off the floor.
Slither doesn’t work for me. I don’t know what other word would work here. I know the effect that you’re going for but I’m not sure that slithering on some jeans is a visual that works for me. Maybe others have a suggestion?
Slither did work, but it would be slither into, since it’s the narrator who does the slitherlike action. Why is Dad gone to work, but Mom is just long gone? that’s confusing about Mom. I didn’t like the sentence about the cliche because it’s an intrusion. It’s a sentence about writing and took me out of the story. The obituary thing is very, very intriguing. are those her version of the personals? Her victims?
It’s cliche for a narrator of a story to think things like: “But this sounds so cliché, like the heroine in a book who has an epiphany from a strange dream full of symbolism..”
Obviously she is the heroine of the story and I’m guessing that the narrator’s dreams will important later on.
I am interested in who Norra is and why Angelica is cutting out obituaries.
Also, Angelica says she’s decides to get up after she’s already up and cleaning up her scrapbook project.
Susan @ 2KoP says
Marty, yes, slither into works better. I agree with everyone’s comments about the cliche sentence. The simile didn’t work for me and the sentence took me out of the scene, too. I loved how “that stupid piece of glass” loves her sister. Maybe:
“My shrink told me to write down any memories that come to me, including dreams. But that’s not me. (OR, but I’m no writer. OR but I there are no words for those midnight images).
We’ve learned a lot in this short passage. I like the hints about Norma, the intriguing idea of cutting out obituaries, the fact that she’s seeing a shrink, and we already know enough about her family to understand that there is a lot going on in this household. Good work.
Nicole DeBlois says
The opening really drew me in, but I had to read the first paragraph a couple of times to “get it”. I feel that it is not clear enough. Good Luck to you!
Rob Kennedy says
I think there is a tense problem in the following line. My shrink told me to write down any memories that come to me – should this be came to me
There should be a comma after the word clock,
The line below needs a comma after mirror; and this bit, glass–and boys–love her. Might also work with just commas.
She loves the mirror and as hard as the truth is to me, that stupid piece of glass–and boys–love her.
I slither on the cleanest jeans from off the floor. This is confusing, I slide on, I slip on, maybe one of those will be clearer.
My immediate reaction is, I can’t comment on the style, as a 50 YO man I’ve never read anything like this and I’m afraid it wouldn’t be for me. Obviously, you are not writing for my demographic, so maybe you have the vernacular just right.
I feel you kept point of view and voice consistent, so well done.
Keep at it; you are going well so far.
Always, always, everywhere, every “writing coach” say “no, no” to a story start where the main character wakes up as the first thing. I actually find it tends to work fine, and it does work here too. Really well; all those annoying disturbances in the morning drowsiness makes a nice, concentrated image of the character herself as well as tasters of the family around her, hints at her problems and a mother gone. Now, I am curious about the rest, I want to read more (and I certainly don’t want the whole story or even more about mum here, it would ruin the flow (and certainly wouldn’t feel natural to the girl’s thoughts t this time), this hinting is perfect! Well done!
Agree on the slither INTO the jeans, but that’s a detail.
You have a great start. The introduction caught my interest and I would have read on if I could! I don’t have any trouble with the style and situation.
I generally agree with the other comments. The only additional nit-picky suggestions I can come up with are as follows:
* “in twenty more minutes” => my suggestion is “to find I could have slept for another twenty minutes.”
* “She loves the mirror…”: This sentence sounds a bit long. One alternative is to split it up, like so: “She loves the mirror. As hard as the truth is to me, that stupid piece of glass–and the boys–love her too.” Though if you do so, then the “she loves the mirror”-sentence becomes a bit short and could perhaps be elaborate just a touch: “She loves to putter in front of the mirror.”
Alternatively, what do you think about moving this mirror-sentence to the last paragraph where the heroine herself looks at her mirror image? It would provide a great contrast between her sister’s careful morning routines and those of the narrator.
* I agree with other comments that the dream cliché-paragraph does sound a bit odd. The rest of the excerpt consists mostly of short statements, so I’d suggest that you split this paragraph too into the same style of sentences. Here is my proposal, just for inspiration:
I didn’t sleep well. I dreamed about Norma again. My shrink told me to write down any memories that come to me. Dreams included. But this sounds so cliché! Like something the heroine of a story (book/movie?) would do when she’s had one of her strange, prophetic dreams (epiphanies). It’s not me.
* Scissors and newspaper: It sounds slightly better to me to write “I put away the scissors and newspaper from last night”, moving the word “away” forward a bit. I wondered if perhaps the scissors would have slid down from the quilt during the night, but on further reflection I think you are right not to bother with details like that because it would distract from the “main point”: the obituaries.
* In my eyes it flows better if you merge “Only in my dreams” with the next paragraph:
“…I’m ok to get up now. Dad’s making pancakes.
[Yeah, right!] Only in my dreams. Dad’s already at work…”
* Finally, the position of the word “brown” sounds icky to me when you describe her hair. Personally I like something like “the mirror tells me my hair is its usual brown mess” better.
That’s all I can think of, for better or worse. Good luck with the rest of the story! You’re doing great so far.
Julie Daines says
Yay! I love it! This is a good beginning.
There have already been a lot of useful comments, so I don’t know what I can add. Obviously you can’t say “I glanced at the the clock” because that’s past tense and this is present tense, but you could rewrite that sentence to spiff it up. Maybe “I glance at the clock and moan. I could have slept twenty more minutes. Now I’m really annoyed.” (Nice job spelling out twenty! 🙂 )
I think some commenters are confused about the tense because this is a small sample and there are a few moments of flashback in past tense
I like the idea of inserting “yeah, right” in the dads making pancakes sequence.
And I was just wondering – a little thought here – what if instead of the heroine cliche part, you put something about how she’s afraid to write down her memories. Afraid of what she might remember. It kind of ups the intensity.
Nice job. The voice is still great and I have a good sense of plot! Yipee!