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BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO BUTTERFLIES - YA contemp


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#1 marisajane

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 04:51 PM

Beginning a new project while I'm querying another, like so many other folks on this site. Right now I'm trying to clarify voice. To help develop this as well as confuse myself completely, I'm writing a novel and screenplay simultaneously. So far the one is helping feed the other? question mark? Anyway. I'll share both

 

Novel excerpt:

 

1. 

     The sun hits me dead in the face like it was aiming right for it. My own personal six-fucking-a.m. spotlight. I turn my head over to where it’s dark, down in the dirt and flowers. I’ve still got a few minutes before the cemetery guards get here. 

     A wilted white rose presses into my cheek. Its thorns bite in and the tiny pinpricks of pain feel good. I run one hand over browned petals and faded mementos toward the cool grey marble of the headstone, finding the raised bronze letters and tracing their familiar lines:

James Douglas Morrison

1943-1971

     What was it like to be Jim, I wonder for the gazilionth time. 

     Write some songs, change the world, flame out hard, cold in a bathtub at twenty-seven. Done. Death achieved. Fourteen-years-olds camping out on your grave forty years later. Immortality achieved. 

     My life plan, since I first heard a Doors song, is crazy simple: be Jim Morrison. 

     Lately, I seem to be working mostly on the dead part. 

 

 

 

---

Screenplay excerpt:

 

 

EXT PERE LACHAISE CEMETERY (PARIS) - MORNING

 

Fourteen-year-old RYDER is lying face down, fast asleep on JIM MORRISON’S GRAVE. His head is turned to the right. We DRIFT from his left side down and around his body to his right side: tangled dark hair, black Doors t-shirt, dirty jeans, written-on converse sneakers, right hand holding tight to one of many flowers left on the grave by fans, hair covering his face. He blinks in the brightening daylight and opens his eyes.

 

We DRIFT slowly back and away from his steady gaze, then up overhead revealing a maze of packed-in mausoleums and graves and the walkways that thread through them. CLAUDETTE and FRANCOISE, two uniformed cemetery guards doing their morning patrol of the grounds, are walking nearby when they spot Ryder.

 

CLAUDETTE

(in French, with subtitles)

Again?

 

FRANCOISE

(also in French, subtitles)

You’re shitting me.  


TRUE NORTH ​query

BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO BUTTERFLIES 250


#2 Gibber

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 07:12 PM

The first part of this (the prose part) was excellent. I loved the style and the voice in it and very much want to read more. But the second part is confusing (as in, why is it suddenly a screenplay?). I'm not digging the screenplay part.



#3 marisajane

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 08:26 PM

Hey Gibber, thanks for your comments. 

 

In case it wasn't clear- these are two separate projects, novel and screenplay. The excerpts here are of the same scene. The two wouldn't appear on the same page in real life as they are not the same medium. I've added some color in my original post to help clarify. 


TRUE NORTH ​query

BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO BUTTERFLIES 250


#4 Gibber

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 08:33 PM

Okay, yeah. I get it now. I can't comment much on the screenplay (not my field), but I think you totally nailed the novel part.



#5 jbodd

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 04:57 PM

Yep, I like the novel part. Very cool that this fourteen year old is in the cemetery at 6 am. Leaves one wondering why. The only thing I'd change is "Immortality achieved" to just "immortality" so you don't use achieved twice in a row.  

 

Good luck with the project! 

 

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#6 Deeba

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 07:00 PM

  The sun hits me dead in the face (I don't know if you were making a pun intentionally, but I laughed) like it was aiming right for it. My own personal six-fucking-a.m. spotlight. I turn my head over to where it’s dark, down in the dirt and flowers. I’ve still got a few minutes before the cemetery guards get here kick me out. (Being more specific here can give the reader insight on how often your MC does this)

     A wilted white rose's thorn bites presses into my cheek. Its thorns bite in and the tiny pinpricks of The pain feels good. I run one hand over browned petals and faded mementos toward the cool grey marble of the headstone, finding the raised bronze letters and tracing their familiar lines:

James Douglas Morrison

1943-1971

     What was it like to be Jim, I wonder for the gazilionth time. 

     Write some songs, change the world, flame out hard, cold in a bathtub at twenty-seven (The last part of your sentence needs reworking. The cold is throwing me off). Done. Death achieved. Fourteen-years-olds camping out on your grave forty years later. Immortality achieved. (I understand what you're doing in this part, but I think it can be reworded to give it more punch. I'm not feeling the epicness your MC is trying to convey.)

     My life plan, since I first heard a Doors song, is crazy simple: be Jim Morrison. 

     Lately, I seem to be working mostly on the dead part. 

 

The concept is good, but I think the writing needs some tweaking. I feel like the narrator's voice needs to have more... punch, sass, badassness. You get what I mean? I'm not feeling it yet, but it's almost convincing me. Also, in this entire piece, I don't know if your MC is a boy or girl just by reading this, and I have no name to connect to him/her? That is very distracting as a reader.

 

I did read the screenplay portion, but AFTER I critiqued your 250. The good/bad thing is it filled in the questions I had in my head, BUT in your MS, you won't have a screenplay filling in the blanks. Just food for thought. 


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