Jun 15, 2015

QK Round 2: Brain Gourmet v. Monster Twin is Rotting

Entry Nickname: Brain Gourmet
Title: BrainZ
Word count: 60K
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
 
Query:

Sixteen-year-old Jill has been disguised as a zombie since second grade. It’s the only way she can stay with her family, since mixed living/zombie households are not accepted in her community. Even decades after the zombie apocalypse – and the coexistence made possible when “brainchow for zombies” replaced fresh brains  -- “zits” (zombies) and “pumpers” (living) don’t mix.

Keeping her secret while growing up in an all-zombie neighborhood hasn’t been easy, but things get tougher when Jill transfers into a new high school. It’s integrated, one of three schools bringing together zombie and living kids and an important test for equal rights. There's new hope for a world where zombies are not routinely oppressed and where Jill can be herself and still stay with her family.

Unfortunately, Jill finds, though undead and living kids are in some of the same classes, they don't sit together. And each day, a new restriction is put on the zombies. The atmosphere is tense and growing more so.

The one bright spot for the school is the integrated football team. If she can form a cheerleading squad that includes both zombies and the living, Jill hopes it will be a catalyst for tolerance and lead to more equality before things get dire.

That means stepping out of the shadows and increasing the chance she'll be exposed. If that happens, she knows it could trigger a riot and the failure of the integration experiment. And she is likely to be pulled away from the family she loves. Keeping her secret is harder than she imagined when she is so close to the music of the living, the food they eat, and, of course, her first interactions with living boys her own age – including Dave, the football team’s quarterback, who has athletic grace no zombie boy can match.

Every success makes Jill more conspicuous, raising the chance she’ll be torn away from her family and they will become outcasts. And her biggest challenge is her longing to be herself, a living girl.

First 250:

Jill sat on the edge of her bed and fingered the tray of zombie prosthetics. A gouged cheek. Part of a lip. The shoulder scar she’d hated since fifth grade.

She snatched up the ragged nose and placed it in front of her own small nose. She looked in the mirror. Most of one nostril had been torn free. She should have known. Each year, her disguise showed more decay, pacing her mom’s decomposition.

Ugh.

“I’m not wearing this,” she told her mom. “Not on the first day of junior year.” Not when living boys were there to gawk at her.

She dropped the nose back onto the tray. Her mother shambled over and aimed her good eye at her. “Then you’ll have to stay home. We’re all zombies in this family.”

“I’ll wear last year’s nose, okay?” That was fair. If her mom wanted more rot to show, she could do it with make-up.

“I recycled it.”

Jill scowled. This was the price of her secret. She strode over to the makeup chair, but hesitated. 

“I’ve still got the old molds,” her mom said. “I’ll make a replacement nose. It’ll be ready in three days.”

Three days was a lifetime. She hadn’t seen Betsy all summer. Worse, she’d have to wait to meet the living boys she’d been dreaming about.

Impossible.

Jill threw herself into the chair, slumped, and folded her arms. Her mother went right to work, her hands practiced at turning her daughter into a zombie.

V.



Entry Nickname: My Monster Twin is Rotting
Title: A Savage Miscreation
Word count: 86,000
Genre: YA Gothic Horror


Query:

When Talmage True was born, people said it was a mercy that his mother died for the child’s razor-sharp teeth would have torn her apart.  He was born with a full set. 

Now fifteen, Talmage hides his misshapen face from those who condemn him for being unnatural.  But a chance meeting with his estranged uncle, a curiosity peddler hawking the medically grotesque, brings Talmage a spark of hope.  For the first time, Talmage feels a kinship with the bizarre creatures on display--the eight-legged taxidermied kitten and the dog whose body ends in a shell.  After all, Talmage, too, is an aberration.

Talmage is drawn into his uncle’s dark world and together they create a clockwork figure in his exact likeness--a mechanical boy made of metal, covered in the flesh of stolen corpses.  Late one night, the figure comes to life and Talmage--who has never had a friend before--welcomes it as a brother.  But the world is no place for a clockwork boy especially when its body starts to rust and rot.  Desperate to stay alive, it turns to murder to harvest fresh body parts.  When it sets its sights on Alice, a girl scarred by fire who sees beyond Talmage’s monstrous appearance, Talmage must decide: dismantle his clockwork brother or watch it kill the only person who has ever shown him kindness.

