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  1. Opening Chapter - En media res; Introduces the protagonist and antagonist; Inciting incident; There's also an idiot named Troy - everything you asked for. Thanks for reading! Bethesda Terrace, Central Park, NYC July, 2012 “He’s not dead. I know that much.” “Well, what do you think is wrong with him then, since apparently you’re a doctor now?” “I never said I was a doctor, Ralph. I said he wasn’t dead.” “Hey! What’s going over here? That guy dead? They found a dead guy over by Strawberry Fields last week. A jogger found him. I don’t know why they jog. Such a boring way to get around and the joggers are always the first to find the bodies.” “Come on, there’s people jogging in here nonstop and they find a dead person, what, once a season, at max?” Ralph answered the newcomer. “So, is he? If so, he’s not finishing that sandwich.” “The good Doctor Suzie over here says he’s not. Right Suzie?” “He’s not.” said not Doctor Suzie, “and stop calling me a doctor, Ralph. I do have two keen eyes and I can see that he’s breathing.” “Well, doctor or not, I know your eyes are as good as any in New York. If anyone can spot some bread on the pavement from on top of Central Park Tower it’s you, Suzie.” said Ralph, and he meant it. Suzie has eyes like an eagle, which is impressive considering… “Listen Ralph, Suzie, here me out. Alive or dead, he’s not eating that sandwich. I’m starving. I thought I had a whole bag of freshly trashed bagels, mostly Everything, my favorite, this morning outside H & H bagels…” “H & H? They’re OK. I prefer Ess-a-bagel myself. But H & H is good enough for you, Troy.” Ralph said. “That’s rich,” Troy continued, unamused “anyways, I had like twenty bagels all to myself and then I get in a fight with this huge rat and he wins because, well he’s a huge rat. What a waste, I don’t even think he liked Everything bagels. So, I’m going for it.” Troy is on the not dead guy’s lap in two short hops, standing on his light blue scrub pants, and starts tearing off as much of the sandwich as he can gulp down per bite. Which is substantial in spite of his small mouth. “It’s falafel! And not bad!” “Uh, Troy, you might want to get out of there…” Suzie said. Troy, undeterred, continues his feast, eating like an episcopalian in a buffet line “Is there a new Halal cart around here? I’m telling you this is good falafel. And I should know…” “Troy. Look up. Now.” Ralph gestured aggressively with his head. Troy did. Mouth agape, falafel spilling all over the not dead guy's now in no way clean for surgery scrubs, he looked up to see that the not dead guy was now also no longer unconscious and was staring down at Troy. “Ugh, what happened?” now alive and awake guy stammered, rubbing the back of his head with his right hand. His left remained dangerously close to Troy, in Ralph and Suzie’s estimation. Troy seemed unconcerned by his predicament and took another tear out of the falafel. Ralph hopped back a foot, “Troy, I think it’s time you got down from there.” Suzie rustled where she stood but couldn’t bring herself to leave, transfixed by Troy’s impending doom. “Yeah. He’s looking at you. He looks angry.” Troy grabbed one last bite, he had to - what was the secret to this tahini? Amazing… “Come on Troy, if you don’t get out of there, we won’t be talking about the not dead guy, but rather one very dead pigeon.” “What kind of stupid name for a pigeon is Troy?” alive, awake and apparently rude guy asked to himself, in what he thought was the privacy of his own head. He had not thought, recovering from a concussion as he was, hey, how do I even know this pigeon’s name is Troy? That would have been a good question. All three pigeons - Troy, Ralph and Suzie stopped their head bobbing and stared up at him. A moment passed. It seemed like an eternity to pigeons and human alike. Finally, Troy looked up at the guy and down and Ralph and Suzie and, seeing no progress being made, had one more bite of falafel. It was a good bite - the perfect ratio of falafel, tahini and pita - no salad. Suzie broke the silence. “Wait. You can hear us?” “Yes.” the man thought and looked directly at Suzie. He added “I must still be asleep. Or dead? Is this a dream?” “Nope. You’re awake. This is real. And this is real good pita. Usually the pita is an afterthought, just a falafel wrapper but, man, this stuff is a revelation. They must have the middle eastern Daniel Boulud working in whatever Halal cart you got this from. Or is it a brick-and-mortar place? When’s their trash day? That would be some good information.” Troy dropped a spot of tahini on the man’s crotch and looked at it, thinking better of pecking it up. “He’s answering me when I didn’t say anything? What kind of hallucination is this? Did Andrei spike my falafel sandwich with