Feb 19 2012

Zoey’s Review Forum

Published by at 4:38 pm under Review Forums

Zoey: “I’m writing a YA story about a pulling pranks, getting in trouble, getting put in jail, and hitchhiking to Florida.”

17 responses so far

17 Responses to “Zoey’s Review Forum”

  1. Zoeyon 26 Feb 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Here’s my beginning:

    Just for the record, I am not stalking; sitting on a branch outside’s someone’s window is not stalking. I’m merely trying to catch his attention without alerting the members of his family of my presence. Nothing creepy.
    To be completely fair I was doing it for a good cause. I needed to Seth to help me on my quest for revenge against evil ne’er-do-wells. Plus, I think he’s kind of cute. Snapping off a twig from the tree, I threw it at Seth’s window. There was no response. I broke off a larger a twig this time, hit it again. The wood tapped the glass. Seth took out his ear buds, turned his head from side to side before shrugging and returning to his laptop. I was getting mighty frustrated, and the branch was starting to hurt my ass. I reached above my and, with a large Crack! An entire branch broke off. Holding it like a javelin, I aimed it carefully. There was a shatter of glass and a dull thud heard as the branch flew into the room. I fist pumped.
    Meanwhile, Seth was clutching his chest, his eyes bugging out. After taking a few deep breaths, he approached the window and peered out into the night. “Katherine?” he said while squinting, “the fuck?”
    I grinned, and I started to get onto my knees. The branch shook under my weight, but I paid no heed to it. I only needed it for a few more seconds. “Out of the way!” I screamed, as I jumped on to my feet. The branch finally broke, but my hands were already firmly grasping the branch above me. After a few seconds of swinging wildly, I let go of the branch when my feet were facing Seth’s room, and dove into it.
    As luck would have it, I ended up lying on Seth’s bed. I guess it was less luck then the fact that his bed took up about three-fourths of the room. Either way, I managed to get into his room without hurting anything. “WOO!” I yelled, pounding on the bed with my fists, “score for The Katherine-ator!”
    “Katherine!” he whispered, “Shut the hell up! My parents are going to hear you!”
    I didn’t say anything, but I smiled. Who cared about the consequences if they’re only blocking your path to success?
    Apparently Seth did, though, so I stayed quiet. I rummaged around in my purse until Seth sighed and said, “Katherine, what are you doing here?”
    Ooh, questions. I liked questions; especially when I knew the answer to them. “Well,” I said, “Do you remember that time when those kids would pick on me for having braces, and then no one would help me, but then you would come up to me after everyone left and said that all those guys were jerks and that they were idiots, and one day you’d help me get them back, but then I declined, and you asked me if I was sure, and I said yes, and you said okay and that you hoped I would stay strong, and then you walked away?”
    Seth gave me a bewildered look. “No.”
    “Nope, you said it. I have it right here.” I looked around in my purse until I extracted a small, white notebook covered in paint splatters I flipped through the pages until I found the right page. “Here it is. Thursday January 15th 2009. 2:15, during last recess.” I closed the notebook. “So now I need you to help me.”
    “The fuck?” Seth repeated. “Kat, that was years ago. We were still in junior high then.”
    “A promise is a promise, Seth,” I singsonged.
    Seth buried his face into his hands. “What am I going to do with you, Katherine?” he said.
    “Help me,” I stated.
    Seth collapsed into his chair. “Alright,” he said after a minute, “Let’s play a game.”
    I bounced on Seth’s bed. “I like games.”
    “I know,” he said, “So here’s how it goes. I ask you a bunch of questions, and you have to answer them honestly. If I like what I hear, I’m in. But only if. Ready?
    I nodded fervently. “Shoot.”
    “First off, why me? Why not Amy or Shelby or whatever shit you hang out with?”
    “You’ve got three things I need,” I said, counting off each thing on my fingers, “One: Adresses. These group of scumbags are your friends, and if anyone has their addresses, it’s this douche right here.” I pointed at him.
    “You expect me to work with you when you after you call my friends scumbags and insult me?”
    “You expect me to answer your questions after you call my friends shit and cut me off?” I countered. He clammed up. “Good. Two: Wheels. God knows I would die for a car, but my parents are as cheap as hell. Not to mention I seemed to recall one family having not one, not two, but three cars, Seth?” He rolled his eyes, but he knew he couldn’t argue with that. “And three: Money. One of us is loaded, with an all designer wardrobe, their own car, and like fifty credit cards, while the other one has to work part time at Bulk Barn™. You want to wager which one is which?”
    “So basically you’re a gold digger.”
    “No. Gold diggers don’t ask for addresses.”
    Seth leaned back into his chair. “Okay. But why now? And what do you need addresses for? And where are you going to drive? And what do you plan to buy?”
    “Nuh uuhhhh,” I sang with a wiggle of my finger, “You only get to ask one question each turn, Seth.
    “Fine,” he said, “why now, then?”
    “Because I hadn’t come up with my plan till now. Duh.”
    “Why’d it take so long to think up? Just put a whoopee cushion on his seat or something.”
    “Oh god, Seth, you are so lame.” I leaned back so that I was resting against the headboard of the bed. “You can’t just pull any old prank. It has to be tailor made for their personality.”
    “Well, what’s the prank we’re pulling?”
    I shrug. “Stick with me and find out.”
    “That wasn’t an answer.”
    “That wasn’t a question.”
    Seth closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. “Just…Why, Katherine, why?”
    I pursed my lips. This was going anywhere, and time was ticking. “Let’s switch it up,” I said. “Now I ask you a question and you answer.”
    Seth bit his lip.
    “Don’t worry,” I assured him, “I only have one question.”
    “Okay,” he said, stretching the word, “Go.”
    “Are you in or what?”
    Seth paused. “Ah…” his eyes darted around his room. He fiddled with the objects on his desk. All the while, I was waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting.
    “Fine.” He said at last. “I’ll help, but if I get thrown in jail, so help me-“
    “Yay!” I said, jumping up and hugging him. “Oh trust me, Seth. You won’t regret it.”
    He wrinkled his brow together and gave an uneasy smile. “I sure hope you’re right.”