First 250:

I always supposed it would be difficult to kill someone you love.  More than difficult.  It would be impossible, a gut-wrenching, mind-numbing horror that, if achieved, would haunt your soul forever.

It has haunted me every single waking moment of my wretched life.

You see, I did.

But if I had the opportunity, I would do it again.  I would tear his body limb from limb, extracting bone from delicate socket and shattering them into a thousand pieces.  From those shards, I would grind what was left of him into powder and then bury it miles apart so that there would be no chance his body could ever come together again.

If only I had.

His chest weighed against the curve of my back, his breath rasping into my ear.  Gripping one arm, I dragged him down the rickety stairs, his bare feet knocking against the planks.  Outside, amorphous shadows clawed at the edges of the cobblestone street--only the moon would be witness to my heinous act tonight--and so, without looking back, we slipped into the trees.

He was not awake and yet his lips began to murmur.  I must move quickly but how to do it?  How to kill?  A swift stone to the temple?  His skull was too thick.  Saw his head off his shoulders?  The spinal column too wiry.  A blade, then, through the center of his heart?

“But he has no heart,” I whispered into the night.

A fire then, the thought suddenly dawned.  Yes, a fire would do.

15 comments :

  1. Judges, please vote as a reply to this comment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Princess ButtercupJune 15, 2015 at 10:19 AM

      Brain Gourmet

      I love your premise and there’s even voice in your query—but it’s almost a hundred words too long. There are some obvious places it can be cut. “Keeping her secret in an all-zombie neighborhood…” isn’t really necessary. You’ve already set up that she’s hiding her human nature and that segregation exists in this world in the very first paragraph. There’s no need to repeat it.

      In fact, your second, third, and fourth paragraphs can all be condensed. It’s all essentially world-building. Condense it down to a couple of lines and then let us know that your MC must decide whether to reveal herself or continue hiding. Same thing for all the information about the football team. Condense, condense, condense.
      I’m also confused by your last sentence. Isn’t she already a living girl?

      Your first 250, however, is much stronger. I’m wondering though if the voice doesn’t ring more on the MG end, even though the MC is technically entering her junior year. It seems she should sound a bit more mature (my own daughter is entering her junior year so I’m well-versed in teen speak).

      My Monster Twin is Rotting

      Love the image created in your opening lines. Well done. I am, however, curious as to why they’re making a clockwork replica of him. I was also thrown by the addition of Alice at the end of the query. I would mention her earlier, possibly in the second paragraph where you mention some of the other things in his uncle’s collection. Otherwise, your query length is perfect and there’s definite world building and voice present.

      Your 250 is haunting and so well done, but I can’t help but wonder if the first half is a prologue? It seems at first he’s telling us about a murder that’s already occurred and in the second half he’s getting ready to commit the murder. Don’t get me wrong, I would read on to see if I could figure it out, but I’d be reading with a wary eye.

      So, who to cast my vote for? I love zombies. I watched my daughter read WARM BODIES in a single sitting and Brain Gourmet could be an excellent addition to that genre. However, my concerns about the query and the tone of the teen MC’s voice are strong.

      On the other hand, I write both horror and steampunk. Despite the small issue with Alice in the query and my questions about a possible prologue/perspective shift in the 250, this story is tugging at many of my favorite things and subjectivity is a very real part of this business. If I were an agent, I would definitely request to see additional pages. Therefore:

      VICTORY TO MY TWIN MONSTER IS ROTTING (When can I read this?!?!?!)

      Delete
    2. BRAIN GOURMET

      The final sentence in the first paragraph of your query is a bit unwieldy; I like that you defined zits & pumpers, but the clause about brainchow makes it a bit long.

      Your first 250 does a fine job introducing the main character, her conflict, and a bit about the world that she lives in.

      Not sure what the "She should have known" refers to in paragraph 2. Also, I wasn't anticipating zombies being so clear-spoken. No moans or groans, then? And who's Betsy? I'm left with a lot of questions, but would still be interested in reading on.


      -vs-

      MY MONSTER TWIN IS ROTTING

      Nitpicky note on the opening sentence of the query - I think you need a comma between "died" and "for." It's a compound sentence w/ two independent clauses. Also, you can tighten that up into a single sentence - "the full set of razor-sharp teeth that the child was born with would have torn her apart."

