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New piece. Needing help with ..everything


New Member
I am starting on this semi-autobiographical piece... but it is really bugging me. I got a page or so down but it just sounds like one of my long tired journal entries. Ugg. I need some some serious help with the imagery, not to mention the syntax and... pretty much everything. I think I just started writing on a bad day.

Yeah and sorry about my complain-iness. I am definitely not fishing for compliments on this. I am just tired and cranky. Maybe I'll try a different approach but Im not sure how.

Anyways, here's the beginning:


Chapter One

--------------------------------------------------------------------------nessa’s livejournal entry #24
Date: The last day of my former life. aka September 21, 2004
Subject: Here I am
Mood: blank

Well its Tuesday evening, and I have probably five minutes to do a quick update!
I finished (finally!) packing at about 1:00 last night/this morning. I also found out late last night that I was going to have to go to the airport early today, so I couldn't say goodbye to any of my friends :( So that was sad. But my friends are cool, and a bunch of them text messaged me this morning, wishing me a good trip and telling me they were going to miss me :-D That made me happy LOL
Well I am going out to call my mom in a few minutes. She keeps saying goodbye to me then calling me up to talk and seeing if I want to do something.. is it separation anxiety? Hmm oh well. Ten weeks away. I think we can all make it.
Oops I have to go now. Call me! I am getting homesick already!

The sky was a deep, fiery blush over the Arizona sky. An airplane lifted gracefully from the runway and took off like a bird into the sunset. The airplane disappeared further and further into the sky until it seemed to have never really existed.
I shifted my bag from one shoulder to the other turned to face the reality of the situation. I am not in Wisconsin anymore. I am in Phoenix and soon I will be in Seattle, I thought. Seattle. Just thinking the word make me shiver with joy. Seattle, the city I had known since I was five that I wanted to live in someday. The city that was now my final destination.
I am going to Seattle. I almost had to say the words outloud to make myself believe where I really was. I am all alone, away from everything and I have no idea what is going to happen. I’m not scared, I reassured myself. I’m just anxious to know the ending to my story.
Suddenly, the crackling, overhead speaker interrupted my thoughts and I fumbled through my bag to find my ticket. What gate do I have to be at? I thought. Crap! My shaking fingers finally grabbed the wrinkled ticket. Just to make sure once more that the current situation was actually happening, I looked at the ticket information. There, in hard, bold words, it read, Janessa Lee Snider. Flight 73. Gate 34. Yep, this was it.
"I am actually here." I said under my out loud, causing a woman hurrying past me to take a double take and scowl in my direction. I smiled vacantly and started walking briskly towards my gate. I am here. I am here. I couldnt stop grinning. As I was walking, my cell phone beeped shrilly, notifying me of a text message. I dug my phone out and looked at the list of text messages sent to me during my first flight. I smiled as I saw a text message from my family. "We miss you!" said the little exuberant letters scrolling across the screen on my phone. I smiled, thinking of my crazy family back home in Milwaukee.
The next text message was expected. It was from Paul. Paul’s long message was filled with long words and attempted jokes. At the end Paul tried to write "I miss you," but the text was too long so the last phrase was cut to "I miss y." I sighed and laughed a little. Paul was the one to always correct me on my spelling and grammer. In fact, one of his favorite things to do was to look up long words in the dictionary and define them for me. I would laugh and tell him to use smaller words. He would laugh and stare through my pupils with his sharp blue eyes and tell me that he would do whatever made me happy.
I shivered a little, thinking of his intense gaze. Sometimes, I couldn’t take it. I always felt so nervous around him. He was so intelligent and accomplished and caring. He was a senior at in college and I was just a high school graduate. When I first met him at the beginning of the summer at a youth camp I felt so insuperior. I was a newbie counselor and he was an intern for the camp organization that we both worked for. He was Mr. Right. I fell for him right away. I just assumed that an almost 22-year-old would never even want to be friends with a 17-year-old girl, let alone be interested in a serious relationship with her. But I was somehow wrong. Throughout the summer we hung out, became good friends and something else started. The two hour drives to my house suddenly became more and more frequent. I went camping with Paul, I stayed the weekend in Chicago with Paul. My parents met Paul, and immediately became attached. My dad decided that any relationship forming between us was very practical and therefore acceptable. Everything seemed perfect.
But he never made the move. He never actually asked me out, even though everyone around us assumed that we were practically engaged. We talked about the general subject of dating extensively, but never proceeded to apply it to "us". There wasn’t even an "us" to begin with. And so I left Wisconsin wondering what the last three months between us had meant.
I cleared my focus and hurried on to my gate. It was time to put the past aside and dive into the great beyond. It seemed like one huge adventure to me. You’re such a romantic, I chided myself, chuckling. Not everything is a fairy tale, I thought. As I looked out beyond the sinking sun I found the statement hard to believe. This was my life. It was really happening.
The airline soon began boarding. As I stepped over the threshhold and into the plane, I felt like I was losing something. I tried to look back but I realized that there was nothing for me back there. Nothing at all. It was just empty sky.


Okay yeah now as I am re-re-reading this I realize that possibly one of my mistakes is bring in the whole "Paul" issue so early. The entire work will (when/if finished) focus around the main character (Nessa aka me) finding the true meaning of life and love... not some sappy love story (ugg I would never attempt that) but Nessa is going to, as she puts it, "fall down totally to pieces" and begin to question everything that she has known about life (which isnt much).

I have this whole plot in my head (well yes, because it really happened of course) but I just need to get it into words. Ugg. Please help :)
Nessa lee, Nesse lee, well, there's a big difference on whether you're writing to be published or just because you have this little itch. I take it you want to improve and be published. When you're building an audience, the reading public is very fickle and unforgiving. You're writing doesn't sound like a diary, it is a diary, but most of your syntax flows nicely and you can build on that (in other words, when some people write, their words clang unpleasantly in your ear. you don't have that problem). But the first thing you have to ask yourself is, does any of this I've written really matter? If I erased it now, would it matter? As in: I, personally, would be devastated if Mark Twain suddenly showed up and erased "Huckleberry Finn", if it no longer existed. Whatever you write has to matter to readers. They're not going to read you just because you wrote something. Nobody cares. Also, you have about sixty seconds to attract whatever type of audience you eventually would nurture. This isn't the 19th century. People no longer have time to casually peruse. You are in competition with every attraction and diversion known to humanity. So it has to matter and you've got to get them inside your world quick, or they're gone on to something else. Establish hard rules for yourself and work at it. Get Sol Stein's "Stein on Writing", etc.
Nessa lee,

You have less than a paragraph for the reader to love or hate or build curiosity for your book. That whole preamble elicits 'Please!'
I would find a way to cleverly weave it into the middle text - only if necessary to the plot. My beginning would probably be your next paragraph:

The sky was a deep, fiery blush over the Arizona sky.

Now, that's one catching line. Avoid adjectives if you can. In fact, deep can be discarded and a good opening line would be:.

The sky was a fiery blush over the Arizona sky.

Better and tighter still:

A fiery blush spread over the Arizona sky. An airplane lifted from the runway and speared into the sunset. I shifted my bag from one shoulder to the other, and turned to face my grim reality.