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This is the text as I received it:
I sit with my forehead pressed against the cold glass of my bedroom window, rain cascading down and forcing me to stay inside despite it being the end of June. It’s been raining like this on and off for the last four days. Typically, my last exam was 5 days ago, meaning this relentless misery has been the sum total of my summer so far. Not that the last year has been much better generally, and I’m not talking about the weather, I just seem to have descended into a deep pool of despair this year and no matter how hard I swim up, I just keep sinking down.
I check my phone for what seems like the hundredth time today despite it not having buzzed at me in the last 5 days other than a message from my network telling me I could get discounted tickets to some show or other. I’m unsurprised to find no messages waiting for me and set the phone back down next to me, sighing heavily.
I was looking forward to spending a stress free summer hanging out with my friends, but I’ve still heard nothing from them. I figure they must have family stuff to do, or else be sat inside watching the weather deteriorate like me, so I pick up the book lying discarded next to me and open it to where I last left off, leaning back against the soft padded wall of the window seat to escape into the fictional world on the pages in front of me.
- What is great about this character: he/she is very relatable.
- The whole paragraph is very well written. If I were to keep it, I would do minor editing on it.
- I get a great picture of the scene: the rain, boredom, loneliness and sadness, but, why should I keep reading? Where is the story going?
- “My friends” and “book” sound really vague. Wouldn’t she think of one friend in particular? Which book? Details like these ground us a bit more into the story. They make it feel real.
- You are half way there with your show don’t tell. Don’t tell us she’s desperate. Show us. Don’t have her tell us about her friends. Show us.
- This scene is very heavy in narration. It’s a bit of an “infodump”. Infodumps are paragraphs where nothing happens and the author uses his characters to catch up the reader on the story.
So, here is what I’m gonna (try to) do:
- I’m gonna try to break the narration (adding thoughts and text messages)
- I’m gonna add a hook (which will very likely make no sense whatsoever with your story, but it’s just to give you an idea of what I mean)
- I’m gonna try to show don’t tell.
I sit with my forehead pressed against the cold glass of my bedroom window, rain cascading down to add to the swamp that was once the front garden. So much for summer vacation.
My phone buzzes and I jump, reaching for it as if my life depended on it, but it’s only a text from my network. I almost throw the cell out into the swamp, but settle for dropping it in the garbage bin, symbolically.
Betty, where the hell are you? Where is everyone?
I sigh, and get lost in Six of Crows, fiction kidnapping me from my dreary reality.
My phone buzzes again, rattling crumpled paper and garbage. I reach for it warily. The text is from…Justin?!
Reach me at the cave by the harbor, right now. Important. Can’t explain. Just come.
I stare at the phone as if it had just sprouted legs and were dancing for me. What the hell?
It buzzes again. Justin adds,
I seize my rain jacket, my boots and text back,
On my way
I am Gaia B Amman, the author of the Italian Saga (#TIS), a series taking place in gorgeous Italy, and talking about everything I was told is impolite to talk about ;)
Book 4, Sex-O-S, comes out November 6th!!! YAY ^_^
The books are recommended for ages 13 and above, but most of my readers are adults.
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My Indie Author Guide, collecting all of my advice, is available on Amazon for $2.99, but Tumblr folks can get it for free here :)