  2. YoungAuthoron 26 Feb 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Why is katherine so hell-bent on getting them back??

  3. HomuHomuon 27 Feb 2012 at 7:26 am

    Can I just say something? I really enjoyed your protagonist. Her personality is interesting enough that I want to keep reading.

    I’ll give a proper review when I have time. A few notes before I forget:

    – The fact that she’s planning to prank-revenge wasn’t very clear in-story and I’m still not sure I know exactly who she’s targeting.

    – I like that her actions and dialogue say a lot about her personality, without explicitly telling us.

    – Do you have a summary of your story?

    I’m looking forward to more from you 🙂

  4. Zoeyon 27 Feb 2012 at 12:57 pm

    @YoungAuthor: Because Katherine is a very stubborn person. She likes to come out on top. And if she doesn’t, she’ll make sure no one messes with her again.

    @HomuHomu; -Thanks. That’s really amazing to hear. ^_^
    -Sorry if I don’t make that clear. I explain it a little better in the next scene.

  5. YoungAuthoron 27 Feb 2012 at 4:22 pm

    @HomuHomu- long time no see (computer-wise). Hi!

    @Zoey- yeah i like your opening its a knockout. although

    “Fine.” He said at last. “I’ll help, but if I get thrown in jail, so help me-“
    “Yay!” I said, jumping up and hugging him. “Oh trust me, Seth. You won’t regret it.”
    He wrinkled his brow together and gave an uneasy smile. “I sure hope you’re right.”

    ^^this part is very very very cliche. maybe you could change it up a bit?

  6. Zoeyon 27 Feb 2012 at 6:10 pm

    @YoungAuthor: Thanks for that. I will. ^_^
    Question: How would you recommend I change it? What would I change?

  7. B. McKenzieon 27 Feb 2012 at 6:44 pm

    “I’m merely trying to catch his attention…” It might be clearer to replace his attention with “Seth’s attention” here.

    I think that the main character does a really good job of suggesting that she has an… unusual view on reality. I thought it was pretty effective/comical that she did a fist-pump after throwing a branch/javelin through Seth’s window.

    When I was reading this the first time, I thought that her throwing a branch straight through a window involved some sort of superpower. In hindsight, I suspect that she’s not superpowered and that this could be phrased more carefully (e.g. to make it sound like it was a totally desperate heave).

    “Katherine? The fuck?” This dialogue feels entirely believable.

    “I guess it was less luck than the fact that his bed took up about three-quarters of the room.” I like this detail—it covers a plot hole (that she just happened to land on the bed) and helps develop the setting (it’s much easier to visualize the room with this detail). I like that she doesn’t tell us that the room is tiny and that she’s cramped in with Seth, but that’s an obvious implication if his bed takes up so much of the room.

    “Score for the Katherine-ator!” She’s a bit of a Cloud Cuckoolander, which I find intriguing and promising.

    “The branch shook under my weight, but I paid no heed to it.” I suspect that the second phrase here could be smoother. It might help to replace the second phrase with an action that suggests she’s proceeding on without any particular care to the branch shaking. (However, noting that the branch is shaking suggests that she IS paying heed to it).

    “Shut the hell up!” could maybe be softened as “Shut up!”

    “Who cared about the consequences if they’re only blocking your path to success?” I think she could show/imply this more.

