Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Catch Me If You Can Blogfest

First, remember to join Charity, myself, and our other awesome participants for the HONE YOUR SKILLS Blogfest on March 16th (next Wednesday). One short story of 750 words (no more than 1000), and help from your fellow bloggers to HONE it to its best shape. It will help you develop your skills as well as bring thoughtful feedback so you can feel confident enough to send it for publication (if you want, of course).

Second, today is my mom's Birthday! Happy Birthday, Mom!! :)

What else is going on TODAY? I'm participating in the CATCH ME IF YOU CAN Blogfest, hosted by Kristina at KayKay's Corner.

The basics:
On Monday March 7, post the first 550 words (or less) of your WIP on your blog. If you can, leave a link to your email address* in case someone has an especially long critique.

So, here it is. This is the latest new beginning of my WIP, THE MONARCHY'S LIES (although the title is still tentative). The 550 word limit is hard, since my first chapter is only 850 words, and a lot of the tension is in those last 300 words. Aw, well. If it's not in the first two pages, it's my problem, not yours, right?

Email address is at the bottom. Thanks, folks :)

Chapter 1
I sat in my seat, tugging at the tight collar around my neck. I hated collars. In fact, I hated anything on my neck—turtleneck sweaters, tight necklaces, even my fingers to check my pulse—but today I would endue anything on my neck. Anything to get to the Mansion.

I checked my watch. “We should have left already,” I said.

My best friend Lily sat in the desk next to mine. “Relax,” she said. “You’ll get to see your beloved prince soon enough.”

“Whatever.” I yanked the collar straight away from my throat. Any second now, it planned to strangle me. I just knew it.

“Oh, don’t give me that line,” she said. “You’d swoon just like any other girl if you got within 10 feet of him and you know it.”

I rolled my eyes. “Be still my sprickin’ heart.”

“Anabelle Lindsky!”

I jumped as Ms. Crawlee’s voice boomed above my head.

“Detention. Tomorrow.” She passed me and continued down the aisle.

“For what?” I asked.

“For swearing.”

“Ugh.” I fell back in my chair.

“Watch your mouth, young lady,” Lily whispered, giggling.

I crossed my arms over my chest. The gesture moved the fabric of my shirt, and brought back that choking sensation. I reached my hand up again to tug at the collar.

Lily batter my hand away. “Knock it off. You’re gonna stretch it out.”

“That wouldn’t be so bad.” I tugged again.

“Except it’s your mom’s.” She grabbed my wrist until I stopped fighting.

Ms. Crawlee hushed the room. “I’m passing out a worksheet—  Quiet! The front you’ll need to finish on the bus, the back during the tour. You’ll turn them back in to me when we return to the bus in the afternoon.”

Figured. I took the stack of papers from the guy in front of me and passed on the rest. A quick scan of the worksheet told me Ms. Crawlee hadn’t asked any stumpers, but had created busy work for the bus ride so the student wouldn’t get rowdy. I looked at the back. She’d asked for specifics, information that she hadn’t covered in class yet. I figured I could fill out the entire worksheet on the bus and listen during the tour in case I’d missed any.

Aw, who was I kidding? I wouldn’t miss any. My memory spells never failed me, and I knew everything ever written on royal history.

A few minutes later, we’d boarded the bus, which now rumbled down the highway. I scribbled my answers on the worksheet, knowing Ms. Crawlee wouldn’t be looking for massive detail. I could feel Lily looking over my shoulder as I wrote.

“I hate you and your memory spells,” she said.

“Shh.” I looked around to see if anyone heard her.

“Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad for the rest of us if people knew,” she said. “You’d quit throwing off the curve.”

“If I wanted to throw off the curve, I’d have graduated five years ago.” I focused on the next question.

“You don’t think you’ll be too bored during the field trip, do you?” Lily asked, and I could sense her sarcasm. “I mean, you won’t have to listen for the answers like the rest of us commoners.”

“I’ll be listening.”

“No, no, you’ll be bored senseless.”

I turned my body in the seat to face her, seeing the plot brewing inside her green eyes. “What are you thinking?”

Thanks again for reading. Post below or email me at rlconnolly01 [at] gmail [dot] com with any crit you might have.


Michelle Merrill said...

Ooh, a memory spell? Very intriguing. One thing, "I looked at the back." First thing that ran through my head was that she looked to the back...of the room. Maybe she should flip to the back of the worksheet, or something to indicate she's definitely referring to the paper's in her hand. Just a thought :)

By the way, I gave you a Stylish Blogger Award on my blog today!