      The first 250 is very intense, and we get a good insight into the main character's conflict and some hints as to the setting. We don't know a lot about the main character, but enough to interest. I would definitely keep reading.

      This may be a personal preference, but the "You see, I did" seems rather redundant after the sentence preceding it.


      Victory to... MY MONSTER TWIN IS ROTTING!

      Delete
    3. Great job on both of these!

      Brain Gourmet - Great job laying out the pulls and pressures on the MC, and making her inner conflict agonizingly clear and relatable! Wonderful setup of the conflict.

      Suggestions:

      You might try trimming your query... it’s long, and I don’t think it needs to be as long as it is to get across the core conflict. I think you could cut it by a third or more without losing anything.

      After reading the query & first 250, I was left unsure how serious vs. comedic this is supposed to be. A lot of the specifics seem like they could/should be funny (zombie cheerleaders!), but the voice doesn’t come off as funny, so I’m left thinking it’s supposed to be dead serious, but I’m not sure.

      A stronger voice in both query and opening would probably help make this clearer, and I also am not sure still who Jill is beyond a classic “likes boys, annoyed by her mom” teen. I’d love to get a better sense of her personal strengths, drives, and flaws from both the query and 250. If you can get me more inside her head (especially through voice), I’ll feel much more attached to her and her struggle... and that will also help this query stand out from the pack.

      My Monster Twin is Rotting - I love how the details and voice of this entry evoke Victorian literature and Frankenstein in particular without ever calling out that connection directly. It really has that great gothic feel, very authentically. Great job!

      Suggestions:

      The main issue I had with this entry is that the query set up expectations which the first 250 didn’t match. The query leads me to believe that the big, core conflict of the book will be whether Talmage chooses to kill his clockwork brother, but the first 250 seems to not only answer that question (killing the dramatic tension established by the query), but make it clear that Talmage doesn’t even have any inner struggle over it.

      I’m guessing maybe the first 250 is a flash-forward (another nod to Victorian lit), and that you’ll then take us back to the beginning of the story, but if so I’m not sure it’s doing you any favors when put in combination with the query. If you want to start at the end and set up the dramatic tension as “how did we get to this point” and work backwards, the query has to mirror that. If the query reflects the true story arc and the flash-forward at the beginning is just an attention-grabber, I’d skip it because it’s undermining your MC’s major choice. If it’s not a flash-forward at all, and that’s where the story starts (trying to kill his “brother”), then you should rewrite the query to reflect the actual arc of the book. And if I’m misunderstanding COMPLETELY and the opening is not about trying to kill his clockwork brother at all... oops. You may want to clarify that a bit.

      I also think you might want to clarify setting, both in time and place, in your query. I wasn’t sure if this was modern or historical, or even what country it’s set in.

      This is a hard choice! Both stories sound really intriguing. But since I have to pick one...

      VICTORY TO MY MONSTER TWIN IS ROTTING

      ...for its evocative voice and creepy premise.

      Delete
    4. Brain Gourmet:

      My first time reading this entry. I was struck by the voice in the query and then the 250 confirmed it for me--this feels so much more MG than YA to me. If it wasn't already defined, I would have assumed MG for sure. Perhaps that's less so throughout the novel, but it might be worth a pass to make sure the voice is appropriate for the character's age. I think the query is pretty solid, though I did find the first paragraph confusing when you're describing the world. Is even using the terms pumpers and zits needed here? The 250 is also solid and I get a sense of Jill's frustration, but I wanted more. She's probably really annoyed and angry that she has to keep this secret up as she's starting to notice boys, but I really want to SEE it. It's hard with 3rd person so the writer has to be extra careful with emotions.

      Monster Twin:

      The improvements to this query are excellent, though I really would like to see it start further into the story. The conflict seems to really come when the twin is made and I'd like to hear more about what happens after in the query. The 250 is brilliant as far as I'm concerned. Gory but not too much, hooked me right away.

      Victory to Monster Twin!

      Delete
    5. Brain Gourmet Query:

      I’m on board with this pitch, and thank goodness for the success of iZombie, right? (prime querying opportunity since your story is ready to go). The last line of first paragraph has so much goodness, but the format is making it a tricky read. Maybe reordering where the brainchow line fits can help:

      It’s the only way she can stay with her family, since mixed living/zombie households are not accepted in her community, despite the success of “brainchow for zombies” in place of fresh brains. Alas, decades after the zombie apocalypse, “zits” (zombies) and “pumpers” (living) still don’t mix.

