It’s All in the Voice CONTEST

Special thanks to Heather Webb for putting this blog hop together! Be sure to visit her blog for a list of all the blog hoppers that are participating in this contest:

Below is my entry into “It’s All in the Voice” contest. My manuscript is titled, RUNWAY. It is a NA contemporary romance.

I stretched the tape across the last box of my belongings and took in the barren room. I was sure my sister was excited to have her guest bedroom returned to its sterile floral motif. It was no secret that my mere existence severely clashed with Jennifer’s lifestyle in general. She tolerated me at best, and I could tell by her demeanor this last week that she was ecstatic for my return to school. In all honesty, I couldn’t wait until I could afford a place of my own. I hated living with Jennifer, my two bratty nephews, and my sleaze ball brother-in-law.

I sighed and picked up the heavy box of books and balanced it on my hip. Outside, Griffin’s Harley rumbled in the driveway. I was glad he was here; he could carry the last box down to my car. I dropped it in the hallway and went to get the door.

Unable to withhold my excitement at his arrival, I threw open the front door and flung myself into his arms. “Hey, Jillibean!” he said, catching me.

“I’m so glad you’re here!”

“I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to spend 18 and a half hours in the car with you.”

I hugged him tightly. I would be so lost without him.

“Are you ready?” he asked.

“Not yet. I have one more box inside. Could you get it for me? It’s kind of heavy.”

“I’m on it.”

18 thoughts on “It’s All in the Voice CONTEST

  1. returned to its sterile floral motif. Love it.

    Great first paragraph, already establishing voice. I think you can cut the words, “in general.”
    Great voice throughout. Well done.

    This line is fine:

    Unable to withhold my excitement at his arrival, I threw open the front door and flung myself into his arms.

    If you wanted to, you could cut Unable to withold my excitement at his arrival, because what she does conveys this idea.

    I appreciate Alec’s comments and can totally see what he’s saying. I did wonder about how Griffin would get back, but I figured you’d cover that later and didn’t worry about it.


    • Chris, thanks for the positive comments and the helpful critiques! I truly appreciate them! As for the motorcycle, I did cover what they do with it in the paragraphs that came after my 250 word limit, no worries! Thanks again!


  2. I enjoyed the dialogue between Griffin and Jillibean, and empathized with her undesirable living arrangement. I would have loved a dialogue between her and the sister that showed what was narrated, perhaps a snarky comment or two that sums up the relationship. You have a good premise with very credible conflict.


  3. A HUGE thank you to all the people who commented on the first 250 words of my story! You all had wonderful comments and helpful hints that I will certainly use in order to tighten up my beginning! Your comments have boosted my confidence, thank you so much!!


  4. I think the writing is good and I especially liked the line about the sterile florid motif, but I have to say the opening as a whole didn’t really catch my attention. While this may be important to the story, to know she’s escaping circumstances she hated, it might be better to start where there is some more action going on. Do they get a flat and spin out of control on their drive? Does she answer his cell phone while he’s driving and find he’s cheating on her? Something that will hook the reader and then go back and have her “start” are the beginning explaining how they got to that point, if you get what I mean.

    Also, yay for NA! ^_^


  5. This voice is strong and draws me in with the inherent conflict with her sister. I also like that you’re starting in the action of moving. I don’t know if you have something to come that would show the conflict in dialogue , to catch our attention with the urgency of moving out, but I’d suggest you could bump it closer to the opening paragraph. Definitely, you have a story to tell and the voice fits the audience well. Great!


  6. Hey, Marie!

    Your opening has piqued my interest. I’d like to learn more about the relationship between Griffin and “Jillibean.” I can’t wait to read more!


  7. Hi Marie! Thanks for participating.

    I’m guessing, based on the voice, that this is NA? Ahh, I just reread your opening phrase and it is NA. Fabulous. That means your voice translates well. The voice hooked me! I saw a few things to tighten, but overall, this is well-written! The one thing I’d like to know is who is Griffin? A friend, boyfriend, relative? Is that mentioned someplace soon after this? If not, it’s an easy fix. “Outside, my friend Griffin revved the engine of his Harley in the driveway.” Or something along these lines.


