ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Monday, 21 March 2011

Show Me The Voice Blogfest Contest - the first 250 words of my mss...


Hi there! I'm fresh from a weekend up at the Sunshine Coast and see I'm not too late to help Brenda Drake celebrate her birthday. She is hosting the Show Me The Voice Blogfest Contest. The deal is you have to post the first 250 words of a completed mss. Your followers are to critique it, then you polish it some more and email it to Brenda. It is then judged by agent Natalie Fisher from  Adventures in Agentland. Natalie is all about the voice. When critiquing we are to look for voice and keep our comments nice and helpful, not snarky.

I'd love it if you would comment on my entry and if you would give me some helpful hints to improve it...thanks!

Name: Denise Covey
Title:   Ruby
Genre: Sweet Romance

RUBY

The moment Ruby laid eyes on him she was smitten.

He stood motionless at the rail on the deck of the slick Eco-Pacific, mesmerized by the humpbacks’ antics. Following his gaze, Ruby thought the sight of the glorious creatures in the final throes of breaching in the Pacific waters was enough to take her breath away, even if the sight of the captain in his pristine whites hadn’t already achieved that.

He turned towards her, leaning against the rail. She was lost, lost in eyes as blue as the ocean. In the gathering dusk she could see he had long lashes the colour of sand, no doubt bleached by days at sea. Curls of the same colour peeked from under his hat.  

Ruby reached for the support of the deck rail while at the same time edging closer to him.

Slowly he straightened to his full height and looked down at her, a question in his upraised eyebrows. Blue eyes locked with sparkling green.

‘What a glorious day,’ he said as he smiled at her, stepping closer.

Oui, ah, yes, it is very beautiful.’

She saw the flash of disappointment in his eyes. ‘Are you enjoying your visit?’ he asked politely.

She was crushed. He was speaking to her like she was just another tourist.

 ‘I’m not just visiting,’ Ruby said, trying hard to talk like an Aussie. ‘I have come here to live. At Noosa.’

 ‘Noosa, ah, I’ve travelled the world and it still beats most places hands down. Good choice.’

So there you have it. I'd really appreciate your input.



25 comments:

  1. I'm sure your readers will fall in love with him too.

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  2. I fell in love with the sea and the whales as you described them. And I found myself rooting for her to win both her new-found love and the new home she was claiming for her own.

    Great job. I wouldn't change a word of it. Roland

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  3. Aahhh, I love me some sweet romance! I loved the details about his lashes, and her voice that sounds like she's struggling just a bit with English, perhaps?

    Just watch out for those cliches! "lost in eyes as blue as the ocean" "blue eyes locked with green" (you're maybe stepping out your POV here) "flash of disappointment" "she was crushed" (telling not showing there)

    Now I want to know more about Noosa! And how she ended up there! Great job.

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  4. Carole Ann: Thank you. I hope so.

    Roland: Now I'm sure you could improve it Roland, but thanks anyway!

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  5. Margo: Thank you. These are edits I'm sure I've done but can't track them down. How bad am it??? Thanks for your input.:D

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  6. I'm a sucker for a good romance too! I like how you told us he was tall without telling us :) Looks like a fun story!

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  7. Ooh you definitely hook the reader, your description is excellent. The last thing he says there doesn't seem to be of the same essence as the build up, for me anyway. I would have him say a bit less: 'Noosa, ah, good choice' then he eyes her up and down, but not in a romantic way. Would love to read more of this, good luck!

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  8. Jemi: Thanks. I hope so.

    kangaroobee: Yeah, I wrote that in a hurry to find a place to end my 250 words without going on to something else, lol. Thanks for the suggestions.

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  9. I love the setting and the set up here. I want to know more about both characters and Noosa.

    As someone said previously, watch out for the cliches and maybe try to revise those. Also, consider having her notice some of his traits in the first line, so it shows us how she feels.

    For example, "The first time she laid eyes on him, she drank in the (eyes, lashes, hair, or whatever). Maybe her legs could wobble a bit - is that because of the rocking motion of the boat or her emotions?

    Great job hooking us in right from the get-go. Good luck!

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  10. Julie: Good suggestions. Thanks.

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  11. My comments are the same as Margo's. Avoid the cliches. Let the dialogue carry the emotion.

    Good luck!!

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  12. Ann, thank you. I've been busily making changes.

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  13. I love that first line! What a sweet romance!

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  14. I'm not a big romance fan, but this is a great opening. Love the description of the sea and then seeing him as an extension of that.

    I agree with those above who mentioned cliches. Green eyes in a romantic lead are kind of a cliche to begin with. Also, if we're in her POV, she wouldn't be thinking about her own eyes being blue. She can't se them...

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  15. Beautiful beginning. It really draws you in. There's something very quietly epic about it - quite gorgeous. I don't read many romances but this just has a sweet breathlessness to it. I'd keep reading for sure.

    The only thing for me was the use of "rail" so close together. I know, it's nitpicky, sorry. Maybe just change one to something else? The rest of it was beautifully written though, nice job!

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  16. I liked that we learn a bit about what's going on in her head while we see her fall for him. I'm not a big romance reader but I really enjoyed this. I would agree about the cliches but that's already been said and nothing else jumped out at me to change.

    Well done and good luck :)

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  17. I've never been to Noosa but now I want to go. This is the first time I've read an Aussie romance and I like it. I didn't know they had humpbacks on the trip over.

    Other than the above mentioned cliches, I like it.

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  18. Hi, Denise,

    You show Ruby's fascination nicely. Here’s my two cents worth of suggestions. Hope they help.

    --In the gathering dusk she could see he had long lashes the colour of sand, no doubt bleached by days at sea. (Sugg…In the gathering dusk, his long lashes were the colour of sand, no doubt bleached by days at sea.) I removed the ‘she could see’ because I’m assuming I’m still seeing things from her eyes.


    --Ruby reached for the support of the deck rail while [at the same time] edging closer to him.

    --She saw the flash of disappointment in his eyes. ‘Are you enjoying your visit?’ he asked politely. (If you said, ‘disappointment flashed in his eyes’ without the ‘she saw’, I would still assume that I’m in her point of view.

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  19. You can really feel the emotion here - and you do a great job at establishing the sense of place.

    Personally - and my opinion only, of course - I'd like to see a bit of action; some movement. You have the humpbacks, of course, but the two main characters are quite static. Is there something he could be doing that would make her smitten? Something to give the scene a sense of motion rather than keeping it static.

    I really enjoyed the dynamics between the two of them!

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  20. Okay...edits it is:

    Delete antics after Humpbacks. it isn't necessary.

    Blue eyes locked with sparkling green. Do you mean flecked? Lock is confusing.

    Double quotation marks instead of single.

    "What a glorious day." He smiled and stepped closer. You can eliminate the tag when dialogue is followed by action.

    She saw the flash...should follow her dialogue and not precede his.

    New Paragraph: his dialogue - no tag since only the 2 of them are talking and you established that.

    Hope that helps.
    Nancy
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

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  21. I'm already hooked and wish to know more - it sounds as if you're already addressing the'eyes as blue as the ocean' bit - but it's truly lovely, Denise. Gentle with so much to come...great job.

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  22. Thanks all you lovelies for your help. I'm going to incorporate some of these changes then send to Brenda for judging.

    Denise<3

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  23. Hi Denise. My only criticism is that 250 words isn't enough. I'm already hooked, and want to read more.

    I hope you had a good time on the Sunshine Coast. Good luck with the contest.

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  24. Thanks Tony for stopping by.

    Denise<3

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