"How much will you pay if I can give you the information that you need?"
That words feel familiar when I say it. Mostly they're just shocked when I say that. How can a little girl like me give them any useful information?
Well, maybe not "little". My name is Lena. I'm sixteen. My occupation: selling informations in the black market. Well, not a real information anyway. Mostly it's just a rumor, or maybe a gossip. But not always. Apparently, I have a "gift". Believe me or not, I can see the future.
Like how people are going to die. Or maybe kidnapped. I hate it when it happened. It's not a pleasant experience. After seeing a "vision", my head would hurt like hell, and I can do nothing until the headache pass. Sometimes it happens when I'm asleep, in dreams. Or when I see someone right in the eye.
Oh, and did I say that I'm also a stealer?
I'm not proud of my jobs, you know. But I have to do it in order to survive. Most of my clients pay less than the price I set. Or pay it with a fake gold.
Why? Simple. They just don't believe what the little girl says.
- Cool main character :)
- Interesting concept with many possible themes (abandoned child, supernatural powers, adventurous tone)
- Your voice still comes through
- Where is the conflict? What’s at stake?
- Where are we? You did not set up a stage, so it’s very hard for a reader to start picturing the scene
- Keep dialogue conversational. No one would ever say the information that you need
- Watch your POV! This is a first person narration. The narrator cannot know what anybody else is thinking! “How can a little girl like me give them any useful information?” is somebody else’s thought
- Show don’t tell. You are telling me her name, age, what she does. I’m reading it, I’m not seeing it
- Use as few words as needed. If you say “most people are shocked...” then I already know this happens often, I already know she sells information because you showed me. Don’t repeat yourself, keep the reader engaged
- Your grammar is a bit all over the place. What helped me as an ESL--English Second Language for those of you born in US or UK ;) 1-learning song lyrics by heart (to provide examples of grammar construction), and 2- Read, read, read!
MY OVERALL OPINION
Because I changed so much I’d rather give you my edit and then explain what I did and why :) See below.
The alley was dank and smelled like stale urine. I asked. "How much for the information you need?"
The old man smirked, smacking his tongue. “Oh, I can pay you, pretty face, but maybe to engage in activities you’re more likely to pull through.You seem a bit young to be the informer they told me about.”
I did not flinch, just stepping out of reach and trying not to smell his rotten teeth. “The man you seek, he’s been kidnapped. If you want to know by whom, the gold in your pocket will better be real.”
His jaw dropped, eyes turning into slits as he tightened the grip on the three pieces of gold he assumed I could not see. He looked around and got two out, hiding them within the hem of his worn out cloak. “Fine. So you are Lena after all. They told me you knew stuff. Here, this is all I have.”
I told him what I knew and as he left I replaced the last piece of gold in his pocket with a potato. I didn’t enjoy using my powers to rip people off, nor for stealing, but a girl’s gotta live.
Suddenly, a hand seized my shoulder as another covered my mouth dragging me into a doorway I hadn’t seen.
What did I do?
- Setting: we now know we’re an alley. Notice my choice of adjective. Dank means disagreeably damp, musty and typically cold. So with one words you get exactly the feeling I want you to. If it’s dank it’s also dark, I don’t need to say it, you know it. Then as a final touch I added the smell of stale urine. Now you’re there, this is no fancy alley
- Look at the dialogue. I let the old man tell the reader that the MC’s name is Lena, that she’s young and pretty (at least in the eye of the old man)
- I show, rather than telling. How does she know how much gold he has in his pocket? She has powers. Also, the reader sees that she’s a thief. She does not flinch when the old man makes a rude pass at her, it means that she’s used to it, she does this habitually and she’s badass
- I introduced conflict. Someone managed to kidnap Lena in spite of her powers. What’s gonna happen? I wanna know more
- The cloak and the pieces of gold give the reader an idea of time. I have no idea what you had in mind, but I went for dystopian fantasy :D I apologize if that was not the intention :)
I hope this helped ^_^
What do you all think? I know it's tough to leave comments, hundreds of people read my blog and several e-mail me their thoughts (mostly very positive, thank you!) but it would help the author to hear opinions :)
To look at older edit posts, click on "my edit" on the right
Wanna have feedback on your own work?
1-E-mail me at gaia.b.amman at gmail.com and write as your object “200 words blog”. Then paste in the e-mail the first 200 words of your work. Send it anytime, I will post my edit when I can :) Why only two hundred words? You need to engage your reader within 100!
2-Specify the length of the entire work (either because you have it or an estimate will do, for example you could say this will be a novel or flash fiction)
3-I will share my opinion and editing of your work on the blog. This type of post will be titled “My edit”. I will leave comments open so we can start a conversation :)
4-As a rule, I will leave your work anonymous so you don’t feel on the spot, but if you are brave let me know and I’ll leave your name on it
5-No poetry! I’m in no way qualified to criticize it. I can only enjoy it :)
6-I will ignore messages that don’t comply. Please be nice to me and everyone else :)