    ““Do you remember that time when those kids would pick on me for having braces, and then no one would help me, but then you would come up to me after everyone left and said that all those guys were jerks and that they were idiots, and one day you’d help me get them back, but then I declined, and you asked me if I was sure, and I said yes, and you said okay and that you hoped I would stay strong, and then you walked away?” I love this decidedly eccentric response to “What are you doing here?” His bewildered response is also humorous.

    “then I declined…” Unless “declined” is consistent with her voice, I’d recommend something less formal like “said no” or “didn’t want to”.

    Both of these characters have really strong personalities and I’m cautiously optimistic that Seth would have a personality even if someone as loud and wacky as Katherine weren’t in the room with him. (One concern I have about my own work is that the ordinary guy gets sort of boring when he doesn’t have someone wacky in the room with him).

    A few of the dialogue tags could be removed. For example, “What am I going to do with you, Katherine?” he said. “Help me,” I stated. I think “he said” and “I stated” could be removed.

    I like the uneasy relationship between the two protagonists, although I’m not understanding why Seth is willing to go along with her.

    Gold diggers most assuredly DO ask for addresses. How else would they estimate what their 50% will look like after the divorce? 😛

    How is his money relevant to whatever it is she’s trying to do?

    I’d recommend giving him a more memorable response to “You won’t regret it” than “I sure hope you’re right.” Maybe something like “I am NOT paying for your lawyer.”

    I’m really feeling this. Good job!

  8. YoungAuthoron 28 Feb 2012 at 6:40 pm

    this one i’m suggesting only works if Seth and Katherine are going to be lovers.

    “Are you in or what?”
    Seth paused. “Ah…” his eyes darted around his room. He fiddled with the objects on his desk. All the while, I was waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting.
    “Yeah I’ll come,” Seth finally said, sighing.
    “I knew you’d come,” I lied.
    “How so?”
    ” ‘Cause you find me irresistable,” I tempted.
    Seth turned cherry red and opened his mouth before closing it again. He tried to come up with an answer, but I left before he could.

    Something along those lines would still give it the same effect while taking the cliche out of it. feel free to use it if you want to!

  9. Zoeyon 28 Feb 2012 at 8:16 pm

    @B. McKenzie: Thanks. That’s so great to hear. And I’ll get around to the changes you suggested. ^_^

    In regards to the last line: I like that. I was thinking, “Just be aware I’m not busting you out of Juvie.” Especially considering she does end up in jail at one point. 😛

    And I swear I explain everything in a few scenes! 🙂

    @YoungAuthor: I do have hopes Seth and Katherine become lovers, but I’d rather they become close friends first. Thanks for the idea anyway. 😀

  10. HomuHomuon 28 Feb 2012 at 10:00 pm

    YA: Oh, hello there.

    Zoey: Oh well McKenzie pretty much said what I needed to say on characterization. But for this instance, I’ll be a parrot.

    Like I’ve mentioned before, I love that your character manages to show us her wild personality through her actions and dialogue. And she gave us so much in just one chapter. She really stands out to me and really pulled me into reading more. You are posting more, correct?

    – “I guess it was less luck than the fact that his bed took up about three-quarters of the room.” – I think this could be smoother. (i.e. “I guess it had less to do with luck and more with…” or something to that effect.)

    – “I was thinking, “Just be aware I’m not busting you out of Juvie.” Especially considering she does end up in jail at one point.” – That’s good, you can use it to make the end more memorable and as an added bonus, it can be brought up later on.

    Pretty much everything else was already pointed out and I see no point in bringing it up again, so yay, late to the party.

    I will say this, I like that you don’t want to rush any romance between the characters. One thing I can’t stand is when the romance in a story feels contrived. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine. There needs to be chemistry between the characters or it’s just a huge failure.

    I truly am looking forward to more. And I’m not just saying that to be nice.

  11. B. McKenzieon 29 Feb 2012 at 1:37 am

    Seconding what HomuHomu wrote: I forgot to mention this before, but it’s very refreshing that the girl and guy talk about something other than romance. I think a lot of relatively young authors have major issues with writing a character of the opposite sex than the main character without postmarking him/her as “JUST THE LOVE INTEREST.”

  12. Zoeyon 29 Feb 2012 at 5:25 pm

    @HomuHomu: Thank you for the nice comment. ^_^ And I am indeed posting more.

    It’s also a pet peeve of mine for forced romance. I don’t mind it as a subplot, but you really need to fully develop *both* characters before adding that in.

    @Everyone: I was simply wondering on a last name for Katherine, because I can’t seem to get one to fit quite right. I was thinking to use a slightly commonplace name to contrast with her wild personality and, in a way, accentuate it, but that idea isn’t working very well. Help?

