Saturday, March 19, 2011

Show Me the Voice Entry

I'm participating in the Show Me the Voice contest Brenda Drake is hosting. More information is available at http://brenleedrake.blogspot.com/2011/03/its-on-show-me-voice-blogfestcontest.html.

My thanks to everyone who stops by and critiques!

NAME: Dustin
GENRE: Contemporary YA

Three pairs of hands fumble at the cords and tubes connecting me to the machines around my bed. The first one they remove is the tube down my throat, the one helping me breathe. If this one goes badly, the whole plan gets scrapped. The hands pause while I take a shallow, ragged breath. It's not pretty, the first time my lungs work on their own in two weeks, but I'm okay.

"Hurry," I say, but my voice is so raspy the word is impossible to make out.

They understand what I'm trying to say, though. The hands go to work again, disconnecting more of the imprisoning machines. The equipment beeps and complains as it separates from me.

"Hurry," I say again and this time the word comes out stronger.

The last thing they remove is the heart rate monitor. As soon I'm free from it, an ear-pounding blare erupts, announcing it can no longer detect my heartbeat. Outside my room, a matching blast sounds from the nurses' station. Any second now, they'll pour into my room and wreck my plans.

A pair of hands lifts me and tosses me over a shoulder like a sack of potatoes.

"Be gentle," Chelsea, my best friend, admonishes her boyfriend.

I shake my head. Gentle can wait. Right now, I need to escape. I'm tired of the hospital, tired of the doctors and their tests, and tired of being sick. So I'm leaving, even though I know what that means.

Today I'm going to die.


  1. Oh.My.Gosh. Must read more!! This is awesome! No crit, very nicely done!! (also, I really wish there was more YA Contemp to crit.) :)

  2. Oh WOW! What an intriguing and heart-pumping start! I'm afraid I have no feedback apart from...WOW! This is awesome!!

  3. Oh, I love it. The momentum's great, building the the repetition of 'hurry'. This had me asking questions the whole way through, and I love that you managed to incorporate twists into the first 250 words! Of course I assumed at the start that the hands belonged to medical staff--I wanted to know why they were fumbling straight away. Then, wait, the patient's giving the orders. What's happening?

    Great stuff. I'm looking for something to offer by way of feedback -- perhaps Chelsea's boyfriend would be referred to by name, depending on how the narrator knows him? Perhaps (although not necessarily), a hint as to the narrator's age/gender might work well? I know as I start reading I start imagining, and for that I need a little detail. That said, it could detract from the pace and immediacy, so that's only a maybe suggestion.

  4. This is terrific, but I kept thinking about the use of breathing tubes. It makes for nice imagery, but aren't breathing tubes used like when a person really can't breath for themselves...at all.
    I might be wrong about that, but I kept wondering about it.
    Great job! I want to know what's going to happen next.

  5. Very nicely done! The detail in this opening raise all the right kind of questions--the kind that make me want to keep reading.

    Good luck with the contest!

  6. Wow, what a great voice. Nicely done. It has definitely hooked me into wanting to know what's coming next.

  7. Your breathing tubes are fine, but you probably already know this.
    Awesome job.

    I get a good sense of the MC, of his friends, his desperation. Nice.

  8. I think I've read this before! Still love it, and I'd read on.

  9. Oh my goodness! Very strong, very well done opening. I can't think of one single thing to say except ... you did a great job :)

  10. I loved this! The only niggle I had was the "Be gentle" line, more specific: chelsea admonishes her boyfriend. The choice of words seemed to stand out like a sore thumb in otherwise great text. JMHO. Great stuff!

  11. Compelling start. This paragraph could use a bit more polishing:

    The last thing they remove is the heart rate monitor. As soon I'm free from it, an ear-pounding blare erupts, announcing it can no longer detect my heartbeat. Outside my room, a matching blast sounds from the nurses' station. Any second now, they'll pour into my room and wreck my plans.


    As soon as they disconnect the heart rate monitor, an ear-splitting blare announces that my heart has "stopped." Ironic, since my heart is pounding furiously. A matching blast sounds at the nurses' station. If we've timed my departure well, they'll be too late to wreck my plans.

    If you have a chance, I’m at #130 on the blogfest roster, or at:


    Good luck!

  12. I've read through it and LOVED it. Great job!

    Christi Corbett

  13. Wow, I loved this!! I do think that nrhatch's suggestion is great, too.

  14. I've read this before (either on Nathan Bransford's Blog or on Authoress), so the reason it's well polished is because it has been critiqued by some prominent professionals. I dare say, it is every bit as sparkly as one would expect.

    Well done and good luck!

  15. Yowza! You've packed so much intensity into 250 words... I'm impressed, and I'd definitely keep reading. I can't offer any new feedback other than what's above, so I'll just say, fantastic job!

  16. Intense and visceral. The last line gives it away though...the one drawback to announcing a death too early is that it can make the reader discontinue reading, unless the story is strong.

  17. Love it too but I agree about the intubation - It's not something a lay person could remove. And you can't speak at all for hours in most cases. Also, if your in that condition - there would be a catheter and you could not be slung over a shoulder like a sack of potatos - without dragging that painfully along. You would need drugged fellows at the nurses station to be able to walk out past them with a persons hind end flapping in the hospital gown breeze and a pee bag in tow.