Thursday, July 02, 2015

New Beginning 1047

Inside her first clubhouse, Lacy Dawn glanced over fifth grade spelling words for tomorrow’s quiz at school. She already knew all the words in the textbook and most others in any human language.

Nothing’s more important than an education.

The clubhouse was a cardboard box in the front yard that her grandmother's new refrigerator had occupied until an hour before. Her father brought it home for her to play in.

The nicest thing he's ever done.

Faith lay beside her with a hand over the words and split fingers to cheat as they were called off. She lived in the next house up the hollow. Every other Wednesday for the last two months, the supervised child psychologist came to their school, pulled her out of class, and evaluated suspected learning disabilities. Lacy Dawn underlined a word with a fingernail.

All she needs is a little motivation.

Before they had crawled in, Lacy Dawn tapped the upper corner of the box with a flashlight and proclaimed, "The place of all things possible -- especially you passing the fifth grade so we'll be together in the sixth."

Please concentrate, Faith. Try this one.


"A, R, M, … A … D, I, L, D, O," Faith demonstrated her intellect.

"That's weak. This is a bonus word so you’ll get extra points. Come on."

Lacy Dawn nodded and looked for a new word.

I’ll trick her by going out of order – a word she can't turn into another punch line.

But something had changed.

Faith began rattling off the vocabulary words: "pianist," "Uranus," "mainstream," while Lacy Dawn did her best to make them funny: P, E, N, I, S . . . . Y, O, U, R,   A, N, U, S . . .  W, A, N, K, C, H, E, E, S, E.

They stopped.

"We've switched bodies," said Faith. "Hey! Now I can pass math!"

Lacy Dawn nodded. She suddenly saw her future. Now she was dumb enough for the boys to like her.

Opening: Robert Eggleton.....Continuation: Khazar-khum


Evil Editor said...

I don't see the italicized lines adding much of anything. The one that starts Please concentrate can be turned into dialogue, and the others can go.

"and most others in any human language." This is going to suggest that she's a machine. Is she?"

I'd drop "in the front yard" as it could sound like the refrigerator occupied the front yard.

Not clear why Lacy Dawn underlined a word with a fingernail.

Faith demonstrated her intellect. would be better as Faith said, demonstrating her intellect. Not that it's clear how that demonstrates her intellect.

The last three paragraphs are all Lacy Dawn. No reason they shouldn't be combined into one paragraph. And I don't see what Lacy is nodding at.

If you don't delete the last italicized sentence, at least consider that the point of going out of order would be to keep Faith from using her cheat sheet; it doesn't necessarily keep Faith from making a punchline, as Lacy seems to suggest.

Sorry I didn't post the whole chapter, but we limit this to about 200 words. If you want feedback on the rest, perhaps a reader will offer to provide it.

PicardyRose said...

I thought at first that Faith was the child psychologist.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Not to quibble, but since half or more of human languages are unwritten, the words in them can't really be said to have spellings.

St0n3henge said...

This makes it look like you have ADHD. Not only are you jumping back and forth through time, you keep intercutting.

It isn't clear whether the italicized sentences are all inside Lacy's head. They interrupt the story a lot.

Anonymous said...

Upon the second reading -- but not the first -- it was clear to me what was italicized and what-all was going on. This looks like another case where you want to get the story moving asap, but I think you'll need more exposition or interior monologue. It looks cute and I'm liking these kids, but I'm working too hard.

A small thing about time orientation, when I read something like "tomorrow’s quiz" I always edit it in my mind to "the next day's quiz." Similarly (not that it's in your excerpt), something like "They had become friends two years ago" would properly be "They had become friends two years earlier."