      Beyond this, I think you can reduce the rest of the query almost by half. You don’t need to repeat that she is keeping a secret; you can go straight to When Jill transfers to a new high school…. she finds that despite undead and living kids sitting in the same classes,… etc. Combining the paragraphs. Get to her creating the cheer squad in this same second paragraph. Since this is labeled PNR you want that romance factor much sooner as well. What is the specific conflict with Dave?

      I think you can cut phrases like “stepping out of shadows” (cliché) and nix works like “likely” and “could trigger” “raising the chance.” You’ve got ZOMBIES so go for risks that match the level of intensity with the undead. If she does X then she risks losing Y. If she dates Dave, she risks what? If she is found out to be living when she is thought to be undead, what will she lose? I really think for this to work, the casualties need to match the level of undead zombies. If you show too much that zombies are acclimated to society enough that they aren’t a risk, then the story’s stakes aren’t very high. I think there is SO much potential here, but the stakes need to be specific to Jill and to cost her something big. No matter what happens in this contest, don’t give up!

      First 250:

      This beginning shows a clever send-up of the getting ready for school/new school cliché. It’s a good way to show her faking zombie with the prosthetics. A great contrast with Jill whining she isn’t showing up junior year in THAT. I love the detail that mom shambles over and looks with her good eye. One Q--is Betsy Jill’s best friend? A qualifier would be helpful.


      My Monster Twin is Rotting Query:

      Points for imagery and well-expressed gothic horror themes. I could go either way on whether the second half of the second paragraph is needed, or if you can move right on to him being drawn into the uncle’s dark world. I would suggest expanding on Alice a bit. If she is central to Talmage’s ultimate choice, I think she deserves more than the one mention toward the end. Maybe one additional line to show his relationship with Alice and the (likely) contrast to that of the grotesque with the uncle and corpse brother. That way, the choice feels like more is at stake.

      First 250:

      I was taken right away by this opening. I like the confession to the reader of the killing, and the doubt. Then the doubt is taken away, which is chilling. I personally wanted to know WHO was killed. I wanted to know so much, but I’m guessing this is withheld for a reason. I also would have liked to see an indication of his age or time/place.

      I didn’t quite follow the transition to “his chest weighed…” Unclear if this is present moment or reflecting on the actual kill. A transitional line can solve this; orient us to where the character is, and if this is a memory, some indication. Other than that—creepy, moody, and I distrust the narrator but am compelled to know why and who they killed if he loved this person.

      This is tough. I see a ton of potential in the zombie story, but the query reveals some potential story stakes issues that could be a barrier in pitching (which can absolutely be strengthened). Overall, I think the gothic horror is ready to submit.

      VICTORY TO MONSTER TWIN

      Delete
    6. Brain Gourmet

      Query
      You have an original premise I haven't seen before and one with lots of potential. Your query does a good job of introducing your main character and the main conflict. However, I have to admit, I have a lot of questions about the logistics of the story. Zombies don't age or grow and if Jill has been hiding since she was in second grade, wouldn't her family have to move constantly to hide the fact that she's growing? More-over, because zombies do not age, school would be a little weird. You'd have children who look like they're in first grade that are in high-school because they've learned so much. And a child that young would also platueau fairly early - their brains can't grow so they'd have limited potential in the long run.

      First 250

      I really like how lines like "Her mother shambled over and aimed her good eye at her" bring the story to life and give a hint of character voice. My main suggestion would be to see if you can make the passage a bit more voicey (yes, I'm making up words) to really get the reader inside your main character's head. I want just a bit more overall - more sensory details (how does Jill deal with the smell of decay all around her), more voice, more scene setting. I know that's a lot to ask for a first 250, but right now nothing really grabs me.

      I freely admit, however, that zombies aren't really my thing so it may be personal bias that's keeping me from really connecting with this story.

      My Monster Twin is Rotting

      Query
      Your query nicely introduces the main character in a distinctive and interesting way. I think you get a bit caught up in language and it could be clarified a little. Look for places where you can simplify. For example. I think you can lose the first paragraph altogether because the later paragraphs already tell us that Talmage is deformed and monstrous.

