Author Topic: From Day One- contemp/chick lit 800 word opening  (Read 157 times)

Offline leah.anaya

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From Day One- contemp/chick lit 800 word opening
« on: March 15, 2019, 02:31:35 AM »
Chapter One- The Beginning

Iím not sure how this happened.  My life was on a set path.  I knew where I was going to live, what I was going to do, who I was going to marry.  Somehow, that plan got off course and now itís all up in the air.  I do not like things to be up in the air.  I like plans.  Schedules.  Timelines.  I donít like surprises or even educated guesses.  I like to know whatís going to happen and when.

Which is why it worked well for me to know that I found my soulmate before I was even born.  Well, that doesnít really make sense, but thatís what happened with Wesley Montoya.  Or, at least I thought we were soulmates.  NowÖwell, now Iím lost.  And confused.  Again, not a fan. 

My mom, Jaime, and Wesleyís mom, Danielle, have been friends forever.  Like, for their ever, since they were in first grade and my momís family moved up to Seaside, Oregon from California.  Iíve seen so many pictures of them in their little two-piece swimsuits on the beach- my mom with her dirty blonde hair tamed into pigtails, and Danielleís brown locks flailing in the wind.  The cutest little girls ever.  They even recreated some of their photos when they had been friends for twenty years, then again for their forty-year friend-iversary (minus the two-piece bathing suits).  Forty years!  Thatís such a long time for girls to stay friends, and theyíre still going strong.  So adorable.

So, the moms are cute and great.  But enough about them.  Wesley and I are best friends for sure.  We have been through so, so much together, good and bad.  We were potty trained together.  Learned to ride bikes and swim together.  Started our soccer careers together on the same Lilí Kickers team.  Got baptized at thirteen together.  After the horrors of high school, we had a brief time of separation, called college, and then we were right back together in the same neighborhood, our home town, and we were planning to start a business downtown.  Together.  Seeing a theme?  Itís a lot of ďtogether.Ē  A long time of together.

Before I get into the whole story (twenty-three years worth- thatís a lot of story!), Iíll give the gist of my dilemma.  When you think about it, itís kind of ridiculous:  Iím in love with my best friend of literally my entire life, and with my boyfriend of two years.  Both of whom are in love with me.  So either way I may have a little heartache, but Iíve got a future with a wonderful man.  Poor me, right?  Boo-freakin-hoo.  But still, my mom always taught me that just because someone else may have it worse, that doesnít take away from my story or pain.

So, here it is.  My story, my pain.  My happiness, and my what-the-hell-am-I-going-to-do-ness.

Really the best place to start is the beginning.  Well not all the way at the beginning in this situation, because that would be us in-utero, and I donít remember that far.  I guess my very first clear memory of Wesley and my relationship is when we were four.  It was summer and we were at one of our houses, no idea which one, in a kiddie pool in the backyard.  I fell in face first after doing a dance-spin move, and I was pulled out by my mom on one side and Wesley on the other.  It was probably just my mom that actually did the lifting, but the point is that Wes rushed over to be by my side.  He was there for me. 

I remember cry-laughing because I hated water in my face, but it was such an awesome twirl move!  I had been dry practicing all day.  I looked up at Wes, who had knelt down next to me.  He looked directly at me with his green and gold eyes, took my hand, and, with the most earnest four-year-old face, said, ďViolet, that was the best twirl Iíve ever seen in my life.Ē

That was it.  The moment I knew I loved him.  Thatís probably not completely true, and my mom says I probably only remember her and Danielle telling us about it and not the actual event.  But I do.  I do remember his sweet, loving face with his crooked half grin and his calming, gentle voice.  My Wesley.

My best friend Wesley.  We have always been so close and had such a strong bond, and I have to believe that no matter what decision I make, he will always be in my life.  For years, I thought he was meant to be the father of my children- I know he would eventually accept being their godfather instead.  Iím sure of it.  Pretty sure anyway.  Like 50/50.

