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After the Madness Workshop

After the Madness Workshop – E6

The Madness is continuing! We have two more great entries today. Here’s how it’ll work. I’ll post (along with Brenda DrakeYAtopia, and Shelley Watters) two entries per day until we’ve reached fifteen each. There was no rhyme or reason for who got which entries, so make sure to check all four blogs for yours! For those that are here to critique, have a great time! This is an open forum and we welcome opinions. It isn’t easy to put your stuff out there so, kudos to all of you who entered! I hope we can help ;o)


Let’s do this!



First 250 words


Entry E6 – Tania Walsh

I cherish the days when my head is quiet. The voices never stay for long. When they come, they are loud and piercing. I struggle to control them and suspect they may someday drive me insane. I don’t know why this is happening to me. But what I do know is that the names I hear belong to people who have only a few hours to live. I would start with the last sentence in this paragraph. “The names I hear in my head belong to…” that is your hook.

That is until today. Ooo good. I would follow with this sentence after your hook.


Ben Wong is destined to die on McGovern Street, right in front of a house with rose bushes I would end the sentence here and make the next one it’s own. as in my vision from English class. I recognize the place. It’s near my best friend’s home.



In truth, I can’t live with the names of the dead whizzing through my skull any longer. There has to be purpose to them. Something I can do about it. Why else would I hear them?

So, I’m stalking Ben in a creepy, weirdo kind of way, using the line of gum trees on the footpath to hide myself. The stinky waft from the overflowing garbage bin on the curb is making me gag.

Ben’s eaten one packet bag of potato chips, one a Mars bar, two apples and finished a can of Pepsi. And the way he continues to scratch his butt makes me think he has fleas. LOL. (Another reason I shouldn’t sit next to him in history class.) I would put parentheses around this sentence, but that’s a preference. He seems to have no issues with discarding his mess all over the road either. Plus, he’s beyond skinny. This metabolism thing is unfair.  This whole last paragraph is great!


Great job with this. I get an idea of your voice and you have a great hook! I’m a sucker for humor too. 


Any thoughts?


Have an awesome day ;o)


<3 Erica


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5 comments

After the Madness Workshop – E5

The Madness is continuing! We have two more great entries today. Here’s how it’ll work. I’ll post (along with Brenda DrakeYAtopia, and Shelley Watters) two entries per day until we’ve reached fifteen each. There was no rhyme or reason for who got which entries, so make sure to check all four blogs for yours! For those that are here to critique, have a great time! This is an open forum and we welcome opinions. It isn’t easy to put your stuff out there so, kudos to all of you who entered! I hope we can help ;o)

Let’s do this!

First 250 words


Entry E5 – Julia K.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was following me.  Watching me. I think this needs to be reworked, it doesn’t hook me right away. What do you want us to know about your protagonist? As I walked into the usually bustling lobby of the building where my doctor’s office was located, I saw that the room was completely empty.  Show me this. Show me what the lobby was bustling with. I felt (watch these- I felt, I walked – replace them or delete them, it makes the sentence stronger – it works without it we know she’s feeling it if she’s telling us) a chill come over my body.  Thoughts of terror (horror?) movies came to mind.  I was in that moment where everyone watching would be yelling at me, “GET OUT!” LOL. I know that moment!

            I tried to rid my mind of these ridiculous thoughts.  I was a fifteen year-old girl going to my annual check-up.  Why would anyone be following me here?  I walked to the elevator and pushed the up button.  As I waited I scanned the room around me and saw that I was still alone.  I began to laugh at myself.  I needed to stop watching those cop dramas right before going to bed every night. 