something? What kind of oral drugs would make a human hallucinate? Mushrooms? Which ones? They did not cover that in veterinary pharmacology. At least not at Texas A&M.” the man thought. “You’re not hallucinating.” Suzie said. “No one’s ever been able to speak with us before.” Ralph said. Troy, after swallowing yet another bite, said “No mushrooms in here. I’d know. I can recognize shiitake and portobello and oyster, which don’t taste like oysters…” “Troy!” Suzie and Ralph spoke in unison. “Not now, Troy. This is huge. He can understand us.” Suzie added. “That’s it. I’ve finally lost it. About to be fired. Maybe even killed. A sleeper…” the man stared in disbelief at Troy in his lap and Ralph and Suzie at his feet. “He might be right. He may be crazy. The only other person who I think can understand us is Crazy Carl in Columbus Circle but I think he just nods a lot and some of the timing of the nodding just makes it seem like he hears us.” “Troy. Shut up.” Ralph hopped closer and swiveled his pigeon head to look the man in the eye. “We can hear you and you can hear us. This is real life, for us at least.” “OK, I heard that. But your mouth isn’t moving.” the man thought in Ralph's direction. “Telepathy. All animals communicate by it. You had to know we do. You see birds fly together. Fish swim together. Rats, doing horrible rat stuff - we hate rats.” Ralph explained. “But…you know it’s called telepathy?” “I read stuff.” “Well, of course. I’m totally willing to accept that. Also, you do know people call pigeons flying rats, right?” “I feel like that’s more of an insult for seagulls, but yeah.” Ralph answered. “No human has ever been able to communicate with us via telepathy. Not that I’ve ever heard of.” Suzie said. “So, we’re ruling out Crazy Carl?” “Really Troy, not now. You want the rest of my sandwich? Mind if I move it off my lap?” The Man looked down at Troy and pushed the sandwich aside and onto the park bench. “We’re sorry about Troy.” “Don’t be, reminds me of someone I know.” “No human ever has been able to hear animals.” Suzie repeated. “This is amazing. Your shirt says you work at a veterinary clinic. Are you a veterinarian?” “Yeah, but not a very good one. I’ve been in New York working for two years and I think I am about to get fired.” “I hate vets.” “Thanks, Troy. I think a lot of my patients agree with you. But you’re a wild pigeon, have you ever been to the vet?” “No, but I read stuff, too.” Ralph and Suzie shook their heads quickly in a negative fashion. “Really?” “No, but word gets around.” “So, you’re telling me all animals communicate with all other animals by telepathy all the time?” “Yes. All animals. We talk to dogs on walks, giraffes at the zoo, fish in the Hudson.” Suzie relieved Troy the burden of both answering and eating. “What about insects?” “Don’t be ridiculous.” Suzie shot Ralph a glance with a pigeon eye roll. “Yeah, now he’s just making stuff up. Insects! Ha. Yeah, them and plants and fungi and rocks and the clouds are all talking to each other via telephone all the time, maybe he is crazy?” “Troy, I think he said it’s Telepathy. Listen, you guys have been very nice. But I have just received a large blow to the head. At least I think I did. I think that is why I was passed out on the bench. So, I am currently post-concussion and, in addition to my mushroom toxicity ignorance, learned very little about concussions in veterinary school - since animals are too smart to play football - I think I am probably hallucinating or maybe bleeding in my skull or I’m dead and in a very strange purgatory, so,” The man really looked around for the first time since coming to, what with having been distracted by the talking pigeons. “I think I am going to get up, walk over there, dunk my head in the fountain, scream under water in a very dramatic way, and then come back over here. If y’all are still here and still telepathizing when I get back, I guess we’ll go from there.” The man got up, dusted the sandwich crumbs off his scrubs, smearing in Troy’s tahini across his crotch to make an embarrassing stain, like he was leaking pus or something worse from his crotch, and stumbled across the terrace, weaving through tourists and New Yorkers on lunch break. He pushed past a small blonde boy being scolded by a Jamaican woman for getting his clothes wet and stared up at the winged statue at the top of the fountain. Maybe if he could grow wings he could fly away from all this. Made about as much sense hearing animal’s thoughts. “Wings are great and all, but you can’t fly away from your problems, is what my mother always said. I think. I was real young when I fell out of the nest.” The Vet looked down to see Troy had followed him over to the fountain and said, out loud, “I bet you were pushed.” He tried to shoo Toy away with a subtle kick. People