      I like the idea of the clockwork boy and the dilemma that Talmage faces in choosing between his brother and saving lives. It's a nice, meaty bit of conflict with tons of potential.

      First 250
      You have some incredible imagery and do a great job using sensory details to bring the story to life. However this first page seems contradictory. The first section contradicts the second because Talmage has already said how he'd kill his brother, and has implied that he's already done so. But a paragraph later we find out he's still in the process.

      Your opening is a bit slow, because it begins with a passive statement. I think there are some important things in what you're saying, but we want to get to the main action faster, to Talmage and his brother. You could shorten the beginning with something like the following and it still gets your point across but gets to the action much quicker:
      "It should be difficult to kill someone you love. Impossible. But if I had the opportunity, I would do it again. I would tear…"


      Victory goes to - My Monster Twin is Rotting

      Delete
  2. Brain Gourmet: the query seems long and since agents and editors are always in a rush, I'd try to pare it back a bit. (Mine was too long and I whacked at it. :-) A query letter should be three, no more than four paragraphs. Two (or three) about the story, one about you.First 250: Nice opening. Nothing like killing a family member to set the stakes of the game high. Play with your first line. This has real potential for a killer first line. Shorter lends power and impact. My first kill was some one I loved. It wasn't hard. or Killing someone you love is remarkably easy. That opening scene is strong. Make the first line raise the reader's hackles.

    ReplyDelete
  3. These both sound awesome, but so, so different. Glad I'm not a judge.

    BRAIN - Your query made things nice and clear, but it was a bit long. In your 250, make sure you italicize thoughts, especially right after a spoken dialogue, to avoid confusion.

    MONSTER - I loved everything but the very first paragraph in your query. IS your MC a monster? It doesn't sound like it, he's just deformed, right? So he wouldn't actually tear his mother apart? Just might want to make that clear. Your first 250 made me so nervous!

    Good job both of you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Brain Gourmet - I love this idea. It's not a big thing, but in the query I did pause at 'since mixed living/zombie households are not accepted in her community' as it made me wonder if these mixed households were accepted in other parts of the world? If not, perhaps end the sentence after 'not accepted.'? I thought the opening 250 was solid -- it captures the MCs longing and made me want to read on.

    Monster Twin - Another great idea and you do a wonderful job setting up the stakes. I wasn't sure if in the query 'He was born with a full set' is necessary. The preceding line is stronger without it and has already told us what we need to know. In the opening 250 -- this will seem super-picky -- but the standalone 'You see, I did.' was more of a stopper than I think was intended. I'm not sure it's needed since the preceding line is leading us there, but if no one else comments on it, ignore! That said, the writing drew me in and I want to read more.

    ReplyDelete
  5. BRAIN GOURMET: Your query is great! It sets very recognizable stakes for the reader, both internal and external, which tells us you're setting up a multi-layered, engaging story. Nit pick alert: I would remove the 'And' that begins your last sentence, to pack more punch. I think you could also combine the 3rd and 4th paragraphs and condense the 5th one, personally to shave off some of the length. Your 250: Is so fun! I love the typical teenage conversation with the parent, while engaging in a very particular activity known only to your MC and her mom. I think this is a great spot to start your story and it drew me in immediately. Good work!

    Monster Twin: I read your entry back in round 1 and love the changes you've made. The query reads much more seamlessly while setting up the stakes. Everything is much tighter and you've thrown in the mention of Alice really well. Her mention adds to the story and doesn't confuse it, as can sometimes happen when you add in too many first names in the query. Your 250: Are spot on. I'm not sure whether it's a good thing or a bad thing that we already know the twin is dead..and that he came back together again after MC initially killed/tore him up. Only you can know! But it's an effective beginning and works to set the scene nicely. Great work!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Brain Gourmet - The premise is excellent - definitely something I've never seen before. I found the query a bit long for my taste, but it could just be that the formatting made it look longer than it was. As for the 250, I love that it has so much voice despite being in third person. I thought it established character very well.

    Monster Twin - I thought the query was excellent. If there's anything I'd tell you to consider changing, I'd recommend bringing Alice in earlier in the query. I get her purpose, but I feel like it might be nice to establish her sooner. As for the 250, it was excellent. Chilling, and the suspense is already killing me. The writing is top notch as well. I will say, though, I was a bit confused when the narrator mentions having killed someone, but then says he hasn't killed this person. Maybe clarify that bit some more?