            I realized I had been so lost in my thoughts that the elevator was standing open, waiting for me.  I quickly made my way on as the door began to close behind me.  I turned around and leaned against the back of the elevator as I faced the door that slowly closed before me.  I was relieved to be out of the creepily quiet lobby and hoped that the weird knot in my stomach would go away.  Just as the door was about to shut completely, a hand jutted into the small opening.  I jumped.  I imagined a serial killing maniac with a butcher knife on the other side of the hand and backed up into the corner of elevator. 
Not a lot happened in these 250. Excite us! We want to go on the journey with you. You use a lot of I’s in this–too many. I would rework these sentences. When it’s I felt, I walked… it becomes repetitive. Something should be happening here, she feels like someone is following her. We need to feel her emotion, her nervousness of this fact. Show us she feels this. It gets interesting when the hand stops the elevator. I would move that closer to the beginning. Once you remove all those I statements I think you’ll be surprised how great it will flow. Good luck!

Any thoughts? 


Have a great day!
<3 Erica


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3 comments

After the Madness Workshop – E3

It’s here! The After the Madness has begun! We have two great entries today. Here’s how it’ll work. I’ll post (along with Brenda DrakeYAtopia, and Shelley Watters) two entries per day until we’ve reached fifteen each. There was no rhyme or reason for who got which entries, so make sure to check all four blogs for yours! For those that are here to critique, have a great time! This is an open forum and we welcome opinions. It isn’t easy to put your stuff out there so, kudos to all of you who entered! I hope we can help ;o)

Let’s do this!

First 250 words


Entry E3 – Elias J. McClellan 

McIntyre’s First Law: “Under the right circumstances, anything I tell you may be wrong.”  O’Brien’s First Corollary to McIntyre’s First Law: “I don’t know what the right circumstances are, either.” I wasn’t sure if this was part of the 250, but I added it in. I’m assuming it matters to the story? 
Roosevelt Prejean pulled a black watch cap lower, over his ears and dirty hair as the snowfall intensified. He stomped through a quarter mile of dead-grass-and-slush-covered cow pasture to avoid the deadly-dark road. This is all a bit wordy. I would condense it a little and pick one thing to concentrate on in the sentence. Cars churned by on gravel and mud, headlights bobbing between tire ruts and ditches.  His neighbors shared rides for a predawn commute to hard-money jobs around Fort Sill.  After a night of slinging weed and pills in Lawton, Roosevelt marched to his mom’s house. 
He stepped over the barbed-wire I would lose all the hyphens, it’s a little distracting fence where gravel and mud gave way to a dirt track lined with houses from across the state.  A land surveyor, the landlord, bought houses, moved them in and cut them up for duplexes. Different designs and sizes all ran identical in neglect.  Paint flaked off drooping siding and worn roofs sagged under snow.  Some leaned on bad foundations. You have some lovely descriptions, but they are getting lost in all the words. Try to simplify your descriptions. 
We should live better than this, Roosevelt thought.  Eileen, his mom, worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  Her pay could’ve covered an apartment in town but not with the deadbeat boyfriend, daily binges and now a pseudo—he stopped halfway around her green Marquis. This is an awkward sentence. I would rework the end. Spritle, his Labrador, huddled at the front door trembling. 
Roosevelt untangled and unlatched the pup’s chain with hands shaking from cold and anger.  Time for somebody to go.  Who? He keyed the front-door lock and the stench of water-rotted wood emanating from the bathroom promised nothing better inside the dark house.  Spritle jumped, whining as they cut through the near-vacant living room to his bedroom. 

This has promise, but I’m getting lost in the wordiness. Choose a few good details and simplify. Your first 250 should entice us to keep reading and get us to care more about your protagonist. I think you have something, but it’s buried. Unearth it and you will make it shine!

What do you think? Anything to add?
Have a great day!
<3 Erica

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4 comments

After the Madness Workshop – E4

It’s here! The After the Madness has begun! We have two great entries today. Here’s how it’ll work. I’ll post (along with Brenda DrakeYAtopia, and Shelley Watters) two entries per day until we’ve reached fifteen each. There was no rhyme or reason for who got which entries, so make sure to check all four blogs for yours! For those that are here to critique, have a great time! This is an open forum and we welcome opinions. It isn’t easy to put your stuff out there so, kudos to all of you who entered! I hope we can help ;o)

Let’s do this!

