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Monday, July 25, 2011

200 word contest

I have learned a huge lesson today and that is to make sure that you number your edits on your stories. When I posted my last two hundred words it seemed off and as I hadn't looked at it for a couple of weeks I didn't pick up on it. I had posted an earlier edit. So, in the future and as a recommendation to all of you out there number your edits on your stories. Here is my latest rewrite that is hopefully much better than the one posted earlier today.

A loud bang on the front door woke Tom. A short pause was followed by another loud bang on the hard oak. Tapping sounds came as high heeled shoes crossed the marble floor of the foyer. Tom slid out of bed. A sharp click from the latch echoed as the heavy door opened. Tom clenched his new toy soldier that he just got for his eighth birthday. He ran to the landing above the large hall. His small hand grasped the white bar as he saw a woman and man talking to the maid, Anna.
“We must see your mistress at once,” the woman said.
Who are they?
The woman wore a red dress, and her long black hair caught the glow of the chandelier. The man was bigger than anyone he had ever seen before. His short beard was neatly trimmed and light reflected off his shaved head. His long sword moved slightly on his black suit as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other.
Anna walked back down the hall and the woman turned to whisper to the man.
What are they talking about?
A few minutes later, Mother hurried to the woman, holding her hands out.

So once again I appreciate the comments from the last post hopefully you will see a difference in this rewrite from a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully they will take this 200 word entry into the contest instead of the one I posted in error.


  1. nice. I like the use of sound to drive the opening...would prefer to hear it over told i am hearing it. The first two sentences starting with 'A' seems a bit odd on the eye.

    compelling though.

  2. A nice opening, and it sounds like you are off to a strong start! Just a couple of quick things that caught my eye...

    You mention Tom's name three times in the opening paragraph, which seems a little excessive to me, especially since he's the only person in the room, so there's no way we could confuse him for anyone else.

    The sentence "Tom clenched his new toy soldier that he just got for his eighth birthday" also sounds a little like an info-dump to me, like you're really trying to figure out a way to mention Tom's age. Is there another way you can hint at his age without expressly stating it?

    I would also be careful with sentences like "A few minutes later, Mother hurried to the woman, holding her hands out" because agents generally seem to shy away from sentences that end in prepositions. (I know it's impossible to get rid of all of them, but I'd be especially careful in your first 200 words.)

    These are all just tiny, nitpicky points, though, and overall, this reads really well. Best of luck to you, and congrats on a strong start!


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