are always kicking at pigeons and they shouldn’t – pigeons are among the most sensitive of birds. “Whoa, what? I wanted to see if I could hear you scream underwater. I have a very inquiring mind. I want to know…” Troy started to explain. The man kneeled beside the fountain and without further hesitation dunked his entire head under the water and left it there submerged. He didn’t scream. He had forgotten to suck in enough air to scream. He just held his head there and looked at the bottom of the fountain. “Look,” he thought, “two quarters. You should grab them you’ll need the money once you are fired.” He felt tapping on his elbow and pulled his head out saying, “Not now Troy,” He was eye to eye with a bored looking Central Park Police Officer. “You’re allowed in the fountain. But usually, people just put their feet in.” He scanned the man up and down and focused on his monogrammed scrub top. “You work at UES Veterinary hospital Dr., ugh,” he squinted so he could read the cursive script below the logo “Dr. Mike Novak?” “Yes.” the not dead man, now known as Mike, answered. “You OK?” “Just clearing my head a little.” “OK. Well, while I got you, my wife’s chihuahua won’t stop dragging its butt on my carpet, what do you think that’s about?” “Hell if I know.” Mike thought. “Based on my first two years of work, I wouldn’t know even if I examined him. I’m the worst veterinarian ever. A fake. A fraud. I mean I really am, if you only knew.” Troy interrupted his thoughts. “You could just ask the dog. ‘Hey, you little dome headed mutt, why are you dragging your butt on this poor guy's carpet? You know he can’t get paid much to be a Central Park cop and can’t afford a new carpet if it gets all Chihuahua butted up.’” “Troy, you’re a genius.” “I get that a lot.” “Well, sir,” Mike said to the officer, “it could be a number of things. If you can swing him by the clinic one day this week I can have a look.” “You think I can pay UES Vet prices? They're crazy. You’re crazy.” “I know.” Mike agreed with both statements. “We see Dr. Posey in Hollis, you know her? She’s the best.” “No, I do not know Dr. Posey or where in the hell Hollis is. All veterinarians in the world do not know one another, in spite of the popular misconception we do.” Mike thought and instead said “I think I might. Well, good luck.” and walked off. Troy followed behind. “I couldn’t hear you scream. Did you at least get the quarters?” Mike ignored Troy and sat down next to his falafel sandwich. Troy hopped up and resumed eating. “Well?” Ralph asked. “I don’t think he screamed. Experiment inconclusive.” Troy ignored Ralph’s icey pigeon glare. “What are you going to do?” Suzie asked. Mike thought about it. “I could check myself into a psychiatry ward. My health insurance at UES is terrible so after my eight thousand dollar deductible, damn, I can’t afford that. Or, I could go with it. What’s one more crazy person on the streets of New York? What if I am not crazy? What if I am a veterinarian who can speak to animals? A real Dr. Doolittle? Everything could change for me. Well, not everything.” “What do you mean, not everything? You’ll be the best vet in town. You’ll be famous, loved, wealthy enough to pay your deductible.” Suzie asked. Suzie seemed to be the wisest among the triumvirate. “It’s frustrating to work through things when you guys can hear all of my thoughts.” “There are ways to just think to oneself and not communicate everything. It’ll take some practice. You are basically thinking out loud now, but you get the hang of it, probably. I don’t know if humans can do that too, since you're the first one with animal telepathy - Dr. Doolittle is obviously fiction - but us animals can. Otherwise, life would be one continuous din of telepathic communication. Can you imagine?” “Like Twitter?” “Yeah, like Twitter.” “Well, hopefully that will happen for me soon.” Mike said. “So, what do you mean not everything, you got lady problems?” Ralph asked. Ralph could be blunt. Mike sighed and looked from Ralph to Suzie to Troy to the sky. “I can’t believe I am going to tell you this. But I also can’t believe I am talking to pigeons via telepathy so here goes - I am not just a mediocre veterinarian, I am a Russian spy and a sleeper agent.” Troy didn’t stop eating but did look up at Mike. Suzie and Ralph stared at each other. “You’re what?” Suzie’s beak was agape in surprise. “A spy. Sort of. An unwillingly and useless one, but, still, a spy. I have an FSB agent who handles me, Andrei. It was Andrei who knocked me out today.” “Andrei sounds like a made-up Russian name. He’s lying. Although he could be a sleeper agent. We did find him sleeping. Is that what that means?” Troy resumed pulling at the pita and interjected. “Why would I lie to you? No offense, but I don't have anything to gain from fooling three pigeons.” “He has a point.” agreed Ralph. Suzie looked at Mike with as much pity as a pigeon could muster, which is a lot. Pigeons are among the most sensitive of birds. “That’s a lot to handle.” “Well, as you can see, I am not handling it well. Bad at my job. Beat up by my handler. I guess that makes me bad at two jobs. I’m not sure I want either of them. I know I don’t want to be a sleeper agent. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a good vet, but I know I am not a good sleeper agent. I have been in America for twenty years and I don’t think I have done one thing to benefit either country besides racking up a truly tremendous amount of student debt” “Don’t be too hard on yourself, for one thing, you know where to find the best falafel in New York. This is amazing.” Troy knew a good falafel and a sad guy when he saw one. Why not throw him a bone. “You must have some story.” Suzie said. “You wouldn’t believe it if I told you.” “If you’re willing to continue believing you are having a telepathic conversation with three pigeons, we are willing to believe you are a Russian spy. I, for one, would like to hear how you got here.” Ralph said. “Me, too.” Suzie added and tilted her pigeon head kindly. “I’ll hang out as long as this sandwich lasts.” said Troy. “I thought you had an inquiring mind?” “I’m more of a scientific bent. Can you hear screams underwater, where you can get the best pizza slice in New York - that sort of question really drives me. I don’t go in much for back stories. I have no idea who Ralph and Suzie are, for example.” “We’re your brother and sister, Troy.” Ralph said. “See. Just doesn’t interest me.” “Well, we are interested, let's hear it.” THE ODESSA CONNECTION; Chapter One.docx
  2. THE SELF-COVERAGE NOVEL SCOREBOX Criteria Ratings 1-5 as follows: 1. Uncertain 2. Understand, But Item Needs More Work 3. Average and Must Evolve To Be Competitive 4. I Believe This Base is Covered 5. Superb and Clicking With Velocity MARKET VALUE: Originality, freshness, high concept 4 - The concept of a dying person remembering his life has been done before several times. What I tried to do is... What if he doesn't know he is dying and he lives each incident in his life as if it was happening for the first time? I implemented this by not giving a linear story, but by jumping to different important points in the life of the character, making it appear as nothing makes sense. The story is about living life to the fullest and enjoying the time given to us. High Concept Example: Is loneliness as dark as this place? . . . I feel excruciating pain . . . Now it’s gone . . . The lights from the stadium, like millions of fireflies, melt down onto the field. The red and gold of the fans mix with the black and orange, and the occasional loner in white on the stands. The whistles and cheers break for a fraction and retake energy. The nerves are at its peak. The night is witness of a game we cherish. Clear target readership 4 - When the first idea came to my mind about writing this novel, I always wanted it to appeal to all ages, to the vast majority of readers. Though is not a specific target like romance, young adult, or thriller, I think it does get closer to my goal. The night is crawling in as the bus arrives at the last stop, two blocks away from Victoria’s house. It is one very isolated neighborhood, with not many homes, and even fewer with lights on. We are uneasy. What we find is yellow crime scene tape all around her serene-blue house, which is hidden in creepy shadows. As we get closer, my heart begins to pound wildly. We can’t see anything from outside, so I decide to break in. I cross the yellow line “Hey!” a shout rings out, making us jump and run as fast as we can. “STOP!” But we don’t want to. Then, we faintly hear. “This is the police.” We all stop. Turning around, we see the officer. He rests his hands on his knees, apparently really tired and red from the chase. “Who are you? What are you doing here?” Sweat drips down his flustered round cheeks. “We’re Victoria’s friends,” I say. “She lives here and she’s been missing from school for days.” Jose steps up beside me. “We just want to know what happened, officer.” “You kids need to get out of here.” He has an air of Fred Flintstone, as he stands tall resting a hand on his belly. Hook 4 - To begin the story, I wanted to immediately let the reader know something bad has happened. The main character is in pain, and we don't know what it is, then we jump to a moment of his life where everything seems to be perfect, but somehow it is not. MAGIC Is loneliness as dark as this place? . . . I feel excruciating pain . . . Now it’s gone . . . The lights from the stadium, like millions of fireflies, melt down onto the field. The red and gold of the fans mix with the black and orange, and the