Online heartsongjt

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Re: From Day One- contemp/chick lit 800 word opening
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2019, 06:30:04 PM »

My mom, Jaime, and Wesleyís mom, Danielle, have been friends foreverLike, for their ever, since they were in first grade and my momís family moved up to Seaside, Oregon from California.  Iíve seen so many pictures of them in their little two-piece swimsuits on the beach- my mom with her dirty blonde hair tamed into pigtails, and Danielleís brown locks flailing in the wind.  The cutest little girls ever.  They even recreated some of their photos when they had been friends for twenty years, then again for their forty-year friend-iversary (minus the two-piece bathing suits).  Forty years!  Thatís such a long time for girls to stay friends, and theyíre still going strong.  So adorable.


My mom, Jaime, and Wesleyís mom, Danielle, have been friends forever. Like, ever since they were in first grade and my momís family moved up to Seaside, Oregon from California.

For me, that was the only place that interrupted the flow of your story.      Jan

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Offline leah.anaya

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Re: From Day One- contemp/chick lit 800 word opening
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2019, 09:32:01 PM »
I just rewrote it so it's broken up a little more.  Thank you so much for the feedback!

Online heartsongjt

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Re: From Day One- contemp/chick lit 800 word opening
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2019, 08:25:23 AM »
I just rewrote it so it's broken up a little more.  Thank you so much for the feedback!

You welcome. Thank you leah, for taking the time to comment on other MWC members work.   Jan
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Offline landmersm

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Re: From Day One- contemp/chick lit 800 word opening
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2019, 12:51:49 PM »
Maybe I'm not the right one to comment - you know, being a non-chick and all, but I don't mind a good love story. (I prefer tragic love stories best, but I digress.)

You have a good voice. Taking a step back from what you've written, I admit that I found it charming even though I can't seem to figure out who's speaking. At first i thought it was the ramblings of a young teenage girl until I came to the part about college. Then I became a little lost trying to pinpoint the narrator. The speaker seems a bit immature. (Maybe intentionally?)

I don't know if you are planning this as a diary entry or something similar. If you are, then please ignore my next statement. The punctuation needs a lot of work. (If it is supposed to be some sort of journal entry, or simply dialogue of two people chatting, then some of that can be forgiven.) The narration is all over the place as well. It was hard to follow for me, but in all honesty, I've known people who spoke like this, so maybe that was your idea. If so, bravo.

Take my comments for what they are: A random person on the internet saying words to you.  Like I said, I like your voice, but the structure of your writing lost me.  Of course, I probably wouldn't be in your key demographic anyway, so maybe my opinion doesn't matter as much.

Best of luck.
My blog is  https://betterdevil.wordpress.com/  (It's new-ish!)

Also, check out my self-published first novel, The Last Time

@ http://a.co/d/hP980yk  (Amazon link)

Online Dustin91

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Re: From Day One- contemp/chick lit 800 word opening
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2019, 10:38:43 PM »
Hello Leah,

I'm unfamiliar with this genre, but I believe this chapter leaves a tremendous amount to be desired. The real story (love triangle) is buried beneath about 650 words of unimportant, unoriginal fluff. The humor is rather flat and unfunny. The super-fun-multi-hyphenated words were unfortunately eye-rolling-groan-inducers, as was the narrator's general attitude about her "dilemma".

If I'm going to read a story about a love triangle, I want to feel the heartache. I want to feel the irresistible, unique attraction of each love interest and the dread that comes with breaking the heart of either. These are the basic tenets of this type of story--it's up to you to present them to us in an original package. 

My advice would be to re-read some of your favorite chick lit and highlight your favorite parts. Highlight the clever things only a writer would notice. Meditate on why you enjoyed those things and what the author had to do to make you feel that way.

My other advice would be to keep this, but start fresh. Telling us up-front that the narrator is entangled in a love triangle is a bit like doing a card trick with all the cards face-up. I think it would better serve the story if the second love interest came as a surprise, to the narrator and to readers, in a later chapter.

Hope this helps and thanks for sharing,
Dustin

Offline leah.anaya

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Re: From Day One- contemp/chick lit 800 word opening
« Reply #6 on: Yesterday at 12:31:04 AM »
Maybe I'm not the right one to comment - you know, being a non-chick and all, but I don't mind a good love story. (I prefer tragic love stories best, but I digress.)

You have a good voice. Taking a step back from what you've written, I admit that I found it charming even though I can't seem to figure out who's speaking. At first i thought it was the ramblings of a young teenage girl until I came to the part about college. Then I became a little lost trying to pinpoint the narrator. The speaker seems a bit immature. (Maybe intentionally?)