    Overall, though, two excellent entries. The best of luck to you both!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Brain Gourmet: What a unique premise! You have a great query full of information, but like others have said, it is a little too long. There were a couple sentences I had to reread because they were awkwardly worded. For example: "Unfortunately, Jill finds, though undead and living kids are in some of the same classes, they don't sit together." I think this may read clearer if you take out "Jill finds". It's not really needed. Then you could add "even" to read like this: "Unfortunately, even though undead and living kids are in some of the same classes, they don't sit together." I love your 250. You put us right there in the room with her as she gets ready to be made into a zombie. Pretty cool. I'm assuming zombies have become more intelligent over time? I'll admit, I was a little surprised when her mother spoke and sounded pretty much like a normal mom would. Such an interesting premise! Good luck!!

    Monster Twin: All I can say is WOW. That is one awesome query you've got going on there. You've laid out the book for me and given me the stakes (which are pretty high, I might add) and you've made me want to read it—like immediately! The opening 250 is extremely well written and chilling. It is the perfect opening scene for a YA Gothic Horror. Well done!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Brain Gourmet: I loved this entry! The voice is perfect, and I quickly accepted the alternate world. The query is long, but well written and effective. I think you can delete a redundant line, “And she is likely to be pulled away from the family she loves,” because at the end you say something very similar, “raising the chance she’ll be torn away (from her family)…” I also notice “that” in back to back sentences, and a slightly passive –ing ending (increasing): That means stepping out of the shadows and increasing the chance she'll be exposed. If that happens, she knows it could trigger a riot and the failure of the integration experiment. Try turning it around, maybe something like this: Stepping out of the shadows increases the chance she'll be exposed, and if that happens, she knows it could trigger a riot and the failure of the integration experiment. I was totally hooked by your 250! I loved the line where her mother shambles over and aims her good eye at the mc. The mother’s voice is spot on with “We’re all zombies in this family.” I have to admit that this entry snuck up on me, I am not a fan of zombies or anything spooky, but I would shamble over to my local bookseller and buy this book in a heartbeat.

    My Monster Twin: I read this entry earlier today and could not get it out of my head! The imagery is powerful, and the writing is elegant. The query is strong, you might consider a comma after “boy” in “The world is no place for a clockwork boy especially…” The 250 is fantastic, I thoroughly enjoyed it. One line I would suggest taking out: “How to kill.” It steals some of the punch from the lines that follow, where you show “kill” brilliantly. Here’s how it reads without that line: I must move quickly but how to do it? A swift stone to the temple? His skull was too thick. Saw his head off his shoulders? The spinal column too wiry. A blade, then, through the center of his heart?

    Great entries! Best wishes to both of you!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Brain Gourmet: I loved this entry! The voice is perfect, and I quickly accepted the alternate world. The query is long, but well written and effective. I think you can delete a redundant line, “And she is likely to be pulled away from the family she loves,” because at the end you say something very similar, “raising the chance she’ll be torn away (from her family)…” I also notice “that” in back to back sentences, and a slightly passive –ing ending (increasing): That means stepping out of the shadows and increasing the chance she'll be exposed. If that happens, she knows it could trigger a riot and the failure of the integration experiment. Try turning it around, maybe something like this: Stepping out of the shadows increases the chance she'll be exposed, and if that happens, she knows it could trigger a riot and the failure of the integration experiment. I was totally hooked by your 250! I loved the line where her mother shambles over and aims her good eye at the mc. The mother’s voice is spot on with “We’re all zombies in this family.” I have to admit that this entry snuck up on me, I am not a fan of zombies or anything spooky, but I would shamble over to my local bookseller and buy this book in a heartbeat.

    My Monster Twin: I read this entry earlier today and could not get it out of my head! The imagery is powerful, and the writing is elegant. The query is strong, you might consider a comma after “boy” in “The world is no place for a clockwork boy especially…” The 250 is fantastic, I thoroughly enjoyed it. One line I would suggest taking out: “How to kill.” It steals some of the punch from the lines that follow, where you show “kill” brilliantly. Here’s how it reads without that line: I must move quickly but how to do it? A swift stone to the temple? His skull was too thick. Saw his head off his shoulders? The spinal column too wiry. A blade, then, through the center of his heart?

    Great entries! Best wishes to both of you!

    ReplyDelete