**DISCLAIMER** This excerpt is 270 words, because I don't know where to cut!!! HALP! :)
Any critique is much appreciated! This is the opening of my MS, and it's slightly over 250 (270 I think). I'm heading to a writer's conference in April, and they'll be critiquing our first 250 live, so A) I don't want this to be terrible and B) I need to cut another 20 words to get it in compliance. I want to fit all of the below in the 250, so I'm not sure where to start trimming away. I'm happy to reciprocate!
Failure sucks. But the fear of failure? I think I'd have more fun dying. Tonight we'll be hunting Shadows for the first time, and already that fear is pressing in on me.
The neckline on my tank tightens, and I tug it to breathe. A curled blade of bear grass scratches the underside of my leg, and I snap it off, then turn it in my fingers. Moisture seeps from the serrated edge.
Luke will slay, no doubt. He'll earn his bands and join the Guard, and I'll be left to slowly die from the inside out, like this piece of grass.
Because you ripped it from the roots like they did to you.
My cheeks flush, and suddenly the blade is limp and lifeless, death against my skin. I flick my eyes to the high school across the street, then peek over my shoulder, beyond the Desert Willow I'm sitting against. Everything's silent. I snap my fingers, summoning the Light. An orb engulfs my palm, and when it burns white, I beckon the power of Protection. A blazing ball of fire consumes the orb, snuffing the blade from existence. When the flames die, I extinguish the Light and fling the specks of ash into the stifling breeze.
I pray the Guard will be as kind if I fail.
I mean, it's not like I'm not trying. I'm stronger than half my class (well maybe a quarter, but I can still hang) and I'm definitely the fastest. But it won't matter, because when you're a chicken-shit, speed is merely an accomplice to running away. If I were slower, maybe Dad would still be alive.