    • Heather, thank you for your comments! I do mention who Griffin is within the first pages, but like you said, it is an easy fix to move it more to the front of the story. I’m glad you liked the voice; I wasn’t sure if I communicated a NA voice properly, but I guess I’m off to a good start! Yay!


  8. This is a good place to begin a story–moving out, starting new, getting out of an uncomfortable situation, getting a fresh start. I would like to see a little more life in the first paragraph, though. For instance, “took in” is a little weak and the passive “was excited” might be better as “my sister undoubted welcomed”. In fact, taking out all of the passive verbs, (I never allow them in my own introductory paragraphs) will give the whole scene new energy.
    But the rest has a feeling of genuine reality. I like it.


  9. I wonder if the average male reader will get stuck in a “mental loop” as soon as he sees the word Harley. In contrast, female readers probably are looking deeper into the story.

    This is what might be the typical male readers reaction to this:

    “Oh, man, a Harley. I wonder what model it is? Is he nuts to leave that Harley parked unguarded out on the street for two days or longer? On top of that, he has to listen to that weepy (soon to be ex-girlfriend?) yammer the whole time in the car. Then, even worse, he gets suckered into paying for an airline ticket back home. By the time he makes that long drive with her and comes back, he’s really gonna be beat. What guy spends that much effort to send a woman well outside his reach? Why isn’t he looking for a girl closer to home? Isn’t that what the Harley is for? Then, he could’ve saved his time and money for accessorizing his Harley. Besides, what self-respecting Harley riding he-man calls anybody Jillibean?”

    Typical female readers reaction:

    “Oh, my, what a gentleman her boyfriend is, even though he drives that stupid noisy motor scooter. He even is willing to pay for the airline ticket for himself to get back home. Wow, he probably is such a great guy that he won’t even think about cheating on her while she is gone? Oh, wait, that’s exactly what he is going to do, as soon as he dumps her as far away as possible. Maybe she better go back to town to keep an eye on him — but first she needs to put a short leash on him … by torching his motor scooter?”

    The above is just a guess. However, it can be interesting to consider how different points of view can see the same story in completely different ways.


    • I truly appreciate your male perspective; my husband would never read anything I write (nor would I want him too), so thanks for the glimpse into the male brain! I have taken into account your comments and suggestions and I have some ideas that were sparked by your insightfulness! Thanks again!


  10. I think you did a good job setting up the scene, but somehow I get more of a sense of the sister than the narrator. Also, I think Griffin needs a bit more explanation. At first I thought it was the brother-in-law. Good luck!


  11. This is a nice start that sets up the character’s life and the current setting with some nice details: the floral motif bedroom, sleazeball brother-in-law, the boyfriend on the Harley. The comment about the 18 1/2 hours in the car threw me a bit. Will the drive really be that long or was he just joking around? And what happens to his motorcycle because it sounds like they’re leaving within minutes? Maybe those questions are answered later. 🙂 A got a nice taste of the character’s personality and the weariness from living with her sister. I want to read more to see if my questions are answered!


    • Thank you for the comments. I do answer your questions within the next few paragraphs of my opening pages, but I thank you for your insight! I’ve got some work to do in order to solidify my opening! Thanks again!


  12. Your opening flows very nicely, but it starts a bit tame. Maybe add a little more excitement that she will be out of sister’s house at last. Maybe a little more haphazard packing to give it that sense that she wants out NOW!


  13. Hey Marie! What I wanted to see in this opening was more detail on the relationship between the two sisters. You’ve described that they’re very different, but I wanted to see how they’re different. The floral motif vs Harley gave me a hint, but it didn’t show conflict. That’s what I wanted to see: a real example of how different the two women are. As for voice, I assume that this protag is a little rough around the edges, maybe not as polite or cultured as her sister. I’d like to see that come through in the voice of the piece. Her description and dialogue feel a little stiff for someone who’s best pal rides a Harley and who hates floral… I’d give this voice to the sister… two cents…


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