occasional loner in white on the stands. The whistles and cheers break for a fraction and retake energy. The nerves are at its peak. The night is witness of a game we cherish. I’m with my best buddies from high school. Fred, whose Nordic blood shows its traces with his dark red copper hair, Scott with his wild brunette hair who always has a smile pinned to his coltish body, and Jose, whose onyx hair paired with his indigo eyes, and light tan skin, often leads people to believe he’s French when there is no denying Salsa sparks his feet. Our parents cheer a few rows below. Like I was saying, the crowd is screaming. The place is ripping apart. We are in Miami at the Super Bowl watching the Cincinnati Bengals play the San Francisco 49ers. Jose and I are fans of the 49ers, whereas Scott and Fred love the Bengals. We are down to the fourth quarter of a highly entrenched contest. The game was tied 13-13, but the Bengals have just gone up by a field goal. Scott and Fred start dancing, hugging each other, like wild chicken let loose on a barn, making fun of us. “It’s our turn now! We’ve waited seven years to get back at you guys,” Scott exclaims. (Clearly they’re still sore about the Bengals’ previous Super Bowl loss to San Francisco.) I wave them off and my stomach is knitting itself in knots. The clock reads 3:20 remaining in the game, and the 49ers are on their own eight-yard line. Feeling frustrated, I see Joe Montana going calmly into the huddle. I want to scream at him, and yet his demeanor inspires confidence. The drive starts, and they begin to move the ball like a precise staccato note in a symphony. No longer hearing my friends screaming in excitement, I turn to see fear overtaking the happiness in their eyes. The 49ers are down to the Bengals’ ten-yard line. Joe Montana drops back. He steps up and throws . . . TOUCHDOWN 49ers!! . . . To John Taylor with only 34 seconds remaining! I leap off my seat, and for a second, I think I can fly. Scott and Fred simply stand motionless, stunned. I am exhilarated. I have witnessed Montana’s magic! . . . I’m falling . . . who turn out the lights? Where’s the crowd? . . . STRUCTURE: Act Zero backstory development 3 - There is not much backstory, though I did this on purpose. The reader, as the book goes along, will know the main character and they can choose to love him or not. Other characters do have their backstories as they are presented, especially Yoseline, the protagonist sweetheart. Concise, effective setup with inciting incident 4 - From the first lines of the novel, I believe the incident is well defined and although it is not clear what it is, clearly is not good. Is loneliness as dark as this place? . . . I feel excruciating pain . . . Now it’s gone . . . Plot line arc, and subplots (if appropriate) 4 - Tough it appears at the beginning of the book that everything is a mess, I wanted to tell the story in the point of view of the protagonist himself. He doesn't know who he is. With the progression of the story, things begin to make more sense and the maze that was his life becomes a puzzle he start to put together. One of the major subplots in the story is Yoseline, the love of his life. She, in a way, acts as a guide to the protagonist to come out of the maze and figure out what happened to him. The story builds momentum, intensifying as it gets to the climax. Well designed reversals (major and minor) 4 - There is a moment right around the middle of the story where the protagonist finds the love of her life after several years. It seems he will be able to be with her, but as he gives chase, he fails. Even though it was a failure, it is in this point where she begins to act as a "spiritual guide", and he is hell bent on finding her, as she is key to saving his life. Pinch points (at least two) 4 - At chapter three the protagonist and his friends are faced with the challenge of saving a missing girl who is kidnaped by four punk kids. Against the odds, and being only kids, their chances don't look that good. At chapter four he meets Yoseline who will turn to be the love of his life. He is innocent and doesn't understand it well, though he thinks he does. Catalytic situation driven 4 - In the beginning and end of each chapter, the protagonist struggle to survive is driven to the core. He may have lived a very happy situation, but he is still suffering and needs to get out before time runs out. Conflict, tension, rising action, 4 - Conflict is laid out from the start, and the tension of time running out is always on the page. As the situation of the protagonist is reminded, the action builds with degrees until it reaches climax. Every scene relevant (i.e., to driving plot forward) 3 - Every scene is very important, as it reveals different things about the protagonist and its goal to save his life. But