Kenzie could still remember the first time she smiled, and how much it hurt. She couldn’t remember ever moving her muscles that way before, and the pain in her cheeks lasted for days following. Despite the ache, she felt it was worth every penny to feel that happy, even if it was only for a short time.
“How much are you asking?”
“For this?” The vendor snorted. “One hundred.”
Kenzie’s faced hardened, her hands shoved into the front pockets of her jeans. She kept her eyes on the small vial, watching the gold liquid swirl in on itself.
“That price seems a little steep for such a small amount.”
“Supply and demand little missy,” he replied. “This here’s a hard fine in the District.”
He wasn’t wrong. The stalls were usually full of Anger, Worry, and Sorrow but finding a bit of Joy was incredible rare.
“But I don’t have that much. At most I’ve got thirty.”
The man wiped his pudgy hand across his reddened nose before shrugging.
“Then you don’t get the vial, it’s as simple as that.”
He slipped the bottle into the front of his coat and turned away, moving to help the other few customers lingering near his stall.
- Great opening line! Why would anyone remember the first time they smiled? Why would it hurt? I am intrigued ^_^ Overall this piece i well written. I am going to try to deconstruct it and see if we can make it better
- The sentences right after the opening line kind of repeats a bit much. Would anyone really need to be “that” happy to smile? I understand this might make sense in your story, but I think it’s best if you let the reader wondering
- In that first paragraph, you wrote “she” three times. It’s okay, but since you only have one character at that point you can get away with less repetition. I made her think that it was worth it by italicizing the line. This cuts some narration and helps bringing the reader there
- It’s unclear who speaks first. After reading, I understand it’s Kenzie, but you want the reader to know right away so that they can keep imagining the scene. Since you are talking about Kenzie, if you keep the dialogue on the same line, the reader will know it’s her talking. You don’t need to have dialogue on its own line; just change line when a new person speaks
- I am struggling with the setting. Is this dystopian (for example today’s New York with some magic) or fantasy (some faraway place and time)? Jeans tell me dystopian. “Stall” tells me fantasy. I’m gonna go with fantasy. To help your set up make up some characteristics specific of your world, like currency, clothing, animals and setting. It’s not till the very end that I realize we are not in a store but likely at a market. I interpreted “In the whole market” as the market for joy vials and the “stalls” as shelves in a store (maybe it’s me though!). District was used in the Hunger Games. Make up your own words ;) I used Ward because “in the whole Ward” kind of sounds like “in the whole world” and I think it will help the reader remember
- Why would the vendor snort when she asks the price? I’m sure he wants to sell! You do a pretty good job with “show don’t tell” but make sure that body language conveys the appropriate feelings
- I changed the dialogue a bit trying to make it flow better. “Little Missy”, for example, sounded a bit forced (to me). I always get rid of extra words; if you don’t need it, cut it ;)
- Watch for typos. I found two; “fine” in place of “find” and “incredible” in place of “incredibly”
- I repeated Kenzie’s name just to make sure it sinks in with the reader
- Don’t let descriptions get in the way of the action. “The man wiped his pudgy hand across his reddened nose before shrugging” is a bit cumbersome and slows the narration. I sprinkled physical details about the merchant earlier to lighten this sentence
- I tried to work into your descriptions the senses of smell (the old beer, the bread, the fish), sound (the tinkling coins, the din of the market), and touch (the soft velvet, the cold coins)
- Try to avoid negative forms (they are harder for our brains to process nd slow down the narration). So rather than “he wasn’t wrong” I wrote “he was right”
Kenzie could still remember the first time she smiled, and how much it hurt. Still worth every penny. She thinned her eyes at the merchant, hoping his ruddy nose and the beer stench wafting off him meant she could haggle on the price. She stopped fussing with her boot in the dust of the dirt road, trying to yell over the din of the open air market. It smelled like fish and warm bread. “So, how much are you asking for it?”
"One hundred Durlas, Ma’am, and it’s a darn good deal too! Finest and rarest stuff in the whole Ward.”
Kenzie’s faced hardened, her hands shoved into the front pockets of her Marga Cape, where the soft velvet was worn. Her hands clenched around the few coins tinkling in there, cold against her skin. She kept her eyes on the small vial in the merchant’s hand, watching the gold liquid swirl in mesmerizing patterns. “That’s a bit steep for such a small amount, don’t you think?”
He snorted. “Supply and demand, Missy. You want it or not?”
He was right. The market’s stalls were full of Anger, Worry, and Sorrow, but finding a bit of Joy was quite the event.
Kenzie bit her lower lip. “Listen, I don’t want to haggle, but I’ve only got thirty.”
The man laughed out loud, slipping the small bottle into the front of his coat. “Then you don’t get the vial, it’s as simple as that.” He turned away, moving to help the other few customers lingering near his stall.
Who am I to give you advice?
I am the fifth Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, part Lupin the third and part Fujiko, I am a bibliophile crazy for Russian authors and young adult fiction, but first and foremost I am the author of the Italian Saga (#TIS): an irreverent series taking place in Italy and speaking of love, sadness, sex, and happiness with a healthy dose of humor <3