Got Feedback? It’s First Friday!


TGIF and on our blog, TGIFF!

In case you haven’t seen it, registration is now open for the 2014 Pocono Retreat.  We have an amazing faculty coming, and we hope you’ll be there too1

Once again, welcome to First Friday in Eastern PA.  This is designed to be an interactive post – your participation is what will make this valuable to all of us.  Please read the submission and then offer your constructive commentary by replying to this post.  Replies will need to be approved before they will appear.  If I am at my desk, they will be approved quickly.  If not, I will review and approve as soon as I can.

Below is the first chapter from a middle grade novel submitted by Elizabeth Loane. It’s not always easy to put yourself out there, so thank you for sharing, Elizabeth.

If you would like to submit a “first” for a future First Friday, please email it to

Wild Peace
By Elizabeth Loane
In the middle of a junk yard Tommy sat in the last seat on the back of a scrapped school bus.  Hunched over with his elbows resting on his knees, he stared at a pair of shoelaces he held in his young hands.  Tears streamed down his freckled cheeks.  He dropped his head into his hands, and begged his dead mother to help him.  But as usual, there was nothing but silence.
Tommy punched the back of the seat in front of him, quickly wiped the tears from his face with the sleeve of his sweatshirt, and shoved the shoelaces into his back pocket.  What did I do to deserve this, he thought.
He lifted his head and looked out the bus window.  The sky was pink and the forest beyond the junkyard was black, littered only by the reflective eyes that peered back at him.  The thought of what was deep in the woods sent a tingle up his arms.  The typical creatures that populated the forest, the birds, the squirrels, the deer, they did not bother him.  But he knew there were other animals out there that were not so friendly.
Like BEAR!
At the beginning of summer he remembered his Mom telling him about a bear that was roaming the streets and attached a family.  She kept NAGGING me, Tommy thought.  It was finally summer and SHE wanted me to stay in the house.
He shook his head.  “I thought she was crazy,” he said under his breath.
If I would have known she would be gone a week later I –
He felt the guilt turn in his stomach.  He took a deep breath, slide down into the seat and closed his eyes.
What 12 year old expects their Mother to die?
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2 Responses to Got Feedback? It’s First Friday!

  1. Jackie Dilworth says:

    Hi Elizabeth, Beware of writing in past tense (he held) (tears streamed.) Suggestion: Start with emotional action. (Tommy slams a punch into the back of the old school bus seat. He wipes his tears away with his fist.) Filter in setting the scene. Spelling: (‘attached’ a family) Your story is being told in third-person narrative, yet (If I would have known she would be gone a week later I – (this is first-person narrative) are the ” ” missing? I am intrigued with the setting (junk yard, and the dark woods beyond!) Of course your storyline has a strong emotional journey. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for Tommy! When I edit drafts of stories I am working on I keep reminding myself of this magical tip – show, don’t tell. Most first drafts of mine have a lot of tell. Then, after the story beats are on the page I work on ‘show.’ Thanks for sharing!

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