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 Chapter One (Breakdown)

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Clockwork Horrorshow
Clockwork Horrorshow

Female Age : 26
Posts : 258
Location : Magnolia, Arkansas

Chapter One (Breakdown) Empty
PostSubject: Chapter One (Breakdown)   Chapter One (Breakdown) I_icon_minitimeWed Dec 21, 2016 7:28 pm

tl;dr: Julia Barclay is a teen who runs away from home in the middle of the night. MCR messenger bag. Her blue Nikes carry her to Minneapolis where she boards a bus. A rude old woman affirms she is on her way to Chicago. McDonald's. McRib man. Surfer dood incites her to go East with the flip of a coin. East she goes. New York city is scary. A heart-throb picks her panties up out of the crosswalk.

The bedroom wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. On one wall was a picture frame with a variety of pictures from Julia Barclay’s childhood. Around her room were various band posters: the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Evanescence, Bullet for my Valentine, My Chemical Romance. The room had walls of lime green, with hardwood flooring and the large, elliptical rug Julia loved, with threads of black and dark red intertwined to make a final, almost medieval-gothic, appearance to the otherwise bright, upbeat room; a beautiful clash of colors.  

 ---This entire bit was super important to us as teens. Our lives were (and still are) encompassed by the music we listen to. It is something I don't really think you should delete, but I do think should be shortened to include that affinity, or rather,  Julia's affinity. Instead of saying what bands are on the posters, maybe say something about the type of bands/music. I would give an example, but I really don't want to bias you on the way you write. My suggestion is that you X the band names and say something about the music which speaks to Julia's personality. My next suggestion on the rest of this bit is to simply X the description of the room. I think saying something about the posters speaks loud enough. The description of the room isn't as important, or doesn't seem to be, as it seems to affirm the personality of a character who would listen to said music.

A knot formed in Julia’s throat as she blinked back the salty, burning fluid. “I have to go,” she reminded herself. With a swift flick of her wrist, the girl tucked a strand of loose hair behind her left ear and began collecting things for her suitcase once more. ---- I love this. Never delete this.

{ “Finally,” she breathed through tears as her feet crunched the snow just across the line. “Finally.”

As Julia reached Minneapolis, she burst into sobs of relief and joy. A bus bench was in her sights and she was determined to sit there as long as it took. }

----I believe there is a simple way to bridge this gap. You said there were a lot of scene breaks, I don't feel like there needs to be one here.

The bench was vacant until Julia’s suitcase landed on it with a small thud. Little icicles fell from the underside of the bench, snow escaping from underneath the suitcase. Julia drew in a slow, careful breath, gasping as it caught in her throat. The air was thick with chill, and little snowflakes fell all around the bus stop. To Julia’s relief, new, fresh snow filled in her footprints as it fell. She would leave no trace. ---Keep. Keep. Keep.

-----I don't think the scene with the old woman should be cut. It's a nice bridge between points in her transit. Also, I believe the woman serves as a reminder to Julia that she is on her own, harshly, alone. This is the first woman she kinda sees as a reminder of the parental figures she left behind. It's kind of the first omen of her trip. This woman is scolding her without actually doing so. "How dare you leave, Julia!" That kind of thing, which only pushes Julia further away, affirms her desire to leave. I think this is needed. Without this woman for her to in some way defy, Julia may have very well given up and went back. That disdain of her is needed, and the old woman provides it.

“Breakfast ended forty minutes ago.” ----Only because you didn't describe the type of cell phone Julia has, does this line alone date this story! Wow, never thought I'd see the day where this story would be 'dated.' But yeah, most of breakfast is around the clock now. This line just really threw me back to high school, and the time of this story. Also, people may not see the relevance of the McDonald's scene, but I like that we get to see how harsh the world is, that Julia is seeing it. Also, Flannel Al. *Inside Joke*

Julia glanced with anxiety at the regular menu. The mistake wasn't a big deal, but it was enough to temporarily disorient the girl and make her chastise her own carelessness. Stick out like a sore thumb, Jule. People know what time breakfast ends. “Just a fry then, I guess.”----- This bit affirms what I said above. Keep this.

Julia shook her head as she found the straw of her sweet tea. “East.” ---Sorry, just had to say how much I love this part.

{ Done with her meal and ready to move, Julia made her way back to the bus station and checked the schedules. The next Greyhound was headed west. Julia waited patiently. Two Greyhounds later, she boarded and began her journey in the right direction.