by the way the story is set up, this is not apparent to the reader , until the story comes full circle. Effective, believable climax 4 - After the protagonist's wedding, a hurricane hits the island where they are staying, and they have to fight to survive mother nature against all odds. Resolution 4 - Once the protagonist places together the puzzle of his life and he now knows why he is suffering, the resolution is clear and precise, as it closes all the story lines. The protagonist perishes while saying goodbye to his loved one. A glimpse of what is to come after his death closes the story on a happier note. CHARACTERS: Antagonistic force 4 - In this novel there are several antagonists and each one of them play a major role, but the one that is ever present is time. We know the main character is suffering and time is running out, he needs to figure out who he is. Consistent opposition 4 - There is a constant opposition, not only time is running out, but he faces unpredictable obstacles, like saving a kidnap girl from the clutches of four punk kids, and survive a winter storm in the arms of her mother. But the important thing is how he resolves each obstacle to come out of it alive. Protagonist’s goals 4 - The protagonist needs to rediscover who he is, who he loves, and what has happened to him in order to save his life. Sympathetic protagonist 3 - I wanted to create simple sympathy, just out of what the protagonist is going through. His actions should speak more about him. Yet, I think I could still make him more sympathetic. Protagonist’s arc 4 - Though Sam's character is not completely revealed as the story progresses, I believe I have managed to slowly place together his character in a manner sincere and true to what I was attempting to accomplish with him. Supporting characters 4 - The supporting characters play a pivotal role in finding out who the protagonist is, and what he has done in his life to deserve his story being told. They suffer and grow as well with the protagonist, giving him more life and impact on his life. Yoseline is the most important, probably as an equal. She is ultimately the guide for the protagonist salvation. NARRATIVE DEVELOPMENT: Scene length and structure 4 - Every scene length and structure play well with the feel I want to give to the book. Each one in its own way is like a short story that later come together to create the novel as a whole. The set-up on every scene is similar, though they differ in context as the story progresses. Effective transitions 3 - The way the book is structured, the transitions are minimal from scene to scene. There is an improvement into the latter part of the book. In every scene, I think I have manage to keep the flow of the pace the way I intended it for the most part. Clarity of spatial set 4 - For every scene there is a different set. I made an effort to show its detail and make it clear in most scenes. In others, I attempted to leave it to the interpretation of the reader, and that is one thing I like to do, challenge the reader a little bit. Comprehensible prose narrative 4 - Overall, I use a very simple and clear prose, but I did add a little bit of poetry in describing things, just because that is kind of the style I like to write in. Tension on the page 4 - With every scene I took it upon myself to have the tension always constant. In a few scenes, I give the reader a breather, but I wanted them to feel that they are in with the protagonist, struggling to survive. Dialogue mastery 4 - One thing I've learned to do better is dialogue. For some reason, I was shying away from creating too much dialogue. I like it precise and to the point, but have come to realize, how I can immerse the reader much more into the plot with dialogue. I feel both anguished and alarmed. What could’ve happened? During break sitting on the bench with my friends I let it out. “Hey guys something is not right.” Jose takes a bite of his one slice of American cheese and an ugly looking pink ham sandwich and stops chewing it halfway. Fred gulps down the last of his nasty carrot juice and Scott stares at me puzzled. “Dude what are you talking about?” They all stare. “Jose knows… tell them.” Jose with his mouth full attempts to say something. Fred interrupts “Man finish first, I didn’t understand anything you just said.” Jose forces himself the sandwich and then breaks into a race of words. “Well the thing is Sam is thinking of having this party and. . .” “Jose that is not what I was talking about, I mean the other thing.” “What other thing?” He looks at Fred and Scott and shrugs. “The girl Jose, remember the one?” “Ahh yes, so Sam likes this girl and he wants to go out with her. I think she is from 6A or something.” “Jose is right. There is a girl I like.” I can’t finish my sentence when all at the same