First 250 words


Entry E4 – Alison R. Miller

There are fifty reasons my mind should be on school today, but Susan Milton should not be one of them. I would make this snappier. Something shorter, punchier. Maybe reverse the sentences and start with Susan Milton shouldn’t be on my mind. or something?
I should be thinking Northside and their defensive line, the one that racks up ten QB sacks a game. I should be running through Coach’s five new plays—the ones the Monarchs won’t see on the scouting tapes. I should think about how David and I are going to get a keg for the beach after the game. Or how if I don’t play the game of my life, we won’t even need one.
Maybe I should focus on my senior project.
Or the Pre-Calc test I have in thirty minutes.
            But I just can’t get my mind off her. I love the punchiness of these lines.
            Ever since she glided into English on the first day of school, I haven’t been able to focus on much else. And [delete And, not needed] not just because Susan Milton’s the hottest chick I’ve ever seen in my life. I mean, she is: tight little body, sexy smile, shiny blond hair that smells like the jasmine growing in my backyard. She has a habit of wearing these low cut tops, and if she bends over just right, I almost get a free show. And God, her voice. The way she recites poetry, it’s like she’s singing—just to me. I used to hate English. Now I hate that I have to wait until third period for my new favorite class.
            But Susan Milton is forbidden. Off limits. I can’t have her.
            And unfortunately I can get practically anybody.

Excellent set-up. I love your last line. It totally drew me in. At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked the repetitive nature of this, but it grew on me as I read on. I would punch-up that first line, really get our attention. Great job! I would read on.


What do you think? Anything to add?

Have a great day!
<3 Erica

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4 comments

After the Madness Workshop – E2

It’s here! The After the Madness has begun! We have two great entries today. Here’s how it’ll work. I’ll post (along with Brenda DrakeYAtopia, and Shelley Watters) two entries per day until we’ve reached fifteen each. There was no rhyme or reason for who got which entries, so make sure to check all four blogs for yours! For those that are here to critique, have a great time! This is an open forum and we welcome opinions. It isn’t easy to put your stuff out there so, kudos to all of you who entered! I hope we can help ;o)

Let’s do this!

First 250 words



Entry E2 – Leigh Caroline

Islaine the Last slammed the ancient oak door of her room. Despite the force she used, it closed with a soft hush; (a period could be placed here, I think) the castle was too well trained to actually do anything as disruptive as slamming. She flung herself on the fluffy white bed, sobbing the way only the young and incredibly frustrated can manage. After a few moments, though, she pulled her long, pale hair out of her face, and glanced around the room . “Any other time, this place is swarming with pixies! I wasted a perfectly fantastic dramatic entrance!” LOL

A muffled giggle from behind the curtain told her the impulsive creatures weren’t far after all. Islaine pushed herself up off the bed, a sly grin replacing the pout she’d worn a moment before. She tapped her index finger against her heart shaped lips, as if thinking. “How odd, a giggle from somewhere in the room. There must be a pixie hiding somewhere around here…” she mused, a hint of a smile in her crystal eyes. She lifted up the top of her charm box, shifting the bits of shiny stones and silver around. “Nope, not in the charm box.”

She bent to look under the bed, then made a show of flipping her hair back up out of her way a few times, before declaring, “Not under the bed either. I wonder where they could be?”

Another giggle from behind the velvet curtain, and she reached out and flicked the curtain open, sending the small pixies flitting around in windblown circles.

This is really cute. The voice is good and I get an idea of the kind of person Islaine is. She seems young and a little dramatic, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just be careful and not make her too melodramatic. I love the idea of the pixies being tricksters and hiding from her. Great job!

What do you think? Any suggestions?


Have a great day!
<3 Erica

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4 comments