Julia jumped enthusiastically from the bottom bus step, taking in her surroundings. She almost felt like a new person… like the old Julia had been replaced with this new, revitalized girl. Julia first realized this after she transferred from her last Greyhound. She could feel herself glowing as she looked around. East, she remembered happily. I’m east! }

----I feel like you can X the first paragraph here in these brackets, and just jump straight from her saying she's going East, to jumping off the bus. The paragraph in between feels irrelevant, as it only indicates a significant amount of time has passed, but that's a given, I feel. Also, in the scene immediately following where she becomes disorientated, I want to hear more about her seeing the city, being overwhelmed by it. More of what she is seeing from the bus to the street light, as it feels there is one too many jumps to Julia being here and there at this point.

----Okay, what I said above, you actually did that AFTER you say she is disoriented. And it is beautifully done. It leads up to the next chapter rather nicely. I just feel like there is something off-kilter from when she gets off the bus to just before her shit goes everywhere. Maybe take the paragraph where she starts to get nauseous and move it. It's sudden, is what I'm saying, and I know it needs to be sudden, but the transition needs work.

----I've indicated here what I think needs to be fixed/Xed out. Def keep what I said to keep. Anything I didn't comment on I felt was fine. Moving on to the next chapter.


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Scottie Elisabeth
Scottie Elisabeth

Female Age : 26
Posts : 531
Location : Arkansas

Chapter One (Breakdown) Empty
PostSubject: Re: Chapter One (Breakdown)   Chapter One (Breakdown) I_icon_minitimeThu Dec 22, 2016 8:01 am

So, after you post chapter write ups, I'll share with you the details I had about the chapter, so that you'd see what sort of wave length we are on (or not) together. Given, this is before I've read your critique, so don't worry that I'm not listening, I just thought it might be useful to share my raw plan so that we'd both be on the same page.

SO! Chapter 1. Also, I've broken the chapters up into scenes for note writing. Also, I'm skipping my Prologue notes because there's no prologue for you to edit. Oops.

The Runaway

Point: Runaway (graduation night? = money) and get to NYC (what specifically? A show, a place? The high line? But this would dictate that she had intended to go to NYC. Maybe the Greyhound has WiFi and on the way, she makes plans with a Kindle or something?, but anyway, not so frantically. This is calm and calculated. Maybe make her disillusioned 17/18 instead of edgy teen. “Bedroom showed changing styles through the years.” Not impulsive, meticulous.

Julia packs in her bedroom.
Salvageable. Julia.

Set up that she’s leaving and why. Needs to be calculated, not impulsive. Perhaps the night of graduation, perhaps her parents think she’s staying over with a friend but instead she breaks into her room, packs, and breaks back out. Would she do this in the middle of the night? She’s not told any of her friends or family, or anyone. She wants to run away and make a fresh start.

She’d have withdrawn all her savings, or maybe she waits to do this after she’s left? Idk. Maybe that’s something she does in Chicago. Either way, set it up that she’s 18 and leaving to start her own life, not an angsty 16 rebelling against the system. Unless she needs to be 17 to have an excuse not to be able to lease her own place? Consider it. 17 and graduated isn’t ridiculous.

Drop the despair. Instead, she’s calculated. Collected. Determined.


“The room had lime green walls, with hardwood flooring and a large, elliptical rug Julia loved, with threads of black and dark red intertwined into an almost medieval-gothic appearance to contrast against the otherwise bright, upbeat room; a beautiful clash of colors.”

“With one last look around her bedroom, Julia sighed. I have to go, she repeated one last time as she zipped her bulging suitcase and threw her messenger bag over her shoulder. After going out of her way to avoid looking into the mirror over her dresser, Julia slipped out through her bedroom window, beginning her trek into the icy, December night.” — This can work even with her having a plan, showing despair as she makes her choice.

“Once the city limits sign came into Julia Barclay’s view, she forgot how heavy the suitcase was and began running.”

On the Greyhound
Unnecessary. Julia.

She needs to have a plan and a ticket. None of this impulsive nightmare bs. That’s not how things work, Julia!!!

Does she intend to go to New York in the beginning, or do I stick with the coin flip scene? She needs to have her ticket, but I guess it’s not a big deal if she just tickets to Chicago and buys a new ticket there to NYC.


“To Julia’s relief, new, fresh snow filled in her footprints as it fell. She would leave no trace.”

Salvageable -- Julia

Weak in general. Could do without, except that it includes the coin flip. Are we still doing that?


Coin flip scene, maybe.

Enter New York
Salvageable -- Julia & Ben.

The whole ambition of the first chapter. Julia has successfully run away. Enter: Ben.
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Chapter One (Breakdown)
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