Post by valeriepepper on Feb 4, 2017 10:37:46 GMT -5
Lula James looked at the piece of paper on her mirror one last time before leaving for school. A fresh list for a brand new year. She’d drawn her usual treble clefs on each corner, and at the top of the page, in her favorite teal blue marker, were the words GOALS FOR SEVENTH GRADE. Beneath, in her best print, were the things she wanted to do. No — scratch that. They were the things she would do.
1. Make first chair flute. This was day one of the beginning of the rest of her life, and making first chair at Stevens Academy of Fine Arts was the absolute, number one, above everything else goal.
2. Stay best friends with Izzy. Izzy was going to another school, but no way was Lula going to let that get between them. They’d been friends since first grade and they would stay best friends. Period.
3. Play Flight of the Bumblebee at 200 BPM. In other words, play it the speed it’s supposed to be played. Dad had done it on piano by the time he was ten, so she was already two years behind. But honestly, if she’d known about him doing it at ten, she would’ve started on it at nine at least. But now that she knew? It was on.
4. Release 20 Monarchs for the fall migration. This was easy, but who doesn’t include a super-easy goal when she’s making a list? Lula had raised the butterflies all spring and summer, so it wasn’t a stretch to get them ready for their migration.
Post by joymccullough on Feb 4, 2017 11:55:39 GMT -5
I like this a lot, Valerie! It called out to me because I wrote a whole play about monarch migration. :-) But that aside, the voice is very charming. The *only* thing I'd say is that agents have some degree of fatigue over so many manuscripts beginning with a character waking up/looking in the mirror/getting ready for school. You might tweak it slightly so those elements aren't included in the first line. But really, it's very fun.
Post by valeriepepper on Feb 4, 2017 13:10:58 GMT -5
Thanks Joy! Good to see you on here. Duly noted on the tweaks and I thought about that, but I know I need to show her "normal" before we see the catalyst. Any advice you or others want to offer, I'm all in!
I think this opening works great. I love her list and it brings the reader right in to rooting for her to succeed. I love her determination with Scratch that. Maybe Lula can tap the paper three times for luck or do some other ritual with it besides just looking at it .
Also maybe add, for the reader who doesn't know what BPM or the speed should be, that it is incredibly fast.
I love this. It's great seeing her list right at the start.
One thing you might consider is tightening it even a tiny bit more. I have a sense you have tightened it a lot already and it is quite good. But I recently read a comment from an agent and he said something along the lines of using the most stringent, perfect amount of words.
Without pondering it too much, I spotted at least two phrases I think you could cut:
A fresh list for a brand new year. & But honestly
Sometimes cutting out a little creates more impact. Say what you want to say, then move on. No need to repeat things or use unnecessary phrases.
Ponder it! (Take or leave it, of course)
Overall, it's great!
Last Edit: Feb 12, 2017 0:43:19 GMT -5 by mikaelra