Monday, April 18, 2011

Submission Theresa

Name: Theresa Milstein
E-mail: tmilstein at gmail dot com
Title: NAKED EYE - YA Fantasy


Sixteen-year-old Lucienne’s prosthetic eye is replaced with a lie-seeing one. What price does Lucienne have to pay to uncover the truth?

250 Words:

You know how adults always warn children not to run with scissors because they could lose an eye and to stop tipping back their chairs because they could crack open their skulls? I’ve never cracked open my skull from tipping back a desk chair, but three years ago, I ran with scissors and lost an eye.

Seventh Grade

My class worked on an art project, making dioramas of our bedrooms, which had to be drawn to scale. “That’s my scissor,” I accused Andrea when I’d moved scraps of paper, bits of Styrofoam, and pipe cleaners only to spy my orange-handled one in her hand.

“It’s mine now,” she responded. Her lifeless hair covered her expression, and she didn’t even bother looking up as she cut out her dilapidated-looking dresser. I only knew it was a dresser because she’d told me. Her artistic ability was as bad as her attitude.

I huffed up from the table, banging shoulders with that sloth, Jeremy on the way to the art supply desk. We were locker neighbors, and he made sure to take his time with his door blocking mine so I’d stand there tapping my foot until just before the bell. It was only two weeks into school and I’d received three tardies because of him.

I searched the bin to find only rusty scissors were left, which would be terrible for slicing through thick paper. Snatching a scissor, I hurried back to the desk.


  1. I like your opening paragraph. Don't run with scissors or you'll lose an eye -- it's a like a cultural touchstone. It certainly brought me on board.

    After that opening paragraph I would try to tighten it up a bit, since I'm assuming that the events you're describing are only important in that they lead up to the losing of the eye. I like that we knew an accident is going to happen. It made me want to read on, but it feels like we could get there a little faster.

    The paragraph that slowed me down the most was the one with the lifeless hair. That's a vivid image, but I immediately pictured someone who was poor, so the jabs at her artistic abilities came off as a bit too mean. Believable certainly for 7th grade, but maybe not where you want the reader to be focused on that first key page.

    I really liked your description of his locker neighbor, Jeremy. That also felt very real and since it paints your mc in a more sympathetic light, I might just go with that one rather than describing both Jeremy and Andrea.

    I would definitely like to read on, though. Great job!

  2. Don't you love when you try to post a comment and blogger gives you an error message? Ugh.

    Theresa, I think you have a very interesting premise here, but in short I don't think this is where your story really starts. The first paragraph totally hooks me in, but then you give us the back story of how the incident occurred. This to me slows down your story, something you really do not want in your opening pages.

    You've done a great job with the voice and your descriptions, but I would like to see a more compelling opening scene. This back story can be weaved in later an an appropriate time. Like maybe she bumps into Andrea in the hall and Andrea makes a remark that triggers this memory. Or when we first meet Jeremy, she can have a quick flashback to when they were locker neighbors and he'd made her late for class.

    I'm curious how a prosthetic eye, which is usually glass, right? can help her see anything. Is it projecting images into her brain just by being in her socket? Did it fuse to some tissue when she put it in? Is it some sort of special futuristic prosthetic? Not stuff you need to include in the opening but all things I'm left wondering.

    As for the pitch, it isn't bad, but it really doesn't give me much. I find I don't really care much about what price she'll pay because I don't know what's at stake. To uncover the truth about whom? If we knew a tiny bit more (which is super hard to do in 140 characters, I know!) it would be more catching. As is, I still want to read on because the lie-seeing eye is cool.

    You might try something like: When Lucienne discovers her prosthetic eye can see through lies, she_____

    Overall, I think it's very interesting and well written, and I would read on despite my preference for a more compelling opening.

  3. I love the concept of this, very intriguing. Be careful not to tell, showing is always better and leaves a more lasting impact. Also this feels like a prologue which you have to be careful with because a lot of agents don't like them. I'd love to see the chapter that comes after this because I feel like that may be where your story starts. You've grabbed my interest and that's the important part!