Thursday, July 12, 2012

Magic Eight Ball

Jaybird from the Bird's Nest tagged me in the Magic Eight Ball Meme. The idea is to post an excerpt you're struggling with, ask a question, flip you guys upside down and see how you answer it. :)

Seriously, this could not have come at a better time. I need some input! I recently had a light bulb moment. I read someone else's opening on a blog, and loved it. I commented as much. But when reading other people's comments I saw a lot of them said that they were drawn in- until the info dump.

Info dump? I've seen info dumps and this was not one. Except, wait, okay, yeah, maybe it was. And okay, yeah, maybe I didn't realize it because maybe I have something similar at the beginning of my YA. Yeah. Whoops.

So I went to revise, thinking I could probably share that info somewhere else. Spread it out some. I highlighted it and hit delete.

And ya' know what? I didn't miss it. Not one little bit.

So, it's gone now but I would still love some input on my opening. I also have a bit of a prologue, it's just a couple of paragraphs opening the book. Should I cut it? is question number one. What do you think of the rest of it? is question number two.

It's a bit of a long excerpt (about 400 words), so if you don't finish it that's fine. If you could even just comment telling me when you lost interest that would be incredibly helpful. Thank you for any input you have!!

Oh! And I get to tag eight others. :)

Ashley Nixon
Cassie Mae
Tracey Joseph
Rena at Doctor Faerie Godmother
Angeline Trevena
Suzi at The Literary Engineer
and two others. . .
I tell you what, if you haven't already been tagged and you want to be, then you're it!

            Erwin tossed and turned on the rough carpet of the school library, but the reason he couldn’t sleep had nothing to do with the uncomfortable floor. He didn’t need to look around to know that no one was sleeping. There were all just lying there in silence, the fear and tension in the air so thick it reminded Erwin of movie scenes where the ceiling is slowly coming down to crush everyone. The only difference was that in the movies they always escape just in time.
            He couldn’t believe only a few hours ago he had been working out in the school gym. He remembered thinking, this day couldn’t possibly get any worse. He laughed at the thought now. He cringed listening to the banging coming from outside as whatever those things were tried to claw and crash their way into the locked school.


            Erwin had been on his way to lunch when he first saw them. Justin had Natalie pushed up against her faded orange locker, his tongue down her beautiful throat. Erwin’s own throat had tightened and his stomach churned. So much for lunch.
            It had only been a week since Natalie had broken his heart, after dating for ten months. Now she had her fingers wrapped around the fat neck of that dick, Justin.

            Erwin tried to push the image out of his mind and focus on the weights he was lifting. He hoped the pain in his arms would block out thoughts of Natalie. Problem was he could hear the cheerleaders finishing up their practice in the empty lunchroom across the hall from the gym doors.

It was 4:15; there were only a few other guys in the weight room. Basketball practice didn’t start for another forty five minutes. Then he’d have to face Justin. With any luck he’d get a chance to elbow him in the face when Coach Spears wasn’t looking.

            He was enjoying the thought of Justin’s nose bleeding when he heard someone shout to call 911. Erwin jumped up and ran across the gym, slamming open the doors. At the end of the hall, Rob Grey stood in the school doorway with his seven-year-old sister, Amy. Rob was on the basketball team with Erwin, and lived across the street from the school. He was shaking, and the little girl was white as a ghost.


  1. I always like to make it clear that I'm no expert on this kind of thing, but I really enjoyed it. It feels quite tight, and the action is quick to come in to play which I love!

  2. I agree with Kyra. This is good!

  3. Oh I miss this story :) My hubby talks about it all the time! (Zombie nerd, lol.)

    You know, I didn't miss what you took out either, because I didn't notice it, lol. We get a good sense of Erwin and his surroundings right off the bat. :)

    1. Thanks Cassie!
      It wasn't a huge thing that I cut, which is why I don't think I realized it was 'a dump.' But it wasn't necessary. (Clearly!)

  4. Hi Rach- thanks for participating in this meme. OK, so at no point did I loose interest. I enjoyed this. And I am just like Kyra, reminding everyone, I am no expert, just someone who reads A LOT. I liked the beginning, it just sets the fear/anticipation of what's to come.

  5. This is a great excerpt, and a really great beginning. I don't know if you need to start with the part about being on the library floor, but that's sort of a personal preference thing. A lot of books have a little excerpt from later in the book right at the beginning to give readers a taste, so it's not a big deal.

    I don't miss any "missing information," but I can tell you that you use the verb to have a couple times when you could nix it and get a slightly more tense feel to your words.

    If you aren't interested in how I'd handle it, skip this part and know that I really like this opening.

    You use "had" three times in your first paragraph after the jump. I don't know if you're trying for Erwin coming into this scene after the fact, but it might be more jarring for Erwin to see it happening. I.E. Justin pushed Natalie up against the locker and she wrapped her fingers around his neck, etc. That's what I noticed. (And you heard the part where I said I liked it, right?)

  6. That's really helpful, thanks!
    See, I can't decide on whether to keep those first two paragraphs or not! I've had people like it, but I know I've read things saying not to do that! I think I need to just cowboy up and cut them. . .

  7. I'm on the side of cutting the prologue. I don't feel that it does much. I assume it's to give a taste of what they're going to go through, but on the back of the book, we'd probably know a little about what happens. And from what I've read myself, agents don't seem to like prologues. So unless it's very important, I would leave it off.

    That's my opinion at least.

    Thanks for the tag. I've been thinking more about titles for my WIP, so I might have to do this too.

    1. Thanks Suzi! I am going to cut it. I've decided. Now I just need to go do it. . .
      Looking forward to hearing yours! :)

  8. I also agree that cutting the prologue would be beneficial. It really doesn't add much, and you could turn off a good number agents with just the word PROLOGUE. Why tempt fate?

    Aside from that, this is really pretty tight and a smooth read! :)

  9. Woohoo! You're doing Magic 8 Ball, too!!! :D

    I don't think it's dumpy, just needs some smoothing out. And two paragraphs is not worth a prologue. Just merge them into ch 1 and recount. Check your email. I sent my crit in a document for you.

    Keep up the good work! :)

    1. Thank you so much Melissa! Your critique was very helpful! I really appreciate you taking the time to do that, you rock!

  10. Interesting topic because on Lee Child's wrote a thought-provoking article on the biggest writing myths. And you guessed it, show don't tell isn't always right. Maybe if you didn't notice the info dump it was because it didn't bother you. Anyway, here's the link to Child's article, which is pause for thought, definitely.

    Almost forgot, happy IWSG.