time create a large commotion. “Wuuuu! Sam likes a girl, yeah baby!” I can feel the stares from many around us. “Guys keep it quiet. There is something more going on.” Fred sips some more of his juice. “What do you mean?” “She has not been to school for three days and I’m worried something happened to her.” Jose speaks with a mouth full again. “Come on Sam, she could be sick and because you like her you are just worried, for all we know she is fine.” “I know this sound absurd, or even over the top, but there is a feeling.” Scott places his hand on my shoulder. “I wish one day I can feel the same Sam, you are bringing a tear to my eye.” “Come on guys, this is not funny.” I look at each one of them in the eyes and it sinks in what I am feeling. Exposition delivery 4 - Though at times it may seem the story is not going anywhere, or its a maze, the delivery is clear and does what I intended it to do because there are times where I like to slowly introduce the reader to a setting or a situation, and I think this plays well with what I was trying to accomplish. Narrative composition (quality of set, tension, cinema, character interactions) 4 - This was one of the hardest things to do, to get it to where I wanted it, or envisioned it. From the first draft to this point, I can see an incredible transformation. Everything improve, the set, the tension, the cinema, and the characters interaction. But being a perfectionist, I will always say there is something else that could make it even better. Cinematic imagery (static and dynamic) 4 - This is something I like a lot. To have an image and to put it into the page is challenging, but once you can describe it with exact words, it can immediately create art. I like to also challenge the reader to imagine things. So, sometimes I would give the whole thing, and in others not too many details. I also give it more color using poetry. Proper point-of-view 2 - I give it this score only because in the assignment it asked for 3POV. I always wanted to write this story in first person because I wanted to challenge myself. I think it works and delivers the story the way I envisioned it. Though, I accept, it is much more natural to write in third person. Wise use of craft technique 4 - Writing in first person was not only a challenge in creating the story, but in how to keep it strong. And as I completed the revisions, I have seen how I have improved in ways that I never thought I could do, and it gave me more satisfaction as I have become more confident in my craft. Interior Monologue and rumination 4 - As I did my revisions, I was able to improve the overall monologues of the story. I think it played out better than I ever anticipated. - It’s odd that this really gorgeous girl would be out here alone, not enjoying the festival. I stop for a moment. She might be sad, and maybe I should just leave her alone. What should I do? I am about to reach her. Come on, have courage, put on a smile, and talk to her. The sun in my face is hot, but a gust of wind makes it feel good. Feet away, her chestnut endearing skin propels my heart beat into another gear. She is wearing a light blue dress that mirrors the sky. Her white sandals contrast breathtakingly with her skin and statuesque beauty. I approach her from behind, unable to see her face. There are no sounds near us, everyone is at the contest. Standing by her side, I see her graceful, angular visage. She is not sad; she is observing the prairie descend to meet with a great angel oak tree which stands unaccompanied. She turns her head, sees me, and smiles. I smile, and it seems we stare at each other for a decade. She breaks the time capsule. “Are you enjoying the festival?” “Yes! I’m actually here to thank you for the food and pay you back.” She looks at me in a way that makes me think she can read my mind. “I’m not taking your money.” “No no no, please.” She does not budge. I begin to sense I’m being too insistent, and it makes me feel bad. She seems to be feeling the same way. “Look, I’ll accept the money, on one condition, if we drop the subject with a handshake.” She raises her hand, and I take it. Her hand is sincere and very soft. It feels like I know her from somewhere else. - A big guy breaks away from the group and walks toward us shouting, “You little city hick… y’all think you’re very cute with the trash girl. I say you ain’t got no game hahaha… Any of us can do better. White folk don’t need that especially if you’re a man... Ehh little boy, you are a disgrace.” The man is a tower with a bronze beard which he wields like an attacking shield. He’s Jack, the father of the kids who took Sandra’s things. His wife, Amy, a blond wearing snake cowboy boots, high waist jean shorts, and a loose orange top is drinking a beer
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