  13. Zoeyon 02 Mar 2012 at 11:05 am

    Before I post my next scene, please keep in mind that this is a first draft. Everything is rough and ugly, especially my grammar. On that note, don’t sugar coat. I like the truth, just be polite. ^_^

    So here it is:

    Grabbing his stuff, Seth headed toward the door, and we walked out. The cool, crisp air blew across my face and tickled my cheeks. I gurgled and skipped toward Seth’s car, letting the moonlight illuminate my path.

    We got into the car, turned on the heater, and then backed out.
    “So,” Seth said, turning to me, “Now what?”
    “Alright. Our first step is to go to the mall.”
    “The mall? At 11 pm?”
    “Don’t worry. It’s open.”
    “Yeah, only for…” He stopped to check his watch.”45 more minutes.”
    “Then we better run, shouldn’t we?”
    Seth gritted his teeth together, but he stayed silent.
    The mall wasn’t too far away from Seth’s house, but it felt like forever. Seth refused to turn on the radio (“It’s the middle of the night, Katherine. I am not going to blare hip hop tunes across town in the middle of the night.”) and the silence pounded in my ears. I stared out the window and hummed a quiet melody, but the awkwardness continued to dance in front of my eyes. I wanted so desperately to say something, anything. I wanted to thank him for agreeing to come, to apologize for acting like a pest, to promise I’d make it up to him, but I couldn’t. It wasn’t the right time.
    Finally, Seth said something. “I still don’t get it.”
    “What don’t you get?”
    “Why are you insistent that you get them back?”
    “There’s no use questioning my motives, you know. I’m still making you help me.”
    “I know. Still…”
    I hesitated with my reply. I wasn’t good with explaining to people my reasoning. Maybe because no one ever asked. They just went along with everything I said. [I’m wary about the last three sentences. Should I keep them or no?]
    “I don’t like…not winning.” I pulled the ends of my hair. “God, that sounds stupid.”
    “Kinda.” Seth chuckled. “Care to elaborate?
    “I’ve had this…this chunk of my life where I always came out last.”
    Seth raised an eyebrow. “Right. Because I can believe that.”
    “It’s true!”
    “uh huh.”
    I let out a noisy breath. “God, you are impossible.”
    “Well, it’s hard to imagine the Katherine not getting what she wants.”
    “Oh come off of it. You’re spoilt rotten.”
    “Aye! Back off the insults or I might just drive back home.”
    “Why don’t you? Why’d you come in the first place?”
    That caused the silence to return to its home in the car, this time accompanied with uncomfort.
    “We’re here.”
    I whipped my head forward to see the Town and Country Mall blocking my vision.
    Starts to unbuckle his seat belt. “Wait!”
    “What?”
    “Do you have any money on you?”
    “How much?” His voice was strained.
    “I dunno. Just take a handful and we’ll find out on the way.”
    His lips came together tightly. “Okay.”
    I extracted my rainbow splattered shopping cart from my bag and walked toward the store.
    “Where are we going?” Seth asked as we passed the first few stores.
    “Take a look at the shopping list and tell me yourself.”
    Seth takes hold off it and raises his eyebrows. “Super Awesome Cool Weird Great Secret Adjective-Heavy Shopping List,” he said, reading aloud.
    “Confetti
    -Paint – Red, Blue, Yellow
    -Anchovies
    -Brushes
    -Fabric Marker
    -Bleach
    -Shaving Cream
    -Can Opener
    -Vinegar
    -XL Clothes – Wal Mart
    -A dozen eggs”
    he looked at me and frowned. “Can I ask exactly what we’re doing?”
    “Nope.” I shrug. “Now let’s head to Wal-Mart!”

  14. Grenacon 02 Mar 2012 at 6:46 pm

    I like this story, it looks like it’s gon’ be a real fun read 🙂 I especially like your protag, her sort of “out there” personality s’cool.
    Her list is worrysome, what is she planning :C?

    I wanna crit, but I don’t know what to say :c everyone’s kinda dug in already. Anyways, I wanna see where this go and, as they say on ff.net, PPM 😀

  15. YoungAuthoron 03 Mar 2012 at 6:50 pm

    “I gurgled and skipped toward Seth’s car…” it thinks thats supposed to be giggled. right?

    i say keep the sentences in my opnion, it shows a contrast to her normally wild persona.

    “Oh come off of it. You’re spoilt rotten.”
    ^this sounds very British. if their American, make them sound like it 🙂

    “Nope.” I shrug. “Now let’s head to Wal-Mart!”

    ^dont use real stores in your story. just say like Super-Mart or Marty’s

    your welcome 😀

  16. Zoeyon 05 Mar 2012 at 8:52 am

    Yup, I mean giggled. Silly me. 😛

    Does it? I’m from Canada, and that’s how we speak around these parts.

    Alright. Thanks. ^_^

  17. YoungAuthoron 05 Mar 2012 at 3:54 pm

    if they’re Canadian then thats fine

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