Saturday, March 17, 2012


TITLE: Aqueous
GENRE: YA contemporary fantasy

“Where’s my camera?”

Dad looked thunderstruck. “Is that all you can say? You almost died. You shouldn't have been out in the first place. This is why I--"

“Lane!” That was mom. “Shut up! Just shut up, will you?” She stroked my hand. “How are you feeling, honey?”

“I want to know what happened to my camera.”

“Well, where did you have it last?”

“On the boat.” I swallowed an unwanted lump in my throat. “I put it in one of the storage compartments.”

“It should be fine. When Joseph realized you were gone, he circled back to look for you. He ran the boat ashore.”

“And left it there?”

Mom nodded, patting my hand gently.

“But my camera!”

“Do you mind?” dad snapped. “That camera almost cost you your life!”

I knew dad talked louder the more upset he got, but it didn’t soften the sting of his words.

“The best thing you can do right now is try to relax, and get some sleep,” the nurse said, her calm voice a lifeline in a sea of discord. “You've had a close brush with hypothermia.”

I bit my bottom lip, and then winced. It was swollen, painful to the touch. What had I done, bit a chunk out of it?

“Can’t hypothermia kill you?” I asked.

The nurse’s forehead creased. “Yes. Very easily, and very quickly. You’re extremely lucky.”

I wasn’t sure if I felt lucky. I wasn’t sure of how I felt about anything. Except that I wanted my camera back.

I wanted those pictures.


  1. I LOVE how deadset on her camera she is! I think that this would have even more punch if her confusion changed over the course of the scene from merely confused, to panicked, to maybe even angry. Obvs I don't know what kind of character she is (if she's the type to get angry), but if she is, this is definitely someting that would set her off. Nearly dying is pretty stressful.

    I believed and liked her mom's reaction, but less-so her dad's. He seemed like he was mad at her for not caring that she almost died, and unless you want him to be unlikable, that's not how you want him to come off.

    Also, if she's a teen, it's weird to have her ask "can't hypothermia kill you" because that's one of those things everyone knows. It makes her seem younger. A lot younger.

    I love the desperation I feel here, and I really want that camera! haha :)

  2. Nice voice. There are places you can streamline this a bit, tighten up the pacing, etc. The determination to find out what's happened to the camera goes on just a touch too long (at least for me).

  3. You've got me super intrigued about what's inside the camera that she cares about so much. That adds nice tension to the scene. I agree with Taryn about the hypothermia line. Other than that, nice job with this!

  4. This scene has wonderful tension in it -- good job!

    Without knowing the relationship between the parents (the dropped-into-story syndrome), the "shut ups" come off really harsh. Would she really tell her husband to shut up when he's going off, in light of the fact that your protag clearly has just had a brush with death? Wouldn't she, perhaps, attempt to diffuse him by speaking more gently? Or even ignoring him, which can sometimes be profoundly effective? Just some thoughts.


    “Do you mind?” dad snapped. “That camera almost cost you your life!”

    The "Do you mind" sounds really clunky. Try:

    "That camera almost cost you your life!" Dad snapped.

    What had I done, bit a chunk out of it? I love the subtle humor here (great protag voice!)...but it's "bitten" instead of "bit" because of the helping verb "had." *insert shiny grammar grin*

    My favorite part: I wanted those pictures.
    > In that one sentence you convey the significance of those pictures. And I want to know what that is!

    Good job! Good luck with this project.

  5. Really nice job with this scene.

    This is perhaps my favorite line: "her calm voice a lifeline in a sea of discord." It's quite beautiful, and connects well with the fact that your main character has nearly died from hypothermia.

    I agree with others that you should rethink some of the interactions between the parents and, perhaps, moderate Dad's reaction. I think it's fine that he's really angry--that's an entirely appropriate reaction to a shocking event--but you might want to integrate it into the scene just a bit more.

    I find Mom's reaction to the demands for the camera a bit odd, actually. For me, these are the sort of comments that come when a kid says they can't find their shoes. "Well, where did you last see them?" I think you're trying to contextualize your main character's inability to get at her camera and the pictures on it, because the boat's been grounded, but a lot of what follows here seems like padding that's slowing reaching the ultimate point. That your main character needs to see those pictures. How much of it do you really need? I'd advise taking a very close look, and paring out anything that's not working to your ultimate purpose.

    Great stuff so far. Keep up the good work.

  6. Some of the dialogue sounded unnatural to me. “Is that all you can say? You almost died. You shouldn't have been out in the first place. This is why I--", “Shut up! Just shut up, will you?” , “Do you mind?” dad snapped. “That camera almost cost you your life!”, “But my camera!”, all sounded a bit off, when I was reading it.

    The dad's first line was a little wordy—I might try to cut out some, since he's upset. I'm not sure he'd be saying so many words. Like…"That's all/it? You shouldn't have been out, you almost died. This is why I—"

    I agree with Authoress about the 'shut up's being harsh. Especially since she turns to your protag and is all nice and calm. It doesn't seem like an emotionally stable adult. A "Lane!" and firm look would come across much more stable. =)

    "But my camera!" sounded just slightly whiny/melodramatic to me. I pictured her clutching at her chest and grabbing someone, which is obviously way over the top, lol. Maybe if she's starting to say something, like "My camera—", it would sound more like a protest than whining.

    In, “Do you mind?” dad snapped. “That camera almost cost you your life!”, the 'do you mind' was clunky for me, too. And every time you have 'dad' w/out 'my', 'dad' should be capitalized, since it's being used as a name/proper noun. And since she just said 'camera', I think his line could be shortened to "It almost cost your life!" B/c it's a response, and everyone knows what he's referring to.

    Other than that, + what Taryn said about hypothermia, I liked it. I really like her focus on the camera, and the ending lines were awesome. ^_^

  7. Everyone's got it covered…very covered, haha. So, I will just say I liked it and I really want to know what's on that camera! =D

  8. I'm a little late to the party, but I enjoyed this too!