Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Parent's Night Out

Juliana was excited. The sun was setting outside, casting an orange glow on the kitchen as she closed the refrigerator, coke in hand. She blew a kiss at the calendar on the door, which had a big black circle on today’s date, the words inside read “Parent’s Night Out.” She went into the living room and grabbed her new Jonas Brother’s CD, which still had some wrapping paper on it with the obnoxious red and yellow “Happy 12th Birthday” pattern stuck on it. She cranked up the radio, sighing at the sound of the boys singing. She danced around the empty house, her long brown hair, pulled back in a pony tail that still went halfway down her back, flicking back and forth. Her pink flower flip-flops clopped in time to the music, and it didn’t take long for her Jonas Brother’s tank top to be covered in sweat. She wiped her brow with her hand, and then wiped that on her white shorts, taking a breather as a slower song came on. She smiled.

“I love being alone!” she shouted to no one.

As the next song ended, in the pause between songs, a creaking noise came from upstairs. She froze, looking at the stair case behind the couch. She reached out and turned the music down, and then slowly made her way to the stairs.



  1. I love the line about blowing a kiss to the calendar! I can totally picture her doing that!

    It's not a bad attempt, but I see where it can be tightened up a bit. I would take out the part where you mention her long brown hair. You tell us right after that that it's long by saying it went halfway down her back. That's the kind of showing, not telling this exercise is suppose to be about!

  2. Yeah, I had a hard time with trying to get
    that in too. And trying to let everyone know
    she was alone. Great lines, and story.

    I hope you found this exercise very helpful,
    and look forward to reading more of your work.

  3. I loved the image of her dancing around. Dancing like a crazy person to cranked up music just fits the image of a tween so well but I felt a good chunk of it was a little contrived. I'm not sure I believe that she would actually yell, "I love being alone!" That felt really inserted. I also think the bulk of the first paragraph could have been portrayed in a less obvious way instead of straight out stating the parts that needed to be included in the exercise.

    The absolute strongest part of the piece was the very end, with the creaking stairs and her calling out hello. To me that would make a better beginning than it would an end.

  4. I think this was a good attempt, but see places where you could tighten it up and make it sound a little less contrived. Instead of the sun was setting outside, why not simply say the setting sun cast an orange glow - - -

    The end, however, killed me. She's the bravest 12 year old I've ever heard about if she actually went upstairs to check out a sound if she thought she was home alone. But I know that has nothing to do with the exercise, so ignore it.

  5. I really liked this one. It reminded me of my best friend and I back in the good days. She actually owned a pair of pink flower flip flops. (still does...) I think the "I love being alone" part is a little superfluous, though. We already know she's alone, and her kiss lets us know she's glad. :) You've already told us that. Loved it, though.

  6. I felt that the first few sentences were telling. Instead of saying she was excited, you could say her how she felt to make her excited. She could shiver with excitement or a thrill could shoot up her spine. Something like that, but you could probably think of something better than that. Also explain how the sun was setting. Did it blaze through the window? When the sunset hits my window, it's so bright that I have to close the curtains.

    I love the calendar line. That is great. I wouldn’t mention the colour of her hair in that sentence though. If it’s in her POV, she wouldn’t think of her own hair colour. People don’t think I’ll just shake my long brown hair back. She might think something like: I love how my hair tickles my lower back when I dance. Or she might think: I wish my hair was a different colour to brown.

    The tank top covered in sweat was a bit telling too, but you showed with the sentence about the shorts and flip-flops.

    The sentence where she shouts about being alone would be better as a thought to be more believable.

    I loved the last paragraph. That was great.

    I think my post is way too telling. I’ve noticed it more after critiquing the others. It’s a great way to learn though.

  7. Nice job with the calendar part! I really liked the end, which will now make it easy to continue the story.

    Hair: This seems to be a tricky thing to get included. Maybe she could have been eating a piece of birthday cake and swaying to the music...and then her long ponytail skims the icing.

    I agree this exercise is a great way to learn about showing and telling!

  8. Agree with much of what's already been said. Careful of echo phrases, you have "on it" twice in one line about the wrapping paper. Liked the calendar bit, too. Can't tell you how many times I danced around when I was at home alone; good job evoking familiar emotions.. My room was at the top of the stairs, too . . . this might be creepier set a little later in the evening. Happy writing!


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