Talli Roland said...

I like it, I like it! I love how your'e immediately pulled into the MC's physical world by the thought of something on her neck. Very small thing (and yes, this is SO the pot calling the kettle black, because I'm the worst at typos): you have a typo there with 'endure'.

Talli Roland said...

See? I have a typo in the first line of my comment! Haha!

KO: The Insect Collector said...

Hey- very interesting. I like what I see. It's hard to get a feel for what to expect of course, but that's because there are only 550 words. It's well-written and sets up an interesting premise. I noticed two tiny spelling errors if it's any help.
endue in the first paragraph, did you mean endure?

and student instead of students in the paragraph that starts with "Figured."

Heather M. Gardner said...

I'm interested to find out more about these girls and the beloved prince and the memory spells.
Good hook.

Anonymous said...

This is a great excerpt. Voice is spot on for YA girls. I'm such a fan of paranormal, so you know I want to read more.

And I can totally related to Anabelle. I HATE stuff touching my neck too. Happy to see that quirk in someone else, even a fictional someone else.

p.s. I'm following you now, just in case you post more one day. :-)

Anonymous said...

This is a great excerpt. Voice is spot on for YA girls. I'm such a fan of paranormal, so you know I want to read more.

And I can totally related to Anabelle. I HATE stuff touching my neck too. Happy to see that quirk in someone else, even a fictional someone else.

p.s. I'm following you now, just in case you post more one day. :-)

Carol Riggs said...

I feel chokey with things around my neck too! :) Hey, you've changed this--and for the better. Way to go! Much smoother now, and better w/o the cold medicine and nap on the bus. :)

Alexis said...

Thank you for your very helpful comments on mine, my MC is biologically human but her body is the house to something not human. And my genre is new adult/crossover, with hints of dystopia and fantasy.

Your MC reminds me of my best friend, she hates things on her neck too, and just as badly. So because I could identify with it I was instantly hooked. Your voice is very solid and I want to know more about her memory spells and this prince!

Anonymous said...

I really liked what I read! I want to know what The Mansion is!

Lady A x

Zan Marie said...

Ooh! I want more. This is great--great voice, great detail, and great dialog. Good read.

BTW, I'm following you now. ; )

RosieC said...

Thanks, everyone! I really appreciate your supportive comments. Glad you liked it!

Marie Rearden said...

Okay. I'm intrigued. Is she a witch? You have middle teen voice down to an art (I loved 'sprickin'). What's in the mansion!? Keep going.

Marie, http://marierearden.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Cool blogfest & excerpt. :)

Kristina Fugate said...

Memory spells--why didn't I think of that in high school? Lol. I'm very intrigued by this and I LOVE the MC's voice. It's very real and authentic. I would totally keep reading if I could :)

Thanks for sharing!

(Also, these comments make me glad to know I'm not the only one out there who has a problem with stuff touching her neck. Lol!)

J.C. Martin said...

I love the middle and the end of this. Makes me wonder what mischief the girls will get up to on the tour. Ooh, and the memory spell! If only I had that at school!

I thought the middle slowed down the pace of the story a bit too much for a first chapter, particularly the conversation with Lily and the detention from the teacher. Perhaps that could be appended on later (if it's important), but I see no reason why you can't skip from the collar tugging at the start straight to the worksheets being handed out.

J.C. Martin said...

D'oh! I typo-ed myself! Did I say "I loved the middle and the end of this"? I meant "the beginning and the end"!

Heidi Windmiller said...

As already stated, the voice is excellent. I felt very connected to the narrator.

I did feel like there was a lot of information placed in that seems to be an attempt to explain to the reader--for example the worksheet to illustrate the memory spell. There might be alternative ways to do this so that it feels more natural.

Overall, the premise is very interesting. i can tell that you have an ease with words, and the text reads smoothly.

Tessa Conte said...

oooh you've got me hooked. I thought, at first, this was a 'normal' YA sort of story but then there's a memory spell....nice!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty much hooked! Like everyone else said, the memory spells and prince charming were intriguing! Awesome, I don't have any complaints. :D

Trisha said...

Yeah, I noticed that 'endue' type too. Also noticed:

"Lily batter my hand away."
(should be battered/batted)

This sounds like a fun read, with the memory spell etc. Makes me wonder what kind of character we've got here, and whether she does other spells too. :D I'd read on!

RosieC said...

@Trisha, "batter my hand"--Ha! It just makes me think of pancakes. :)

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