Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Can You Hook a Teen Blogfest Contest Entry

First 250 words of your YA Novel...

Title:  Ruhe
Genre: YA Fiction

What I don’t want to tell you is that I actually can speak.  I’m not a mute like everyone thinks.  My parents assumed it was something traumatic – they asked me if it was something my ex-boyfriend did, if he had ever forced me into anything.  They couldn’t accept the fact that I chose to be this way, I chose to stop talking.  They sent me to shrinks, specialists, doctors, hospitals, then registered me as disabled and sent me to a state school instead of the university, just so I would be closer to home.

It may seem like I sacrificed a lot in giving up my voice, but I’ve become so much more aware of people, of their mannerisms, and of how horrible of a person my voice made me.  I was voted into three different superlatives:  loudest, class gossip, and best laugh.  My friends and I had joked about it, we ran a campaign to get me elected class gossip.  But those superlatives really were true.

I told my friends’ secrets, I talked behind their backs, I couldn’t help it.  It was word vomit in the worst form.  It all blew up in my face, as it always does, and slowly, I was edged out.  The popular crowd carried on without me, the graduation parties, the dates to prom, everything.  While I was sitting, listening to a girl drone on about her stupid boyfriend, I realized something:  no one cares about what you say.  It was useless to carry on a conversation.


To enter and read other entries, go to Brenda Drake's blog.  Closes midnight MST on September 23rd.


  1. Hello, RA. I'm doing my rounds, critiquing as many other entries as I can before I pass out.

    This is really interesting. It is definitely thought-provoking.

    My only criticism, is I am wondering about your voice. The character seems like an extremely mature woman. I was reading a woman in her 30's or 40's, despite what she was saying. I was very surprised to hear her still thinking about teenage years.

    It's probably the word choice. I don't know how old this character is. Possibly, she is older and reminiscing, but if she is young, you might ant to take a look at this.

    Other than that I'm intrigued.

    Good luck!

  2. This is an interesting premise. I'm curious how long she can keep up not speaking and what is going to happen to her. You might want to tweak the voice a bit to make it sound age appropriate. Great job and good luck with contest! <3

  3. Thank you both - I do feel that the introduction to this character struggles with the voice. And I think it's more retrospective. The rest of the novel is more in her head, less reflective on her life that was. It is focused on her Freshman year in college - so I'll probably have to tweak it once I have the flow of the rest of the book to match her voice. Intros have always been so hard for me :)

  4. I agree with the voice note, but you've already covered that in your reply. :)

    I'm intrigued and curious--I know from doing the Day of Silence for several years that keeping silent for just one day is hard!

    This is an interesting premise, but as an intro it feels a little info-dumpy to me. You said it's retrospective, but I kind of want to be dumped into the middle of the action/story/etc. instead of just told all of this about the character's history. It feel like it would be fun to discover this about her, instead of told it right off the bat. Does that make sense?

    In any case, I'd keep reading. Great work, and good luck with the contest!


  5. I really like this. It seems like it could be a really interesting story and I wonder what it would be like to watch a girl though life without speaking. I can think of so many crazy and funny things that can happen.

  6. Jess -

    I've done that too, and the stories I have from just one day of silence... wow. The things that people said to me in that day, knowing I couldn't talk back - or the people things confided in me, simply because of how introverted I was.

    Now that I'm reading this over, I honestly think this would make a better dust jacket/teaser than intro to a book - regardless, it's still nice to have feedback. I love this character, because she thinks and reflects a lot. I'm thinking of starting her story meeting her college roommate, instead of these past thoughts - those can always be inserted later. :)

  7. This is a very interesting premise and I'm intrigued. Your writing flows nicely and is clean.

    I'm wondering if referring to her ex-boyfriend as "ex" accompanied with the older voicing of retrospection is what's making people think the MC is 30-40.

    Also, there are just a few places that felt a bit choppy compared to the usual smooth style of your writing. Try reading it out loud.

    I would definitely read on. This is a great set up for a lot of interesting stuff! Good luck!

  8. Thank you :) I changed a few key words that were a little bit "older," but tried to keep it the same length, in accordance to rules :)

  9. I really like the premise and can see it has a lot of potential but I'd like to see a lot more "show" and less "tell." Rather than starting with her looking back, you might want to start out with the event that causes her to choose to be mute.

  10. Okay, I liked you before, but now that I know you're ALSO writing a story from the POV of someone who doesn't speak... that's just AWESOME!!

    Since you've basically already addressed the exact things I was going to comment on, I'll just say I'm really interested to read your re-written beginning when it's done :)

    ...and if you ever want to chat about 1st person mute characters, send me an email :D

  11. I'm def. hooked. I didn't read the character as "older," but then I saw the "Can You Hook a Teen" category. Tanya's comment is a good one--but you could start somewhere *after* she decided to be mute, in a situation that requires most people to talk.

  12. I agree with everyone above... this sounds incredibly intriguing (you hooked me!) but the voice sounds too old to be a teenager.

    Good luck with your writing!