I don't know if you are planning this as a diary entry or something similar. If you are, then please ignore my next statement. The punctuation needs a lot of work. (If it is supposed to be some sort of journal entry, or simply dialogue of two people chatting, then some of that can be forgiven.) The narration is all over the place as well. It was hard to follow for me, but in all honesty, I've known people who spoke like this, so maybe that was your idea. If so, bravo.

Take my comments for what they are: A random person on the internet saying words to you.  Like I said, I like your voice, but the structure of your writing lost me.  Of course, I probably wouldn't be in your key demographic anyway, so maybe my opinion doesn't matter as much.

Best of luck.


Thank you for your comments.  I think instead of chick lit I should have put young adult...I envisioned the narrator being a little immature and naÔve and hoped her speaking reflected that.  I do see what you mean about establishing more about her before she goes off on so many tangents. 


I know you've already read this, but would you mind pointing to a part that needs help with punctuation?  I'm having trouble finding what you mean!  It would be much appreciated if you have the time!  Thank you so much again.

Offline leah.anaya

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Re: From Day One- contemp/chick lit 800 word opening
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 12:36:45 AM »
Hello Leah,

I'm unfamiliar with this genre, but I believe this chapter leaves a tremendous amount to be desired. The real story (love triangle) is buried beneath about 650 words of unimportant, unoriginal fluff. The humor is rather flat and unfunny. The super-fun-multi-hyphenated words were unfortunately eye-rolling-groan-inducers, as was the narrator's general attitude about her "dilemma".

If I'm going to read a story about a love triangle, I want to feel the heartache. I want to feel the irresistible, unique attraction of each love interest and the dread that comes with breaking the heart of either. These are the basic tenets of this type of story--it's up to you to present them to us in an original package. 

My advice would be to re-read some of your favorite chick lit and highlight your favorite parts. Highlight the clever things only a writer would notice. Meditate on why you enjoyed those things and what the author had to do to make you feel that way.

My other advice would be to keep this, but start fresh. Telling us up-front that the narrator is entangled in a love triangle is a bit like doing a card trick with all the cards face-up. I think it would better serve the story if the second love interest came as a surprise, to the narrator and to readers, in a later chapter.

Hope this helps and thanks for sharing,
Dustin


After I finished licking my wounds, I decided that you're right about the love triangle.  The next few chapters had outlined the two main character's relationship, but then the reader isn't surprised when the other point of the triangle is introduced.  I plan to rewrite that part.  The fluff, however, is important later in the story so I will leave that in.

Thank you for your comments, even if they did make me regret posting.

Offline landmersm

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Re: From Day One- contemp/chick lit 800 word opening
« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 04:39:43 PM »
Quote
I know you've already read this, but would you mind pointing to a part that needs help with punctuation?  I'm having trouble finding what you mean!  It would be much appreciated if you have the time!  Thank you so much again.

Some of this may just be me being nit-picky, but that's me. I can't help it.  ;)

Quote
I knew where I was going to live, what I was going to do, who I was going to marry.
  Should be semicolons instead of commas. There are a couple other instances of this as well.

Quote
Well, that doesnít really make sense, but thatís what happened with Wesley Montoya.  Or, at least I thought we were soulmates.  NowÖwell, now Iím lost.  And confused.  Again, not a fan. 
  I had an old English professor who would have failed me instantly for this.  Rework the "Well, that doesn't . . . " to "And confused."  You can break it apart with different sentences, but starting a sentence with Well, Or, And is generally frowned upon.

At one point you spell out forty but type 50/50.  Usually the numbers need to be spelled out, but I imagine sticking with one or the other would be fine.


Like i said in my original critique, if you're using this as a conversation, you're good. Dialogue should flow like this - especially depending on the person speaking. If this is a diary of a young, excitable person, you're good. However, if you want to be something else, it will need some refining, but, hey! Isn't that why we're all here in the first place?



I'm at work, so I'll just leave you with the best bit of advice I've ever seen about writing:  "Write however the hell you want as long as it doesn't suck."  (I'm not implying (and never would) that you suck!)


Best of luck.

My blog is  https://betterdevil.wordpress.com/  (It's new-ish!)

Also, check out my self-published first novel, The Last Time

@ http://a.co/d/hP980yk  (Amazon link)