Thursday, December 8, 2011

Can We Guess Your Character's Age?

**WINNER!! (3rd place!)

So the lovely and fab Brenda Drake is hosting a really fun contest! It's all about guessing your MC's age after reading the first 250! Sounds fun, right? Of course, I had to participate! Check out her blog and contest info here.

She's also got Gabriela Lessa as a guest judge, which is awesome and special because one of Gabriela's contests was what got me starting this blog with my very first blog entry. Check out Gabriela's website, too!

Directions say to leave out any information like title and genre so I'm just posting the first 250...

...Enjoy and thanks for reading...

My knuckles slam into the head cheerleader’s perfect little nose. It feels great. Real great. Well, inside it does. My hand burns like hell.

It’s halftime, and the gym reeks of boy—sweat, bad breath, and cheap cologne. Silence drums in my ear so loud it hurts. There are hundreds of faces on the bleachers, and then there’s the basketball team. All staring. At me. Oh, God.

The fluorescent lights buzz, telling me to run, but I can’t. Not yet. Instead, I admire how the blood drips from her nostril, over her ivory skin, and soaks circles into her uniform. It looks great next to the matching red stripe crossing her chest. The white stripe matches her pale face. And the blue matches the developing bruise.

My fist aches like broken bones, and my heart pounds hard enough to bust ribs. But who cares? I may have ruined Cambelle’s face. Completely worth it.

The other cheerleaders freeze—something that doesn’t happen very often. Half of them awed, half angered. Probably fake anger, though. Even her clones have got to hate her, right?

“Eeak!” Cambelle shrieks, shaking everyone back to life. Now, there is noise, and it’s even louder than silence. With one last glare, I turn and bolt, my ponytail bouncing like my skirt and automatically making me appear one hundred percent peppy.

So not me.

I shake my tail better than I walk, but all this cheerleader crap really bugs. It’s shamefully lame, but here I am.


Thanks again for reading! All comments welcome!


  1. Great intro Melinda :)I hopped on the linky. So, I'm guessing YA, age 16?

  2. I love the beginning! I'm putting her at 16, too.

  3. Love this! I'd have to agree with the previous posters: 16

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I also would guess 16. Other opinions may differ, but the violence is a little off-putting for me, since I don't know anything about these characters and my sympathies aren't naturally with the girl doing the nose-breaking.

  6. I should also say that this is very vivid -- I like the way time freezes. It's a great scene, but for me, it's not a good way to meet a POV character.

  7. I'm gonna say 15! Interesting beginning! I definitely want to know why she punched her! And why she's a cheerleader if it's really not her thing.

  8. I posted my guess before reading the other posts and I just wanted to make a comment in response to Kelly above.

    The opening doesn't bother me...I have faith in the author that the main character is someone I want to have sympathy for. I immediately believe the punch was justified...and I want to know what horrible thing this girl did to the MC to make her react in such an extreme way.

    Good luck!

  9. Thanks for reading and commenting everyone! I've been getting feedback from others for awhile now and there are a few that don't care for the "punch". Most seem okay, though, like Stephanie said.

    I think she's in line with the way some characters her age might act, and my character does have a bit of a temper (which she learns to tame) but also a buttload of compassion and insecurity, too, which I also make evident in the next few pages.

    This first scene definitely sets up the kind of book this is, and I think a reader who has read the query/back cover will be prepared for this kind of irresponsible, crazy behavior.

    Thanks all! :)

  10. I would put her at 16 or 17 as well. And I didn't have a problem with the punch. ;)

  11. 16-17. She has to be old enough to be that ballsy--to whack a girl in the face. I'm not bothered at all by the punch. I find it to be a great bang to start the novel. The voice is strong, the action succinct. Very well done.

    My only comments: I would ditch "automatically" in this sentence. I don't think it'd necessary. "my skirt and automatically making me appear one hundred percent peppy."

    Also, I don't love this phrase: "I shake my tail better than I walk". It seems like something an older person who uses old sayings would say and not a teen.

    Great job and good luck!

  12. Feels 16 to me, but just so ya know, until I got to the ponytail/skirt part, I totally thought it was a male MC

  13. I'd say about sixteen. I like her. :D

    The "I shake my tail better than I walk" line threw me off a lot, though. It felt kind of out of place?

    But I love your character voice. She's got spunk. I like the mention of the colors of the blood/face/bruise matching the uniform, too.

  14. I'd say 17 (maybe 18 if she's still in school and not graduated by then). An older teen, though.

  15. I'm going with 17 or 18, definitely an older MC but still in high school.

    And I thought it was a boy from the first line, too, but changed my image immediately when I read the "reeks of boy" line--in my experience, only girls notice when places reek of boy. Then it was great characterization. ^_^

  16. My first thought was 17. I will have to read it again for critiquing when I'm not half asleep. But it seems terse and vivid.

  17. I'm going with 16. I like the story

  18. I think I'm gonna go with 17. This is such fun! I love this contest - so many col stories to read :)

  19. Hi Melinda,

    Your entry is a ton of fun! I'm going to go with 17. As always, I have a ton of comments--pitch whatever you want :).

    I actually don't mind you starting with the punch because it's so exciting and raises a LOT of questions, but I do wish you gave us some clues as to her state of mind when she did it--just something simple like "Before I knew what I was doing..." or something so we know that either (a) it was a heat-of-the-moment type thing and she's a surprised as everyone else, or (b) it was premeditated and she was making a point. I think that might help people like her, despite her violent tendencies, because we'd understand her motivations (at least a little).

    I also would recommend the paragraph start with some reaction to the sudden silence in the gym rather than a description of how boys smell, only because I think that's what she'd notice first. I like that the line lets us know where she is, but maybe try to rewrite it in context of all the staring.

    I also think we could use a hair more description of Cambelle's reaction before she starts screaming, and it could also be a good place to drop a clue about the relationship between the girls. Maybe something like "Cambelles as shocked as anyone. Bet she never figured...[clue as to relationship]" except waaaay better :).

    I love the "making me appear 100% preppy. So not me." part, but after that I think we loose some of the tension with the next couple lines. She just PUNCHED a GIRL in the FACE in front of the WHOLE SCHOOL!! Then she thinks about how she wiggles her butt and how cheer leading is lame. Consider ending with her thinking about repercussions, or with a feeling of victory (and possibly clues about why she did it). "X is gonna happen, but when I think about Y--So worth it."

    Overall your writing is really strong and I love the scene you set.I love how your opening really makes me curious--what would possess this girl to punch another girl in the face in front of the whole school?

    Great job and Good luck!

  20. Errr--typo--in the third paragraph I meant "I would also recommend the NEXT paragraph start with some reaction to the sudden silence"--not the one where she describes the punch! Sorry :).

  21. I'd say 16? love her attitude :)


  22. I really love this opening and want to read more. Just enough details to hook you in! I am guessing 16.

  23. I love this. Violence against cheerleaders is always winning and the clone part was good. The voice is certainly teen. I'll go with 16. Nice.

  24. Thank you everyone! Let's just say you are doing VERY well. :)

    SwiftScribbler, thank you for all the feedback. Love it. Some of the things you commented on are actually only issues because I cut a word or two to fit in the 250 mark. And some are addressed VERY soon after this ending. But made note of everything and made a couple adjustments!

    Thanks again everyone!

  25. My guess is 16, maybe 17. =)

    As for the excerpt, ditto what SwiftScribbler said about everything! The only thing I can think of to add is that ', but all this cheerleader crap really bugs.' doesn't sound very authentic to me, for the character that you're setting up. The use of 'bugs' sends a very preppy, goody-two-shoes message, which is quite at odds with the whole punching and thinking cheerleading is lame thing. Just my thoughts! =) Good luck!

  26. Oh, and I agree with some others—the first couple lines sound like a strong male MC voice, and then it becomes female. A little strange…I might rewrite them. And bruises don't start turning purple/blue until at least 24 hours. So the developing bruise would be red/pink, and not match blue. It's a cute comparison, but not accurate, sadly. =/

  27. She is 16!

    Thanks for reading everyone! Happy to be a semi-finalist!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...